Single-bed room, quiet small no window, but the bedding is comfortable and there is a flat screen tv. No big deal but this is meant to have a rest, for lounging, well there is the lounge :)
Wardrobe and luggage rack.
En suite, fully equipped washroom.
Shower with abundant warm water (not always the case in lounges…).
Amenity kit without a razor.
I arrived in the lounge at midnight and I kept the quiet room till noon the following day. But I could have retained it as long as I wished. Clearly a strong point fo the offering, especially when comparing to other F lounges : AF and EK just propose common room with just a glorified not always horizontal couch. QR offer is very close to an in-terminal airport room.
Let's see the fine dining area, not really a fully fledged restaurant, I'm afraid, at best a wine-bar.
Tables are rather smallish and close to one another. Note the lack of table cloth, always found in other F lounges such as AF or EK.
The atmosphere lacks cosyness, no floor-carpeting and all that cold walling.
And main courses.
The paper quality is rather shabby, but no less than the photocopied A3 menu used by QF without even bothering sheltering it in a leather portfolio.
No wine list proposed - but there's none in EK - anyway I know what I want : some Krug ! Sparkling water suggested and readily accepted.
On its own tray.
Rather bland radish-based amuse-bouche. Notice the butter in its original packing. That is a rather common brand you could find in any supermarket oozing not an ounce of exclusivity.
But Salt and Pepper are contained in Peugeot wares.
Past midnight, I opt for a lighter seafood course. Scallops well cooked but a bit bland.
Well presented seabass. Too bad the sauce is not served separately.
But overall, it's more than honorable.
A sweet final touch with a very average fruit plate.
On top of the à la carte menu, there is very minimalist buffet with some snack. But it's a world away from EK's. Just small bites and nothing for a quick and consistant fill-up.
The cheese selection is appalling, the choice is very limited and the presentation less than seducing. So appalling that I would forget it at each meal.
Following this healthy dinner, I desperately need to sleep and get back to my quiet room for a good rest. Awakened, showered, I leave my castle to test the breakfast.
The orange juice is freshly pressed and qualitative.
Some industrial carbs. This time the butter is more aptly presented.
Zoom on the low quality croissant, one can see it to the grid shaped mark on its basis. Pathetic.
So toaster with Wikin & Son marmelade, it is.
The first-lounge breakfast litmus test: eggs benedict. Nicer dressing than EK's, no Florentine eggs which can be found in QF's.
The eggs are well cooked and behave themselves.
Other benchmark, the waffles.
The chocolate sauce does not taste like chocolate and the waffles are not crunchy. Not convincing.
Fully satiated, I go on with my lounge report documentation. Till lunch time !
Let's have the koftas made in Qatar ! As expected not very sophisticated, but tasty.
Especially when paired with a suitably strong Saint Estèphe 2006.
A 2008 Saint-Emilion is also on the list.
Heavily engineered napkin.
Very reasonable wine pouring, but unlimited refills possible.
Let's continue with something a bit more serious : the beef tenderloin. Looks very like the Al Mourjan's one. And, that … is not a good sign.
Rare cooking completely sabotaged. EK's lounge beat QR's any day on this level.
The dessert menu looks vast at first glance, but is mainly composed of the jelly pastries that can be found in Al Mourjan lounge. Nothing really to write home about and ice creams and fruit don't help either. Why not then proposing some of the very decent La Durée desserts served onboard in J class ?
The wine list, finally obtained from the not-so-wine-litterate waiters.
On that field, QR is clearly a notch above EK, especially with its choice and quality champagnes.
During the afternoon, a live test of Billecart Salmon vs Krug. The BS is clearly more lively at the start but vanishes quickly thereafter when the Krug is more balanced, complex and enduring.
The rosé champagne is a vintage Pol Roger, very nice.
The bar offering.
And glou glou !
Very nice Chassagne Montrachet.
With evening coming, some coke to boost the lounge reviewer !
But some Krug not very far away !
Again a rather underwhelming appetizer that will not serve its purpose
Having tested most of the menu, I heartlessly go for some spaghetti bolognese. Nothing spectacular and definitely not first class.
Going on with the lamb, in cuts and saucy. NOt the most engaging presentation actually seems to come directly from a J-class self serving buffet.
Thanks God the wines are way above the solid offering which is basically the conclusion of the so called fine-dining of QR First lounge.
The business center is close to the lounge entry.
With a rather enigmatic pointless ante-room.
With nobody manning the desk.
The great plus here are the small individual and reasonnably private rooms. Much better than EK common room.
Ample space, apple-computer are not obvious for a business environment.
Several other newspaper racks throughout the lounge.
As in Al Mourjan lounge, the foreign newspapers are printed out locally… and neither ZE (I mean The Economist, my personal über-benchmark of self-respecting lounges) nor Bunte ! Bottom line : clearly unsufficient for a F lounge (But QF do even worse at its SYD F lounge).
Ready for a shopping spree ? In-site duty free :
The choice is more limited than EK's F in A concourse. Perfume, leatherware and some basic electronics but no alcohol/tobacco.
The famous tailor - quite quirky by the way - not operational then.
Let's have a look to the family zone.
Close to the entrance some snack, kids-oriented, zone.
Approximately half a dozen private rooms to gather the family members.
A Nanny room (yes, the Philippino…travelling in Y !).
Parent's room with everything the baby needs.
Not impressive, two rows of seats only.
Short story. While enjoying the lounge, a professional shooting occurred with supposedly real-life first pax. Now, I haven't seen most of those beautiful people in my various F-lounge travels ! Of course, they give her some posture with a cell phone : I am looking good, but am not an idiot Cheesy…
Anyway, time to leave the reason of that FR.
Heading to the boarding gate. But with a light heart as I will be boarding QR 788 J class.
Naturally I maximized my time in the lounge, and I arrived when last call is flashing !
This evening jet.
Just one bridge, but as I am among the last ones to board, I don't have to queue.
Cabin view from my 1K seat.
Cabin view from the rear.
No bagage rack in the middle.
Welcom drink : Jacquart champagne and an oshibori. The purser came to me to introduce himself and ask me about my opininon on the cabin that I was lavishly shooting.
Whereas I could not find The Economist in the first lounge and on the outbound segment, this time I hit it ! Brought with the menu.
A wrapped date and arabic coffee.
Side view of the first row.
Seating in bed mode. Not that I would need it for this short 45 minutes hop.
Screen relative measure from the back of my seat. Much better quality and resolution than CX Cirrus ones.
A fast track pass is handed out to the premium pax.
Lots of place to store your wares.
Plug and play.
Phitek headphones, very efficient but not as comfortable to wear as my Bose.
The tray table is shiny enough to welcome the tablecloth. Some Jacquart to keep me company.
Just one fold for the tablecloth. Nice.
Light bites only for this flight. With some water.
The tray, nothing memorable, nice shrimps though.
Zoom on the La Durée dessert, again a hit.
Landing uneventfully at Dubai International.
Next to CX at the tip of the C concourse. In the background, the long awaited D concourse, still to open…
And finally the QR 788 wingtip.
Thanks for reading.
Qatar Airways Al Safwa Lounge
Doha - DOH
Dubai - DXB
Cabin : Just overwhelming for a short hop ! Equipage : very friendly and attentive, lots of interaction despite the flight duration. Repas : Simple and adequate IFE : Nice screen and The Economist, nothing more expected ! Ponctualité : Departure with some delay but landing well on time.
Comfort : grand-looking but rather cold and impersonal, not a trace of wood or carpetting. Lots of ambiances for seating : very private but claustrophobic quiet rooms, a nice business center and clever familiy rooms, but most of the seating are lost in the big hallway that this lounge finally is. Entertainment : newspaper offering is simply dismal, little choice and out of the printer foreing newspaper..., wifi is working well even in the remote places of the lounge (ie Quiet rooms). Service : mostly ok but a bit slow (even more than EK's) Catering : Wine offering is adequate for a first lounge if not plainly spectacular but the fine dining is clearly several notches below EK's, let alone AF's lounge.
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