Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Around the World In 80 Hours Part 8- Doh-HA!


** Correspondent's Note: The posts here have been all over the place (pun intended) lately as I somehow managed to put just about all of my planned trips into the first half of this year.  As such, I haven't wrapped up some earlier trip reviews.  So, let's go back to February now and finish up going "around the world in 80 hours."  If you don't remember (or never read) the earlier parts of this story, see the links below.  Thanks for reading!**

The Story So Far:

Mileage Run Preview: Best Worst Decisions

After what felt like a much too short 4 hour flight from Columbo, we landed safely in Qatar at Doha's massive and modern airport.  We were here for just a short two hour layover before catching our next flight direct to Boston on Qatar's new a350. 

The last time, a little under a year ago, that I'd been through DOH I'll admit I wrote a rather scathing review of the airport, based mostly on their cheap cop-out on Oneworld policies.  I still stand by it 100%, even though this time on account of being an actual 'premium' passenger, I had access to the ACTUAL business class lounge.  Not that I'm not still mad about their shady policies, but at least this time there was more on offer than soggy sandwiches and warm chardonnay.
I'm getting ahead of myself here.  We landed around 6am local time and had to clear transfer security to get to the lounge and eventually to the gate.  Now, the Doha airport has clearly undergone drastic growth, much like all of this region.  What hasn't kept up the pace is their security checkpoints.  We filed into organized chaos trying to get back through to departures.  My advice for making it through during the morning rush (every single flight seems to leave at 8am)- find the 1st/Business class lane...and get your elbows out.  Turns out Qatar isn't big on orderly lines.

Anyhow, after that tiny slice of aggravation dissipated, we made it through to the main hall of the terminal for some quick selfies with (and jokes about ) the Big Teddy Bear that's still right in the middle of it.  If you didn't know better, you'd think there wasn't anything else in this place but this friggin' Bear.  Directions to anywhere, no matter where it is, start off with "when you get to the Bear..."

If you can't find the Bear, you're probably not even in the airport anymore.

So, we 'passed the Bear' and took the escalator to the Business class lounge, which brings us current.  The Al Majoran Business lounge is upstairs from The Bear, and is huge!  It needs to be for a couple reasons- 1. This is Qatar, and they can so they will, and 2. During the busy hours this is a pretty high traffic lounge, even though they keep out the unwashed masses with their Oneworld exclusion policy. 

The lounge is on two floors, with the main bar/restaurant on the top floor.  The first thing you notice once you pass check in is the massive shiny reflecting pool, with a huge spiral staircase going over it up to the second floor.  There is, of course, no good reason for this design since anyone with any amount of luggage will be taking the elevator but I refer you again to point 1. above: This is Qatar, and they can so they will.

The lounge offers plenty of food and drink, as well as a row of cubicles with daybeds in them if you have a long enough layover for a nap.  This is a nice touch, and beats trying to pounce on one of the few spaces like this at a Centurion lounge stateside, or attempting to curl up in a not-so-loungey lounge chair at the Admirals' Club. 

There is a full breakfast buffet, that encompasses the multicultural nature of an airport hub like this.  You'll find scrambled eggs and croissants, alongside congee, pickled vegetables and ful madames (a recipe I would much later try and painfully fail at recreating at home).  There's also a bar on this level, as well as coffee and soft drinks. 

We just had time to regroup, have a snack and a mimosa, and say goodbye to one of our traveling companions who was taking the Los Angeles flight, before heading out again to board the new a350 for Boston!  4 flights down - 2 to go!


Up Next: And Then, Everything Is Perfect

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