A New Lounge, More Retail, and a Tropical Garden: Inside the Doha Airport Expansion

World Cup travelers to Hamad International Airport are in for a treat

Exteriror drone shot of the Hamad International Airport

Courtesy of Qatar Government Communications Office

For the first time since the plan was announced in 2019, we have a look at the long-awaited improvements to Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar. The upgrades were teased in a 60-second video uploaded by the Qatar Government Communications Office. 

While construction on the airport is expected to continue for the next few years, some significant features will be ready in time for the start of the World Cup in November.

The updated terminal will have new security features, an updated and expanded shopping showcasing more than 90 brands, an impressive art collection, two in-airport hotels (one of which includes access to a fitness center, spa, and pool), an expanded airport lounge, and sprawling green space.

The main star of the new airport is the 107,000-square-foot indoor tropical gardens, complete with an almost 3,000-square-foot water feature. Despite the video only showing glimpses of the gardens, it’s already attracted a bit of controversy over its striking similarity to Jewel Changi Airport in Singapore. Opened in 2019, the sprawling shopping mall instantly drew attention for its indoor garden and dazzling indoor waterfall (said to be the world’s largest). 

Shortly after Jewel opened in 2019, Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways and Hamad International Airpot, said, “When I show you the images later, you will realize that somebody copied our design, which was already on the table nearly six years ago” in a press conference. Of course, this allegation was later refuted by the Changi Airport Group. So it could be that both groups had the same great idea—it just took an extra three years for Doha to make their concept a reality.

Rows of airport chars with lush greenery visible through windows in the back of the frame

Courtesy of Qatar Government Communications Office

However, there is one key difference between the new garden at Hamad Airport and Jewel Changi Airport. The Hamad tropical garden at Hamad is a part of the airport terminal, so passengers with transfers can enjoy the greenery without exiting the airport. Allegations of copying aside, any chance to enjoy plants and an impressive water feature in an international airport is a net positive.

According to One Mile At A Time, the new Al Mourjan Lounge South will almost double the airport’s lounge space to 200,000 square feet and will offer a spa, gym, dining options, and a business center, all with a view of the garden below. While not spotlighted in the video, the new lounge is expected to open in time for the World Cup.

Travelers flying into Doha this fall are in for a treat—unless they’re flying on one of 12 airlines operating out of Doha International Airport, which was reopened to accommodate the increased passenger volume.

Article Sources
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  1. Hamad International Airport. "Hamad International Airport Newly Launches The ‘Oryx Garden Hotel’, The Second Airport Hotel In The Terminal." Sept. 4, 2022.

  2. Skift. "Did Singapore’s Changi Steal Qatar’s Airport Design?" Nov. 4, 2019.

  3. One Mile At A Time. "Doha Hamad Airport Expansion: Tropical Garden & New Lounge." Sept. 26, 2022.