Complete Review: Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge (Part One)

Complete Review: Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge (Part One)

I have been waiting so long to visit and review Qatar Airways’ Al Safwa First Class lounge. Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class lounge is one favorite airline lounges and the most premium of Qatar Airways lounges.

As I flew Qatar Airways A380 First Class from Bangkok to Doha, I had an opportunity to visit the lounge for my overnight layover in Doha before continuing my first class inflight experience to Zurich.

Since I will have a complete review of the lounge, this will be a two-part review.

Getting to Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge

To get to the lounge, there are two different entrances: One, directly from the landside through a dedicated entrance after clearing immigration and the other from the airside. Since I was transiting in Doha, I had access from the airside near the big yellow teddy bear sculpture.

The escalator to the lounge is located on the right-hand side of Duty-Free Plaza – South, in between the restaurant and Qatar Duty-Free shop. You will notice a long, high escalator with one or two Qatar Airways ground staff members standing in front of it.

Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge Operational Hours

Regardless of day and night, the lounge operates 24 hours 365 days. The Al Safwa First Class lounge was temporarily closed during the pandemic but thankfully, it reopened back with full services.

Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge Entry Requirements

Now it comes with a little confusing part. The Al Safwa First Class lounge has very restricted access whereas Qatar Airways’ top-tier Privilege Club Platinum or Oneworld Emerald members are only able to access with conditions.

Take a look below at the access requirements. Al Safwa First Lounge is available to:

  • Qatar Airways and Oneworld First Class ticketed customers.
  • Privilege Club Platinum members with two eligible guests, when traveling on full fare Qatar Airways Business class and departing from Doha.
  • Paid access is available based on ticket eligibility.
  • Oneworld Emerald members do not have access to the lounge unless they hold First Class tickets.
  • Upgraded customers are not allowed.

While Oneworld Emerald members are restricted to use the lounge, members who travel on 1. Full fare or 2. Fully redeemed (except Avios + Cash option) business class seats on Qatar Airways can pay around 600Qar(~US$164) to access the lounge. Keep in mind that the maximum time allowed to stay for paid access is six hours and depending on the lounge’s situation, purchasing the lounge might not be possible.

Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge Layout and Seating

The reason I love the Al Safwa lounge is its magnificent scale and design of the lounge. The lounge somehow resembles a history museum, in fact, there are local paintings and art pieces displayed along the lounge passageway.

When entering the lounge from the airside, there is a separate Qatar Duty-Free shop on the corner that is solely for passengers using the Al Safwa lounge. Though it is small in size, the shop has a range of duty-free items from perfumes, electronics, liquors and souvenirs.

As I entered the sliding door, there is a spacious and brightly-lit business center with six different spaces divided by partial frost glasses. The office spaces are equipped with either iMacs or Windows PC desk lamps and offer small meeting space. Most of the time, the business center is rarely used so this is a great place to quietly follow up on work.

Leaving the business center, there are a couple of leather armchairs just before what I called “The intersection.” From here, the lounge is divided into four parts.

In the center of the lounge, there is a lounge desk where staff members are there for assistance. And behind the desk, a locker room to store your large carryons is located. To use the lockers, you have to show your boarding pass to the staff and he/she will guide you on which lockers are available.

Opposite the locker room, wingchairs and more armchairs with a fixed tablet device are available. These are one of few seats in the lounge that has a built-in power outlet and USB port on the table. Walking further down by the locker room, a small dining area is located.

This section of the dining area is furnished with a long sofa-type bench and a dining table that seats 12 and a separate refectory table on the corner that has five seats on each side facing each other. Both areas have luxurious designs and finish with table and glassware set up.

It also comes with a sushi bar, a small buffet stands with salad and cold cuts as well a small bar, best for quick bites. I will review further the dining section on food and beverage options here.

Now, back at the intersection, on the right-hand side, there is an enormous hallway. Yes, the passageways are so huge in this lounge it feels endless. Down this corridor, is where most of the facilities are located.

There are prayer rooms, Duty-Free, spa and quiet area, family rooms and game rooms along this main hallway. Here as well, Islamic fine art installations and artifacts are displayed too.

At the furthest end is where passengers from the landside enter as there is another reception area to assist passengers.

Back again to the intersection, let’s explore on the way to the dining area. Along the area to the dining, there are combinations of communal and individual seats dispersed around the lounge’s symbolic water fountain.

On the left-hand side of the dining area, there are combinations of large sofas and individual armchairs with coffee tables beside the wall. These seats are recommended if you are traveling in groups or with families. Opposite the sofas, there are eight rather uncomfortable-looking string chairs with a literature stand beside them.

Also, 10 semi-private pods facing one direction with wingchairs and leg rests are available for use. In terms of the seating layout, the lounge has only a few dedicated areas compared to its massive size. But there are so many places to stay within the lounge.

Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge Dining Area

Following the iconic water display, a huge dining area with a bar in the center is located. The Al Safwa First Class dining area accommodates 250 seats and offers à la carte dining options. From breakfast to dinner and light options in the late evenings, it features both International and Arabic-infused cuisines and premium beverages.

The dining area features tables of two to four with a combination of long hall benches and slipper chairs.

All dining tables are set up with tableware and a QR code where passengers can check the menus on their phones or tablet. In case of the QR code is inaccessible, you can always tell the staff for a tablet with menus saved in it.

Behind the wine wall on the left side of the dining area, there is a countertop with a couple of seats that face toward the kitchen. It is like a chef’s table but sadly it is partitioned with a glass window.

Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge Food & Beverages

The lounge offers premium quality à la carte meals. From delectable appetizers to savory entrées, all are freshly prepared.

Breakfast is served from 5 AM ~ 10:30 AM, and lunch and dinner are from 11 AM ~ 4:30 AM. And between 3 PM to 5 PM, afternoon tea is served. You can check out the First Class Lounge menu here.

Since I had extensive meals on board from Bangkok and given that it was almost midnight, I decided to get a cup of chamomile tea and head straight to one of the private rooms to get some sleep.

The next morning, I came back for breakfast before departure. I ordered a bowl of cereal and an omelet which seems not enough to fill up my empty stomach. However, I had to keep some space in order to have a heavy meal on board.

I did not have a chance to try the lunch and dinner options, but here’s what the meals look like from my previous visits.

Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge Bar

In the lounge, as I mentioned earlier, there are two dining locations with bars. But the main bar is in the center of the dining area. The bar offers a wide selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages with nearly 24 bar stools surrounding the bar.

The bar staffs are highly skilled and can almost create any drinks on request using the available ingredients.

Summary

I am once again back at Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge in Doha. This magnificent lounge always overwhelms me every time I visit here. The dining and lounge services are also outstanding no matter how long I stay.

I will further review the facilities in the lounge in part two of my Al Safwa lounge experience.

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