72 Hours in the Middle East: Qatar Airways Premium Lounge Heathrow

*This series covers a once in a lifetime trip with my dad. He is a member of an elite squad known as – no, not the Special Victim’s Unit – the Concierge Key Crew. He has flown and accrued over 12 million miles with American Airlines and, as such, he has been invited to be part of this unpublished, invite only, members’ club. You can’t buy your way in or request membership – you must fly some unpublished number of flights/miles per year in order to gain entry. He flies a certain number of qualifying miles each year to keep his outrageous perks. Every year he does a few crazy, 72 hour trips in premium cabins to  maintain his status. This time, he invited me to accompany him. This is my story.  (DUNH DUNH – SVU music).*

Moving onto the Qatar Airways premium lounge.

Calling itself “the world’s only 5 star airline,” I had high expectations for Qatar Airways’ lounge. I expected it to be exclusive, to have real champagne, and to have clean, serviceable shower suites.

I didn’t expect it to be the best lounge I have ever experienced, excluding Sydney’s flagship Qantas lounge.

*note – Qatar beat its own record later on this trip, but to date it was the best lounge that I had ever experienced.*

20150131_034216 After our long transit, we finally arrived to the Qatar lounge. Not what I would call an amazing entrance, but at this point, I just wanted a shower and some breakfast.

20150131_095445 Then we arrived to this beauty. An exquisite, huge lounge with a fountain (I would find that this is a staple at Qatar lounges), a casual self serve brasserie, a formal restaurant, a tv room, and a huge shower suites section. A bevy of beautiful Arabian women flew forward to help us into the lounge, get us settled, and ply us with baklava and fluffy towels for the shower. Well…OKAY!

20150131_035223 L’Occitaine amenities. Not to mention the razors, shaving cream, mouthwash, toothbrush, toothpaste, hair ties, and other amenities available at the sink.
20150131_035237 Side shower nozzles.  20150131_035240 And a rainwater one. The pressure is weak for my tastes, but the privacy and serenity more than makes up for that.  20150131_040538 Frette robes, natch.

Not to mention that each shower suite bigger than my bedroom at home. Plenty of fluffy towels, lots of amenities, and heated floors. HEATED FLOORS. I could spend an hour in here, easily.

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We bypassed the self-serve option for a seat in the beautiful, private restaurant. Orchids at every table, fine crystal at every seat, and a glass wine cellar with suspended bottles of champagne. Just beautiful.  20150131_041511  Our order was taken quickly and for some weird reason, I opted not to totally clean out the candy bar.

I blame the jet lag. And my poor breeding.

20150131_034521 Kuwait Airlines and other Middle Eastern airplanes right outside our window – not the kind of aircraft that I see every day.

20150131_042941 Bollinger rose

For BREAKFAST. Fruity and light, with a sweet backnote. Not too yeasty or at all filling. A lovely aperetif.  20150131_043103 Smoked salmon Benedict

The English muffin is dense (odd, since we were in London and all that), but other than that, sublime. The salmon must have been Scottish or Irish – it isn’t at all salty or overly smoky. The orange yolked egg is thick and rich, and the Hollandaise is light and lemony. The portion is ideal for reviving the spirit but not totally stuffing you before a food-heavy flight.

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I had no idea that I had been squeezing lemon like a plebe my whole life. How humiliating.

20150131_043109 Bagel with smoked salmon and cream cheese

Even better than the eggs. What the hell kind of cream cheese do we eat here in NYC, supposedly the center of the bagel universe? Other than Barney Greengrass, there is no cream cheese that can compare with this. It’s lush, rich, and dense. The smoked salmon is thick and mild, with a velvety texture and mild taste.

20150131_041412 Pistachio delicacies at the brasserie.

20150131_095126 Some EXCELLENT baklava and nut pastries before we left.

This lounge is beyond. It’s not like anything I have ever experienced. It’s over the top luxury food, top of the line amenities, and beautiful surroundings. It’s loud in a luxurious way. It’s so Middle Eastern. And so fabulous.

Next up: the best flight of my life.