ORYX AP­PEAL

A wal”k-through of Ha–mad In­ter­na­tional Air™port

Business Traveller (India) - - CONTENTS -

Pic­ture 138 check-in coun­ters spread across five is­lands, more than 50 pass­port con­trol coun­ters, di­rect ac­cess be­tween 41 board­ing gates and of course, its snazzy pas­sen­ger train that can carry 190 per­sons per trip. Opened only two years ago, sprawl­ing across an area that spans one third the size of Doha, Ha­mad In­ter­na­tional Air­port wel­comes you with a 90-me­tre high Air Traf­fic Con­trol tower along­side a mag­nif­i­cent Pas­sen­ger Ter­mi­nal Com­plex that em­u­lates waves of the Ara­bian Gulf. And if you’re still not charmed, a vi­brant aquatic-themed pub­lic mosque with a glass dome could do the trick.

Ar­riv­ing at Ha­mad In­ter­na­tional Air­port at 5am after a rather smooth Qatar Air­ways’ flight from Mum­bai, I was wel­comed to a fu­tur­is­ti­clook­ing ar­rival hall. Over­look­ing the de­par­ture hall be­low us, the sheer size of the air­port was over­whelm­ing. We watched the dual pas­sen­ger train (doors on both sides of the car­riage open to let pas­sen­gers exit and en­ter at the same time shut­tle be­tween the South and North Sta­tion near Con­courses D and E, mak­ing the air­port al­most seem like a mini-town­ship with shops and eater­ies around.

QATARI CHARM

I only had the chance to ex­pe­ri­ence the air­port and take it all in while de­part­ing Doha. Qatar Air­ways’ sleek oryx logo wel­comed us to the ded­i­cated check-in area for busi­ness and first class pas­sen­gers of the air­line. The staff was sim­ply su­perb in fa­cil­i­tat­ing a smooth check-in and we rested for some

time at the wait­ing area in front of the check-in coun­ters, with some Ara­bic dates and re­fresh­ments. The wash­rooms, as spick and span as those in 5-star ho­tels, are worth a men­tion too be­cause of their im­mac­u­late con­di­tion. Pass­ing through sep­a­rate pass­port con­trol and se­cu­rity for busi­ness and first class cus­tomers of Qatar Air­ways, we ar­rived at the enor­mous de­par­ture hall of this 22 sq km air­port.

ARTIS­TIC AP­PROACH

I fi­nally got a chance to gaze at the gi­ant “lamp bear” that some­how re­mains the fore­most sym­bol of this air­port for me — even more so after I learned more about this piece of art cre­ated by Swiss artist Urs Fis­cher. Sculpted from bronze, the ca­nary-yel­low teddy bear sits inside a lamp, re­mind­ing trav­ellers of happy child­hood mem­o­ries of their by­gone trips. Sit­u­ated at the cen­tral foyer be­fore en­ter­ing the air­port’s world-class duty free hall, the mam­moth yet del­i­cate chil­dren’s toy adds a hu­man touch to this fast paced space.

Apart from the bear, there is enough art across the air­port to keep trav­ellers in­trigued. Cu­rated in part­ner­ship with Qatar mu­se­ums are un­con­ven­tional art­works in­stalled here. Un­miss­able are the se­ries of oryx sculp­tures by Tom Claasen,

Arc­tic Nurs­eries of El Dorado (an en­larged bronze Áower hy­brid by Bri­tish artist Marc Quinn and

Desert Horse by ac­claimed Qatari artist Ali Has­san that rep­re­sents dif­fer­ent forms of the Ara­bic let­ter “n”.

RE­TAIL THER­APY

Up ahead from the cen­tral foyer is Qatar Duty Free (QDF that of­fers pas­sen­gers a wide range of lux­ury and mid-range fash­ion, con­fec­tionery, al­co­hol, elec­tron­ics

Sculpted from bronze, the ca­nary-yel­low teddy bear sits inside a lamp, re­mind­ing trav­ellers of happy child­hood mem­o­ries of their by­gone trips.

and lit­er­a­ture to choose from. I spent a cou­ple of hours sift­ing through the col­lec­tions at the duty-free stores of la­bels such as Burberry, Tif­fany Co and Coach. Strate­gi­cally po­si­tioned be­side the duty free area is the air­port’s F B fa­cil­i­ties that cater to the dis­cern­ing trav­eller with an im­pres­sive va­ri­ety of restau­rants. You can find Caviar House Prunier, Ne­groni for Ital­ian, Yum Cha for Asian, Qatar for lo­cal cui­sine and Jamocha Cafe where I grabbed a quiche and cof­fee be­fore board­ing my flight to Mum­bai at gate C10.

RE­JU­VE­NAT­ING RE­TREATS

The air­port, built like a re­sort, of­fers over 40,000 sqm of re­tail, F B, lounges and well­ness space. With an en­trance fee of QAR 150 (`2,749 , The Vi­tal­ity Well­be­ing Fit­ness Cen­tre al­lows guests to ac­cess a tem­per­a­ture-con­trolled in­door pool, gym, two squash courts, hy­drother­apy tubs, shower rooms and a spa that of­fers anti-jet lag mas­sages.

Fly­ers can also spend qual­ity time at one of the many lounges across the ter­mi­nal that claim to of­fer 5-star ho­tel like ameni­ties in a com­fort­ing en­vi­ron­ment. As a busi­ness class pas­sen­ger of Qatar Air­ways, I was in­vited to the Al Mour­jan Busi­ness Lounge on level 3 — an Ara­bic re­treat that teams tra­di­tional Qatari hospi­tal­ity with mod­ern din­ing, re­ju­ve­nat­ing busi­ness and first class pas­sen­gers be­fore their flights.

Oryx Lounge with an en­try fee of QAR 200 (`3,665 makes sense for pas­sen­gers spend­ing long lay­overs at the air­port. Pre­mium fly­ers of all airlines and select card­hold­ers can en­ter the lounge for free. Other lounges in­clude Al Safwa Lounge, Qatar Air­ways’ first class lounge and Al Maha Lounges for cus­tomers of Al Maha Meet and As­sist Ser­vices of the na­tional air­line of Qatar. Open to select Qatar Air­ways Priv­i­lege Club and oneworld alliance mem­bers are two more First and Busi­ness Class Lounges on Con­course A, level 2. For some peace and quiet, sim­ply walk into one of the Quiet Rooms spread across the air­port that of­fer re­clin­ers

The air­port, built like a re­sort, of­fers over 40,000 sqm of re­tail, F&B, lounges and well­ness space.

and a peace­ful am­bi­ence for pas­sen­gers to re­lax be­fore they de­part Doha. Ac­tiv­ity nodes with com­put­ers and couches for busi­ness and leisure trav­ellers who don’t wish to pay for en­trance are also spread across Ha­mad In­ter­na­tional Air­port.

HO­TEL CHECK

Pas­sen­gers that have much longer halts at Doha Air­port can even check-in at The Air­port Ho­tel lo­cated at the pas­sen­ger ter­mi­nal. It fea­tures 100 fully fur­nished rooms that be­gin at 38 sqm of­fer­ing ameni­ties such as a 42-inch flat screen tele­vi­sion and a safe de­posit. Ho­tel guests can ac­cess The Vi­tal­ity Well­ness Fit­ness Cen­tre for free — mak­ing a one-night’s stay here a pretty good deal for pas­sen­gers with enough time on hand. Rooms can be pur­chased for a few hours too.

Left and right: Pas­sen­ger Ter­mi­nal Com­plex; se­ries of oryx sculp­tures by Tom Claasen

Clock­wise from

top left: HIA De­par­tures; Lamp Bear by Urs Fis­cher; Pas­sen­ger Ter­mi­nal Com­plex At Night; mosque and minaret at Doha Air­port; play­ground sculp­ture by Tom Ot­ter­ness

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