people sitting in a room with a wall and a ceiling

Review: Al Maha Lounge, Doha Airport (DOH)

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After disembarking my flight from Munich to Doha, I found myself on the path to a security transit area. While security is usually part of the airport transit experience, this brought up a few questions in my mind, since we didn’t have to go through security on the way from Hong Kong. Is transit security only required for select routes, or had we just been let out the wrong entrance by accident after our flight from Hong Kong the week prior?

Nevertheless, security was largely painless and only took around 15 minutes, definitely helped by the fact that there was a separate security lane for premium passengers. An escalator brought us back down to the impressive atrium, where I spotted the giant teddy bear in the distance.

people inside of a building
Doha Hamad Airport Atrium

I knew I had access to some of the other lounges at the airport, so I wanted to check them out (my parents and Hailey schlepped around the duty-free area for a while and I believe my mother bought a bag from Hermès before making their way straight up to the Al Mourjan lounge). I originally thought I’d have access to the Oryx lounge, so I followed signage around the airport, only to get lost. Eventually, I found a set of lifts that provided the only access to the Al Maha lounge, the Oryx lounge, as well as the Airport Hotel, so keep an eye out for a little nook containing a few escalators if you’re looking for any of these.

a sign on the wall
Al Maha Lounge Doha Airport Signage

While the Airport Hotel is situated on the third floor, the Oryx Lounge and the Al Maha lounge are located on the second floor.

a sign on a metal surface
Al Maha Lounge Doha Airport Lift Signage

Once I arrived the second floor, I was told “Qatar Airways business class should go to the other side of the airport”, with the female associate pointing at the Al Mourjan lounge. I smiled and said that I wanted to check out this lounge if I had access to it, so she directed me towards the Al Maha lounge. The Oryx lounge looked nicer from the outside so I asked if I had access, but she said that I needed to be in business class on another airline, or needed to have QAR 200 (~HK$425) on me. I wasn’t really willing to spend HK$425 just to review a lounge when I had access to a much better one, so I opted to check out the Al Maha lounge for a while before making my way back to the Al Mourjan lounge.

Al Maha is also a Priority Pass lounge, which means that you can enter with either a valid Priority Pass membership or a credit card offering a Priority Pass Select membership when flying economy class. Other passengers with access are Hamad Airport’s Al Maha service users.

a sign on a wall
Al Maha Lounge Doha Airport Entrance Signage

The lounge wasn’t extremely large, and was crowded when I visited at 11:45 PM. It was laid in somewhat of a “T” shape, with the entrance area featuring a selection of chairs.

people sitting in a room
Al Maha Lounge Doha Airport

There wasn’t a large selection of seating to choose from, and the circular tables provided at each seat were low.

two chairs next to each other
Al Maha Lounge Doha Airport Seating

On one end of the “T” there were higher-backed chairs, which could be comfortable if you were staying for longer. Unfortunately these were all taken.

a group of people sitting in chairs
Al Maha Lounge Doha Airport

The other end of the “T” featured a buffet spread, with more seating. It’s clear that this lounge has to cater to capacity, due to it being the only Priority Pass lounge at the airport.

people sitting in a lounge area
Al Maha Lounge Doha Airport Restaurant Area

I liked the table setup, though there isn’t an a-la-carte service or anything, so you’re stuck getting food from the (limited) spread.

a table with chairs and a bowl of food on it
Al Maha Lounge Doha Airport Table Setup

The food spread itself was rather basic, and featured pastries, cold items and a couple of hot items, none of which looked particularly appealing.

a buffet with plates and food
Al Maha Lounge Doha Airport Food Spread

a machine on a counter
Al Maha Lounge Doha Airport Food Spread

a buffet with a group of dishes
Al Maha Lounge Doha Airport Food Spread

a coffee machine and cups on a table
Al Maha Lounge Doha Airport Food Spread

As I asked an attendant if I could take pictures, he said yes, and complimented my camera. He asked what model it was, and we hit up a small conversation.

In terms of the lounge’s other amenities, there’s a small family area, as well as a rather basic business center with iMacs. These were full, so I would’ve loved to get pictures, but was unable to do so.

a sign on a wall
Al Maha Lounge Doha Airport Family Area

a sign on a wall
Al Maha Lounge Doha Airport Business Center

The lounge also has a shower room. There was no toilet in the shower room, and I didn’t find any toiletries, so I figured that I’d have my shower at the Al Mourjan lounge, since I had a sizeable connection to start with. Unfortunately that backfired as I had to wait half an hour for a shower there, so for those with particularly tight connections, I’d actually recommend coming here for a shower, as there’s probably a bigger chance that one is available at the Al Maha lounge.

When I asked if I could take a picture of the shower room, another attendant quickly pointed out that the other shower room would be better for showering (either that or I’d misheard, so I believe the lounge has two shower rooms), though the attendant I asked said that I was only there for a picture. They didn’t seem weirded out or anything, so I think that taking pictures of lounge facilities is more common at Hamad Airport than at any other airport.

a bathroom with a shower
Al Maha Lounge Doha Airport Shower

a shower head and faucet in a bathroom
Al Maha Lounge Doha Airport Shower

It’s worth noting that I found the decor at this lounge to be modern and (unsurprisingly) resemblant of the decor at the rest of the airport. I believe the airport owns this lounge, and it showed – it seems somewhat of a “junior” version of Qatar Airways’ main lounges.

Apparently there’s separate, fast WiFi at the lounge, though I was connected to Hamad Airport’s high-speed WiFi the entire time, so I didn’t have a need for lounge WiFi for my really short stay.

After my short visit I was on my way back to the Al Mourjan lounge in hopes of getting some work done before my flight home.

Bottom Line: Al Maha Lounge Doha

In no way does the Al Maha Lounge measure up to Qatar Airways’ first and business class lounges. I feel like that’s a given, since this lounge is only meant for Priority Pass members and users of a paid transit programme that I personally wouldn’t find much value out of. As I said, I’d recommend the lounge just for the shower if you have a tight transit, due to how scarce the opportunity to shower is at the Al Mourjan lounge – the shower isn’t as nice, though at least it seems to be consistently available. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be too excited about access to this lounge, and would possibly even elect to sit at the gate area if I didn’t have access to any of the other lounges (due to the fact that the entire airport has high-speed WiFi, and is a rather pleasant place to be in general).

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