Old Apr 1, 17, 7:32 pm
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: ORD + HKG
Programs: CX Diamond, AA ExPlat, BAEC Gold, HH Diamond, Starriott Gold, Hyatt/IHG Plat, GE
Posts: 2,509
Lounge review: Al Safwa First Class Lounge @ DOH

A picture is worth a thousand words, and I am sure this applies here particularly for Al Safwa. I donít know how to appropriately describe the ambiance and atmosphere once I stepped into the lounge, but an ĎOMGí simply does not reflect enough on how much I was impressed by it. It only helps that there was virtually no one when I entered the lounge, and service was attentive as I got offered a drink while waiting for my nap room to be ready.

I asked for a nap room to hopefully take a shower, refresh a bit and take a quick power nap since I slept little on the HKG-DXB redeye. Both the shower and the bedroom were tastefully appointed and I certainly agree with other FTers that Al Safwa would make a perfect layover hotel. You get your key card and the entire space is really all for yourself. I would appreciate more amenities like those Aesop stuff in the showers at the Pier F in HKG however - there weren't any facial items available here, but I understand that a paid spa is right there next door

I then woke up in time for lunch and I noticed the passenger flow had definitely picked up. Still, the ambience and tranquility remained unchanged probably thanks to the cathedral-like ceilings that wiped out any background noise and clutter.

As other FTers may know dining at Al Safwa is definitely not its strong spot due to a lack of a proper kitchen and I really didnít find too many options appealing. I ended up ordering a salmon steak followed by pistachio cream cake. The salmon was a bit too well done and the pistachio cream cake tasted a bit too artificially sweet. I paired the salmon with a glass of Pommery Louis Cuvee 2002 champagne on offer that day and found it to be on par with the other fine champagnes although I think I would secretly appreciate Krug better, actually I don't know that much about drinking ☺

Again, whatever I write will not do enough justice for this lounge. In fact I just cannot offer any comparison with other lounges because the scale of this Al Safwa experience is just completely different, I forgot that I was at an airport. Iíll let more pictures do the talking. I wish I can be back soon, but throwing away 18000 Avios to get in is a bit too out of budget for me at the moment. Hopefully one day QR will offer F again on HKG route then it might be easier still...BUT I WILL BE BACK!

The lounge is designed in a way that the main 'walkway' is like a cross, and lined on all sides are various functions like sitting areas, dining, nap room and spa complex, duty free store(!), business center, media room(!), family area, art collections...

When you enter, the mirage-like business center is to the side

Duty free is on the other side. It has everything you can think of.

The reflecting pool is to the left, the restaurant behind it. Bending beyond the restaurant is a 'terrace' that adjoins the entrance podium area.

If you went straight ahead instead the help desk was there, along with storage lockers. Further ahead was a second restaurant area with sushi and salad bar offerings, which looked like artwork.

Across the area where the 'cross' converges there were ample seating with differing levels of privacy and technological provisions. Truly amazing. The media room was tucked away somewhere on the side.

If instead you turned right at the point of convergence, it was a wide, gradually sloping ramp up towards the other entrance (for DOH originating pax) lined with collections from the Museum of Islamic Art. Tucked away on the sides included the spa and nap room facility on one side, and the duty free shop plus a family area with kids facilities, semi-private cabanas and a sweets bar(!) in one.

This just cannot be real...

Anyway, a layover of supposedly 4h 50m turned out to be way toooooo short and I reluctantly parted with the lounge towards the uncertainties that lie ahead, QR F and Egypt. I must have picked the right time to transit through DOH as even the public spaces were vast and lacking of people, the 'unreal' factor continued to last.

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