Qatar Airways Starts Selling Access to the Amazing Al Safwa Lounge for $69

Qatar Airways operates one of the world’s best first class lounges at their home airport in Doha: the Al Safwa lounge.

I love Qatar’s long haul product, Doha is a great place to connect, but many people don’t spend any time there. I scheduled a stopover because I wanted to visit the Museum of Islamic Art, which is one of the last structures designed by I.M. Pei. He insisted that a new island be created to house the facility.

Friends who have seen my photos of the Al Safwa lounge have remarked that it looks like a museum a point out – a ha! – there are pieces in the lounge on loan from the Museum of Islamic Art.

The lounge’s design reminds me of a new build Park Hyatt. It’s massive, with tall ceilings, and very few people. In fact there are usually more staff than passengers.

There’s good food in the restaurant. There’s self serve food… everywhere. And there are high end wines in the lounge. Oddly the spa is at a charge, and I don’t necessarily find the service there to be good. Nonetheless it’s a place worth seeing.

Access is for first class passengers. Qatar operates very few flights with a long haul first class cabin, something available only on their Airbus A380 aircraft. However for shorter distance flights they call their premium cabin first class and that provides Al Safwa access. As a result a premium passenger flying Doha to Amman, Jordan would have access… but a premium passenger flying Doha to New York JFK would not.

With the continued blockade of Qatar led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE there are far fewer Qatar Airways short haul flights. That means fewer passengers with Al Safwa lounge access. Now, it seems, they’re monetizing access to the lounge and it’s surprisingly affordable.

chgodrew reports that the first class Al Safwa lounge in Doha will now sell access to paid business class passengers (but not passengers traveling on award tickets).

  • He inquired at the excellent Al Mourjan business class lounge if he could purchase Al Safwa access. They told him it would be 350 Qatari Real (US$96).

  • When he arrived at the Al Safwa lounge he was actually charged 250 QAR (US$69).

    I immediately left for the Al Sawfa lounge and the host at the escalator asked for boarding pass and I said I would like to pay, she let me up. When I got to desk they asked for ticket and then said it would be AED 250.00 (even better).

    I had a 6 hour layover and it was great. I was able to try the fantastic Krug Clos Du Mesnil 2003 which was the best champagne I have ever had. They also had Krug and La Grande Dame. Had a great meal and time in the lounge.

So if you’re traveling through Doha on a paid business class ticket and have a reasonably long layover definitely give the Al Safwa lounge a (pay in) visit. You can undoubtedly drink well more than the cost of your entry fee in wine, champagne, and spirits.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Who pays for lounge access anymore these days?
    Wouldn’t it be free to use the Al Maha lounge with the Priority Pass courtesy of your credit card, instead of paying to access a lounge?

  2. I agree that the first class lounge is special, but I’m not sure I’d shell out the extra $$ for it if I otherwise had access to Qatar’s excellent business class lounge. The first class lounge is certainly more dramatic, but the business lounge is large and well stocked as well. For a really long-layover, the F loung might be worthwhile, not least for access to the day rooms in which to rest. But they charge for the in-lounge spa massage, which takes away part of that appeal. Anyway, a real First World Problem/choice.

  3. This won’t last, knock back a glass or two of the expensive wines they have and QR are already in the red. They need to double or triple the cost if they want to profit from it.

  4. $99 or $69 price for access to the Al Safwa lounge is a great deal especially since Qatar was charging $125 for access Al Mourjan business-class lounge access. If the price is $69 for Al Safwa, The price for Al Mourjan should be about $0.

  5. Last time I was in there ( prior to boarding the last QR flight to Cairo before the ban kicked in) there were fewer than 10 guests in the lounge. I wouldn’t pay anything as a premium: not interested in expensive booze and I’m not sure the food is significantly better than Al Mourjan.

  6. @frank Oneworld Emeralds are directed to the rather confusingly named Oneworld First Class Lounge, it is not related to Al Safwa or even Al Mourjan for that matter.

    @john OWEs don’t have access to Al Mourjan, that is reserved for J passengers (although no upgraded tickets). Bear in mind that $69 is over the cost of a Business Class ticket. Economy Class passengers aren’t eligible for this, instead they can pay for Al Mourjan.

  7. My wife and I will be flying through Qatar in May. We are flying Business Class with AA points..
    Upgrading to First Class lounge Safwa Lounge sounds ideal. We have a 10 hr layover ( 4pm till 2am). I have read that they might still let awards passengers buy access…. My question is: is there any way to buy the access before our flights?
    Thanks
    Mike

  8. We’re a party of five, only one of whom will be on a paid ticket. Do you know if paying passengers can pay to bring family members with them into Al Safwa?

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