Seasoned travelers know how to enjoy the journey to the destination as well. Traveling halfway around the globe, you will undoubtedly experience some longer than usual layovers. On our way to the Maldives from Michigan, we found ourselves with a 10-hour layover in Doha, Qatar. If you were wondering what to do with your time, besides the obvious sleep, DOH is a central transit hub with flights connecting all continents at all hours of the day and night. Once you finish snapping your selfie with the airport's giant Teddy Bear for an Instagram post, here are ten other things to do at Doha Airport.
1.Grab a bite to eat
The airport isn't a mecca for many cuisine styles, but the featured restaurants with excellent food include Middle Eastern, International, and Western cuisine. Sample Arabic mezze platters at Qataf Cafe, and follow it up with tea and traditional candies. For a long, leisurely meal with an upscale feel, head to Caviar House & Prunier's Seafood Bar, Negroni, or Soprafino. If American fast food is what you crave, try the to-go option at Burger King for burgers and fries and Red Mango for smoothies and frozen desserts.
If you've never spent time in an airport lounge, this is where you want to have your first lounge experience. You may be thinking the lounge is beyond the reach of the economy ticket holder, reserved only for First Class or Business flyers. Lucky for the unseasoned traveler, that's not the case at Doha Hamad Airport. Two airport lounges allow access for any traveler, no matter the airline or flight class you've flown. To gain entry, use your lounge membership program, pay at the door, or pre-book a pass online. Instantly you'll be spending your time relaxing, sleeping, or eating in the peaceful lounge areas.
3.Tour Doha – for free!
Although this option wasn't available during our trip on October 24th due to the pandemic restrictions, if you want to check out Doha, you can during your layover. It's easy thanks to Qatar Airways teaming up with the Qatar Tourism Authority to offer transit travelers a free tour of Doha. You don't have to put together your itinerary. They've done it for you! Tour highlights include the Katara Cultural Village, Pearl Qatar, the Museum for Islamic Art, and the Souq Waqif. Four tours are available daily, and you can book with your travel agent or at the Doha City Tour desk. For additional details, see the Qatar Airways information page.
4.Visit the desert
Skip the city commotion and check out the Khor Al Adaid dunes nearby. You will need at least 5 hours, but many area tour operators will pick you up for this half-day trip.
Some travelers say Doha Airport feels like a high-end shopping mall, so spend your layover window shopping or using your credit card. You'll find everything from newsstands and convenience stores to a vast Duty-Free selection with plenty of international fashion brands. Stop by Marmalade Market and Chocology for delicious samples of local foods.
A decent shower may be all that's separating you from an excellent layover experience. Freshen up at the shower facilities inside the two airport lounges, or head to the gym and wellness center at the transit hotel, between Gates A10 and B10.
7.Take in the art
Qatar Museums have set up an airport outpost featuring international and local works of art on display throughout the airport. For the full museum experience, there's even a museum gift shop and cafe.
8.Hit the gym or spa
Why not squeeze in a workout between flights? Or perhaps a spa treatment is more your speed? You can go for both at the Vitality Wellbeing & Fitness Centre, located in the transit hotel between Gates A10 and B10. For a flat fee, access a swimming pool, hydrotherapy tub, gym, squash courts (rentals available), and showers. You can also upgrade to a package that includes massage and other spa treatments.
Stay connected to friends and family, update your social media accounts, or surf the internet courtesy of the airport's free WiFi. If you don't have a mobile device, the airport offers free Mac computers for surfing the internet, and kiosks are throughout the airport.
10.Get some sleep
So you just flew in from a time zone likely 5 to 9 hours from Arabia Standard Time (AST), or at least you're heading off to one. So take your layover as an opportunity to catch up on sleep. There are two lounges beside the Qatar Airways business and first-class lounge. These are Al Maha Transit Lounge and Oryx Lounge. Both offer quiet rooms with couches or lounge chairs with the ability to lay down to sleep. If you don't have lounge access, you still have options to lay down in the common areas. Keep in mind the common areas can be cold, loud, and brightly-lit at the airport. You will need a blanket, eye mask, and earplugs in your carryon! Without a paid sleeping area, there are a decent amount of chairs, though most have armrests. Head to the Family & TV areas at Gates A3, Concourses B and C, and the central terminal for a chance at the couches. There are several Quiet/Prayer Rooms, and some offer reclining chairs, which are separated by gender and might not exactly be quiet, with all the foot traffic. If all else fails, some areas with carpeting can be perfect for sprawling out. When you're not in the mood for camping at the airport, the Oryx Airport Hotel has rooms for rent. Located inside the transit zone, just a 5-minute walk from Gates A10 and B10, room rentals start at a minimum rental of 5 hours.
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