Other reports from this trip –
Introduction: Bangkok, not Shanghai!
Review: Qatar lounge, Heathrow Terminal 4
Review: Qatar A380 in F, London to Doha
Review: Waldorf Astoria, Bangkok
Review: Qatar lounge, Bangkok
Review: Qatar 777 Qsuite, Bangkok to Doha
Review: Al Sawafra (First) Lounge, Doha
After a fun couple of days in Bangkok, it was time to head home. I was booked on Qatar 833 to Doha, leaving Suvarnabhumi airport at 7.35pm. With traffic in mind, I left my hotel, the Waldorf Astoria, Bangkok, shortly after 4pm to make sure I got to the airport in plenty of time. After munching my way through a meat platter in the Brasserie just before I left, I wasn’t exactly hungry, but I was really looking forward to checking out Qatar’s new(ish) lounge, which opened in 2018.
Traffic was quite heavy so the journey took just over an hour. My taxi pulled up outside the airport at 5.15pm, dropping me outside door 7, and I headed straight to check in.
The airport was very busy when I arrived, but luckily the premium check in lane was quite short.
Once I had my boarding pass, I headed straight to security, taking advantage of the priority lane, which is hidden under an escalator at the back of the terminal. Due to the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak, my temperature was checked before I was allowed through. Luckily, despite the impact of the Bangkok sunshine on my pallid, Scottish skin, I passed!
Like most international airports, the exit from security and passport control deposited me straight into a large shopping complex. Normally I would have a look around and compare prices, but today I had one thing on my mind – Lounge time!
In this review…
The Qatar lounge is situated in concourse D, just a short walk from the Security exit. An escalator beside gate D8 will take you down to the 3rd floor, where you will find the lounge entrance.
While it is tucked Somewhat out of the way, the stylish entrance to the lounge gives a subtle hint of the delights to come, as you step through the large, double doors.
To access this lounge, you must be travelling on a Oneworld flight in a business class or first class cabin. Oneworld status members travelling in other cabins will be denied access, but they do have other options nearby, including JAL and Cathay lounges.
As Qatar has a limited number of flights departing Bangkok, the lounge is only open during specific times. These, at the time of my visit, are –
- 2:30AM – 1:30PM
- 4:30PM – 8:30PM
- 10:30PM – 00:50AM
If you are visiting outside of these times, there are other lounge options available in the concourse, including JAL and Cathay lounges.
Design and Layout
There is no reception as you walk into this lounge. Instead, I was warmly greeted by a member of the lounge team near the door, who asked for my boarding pass, took it away, scanned it, returned it to me and welcomed me to the lounge with a pleasant smile. He also checked whether it was my first visit to the lounge and, when I told him it was, gave me a quick overview of the facilities and where to find everything. Formalities out of the way, I went for a wander.
The first thing I noticed as I entered is just how much this lounge resembles the airline’s lounge in London’s Heathrow airport, which I visited and reviewed earlier in this trip. The entrance hall even has an identical floral arrangement and water feature.
This similarity is a good thing as I really liked the lounge concept in London. It has the feel of an upmarket, private club, with hints of the Middle East. The soft tones and the gentle, flowing water give the place a real sense of calm, while the marble and stone construction makes a real statement.
Set against a large window that runs almost the full length of the lounge, the main seating area of the lounge benefits from a lot of natural light during the day. In the evening, that wall of glass stops it from feeling claustrophobic.
Seating is laid out in a 2-1 style, with two sets of three facing each other, train carriage style. This is great for couples and groups travelling together, but the downside is the lack of privacy for the individual traveller. I’ve also always found that people in airports naturally gravitate away from each other, so each row of three seats quickly gets taken up by one person, almost always sitting in a middle seat. We’re not really the most social bunch!
The seats in this area are all upholstered in soft fabric and provide a good degree of support, making them very comfortable to sit on. Power sockets are positioned on the floor of each row, providing you with the opportunity to charge your devices before boarding.
Spread around the lounge, you’ll find some other interesting seating concepts, like this sofa ‘cave’, which made me feel like I should be lying on my back with somebody feeding me grapes. Peeled, of course.
There is a small, additional seating area at the far end of the lounge, to the right as you walk in, although it seems a little haphazard. This wouldn’t not be my first choice of where to sit, but I guess it does provide some overflow when the lounge is busy. This area also contains a couple of fridges with soft drinks, so you won’t have to walk too far if you get thirsty.
There are a few magazine racks dotted around, with publications from various countries, which is a nice touch, although there wasn’t the same attention to detail here that I saw in London, where newspapers were immediately replenished and straightened as soon as somebody touched them.
At the side of the lounge, to the left as you enter, you’ll find the restaurant, with a large food counter, bar and buffet area, from which you can help yourself, with seating for people who wish to dine. I really love the style of the food counter, with large, glass display cabinets and massively oversized, copper lamp shades.
There are a few tables in the main delicatessen where you can sit down and enjoy your meal. Seating twelve, this is a bright and lively place to eat your meal, with plenty of atmosphere from the surrounding area.
If you prefer things a little quieter, here is additional seating in the slightly more formal Brasserie area, situated on the other side of the delicatessen. Seating twenty two people, away from the hustle and bustle of the main room, things are definitely more peaceful in here. Unlike London, however, this Brasserie is not a table service restaurant. There is no menu and you can’t order freshly made food. It is simply an additional seating area to eat food you have collected from the buffet, which I found a little disappointing. I was looking forward to having a proper meal now and then sleeping on the plane, although that’s always my plan, but I end up eating on the plane as well. It’s no wonder I’m ‘cuddly’.
Overall, i really like the whole look and feel of this lounge, particularly as it is very similar to the London lounge, giving it a real feeling of familiarity. Like London, it has hints of Middle Eastern opulence, but with a simplicity that makes it feel comfortable for the average traveller.
Food and Beverage
The lounge stocks a good range of soft drinks, spirits, wine, beer and champagne, as well as tea, coffee and water. Within the main lounge, there is a small area where you can help yourself to soft drinks and water. Alcoholic drinks can be ordered and consumed anywhere within the lounge, but I recommend going through to the signature Martini bar, where the bar staff will look after you very well.
The champagne on offer while I was there included Bollinger Special Cuvé, which is one of my favourites, and Autréau rosé. Qatar does have a habit of changing champagne brands fairly often, though. I didn’t try any of the wines, but I’m sure they were delicious.
It’s worth noting that there is also an extensive cocktail menu at the bar, should you feel like going a little wild. I was actually quite surprised by how many they had available.
Being the consummate professional, I did try some champagne and a couple of cocktails, just to make sure they were okay. I’m pleased to confirm that they were absolutely delicious.
Food is one area where I felt a little let down in this lounge. Delicious sweet treats, as well as bread, cheese and fruit, are all available from the deli, beautifully presented on nice trays in the glass cabinets surrounding the bar, and there is a buffet with snacks and hot food, but, as I mentioned above, there is no a la carte option here.
The buffet has a host of different dishes, mostly with an Asian flavour, as well as the usual hummus dips and salads that you will find in all Qatar lounges. The ‘hot’ food was lukewarm and, while it tasted okay, could have done with a lot more flavour. It was okay for a quick snack on the run, but not really what I would want to make a meal out of. It was more like the sort of food I’d expect to see in a short haul lounge, not being served to Qatar’s business class passengers, many of who have paid thousands for their flights.
When I went through the Brasserie I was expecting to find menus on tables with higher quality options, but that was, unfortunately, not the case. I did ask if this was just an anomaly on the day, but it seems the the buffet is, indeed, the only option.
While the buffet food was a little disappointing, I definitely can’t say the same about the service, which was phenomenal. The staff throughout the lounge were extremely attentive, friendly and helpful and service always came with a smile. I was actually very surprised by just how many people were working, given the size of the lounge. Service is definitely one area where this lounge excels.
There is a small business centre in the lounge, to the right of the main entrance hall, which has a couple of Apple Macs and a printer. It’s tucked away at the back, so you don’t get bothered by noise coming from the lounge.
There is WiFi in the lounge, but I didn’t use it while I was there so didn’t do a speed test. Personally, I blame the Bollinger
Toilets and Showers
The washroom facilities in the lounge are situated on the left side, through the delicatessen and beyond the Brasserie. As with all Qatar lounges, they are plush and beautifully fitted out. The toilets are in individual private rooms, which I always prefer, and there are separate shower cubicles available, on request, should you wish to freshen up before your flight.
The washrooms use products from Dutch cosmetics brand, Rituals, which I’m a huge fan of, while local brand, Botanica Essence, is provided in the shower rooms. I like that the shower has an overhead rain shower and hand held nozzle, as well as side jets to massage you as you wash.
Unlike the lounges in Doha, Qatar’s main hub, this lounge is not designed with transiting passengers in mind, so there is no specific sleeping area.
This is a beautiful, well furnished lounge, which provides a tranquil environment to relax in before your flight. I love the contemporary style, with a hint of Middle Eastern opulence, and the fact that it has that familiar ‘Qatar’ feel to it. Service within the lounge is exceptional and the bar has an extensive drinks list to suit most tastes. My only gripe, which I’ve probably mentioned far too many times already, is the lack of a decent, a la carte menu. While everyone in the lounge will have the opportunity to eat on board, I’m sure many would prefer to maximise their sleep on the seven hour flight to Doha. That aside, we love this lounge so it definitely get the Flight Guys seal of approval.