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LOOK: Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar has the feel of a luxury hotel

Creativity and the arts bring a wide range of positive emotional benefits and are proven to reduce stress levels. The airport’s Art Programme is designed to use the airport as an innovative space beyond the walls of a gallery to intrigue, surprise and inspire passengers in transit to their next destination, as well as giving them peace of mind. Picture: Supplied.

Creativity and the arts bring a wide range of positive emotional benefits and are proven to reduce stress levels. The airport’s Art Programme is designed to use the airport as an innovative space beyond the walls of a gallery to intrigue, surprise and inspire passengers in transit to their next destination, as well as giving them peace of mind. Picture: Supplied.

Published Oct 23, 2023


Johannesburg - A swimming pool, gym, mini virtual golfing range, spa, hotel, Harrods, Louis Vitton, a VIP lounge that is second to none and an indoor garden. No, this is not the description of a mall; it’s what you can find at Doha’s Hamad International Airport (DOH) in Qatar.

The airport is the gateway to the state of Qatar, and is also a transfer hub which introduced multiple digital way finding solutions for passengers to assist them with navigating through the airport. It was named the second Best Airport in the World and the World’s Best Airport Shopping by Skytrax World Airport Awards in 2023.

Senior Vice President: Operations and Facilities Management at DOH, Michael McMillan, said they take pride in offering a world-class experience across the airport.

“We have introduced multiple experiences that will appeal to all passenger profiles as they travel through, to or from DOH. Through our robust business model and customer first approach, we have invested in the latest innovative solutions in the industry to ease the traveller’s journey and embedded a plethora of industry firsts across our retail and food and beverage offering,” he said.

Picture: Supplied.

DOH is a diverse lifestyle destination with a passenger first approach. From discovering new flavours with exquisite fine dining to exploring the depths of the art collections, luxurious shops, entertainment and relaxation facilities, the airport continues to actively enrich travellers’ experiences with tranquillity and profound culture.

“We have an unparalleled passenger experience with bespoke retail, food and beverage and relaxation options. In addition to the Oryx Airport Hotel, we also have other options available, such as the Be Relax Spa, Sleep ‘n fly, quiet rooms and lounges. The airport is also home to world-renowned art work that would appeal to art enthusiasts,” McMillan added.

DOH is home to Orchard, an indoor tropical garden which has been designed to invoke feelings of peace and inspire wellness and positive emotions. The airport also houses world-class retail and dining options, many of them being world firsts and exclusives. Passengers travelling through the airport will be able to explore hundreds of curated experiences, all under one roof, surrounded by a true architectural and tropical masterpiece.

Picture: Supplied.

“DOH has transformed the airport experience to ensure operational excellence and digitised services, which enables self services and passenger autonomy. Underpinned by advanced airport systems, the facility continues to optimise airport operations by introducing safety measures fuelled by smart solutions, strengthening passenger trust and confidence. Doha’s airport understands the importance of catering to a diverse passenger profile and ensures accessibility and convenience to those with reduced mobility, families and those with distinct requirements. DOH is operated by highly trained and motivated staff who take pride in being among the world’s best,” he added.

DOH also approaches the airport’s impact on the natural environment by taking steps towards minimising the consumption of natural resources, controlling its carbon emissions, and managing waste safely. As one of the best airports in the world, it is conscientious of leading the industry towards a more inclusive, equitable and sustainable future.

“DOH doesn’t only strive to be the best airport in the world, but also the best airport for the world,” Mc Millan said.

Picture: Supplied.

The airport’s Oryx Airport Hotel is a world-class facility, conveniently situated within the airport terminal and is easily accessible by transfer and departing passengers. It is located in the South Plaza of the terminal, above the Hermes store. It has 100 elegant and peaceful rooms segregated into six different room types, which can be enjoyed by guests between flights or for short-term stays. It offers a range of convenient packages and attractive rates to cater to all guests and all lengths of stays.

The hotel offers eco-friendly guest amenities in the rooms as it is determined to contribute to a more sustainable future and eliminate all single use plastic items.

Hotel guests are offered complimentary access to the award-winning Vitality Wellbeing and Fitness Centre during their stay. Offering a haven of serenity, the award-winning ‘Vitality Wellbeing and Fitness Centre’ is equipped with a modern gym, spa services, a 25- metre swimming pool overlooking the airport, a squash court and a golf simulator.

Picture: Supplied.

Spa services include massages, beauty treatments, hydrotherapy and shower rooms. Guests can choose from revitalising treatments to deep tissue massage and from aromatherapy experiences to hot stone application and facials that will leave skin detoxed from dry plane air.

The Lamp Bear by renowned Swiss artist Urs Fischer is the iconic art piece at DOH, popularly known as the Yellow Lamp Bear, which has become a sort of unofficial mascot of the airport. Located in the South Plaza of the airport, the Lamp Bear welcomes travellers and celebrates the idea of travel, just as the artist celebrates travelling back in time to the symbols of childhood.

Dutch artist Tom Claassen produced a series of sculptures of the Oryx, an antelope native to the Arabian Peninsula, which appear as a herd in the arrivals hall of the Airport. Claassen has also created the golden ‘Falcon’, which is a magnificent large-scale piece perched on the ledge of the departures drop-off area, bidding farewell to departing passengers.

Picture: Supplied.

DOH displays a symbolic piece entitled ‘A Message of Peace to the World’, a bronze sculpture by Iraqi artist Ahmed Al Bahrani, who has been living in Doha since 1999.

DOH boasts several international awards, including: SKYTRAX World Airport Awards, World’s Second-Best Airport, World’s Best Airport Shopping, Best Airport in the Middle East (9th consecutive year), Cleanest Airport in the Middle East, 19th Annual Global Traveller Tested Reader Survey Awards include: Best Overall Airport in the World and Best Airport in the Middle East (6th consecutive year).

“At DOH, we are consistently reviewing our operations, keeping a keen eye on the pulse of the travel and aviation industry and listening to our customers. With the unveiling of Phase A of our expansion, which included ORCHARD, our tropical indoor garden, the airport continues to grow with Phase B initiated in January 2023, where we aim to further enhance the airport experience and our position as the ultimate gateway to Qatar and the Middle East,” Mc Millan concluded.

The Saturday Star