Al Safwa First Class Lounge Doha
The Al Safwa First Class Lounge is Qatar Airways’ lounge for First Class passengers and their top elite members flying Business Class. It is open 24 hours a day. Passengers flying Business Class with access to the Al Mourjan Business Class Lounge can also purchase access to the lounge for 600 QAR (or about $165 USD). Note that oneworld elites do not get access based on status.
I booked a flight in Qatar Business Qsuites from SEA-DOH with a 24 hour layover in Doha before flying on to Amman in their regional First Class. I booked the ticket for 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage miles. As my last leg (DOH-AMM) was booked as First Class I had access to the Al Safwa First Class Lounge. The actual First Class seat on the plane was a Qsuite but because it was marketed as First Class I received access.
Airport Check In
As I had spent the night in Doha, I was arriving at the airport rather than connecting. First Class passengers have a special check in area at Doha.
Upon entering the check in area, I was directed to a cubicle to complete my check in and was provided with a warm towel.
There is a dedicated immigration passport control agent and security just for First Class passengers on Qatar Airways. After going through immigration and security, there is an escalator that takes you directly to the Al Safwa First Class Lounge.
There is also an entrance to the lounge from the connection area of the main terminal if you are on a layover from a connecting flight.
It is hard to call the the space a lounge, it really is more like a museum. There is a ton of free space in the lounge. As you enter there is a huge Keith Haring painting hanging on the wall.
As you walk down the long corridor there are exhibits that showcase art and artifacts; some from the Museum of Islamic Art.
The center piece of the lounge is a water feature in the large atrium of the lounge. Water flows from the ceiling into a large metal dish.
There are two options for dining; the more casual quick service area and the formal dining room.
The quick service area has a sushi bar and also serves salads and sandwiches. During my stay I don’t think I saw a single person visiting this area. I suppose it might be helpful if you had a really quick layover and just needed a bite to eat.
The main restaurant is located behind the water feature. The first section of seating is centered around the bar.
Back towards the windows is the main dining area. With seating for hundreds I don’t think you would ever have to wait for a table.
I ordered the mezze plate and pumpkin soup for a starter and the chicken breast with vegetables for a main course.
The chicken and vegetables were bland; my guess is that they are prepared in large quantities and dished up when ordered.
I ordered the creme brûlée for dessert which was served with a small scoop of tiramisu ice cream.
There is an extensive drink menu; I started with a dirty Grey Goose martini and then had a glass of Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame 2008. All fo the food and beverages are complimentary.
Quiet Area and Spa
There is a full spa in the lounge; though treatments are an additional fee. Prices are typical for a high end spa but treatments are available for between 10 minutes and an hour. As I didn’t book a treatment I wasn’t able to check out the spa area.
However, I did try out one of the Quiet Area rooms. These are available on a first come, first served basis. When I first asked about them, there was one that had just been vacated and was being cleaned; I was encouraged to come back in an hour. I believe there are about 16 of the rooms available.
When I checked in for the Quiet Room, I handed over my boarding pass and received a key card for my room. I was then escorted to my room and shown the basics of the room and reminded that no announcements would be made and asked if I would like a wake up call.
The room is essentially a small (and windowless) hotel room with a single bed, desk and TV.
Lights can be turned off though as far as I could figure out, one light by the door always stays on. A robe is provided.
Just off the entry is a bathroom with shower. Various amenities and towels are included.
The luxury doesn’t match the shower rooms of Cathay Pacific’s The Wing; having a real bed is a fantastic amenity for a layover. Note that visits are time limited so you couldn’t get a full 8 hours of sleep during a visit.
There are office spaces that are available if you had to hold a meeting or wanted to get work done during your visit.
Additional spaces in the lounge include a game room and parent’s room and a duty free shopping area.
There are plenty of staff available in the lounge, I would estimate a 2:1 ratio of staff to guests.
If you are booking an award ticket on Qatar Airways, which can be done with either American or Alaska Airlines miles, I would recommend booking an onward leg in First Class just to get to experience the Al Safwa First Class Lounge. If you are booking US-DOH in Qsuites, you can add on a First Class leg to a destination in the Middle East at no additional cost.
I probably wouldn’t pay the $165 USD to upgrade from the Business Class Lounge unless I had a long layover and thought I could make use of the bed in the Quiet Room.