We spent 9 hours in Doha Airport on our way back to London from Bali, and we found some great ways to spend the time. Hamad International Airport opened in 2014, and is one of the most luxurious airports we have visited. Here are some of our tips on how to pass the time if you get stuck in transit.
You also might want to check out these 10 expert tips for airport travel, as well as these 10 easy ways to make your airport experience less stressful.
1. Do Some Shopping
As you can imagine, there are loads of high end stores for you to get your retail fix while you wait for your next flight. These include Harrods, Michael Kors, Burberry and many others, as well as all of the duty free shops where you will find perfume, makeup, jewellery and souvenirs. We were in the airport all night and most of the shops stayed open, we didn't buy much but I did pick up a new OPI nail polish (which I love)!
2. Relax in one of the lounges
There are several lounges for business class and 1st class passengers but economy travellers can pay to use the Oryx Lounge for around $55 USD per person for 6 hours. This lounge features unlimited food and drinks (including alcohol), comfortable chairs, TV, games room and showers. We had a look around the lounge but opted not to stay there, since the 6 hours didn't even cover our whole time in transit, and we were happy to explore instead. However, if you're tired and hungry I'd say it's worth paying the money to relax in comfort.
3. Catch some zzz's in one of the quiet rooms
We weren't tired since we slept most of the flight from Bali to Doha so we didn't make much use of these, but if you need to sleep there are several 'Sleeping' or 'Quiet Rooms' which are full of reclining comfortable chairs. There is no talking in these rooms so you can only use these rooms for sleeping or lying down quietly, which wasn't great for Ryan and I because we were wide awake!
4. Do some internet browsing
There are several desks set up around the airport with iPads which you can use to check emails, or do some internet browsing. There is also free wifi all over the airport so you can log on using your own devices.
5. Set up camp
Since we had free wifi, we decided to set up camp with some coffees on comfy chairs for a couple of hours and watch House Of Cards on Netflix. This kept us entertained for a couple of hours, and was surprisingly fun. The people watching is great as well, if that's your thing.
6. Book a room at the airport hotel
If you'd rather have a proper bed for the day/night, you can book a room at the four star airport hotel. The hotel features a fitness centre including swimming pool, squash court and gym, restaurants and cafes and more shopping. If you're flying Emirates they will sometimes give you a free room at the hotel so ask them before flying to arrange this for you. Alternatively you can book a room at the hotel reception when you arrive at the airport.
7. Take some pics with the giant bear
Probably the most famous part of the airport is the giant teddy bear in the centre of the shopping hall. This 'Lamp Bear' is a 7 meter tall bronze statue of a yellow teddy bear with it's head in a lamp, designed by Swiss artist Urs Fischer. You can't go to Doha airport without getting a pic with the bear!
8. Get your grub on
Have dinner, lunch or breakfast at one of the airports many restaurants. A wealth of cuisine is on offer including Arabic, American and European so there is something for everyone. We had eaten so much on our flight so we opted for small snacks like pastries (which were delicious) and salads.
9. Visit the art exhibits
The airport has teamed up with Qatar Museums to curate a selection of art which is on display around the passenger terminal. Some of the artwork has been acquired and others have been created by local artists for the airport specially, a must see if you're in transit for several hours. The art exhibitions add culture to an otherwise glitzy airport and give you a taste of Qatar even if you're just passing through. Click here for more info.
You'll find these useful too: