*In paid partnership with: Qatar Airways
Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar is a popular layover airport between adventures for many passengers. During the day, I strongly recommend getting out in to the city to experience Doha if you are stopping by for more than 5 hours. But what to do if you have a layover in Doh at night? Well in the name of research, I took a whole night on my way from Sydney to Helsinki to try to keep myself entertained at the airport!
If your layover is more than 12 hours, you might want to look into the option of booking a 4-5 start hotel for a nominal booking fee. If your layover is more than 8 hours and there is no better connection available, you may be eligible for a free hotel night with transfers. More on that in the next chapter.
On a 7 hour layover I rather not spend my money on a hotel and instead will choose just spending a night at the airport trying to kill time.
I’ve now travelled Qatar Airways twice with a midnight layover and figured it’s time to write down my best tips for you guys on what to do if you have to spend a night layover at the airport in Doha! I actually ended up running out of time, haha!
Layover in Doha at night? Read my best tips!
I want to share my 7 best tips with you guys for a layover in Doha in the middle of the night in case you also want to skip booking a hotel room or won’t have enough hours to be eligible for a free stay.
Qatar Airways offers 4-5 star hotels for a nominal booking fee of around 23 euros / night for those with a longer than 12 hour stopover up to four days. Read more here. If your layover is over 8 hours with no better connection available, you might be eligible for a free hotel stay with transfers. Read more and check here first.
1. Enjoy a little nap at the Oryx hotel inside the airport
Oryx hotel is located on the airside of the airport in Doha and while you can make a booking for a night, you can also make bookings by the hour. On my layover from my trip in Vietnam, I booked a room for three hours to have a little nap.
On this trip I also planned to go for a two hour nap before finding other ways to entertain myself at the airport, but the rooms were already fully booked and there was only a very expensive suite left. So I skipped my nap this time!
If a high quality nap is what you are after, I do recommend booking in advance!
2. Work, eat and drink in one of the many airport lounges
There are several airport lounges in Doha to enjoy. Some of the airport lounges are only accessible for First and Business Class passengers, but some you can also pay an entrance fee to get in.
On my return from Sydney I flew Business class and spent some hours enjoying my time at Al Mourjan Business Lounge. This lounge is only for Qatar Airways and oneworld Business class passengers. The lounge is huge with a lot of space to chill, eat and work. I didn’t know they had upstairs before and got to enjoy a good breakfast buffet there while responding to some work emails!
On my trip home from Vietnam, I was travelling in economy and paid an entrance for six hours at Oryx Lounge, where I got to enjoy some snacks and drinks. This lounge wasn’t that impressive, but still a good spot to spend some time and relax in.
Then there is the luxurious Al Safwa First Lounge that is only for the First Class passengers and I wonder if I’ll ever get enjoy it, haha! Fingers crossed!
Read more about the lounges at Hamad International Airport here.
3. Vitality Wellbeing & Fitness Centre: swim & workout at the gym
Vitality Spa is my absolute favorite thing at the airport in Doha for a night layover! Not many things are as refreshing after a long flight as a good swim, a dip in the jacuzzi and a refreshing shower. I went for a little swim and would have loved to go to the gym, but had forgotten to pack any workout gear into my carry-on.
The entrance fee to Vitality Wellbeing & Fitness Centre is 175 QAR. With this, you can enjoy the facilities such as pool, showers, jacuzzi and the gym. You will also get slippers and a rope to use.
4. Treat yourself with a massage
Vitality Wellbeing & Fitness Centre is a spa offering facial treatments and massage for tired travellers. I had to pamper myself in the name of research and booked a 1-hour classic massage. They would have also had a special jet lag massage, might try that next time!
My 1-hour massage cost 390 QAR, but it also included the entrance to the pool and gym! So if you have a bit of time and extra money, I highly recommend spending a few hours like this.
For a quick massage on-the-go, be relax store offers short 15-minute neck and foot massages right next to the boarding gates!
5. Enjoy the many restaurants at Doha airport
As someone who spends a lot of time in airport lounges around the world, I often miss the restaurant selection at airports. Doha offers delicious dining opportunities from traditional Arabic cuisine to American fast food. On my last trip, I noticed my favorite cafe had closed down, but I think they have also recently opened Harrods Tea Room that looked lovely!
I strongly recommend enjoying a cup of traditional Arabic cafe at Qataf Cafe for a bit of culture if you haven’t tied it before!
6. Shop ’til you drop
What better way to spend time than tax free shopping? Well, to be honest I don’t really do a lot of airport shopping! But if luxury bags and make-up is what you are after, Hamad offers you a lot of options for that.
I mostly shop for dates. Nothing in the world as delicious as dates. And my favorite souvenir to bring home is always a bit of local flavours! I did though also get a new memory card for my camera and almost some new headphones – maybe next time.
7. Quiet rooms: rest before departure
Aside of lounges and airport hotels, the airport in Doha also offers quiet rooms for those in transit. Quiet rooms are perfect for the budget traveller wanting to rest but save some money while at it! I haven’t personally tested these, but had some of my Instagram followers recommend these to me!
In case you are in Doha during the day and want more tips on what to do, you might also want to read these posts:
What are your best tips for spending a night at the airport?