Doha-Hamad Stopover: What can you do during the waiting hours?
Disliked, shunned, scorned, Passengers often equate a stopover with punishment. We understand them, not really on vacation yet, lost in limbo before entering Paradise, there is something to be confused about. A stopover in Doha is often a mandatory gate to cross in transit to Asia. You would undoubtedly have preferred to have time to waste in a more glamorous city such as Mexico City, Athens or New York,… Think again! A transit in Doha always has its share of surprises so do against bad luck and try to prepare as best as possible for this stage to keep unforgettable memories.
First of all, it is important to distinguish between two types of stopovers.
The short ones are less than five hours and the others are longer. As you can imagine, you will have more opportunities to discover the habits and customs of the city during these after your first flight to Doha.
You know a long transit is not at all a disaster but on the contrary, an opportunity to discover or rediscover.
In this specific case, leaving the airport is a risky bet. Between the time of getting out of your first plane and the round-trip taxi into the center, you won’t have time to do anything with the added bonus of a good dose of stress. Don’t be sad, you will come back! However, you have the option of keeping busy in Doha airport: the International Hamad.
A little culture
Several works of art are hidden here and there in the airport, this one being in partnership with the Qatar Museum. You will come across productions of native and Western artists such as Urs Fischer, Tom Claasen, Marc Quinn or even Abdel Abdessemed.
Lots of relaxation
When it comes to relaxation, there is something for everyone. You can start by going to the Salon Oryx which offers a pleasant atmosphere to rest and relax while enjoying services such as unlimited food and drinks, internet access, playroom for children… It is located in the area departures, after passing immigration and security, and will cost you 200 riyal or around 40 dollars if you do not have a business ticket. However, you can only stay there for a maximum of six hours and as the place is often taken by storm, we advise you to book in advance via this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
For those who want to have peace without spending a single penny, you can always rest in a “Quiet zone”, zen zone accessible to all and offering a pleasant atmosphere with which to lie down. Ask an information desk to find one, there are several at the airport.
The first part of the trip may have been difficult for some of you. We have the remedy for all your ailments: the wellness and fitness center with several swimming pools, a gym, squash courts, relaxing treatments, sports activities, spa … you will find what you are looking for for around thirty Euros.
For your various purchases, go to the gigantic duty-free. You will find everything there: luxury brands, food, perfumes, …
Passing by the Burger King as you branch off through the Camden Food store to land at the Italian restaurant Negroni, you will be spoiled for choice.
What to do during an 8 hour transit at Doha Airport?
In almost 100% of cases you will find yourself at Doha airport in transit with Qatar Airways, one of the most important companies for traffic to Asia.
You are at Doha airport, you have 7 hours of transit and what is more interesting than discovering the airport or a good part of it, since it is huge. At a quick calculation you can travel no less than 6km in an hour.
If you can, here’s what you can do:
– Free city tour, offered by Qatar Airways
Normally you need the visa to exit the airport, but if you sign up for one of the free tours, Qatar Airways and Qatar Tourism Authority will take care of it on the spot. You can schedule the tour by visiting the special Doha City Tour desk. The 3-hour tour will show you all of Doha City’s must-sees including the Museum of Islamic Art, West Bay area, Katara Cultural Village, the Pearl Qatar, and Souq Waqif.
– Spend a few hours at the pool and SPA
You can go to the hotel reception from the airport and pay the tax of 40 dollars which gives you access to the fitness room, the 25-meter swimming pool and the sauna and shower area.
– Shopping at Duty Free
Hamad Airport received from Skytrax the first 5 * rating ever offered to an airport in the Middle East. The duty free zone has also been awarded in recent years for selection and variety of the offer; you will find Hermès there and even the London boutique Harrods.
– Rest in business lounges
Qatar Airways also won the Skytrax award for the best business class waiting room and best staff services in the Middle East. It’s great to travel in business class with Qatar Airways but also in economy class you can benefit from business services in the airport.
You can choose between two lounges. The first, Oryx Lounge, is open to any traveler, no matter which airline they are traveling with, for $ 40 (not to exceed 6 hours). For 40 dollars you have unlimited access to the permanent Swedish buffet, drinks, international press, smoking area and relaxation area.
The second lounge, Al Maha, is intended exclusively for Qatar Airways passengers.
– Try the Nobu restaurant
Nobu Restaurant is an attraction at Doha Airport. Spread over 3 floors, the restaurant offers spectacular views of the Arabian Gulf and the dishes prepared by chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa are a memorable dining experience.