12 things to do at Hamad International Airport

With luxury retail outlets, elevated dining precincts and an indoor garden, it’s no wonder that Doha Hamad International Airport was voted the best in the world. 

Opened in 2014, Hamad International Airport is the operating base for Qatar’s national carrier, Qatar Airways, and the main airport for the capital city, Doha. Famous for its world-class facilities, art installations, luxury shopping and dining venues, Doha Hamad International Airport recently won the title of ‘Best Airport in the World’ at the 2024 Skytrax World Airport Awards, knocking 12-time winner Singapore Changi Airport off its long-held perch. It took home the award for ‘World’s Best Airport Shopping’, too

Hamad International Airport has a few unique features. It’s an architectural marvel with rippled vaulted ceilings, a crescent-shaped control tower, and a mosque crafted to resemble a water droplet. The airport is also the first in the world to be designed specifically to handle the next-generation Airbus A380 and boasts two parallel runways that are some of the longest in the world. Doha Hamad International Airport is a silent terminal, so you won’t hear any loudspeaker announcements beyond Islamic calls to prayer. The airport itself is operated by Qatar Airways, which is also consistently ranked among the best airlines in the world.

Doha is an emerging tourist hotspot, a popular layover destination and where many long-haul flights have connections. With this in mind, we’ve created the ultimate guide to things to do at Hamad International Airport. 

Doha Hamad International Airport
© Adobe Stock

Discover The Orchard

Filled with more than 300 trees and 25,000 plants sourced from sustainable forests, The Orchard is an indoor tropical garden that sprawls across more than 6000 square metres at the centre of the North Node. Opened in 2022 as part of the terminal expansion, The Orchard has a glass ceiling, tree-top bridge, grassed areas, pathways, seating and timber teepees. It’s surrounded by a retail and dining precinct that spans around 10,000 square metres. It’s the perfect place to take a quiet moment, stretch your legs and grab a bite to eat in an environment far removed from the typical airport waiting gate.

See the art installations

Doha Hamad International Airport is best known for its large-scale sculptures and artworks by local and international artists. There are around 30 pieces scattered throughout the airport by artists such as Ahmed Al Bahrani, Jean-Michel Othoniel and Kaws, but the most famous artwork is the iconic ‘Lamp Bear’ by Urs Fischer, located in the South Node of the terminal just after departures and passport control.

Refuel at one-of-a-kind dining venues

While Hamad International Airport has more than 25 eateries, including Starbucks and Burger King, the real drawcards are the one-of-a-kind restaurants and cafes that you can’t find anywhere else. Pick up an expertly poured coffee at the Fendi Cafe or Ralph’s Coffee Shop by Ralph Lauren. Grab a sweet treat from the Oreo Cafe or indulge in high tea at Harrod’s Tea Room. If you’re looking for an elevated dining experience, visit the Louis Vuitton Lounge by Michelin-starred chef Yannick Alléno for a shopping and all-day dining experience like no other. For a casual affair, opt for Gordon Ramsey’s Burger and Gordon Ramsey Street Pizza.

Louis Vuitton Lounge Hamad International Airport
© Louis Vuitton

Shop ‘til you drop

There are more than 50 retail outlets spread across the North and South Nodes of the terminal, from Burberry and Rolex to Tiffany & Co., Hugo Boss and Fendi. Doha Hamad International Airport is famed for its expansive luxury shopping, but budget travellers can find plenty of boutiques to peruse, too. The Souq Al Matar is a retail and dining concept that recreates a traditional Qatari souq experience within the North Node of the terminal. Designed by architect Ibrahim M. Jaidah, the shops have wicker ceilings, archways and wooden windows, each showcasing fragrances, sweets, spices, clothing and more.

Ride the train

If you’ve got time to kill and are determined to examine every facet of the terminal, hop on the inter-terminal train. Sleek, silent and efficient, the glass-roofed shuttle connects Hamad International Airport’s North and South Nodes.

Go for a swim or visit the gym, spa, squash court and golf simulator

The five-star Oryx Airport Hotel is set within the South Plaza of the terminal and has 100 rooms and suites, with short-stay rates available for long layovers. It also has an exceptional range of facilities that can be accessed by anyone who purchases a day pass. The Vitality Wellbeing and Fitness Centre has a stunning 25-metre indoor pool that overlooks the main departure hall, a gym, spa, squash court and a golf simulator on the fourth floor.

The Orchard garden
The Orchard © Unsplash/Karim Mokalled & Victor Loh

Take a nap

Budget travellers looking for wallet-friendly naptime options for themselves or their families should drop into Sleep ‘n’ Fly in the South Node near the ‘Lamp Bear’ or the North Node near Gate C30. Guests can choose to stay in a FlexiSuite Pod, YAWN Bunk and Family Cabin or an Economy Pod. Showers are available in the North Node.

Indulge in some self-care

Passengers can find Be Relax Shower & Spa near the ‘Lamp Bear’. It’s open 24 hours a day, every day, and no reservations are required. Drop in to get a massage, manicure, pedicure or facial, or just to freshen up with a shower.

Get connected

Doha Hamad International Airport offers passengers free high-speed Wi-Fi throughout the terminal, and complimentary internet kiosks fitted with Apple iMac computers for web browsing. Passengers can also use the telephone booths to call anywhere in the world using a prepaid calling card purchased from Qatar Duty-Free.

Shuttle train
Shuttle train © Adobe Stock

Take the kids to an Activity Node

Families can find an Activity Node in Concourses A and B and three in Concourse C. Here, you’ll find televisions, free internet browsing, interactive art pieces, climbing frames, toys, mini-rides and family rooms. It’s the perfect spot for younger kids to work off some energy before settling in for a long flight.

Do a day trip

Travellers transiting through Doha Hamad International Airport with a stopover of eight hours or more can join a pre-organised activity or tour in Doha. Transit Tours by Discover Qatar offers a city tour, a desert and inland sea excursion, and luxury car chauffeured tours of Doha.

Relax in the lounges

The terminal hosts some of the world’s best airport lounges for business and first-class passengers. The Al Mourjan Lounge by Qatar Airways spans 100,000 square feet, and in 2023, the lounge opened The Garden, a green area with a fitness studio and spa facilities, including a luxurious outpost of Dior Spa, quiet rooms, retail and dining outlets, and working spaces. Day passes for the Al Mourjan Lounge are available for purchase, as are day passes for the Oryx Lounge.

The Al Safwa First Lounge is reserved for Qatar Airways’ first-class passengers and is a beautiful, light-filled space with a water fountain, Islamic art and artefacts on display. Fine dining at the QSpa is located inside. Al Maha Lounge is open to Priority Pass, Diners Club, Lounge Key members, and those who book day passes in advance. Qatar Airways Platinum, Gold and Silver Lounges are open to Privilege Club loyalty members and passengers with equivalent OneWorld status. There’s even a lounge for unaccompanied minors.

Read more:
Top 10 best airports in the world
Best airlines in the world
How to choose the best seats on a plane

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