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Al Maha Lounge at Hamad International Airport in Doha [Review]

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While Qatar Airways’ Al Mourjan Business Lounge and Al Safwa First Lounge garner a lot of attention from transit passengers at Doha’s Hamad International Airport (DOH), not all of us fly premium classes or have the status to gain entry to these glamorous lounges. Enter Al Maha Lounge: Doha’s primary Priority Pass lounge.

As I typically only fly economy on departing flights from Doha, my home airport, I am more than familiar with this lounge. Let me take you on an in-depth tour to see if it’s worth the stop the next time you pass through Qatar.

Al Maha Lounge Location

After passing through immigration and the security scan, you’ll descend down the escalators into the Duty Free Plaza South area. The escalators to Al Maha Lounge are located to the left past the iconic Untitled Lamp Bear sculpture.

DOH airport Untitled Lamp Bear Al Maha Lounge
“Untitled Lamp Bear” by Swiss artist Urs Fischer anchors the Duty Free Plaza South.

Don’t miss your chance to grab a selfie with the 23-foot-tall yellow teddy bear.

DOH airport Untitled Lamp Bear close up
Despite its soft appearance, the teddy bear is sculpted out of cast bronze.

After passing the sculpture, look for the escalators to the left and the signage for Al Maha Lounge.

There is almost always a gatekeeper at the bottom of the escalators to either verify your entry credentials or guide you to the appropriate alternate lounge. At busy times, there will be a queue that is held just to the right of the escalators.

Al Maha Lounge Doha escalator entrance
Al Maha Lounge signage means you’re in the right spot to take the escalators up 1 level.
Hot Tip:

Do not confuse Al Maha Services with Al Maha Lounge. Al Maha Services offers meet-and-greet services on arrival, departure, or transit and may include lounge access to a different lounge.

Gaining Entry to the Al Maha Lounge

Al Maha Lounge Doha line
There is frequently a snaking queue for entry.

Al Maha Lounge is open 24 hours a day. You can gain access through several lounge networks or buy purchasing a day pass.

Priority Pass

Eligible Priority Pass members can access the lounge for 4 hours with children under 5 admitted free of charge. Access may be restricted at peak times (5 to 7 p.m., 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., and 4 a.m. to 7 a.m.).

I gained entry with the Priority Pass membership included with my Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card which also grants me 2 guests per visit. This is a fantastic card for lounge access as it also includes access to Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge network, including select Plaza Premium Lounges.

Hot Tip:

If the lounge is at capacity, you may be directed to the newer Al Maha Lounge North in the Duty Free Plaza North area. Priority Pass does not list access to this lounge separately, but I have been able to access it with my membership.

Other Lounge Networks

Those with a Lounge Pass membership can access the lounge for 3 hours. Those with DragonPass, DreamFolks, MasterCard Airport Pass MENA, or Nice Airport Lounge Access have 6 hours of access.

Day Rates

Al Maha Lounge Doha priority check in
Book your day rate online and receive priority check-in.

Lounge access for a block of 6 hours can be purchased for:

  • 230 QR (~$63) or 12,632 Avios per adult
  • 115 QR (~$32) or 6,316 Avios for children 2 to 11 years old
  • Free for children under 2 years old

Additional time can be added as follows:

  • 140 QR (~$38) or 7,689 Avios for 3 additional hours
  • 230 QR (~$63) or 12,632 Avios for 6 additional hours
  • 460 QR (~$126) or 25,264 Avios for 12 additional hours

To pay with Avios, enter your Privilege Club details when you book your service online.

Hot Tip:

If you have an extended connection, you may want to consider the in-terminal Oryx Airport Hotel or 1 of 2 Sleep ‘N Fly Sleep Lounge locations (available to eligible Priority Pass members).

First Impressions

I have rarely visited this lounge when it is not packed to the gills. There’s almost always a wait for entry, and once you gain access, finding a seat is like finding a needle in a haystack. On recent visits, my family generally has split up, with my husband taking the kids to the nearby “Other Worlds” bronze playground sculpted by Tom Otterness and me hitting the lounge for snacks and drinks to take away.

That said, having visited this lounge several times, I almost always turn left from the front desk, meaning I enter what I’ll call the main lounge area. This area tends to be overcrowded with nearly every seat full, so I’ve recently been turning right from the front desk into what I’ll call the secondary lounge. Both lounges offer identical food and beverage, but you may have more luck finding a seat or a group of seats in the secondary lounge.

My visit around 11 p.m. in early May 2023 was par for the course with my previous experiences — though I didn’t have much of a queue to gain access, the lounge was quite busy, and I grabbed one of the last available seats.

Seating

Main Lounge (Left)

When entering the main lounge to the left of reception, a large greenery wall will be on your left with some pairs and single sets of low leather seats and tables. To your right are seats with lamp lighting suitable for groups of 4.

Al Maha Lounge Doha main seating
The main seating area of the lounge, as seen from the buffet area, has a greenery wall and low leather seats.

To the right of when you enter this part of the lounge, there is a partitioned quiet area with loungers and a sofa. This area is not super-private.

Al Maha Lounge Doha main quiet area
The quiet area was quite open and exposed.

The seating closest to the water feature starts to get a little funky with these blue revolving chairs.

Al Maha Lounge Doha main blue seating
Towards the buffet, you’ll find these funky blue chairs.

There is an infinity-style water feature in the center of the main dining area. It’s surrounded on one side by dining tables and chairs as well as a drink station with bottles of water, cans of soda, and a self-serve coffee maker.

Al Maha Lounge Doha main dining seating
The first beverage counter has a selection of water and sodas as well as a coffee machine. Traditional dining tables and chairs are nearby.

There is additional seating with a TV past the dining area at the rear of the lounge.

Al Maha Lounge Doha main secondary drinks
Past the buffet to the rear of the lounge, you’ll find another beverage station. And feet on the wall.

Secondary Lounge (Right)

You can also opt to turn right at reception to enter the secondary lounge.

Al Maha Lounge Doha secondary entrance
The entrance to the secondary lounge is to the right of the reception.

The initial seating on this side was also grouped in pairs of low leather seats with tables and had an unobstructed view of the concourse below.

Al Maha Lounge Doha secondary entry seating
The main area features pairs of low chairs with tables.

Across from this seating area was a TV nook with sofas and additional single seats.

Al Maha Lounge Doha secondary TV area
A TV-viewing area also had several sofas being used for rest.

The seating opened at the rear of the lounge to a drink station with juices and coffee.

Al Maha Lounge Doha secondary seating near drinks
You have to venture into the lounge a bit before coming across a drink station.

This side of the lounge is shaped a bit like an upside-down L. On the back wall to the left was additional seating toward the buffet at the far end.

Al Maha Lounge Doha secondary seating near buffet
There was additional seating prior to the buffet area.

Hidden just before the buffet, off to the left, was a small area with several dining tables and chairs.

Al Maha Lounge Doha secondary dining tables
Dining tables could be found in a small passage to the left just before the buffet.

Most larger clusters of seats had outlets built into the tables. I found the multi-adapter outlet too loose for my plug, but I was able to charge my phone via the USB ports.

Al Maha Lounge Doha secondary outlet
The outlet I tried was quite worn, but I was able to charge my phone via USB.

Food and Beverage

The food and drink options were identical on both sides of the lounge, so for the purposes of this review, I’ll just touch on the displays from the main lounge.

Buffet

On both sides of the lounge, the first available food to nosh on was a selection of muffins and juices.

Al Maha Lounge Doha main muffins and juice
Muffins and juices, a.k.a. where my kids usually dash to first.

Walking further into the main dining area, the buffet started with a variety of prepackaged sandwiches and wraps. Options included a cream cheese, cucumber, and tomato sandwich; a coronation chicken sandwich; a beef and roast bell pepper wrap; and a tuna tartare with tomato sandwich. If you needed to pop in and grab something quickly, these would have been your best options.

Note that for breakfast service, this area typically has fruit salad, yogurts, and a prepackaged cheese platter.

Al Maha Lounge Doha main sandwiches
If you needed a grab-and-go option, these sandwiches were individually wrapped.

A variety of mezze and cold salads was on display, including hummus, quinoa tabbouleh, peppered chicken salad, and potato dill salad. There were 2 cold dessert options: deconstructed black forest cake and espresso coffee mousse.

Al Maha Lounge Doha main dips and desserts
Mezze in the Middle East is a must!

For hot options, there were kettles of tom kha kai soup and tomato soup, as well as a creamy mushroom pasta dish.

Al Maha Lounge Doha main empty pasta
This pasta was the main hot entrée; while this serving dish was empty at the main lounge, it was full at the secondary lounge.

Foccacia, rolls, and pita were on offer to round out your meal.

At breakfast service, you can usually put together a bagel with egg sandwich from the hot station and the bread station.

Al Maha Lounge Doha main breads
Several bread options were available.

I cobbled a plate together and enjoyed the hummus with pita and deconstructed black forest cake quite a bit more than the coronation chicken.

Al Maha Lounge Doha secondary meal
The dessert was the star of this late-night snack.

Drinks

Plenty of still and sparkling water and soda (Coca-Cola and Schweppes products) was on display throughout the lounge. The drinks were not as cold in the open chiller as you might expect from a closed refrigerator.

Alcohol was available but was not displayed at the first drink stations I came across.

Hot Tip:

If you typically pop a drink or 2 in your bag before a flight and are departing on a flight from Doha to the U.S., you will have to undergo a secondary security screening at your gate and will likely not be able to take those drinks through with you.

Al Maha Lounge Doha main sodas and waters
Small soda cans (I believe these are 150 ml) and water bottles were plentiful.

Each side of the lounge had a self-serve coffee station.

Al Maha Lounge Doha main coffee station
Select your own brew.

The coolers found in the back of each lounge had more accessible beer and wine. This cooler in the secondary lounge had World Cup-branded Budweiser (there is an abundance of supply due to a last-minute alcohol ban at the 2022 event) and 2021 Santa Julia Shiraz-Malbec. I was told these were the only alcohol options.

Al Maha Lounge Doha secondary sodas
Self-serve alcohol was available; there was no bar.

Amenities

Baggage Room

If you care to store your luggage rather than tote it around the lounge, there was a Baggage Room in the main lounge to hold your items.

Al Maha Lounge Doha main baggage room
A baggage room was located immediately to the right upon entering the lounge.

Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi is provided through the airport, not the lounge. You could connect using your boarding pass, via WhatsApp, or with your Qatar Airways login details.

Speeds were adequate at 13.5 Mbps.

Al Maha Lounge Doha Wi Fi download speed

Family Room

Do your kids like to watch Al Jazeera? Then you’ve found the family room.

Each side of the lounge had its own family room, but these were really just private rooms with not much for kids to do other than not bother other guests in the lounge.

The family room in the main lounge had an employee gatekeeping it, and I was advised that I could not enter as I was not with my family.

Al Maha Lounge Doha main family room
The family room in the main lounge had a TV and seating for 1 family.

A guest in the family room in the secondary lounge had moved their chair behind the door, preventing further entry into that area.

Al Maha Lounge Doha secondary family room
The family rooms had frosted glass for privacy.
Hot Tip:

If your kids need to burn off some energy pre-flight, there are 5 play areas throughout the concourse: 1 each in Concourse A and Concourse B and 3 in Concourse C.

Smoking Room

While the airport indicates that it is a smoke-free facility, there is a smoking room in Al Maha Lounge, with additional smoking rooms available throughout the terminal.

Al Maha Lounge Doha secondary smoking room and bathrooms
The smoking room in the secondary lounge is located just before the bathrooms and next to the family area.

Bathrooms

Each side of the lounge has gender-segregated restrooms, as well as a baby-changing area.

Al Maha Lounge Doha main toilets
The bathrooms are closest to the exit in the main lounge and about mid-way into the lounge in the secondary lounge.

The female restroom had individually enclosed stalls with a bidet hose, which is quite common for public toilets in Qatar.

Al Maha Lounge Doha secondary toilet
The toilets had a bidet hose.

The sink area in the secondary restroom was kept quite clean, but there was nothing to dry your hands with — no paper towels or hand dryers. There was a box of tissues at the sink, but I can’t imagine that this was for drying your hands.

Al Maha Lounge Doha secondary bathroom interior
Where are the towels?

Showers

If you needed to shower, these were available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Al Maha Lounge Doha secondary shower exterior
Help yourself to a shower.

Clean towels were prearranged in each shower room.

Al Maha Lounge Doha secondary shower interior
There was adequate space in the shower to bring your bags in and change.

Staff and Service

With the exception of the hot main entrée being scraped clean in the main lounge, the staff did a great job of keeping the food and beverages well-stocked.

Dishes and trash were also picked up swiftly and unobtrusively.

While I did not have any memorable interactions with the staff, I think that speaks a bit to the level of service — team members were available if I needed them but otherwise did not interfere with my visit.

Final Thoughts

If you’re flying through Doha and do not have status or a premium cabin ticket to access the fancier Qatar Airways lounges, but you do have a Priority Pass membership, Al Maha Lounge is your best (and only) option for a quick bite and drink.

If the lounge is busy, you can quickly grab a prepackaged snack and soda and be on your way to your gate (or take the train to the new ORCHARD area in the Duty Free Plaza North area at the end of the C gates).

Otherwise, grab a seat, pop on your headphones, and try to relax ahead of your flight.

The information regarding the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does Al Maha Lounge Doha cost?

Lounge access for a block of 6 hours can be purchased for:
    • 230 QR (~$63) or 12,632 Avios per adult
    • 115 QR (~$32) or 6,316 Avios for children 2 to 11 years old
    • Free for children under 2 years old
Additional time can be added as follows:
    • 140 QR (~$38) or 7,689 Avios for 3 additional hours
    • 230 QR (~$63) or 12,632 Avios for 6 additional hours
    • 460 QR (~$126) or 25,264 Aviso for 12 additional hours
To pay with Avios, enter your Privilege Club details when you book your service online.

What is included in Al Maha Lounge Doha?

Al Maha Lounge offers complimentary food and beverages (including limited beer and wine), Wi-Fi, family areas, quiet rooms, smoking rooms, restroom and shower facilities, and luggage lockers.

Where is Al Maha Lounge in Doha airport?

Al Maha Lounge is located in the Duty Free Plaza South. When facing the yellow bear sculpture, the escalators will be past the bear to your left, marked with Al Maha Lounge signage. You’ll take this escalator up 1 level to the lounge.

Is Al Maha Transit Lounge worth it?

If you have free access via Priority Pass or another lounge membership, saving money on food and drinks ahead of your flight is always worth it. If you are paying the day rate, you do not get a very luxurious, exclusive experience for the ~$63 admittance fee.

Keri Stooksbury's image

About Keri Stooksbury

With years of experience in corporate marketing and with a nonprofit, Keri is now editor-in-chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and reviewing thousands of UP articles in the process.

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