If you’ve ever flown with Qatar Airways, you may know that some city pair combinations through its Doha hub involve some lengthy connection times. Redemption bookings complicate things even more, and on our recent return from a vacation trip to Greece we could only secure two Business Class seats with an 8-hour connection mid-way through the journey.
That led us to explore the transit hotel options at Doha Airport, and if you want to remain airside there’s only one option – the Oryx Airport Hotel.
Originally opened in 2014 as The Airport Hotel, it was later re-branded under the Oryx group, which also manages the nearby Rotana Hotel located close to the old Doha airport.
- Opened: September 2014 (as The Airport Hotel Doha)
- Rooms: 100
- Location: Doha Hamad International Airport
- On-airport: Yes (after security, in terminal transit departure area)
- Check-in: Flexible
- Check-out: Flexible
- Minimum stay: 8 hours
Note that due to immigration rules, the maximum length of stay at this hotel is 24 hours.
You can book a 24 hour stay through the Oryx website, then forward your flight details to the hotel so they can prepare your room accordingly.
Unfortunately for hourly room rates, starting from 8 hours, you must fill out a form and the hotel will email you back with availability and a quote. With a bit of back-and-forth we finally locked in our booking this way, but it took a couple of days to complete the process.
Access and location
The hotel is located in the transit area of Doha Hamad International Airport, with the entrance directly above the Qatar Airways Al Maha lounge. That’s diagonally opposite the Al Mourjan lounge you’ll be using if you’re flying Business Class with Qatar Airways.
Head to the main departure atrium where the concourses to the gates all meet. It’s where you’ll find ‘Lamp Bear’, the huge and rather strange yellow art installation, sitting in the middle.
At the back right corner towards the CDE gates, you’ll find the lifts to the Al Maha lounge (level 2) and the Oryx Hotel (level 3). ‘Lamp Bear’ has its back to these lifts.
On exiting the lift at level 3 there’s a decorative waterfall on the far wall, with the reception desk to the right.
You can look back down to the main departure concourse and the terrace of the Al Maha lounge from here.
Our experience arriving from Athens was that the route to the hotel was not particularly well signed, so the back of the ‘Lamp Bear’ (which you can’t miss) is a good way to locate the correct lifts.
The walking time from the hotel to your next gate is variable and can be as little as 5 minutes, but do allow up to 20 minutes for the more distant gates.
We booked our room for 8 hours from 5.25pm, the arrival time of our flight from Athens, through to 1.25am the next morning, 1 hour prior to the departure time of our next flight to Singapore, which was leaving at 2.25am.
If you have a shorter connection that’s fine, however you will still be subject to the minimum 8-hour room rate charge.
Check in was swift with only our onward boarding passes required to confirm our reservation. We were advised that all the rooms in the hotel are non-smoking, reminded of some of the facilities available which we’ll cover later in the review, then presented with our room keys.
A wake up call is also offered, though we tend to use our mobile phone alarm clock for this.
The whole process only took a few minutes and the hotel is clearly geared up to get you to your room as quickly as possible, given the short-term stay for most guests.
As an aside, another couple without a reservation were at the reception desk at the same time as we were checking in and were offered a room, but they faced a one hour wait for it to be ready. It’s definitely worth booking in advance if you know your travel plans as the hotel is clearly popular.
If you are starting your journey in Doha itself and wish to use this hotel prior to your flight, for example when travelling on a late night departure having had to check out from your hotel around lunchtime, that’s also no problem.
Qatar Airways passengers who have a confirmed booking at the Oryx Airport Hotel can check in for their flight up to 12 hours prior to the departure time.
For example if our journey had been originating in Doha we would have been eligible to check in from 2.25pm (12 hours prior to our 2.25am flight to Singapore), allowing a good rest prior to departure time.
Two corridors lead off from the hotel lobby area depending on your allocated room number, with the rooms all located on a single floor.
A short walk later and we’d made it to our allocated room.
Deluxe King room
We booked a Deluxe King room, which featured a king-sized bed and, like all rooms in this hotel, a private en-suite bathroom.
At 43 square metres this is a spacious room, considering it’s in an airport transit hotel designed for a brief pre-flight rest. The ensuite bathroom is located by the entrance, with a corridor leading into the bedroom itself.
All rooms are air conditioned and ours was pre-set to 21 degrees. We found that a little cold but it soon improved once a higher temperature was selected.
Some rooms have external airport views, however our room overlooked the main airport terminal atrium with the duty free shops below.
There appears to be no way to know whether your room will have an external window in advance, though there’s probably no harm specifying a preference for one or making a request on check in if you think you may find an internal aspect claustrophobic.
There is a desk by the window in case you have some work to catch up on, including a multi-standard power socket and USB charging port.
That’s where the good news ends on the charging side though. Strangely all other plug sockets in the room are the Type G 3-pin version found in the UK, Singapore and Hong Kong.
Stranger still, there are no charging sockets by the bed. I had to unplug the lamp in order to have my phone on charge beside me.
For a relatively recent hotel built less than five years ago this is very unusual, especially given the short-term nature of most guests’ stays.
The king bed was comfortable, if a little on the firm side. Rooms are well soundproofed and there was no disturbance at all during our stay.
That’s thanks in part to the blackout curtains, plus additional wooden shutters shielding any remaining light and noise.
There is complimentary tea and coffee provided, plus two bottles of mineral water.
An empty fridge allows you to pick up your own items from the terminal shops and keep them chilled in your room if you wish.
There is a 42-inch flat screen TV with a range of international channels available, plus a flight information display channel for departures so you can check the location of your onward gate and see if there are any delays.
The room is equipped with a relatively large wardrobe, providing ample storage given the maximum one night stay policy.
There is plenty room to hang what you might need to wear on your next flight, plus an iron and ironing board is provided. There is also a safe and ample drawer storage space.
Given that you aren’t likely to be unpacking more than a few essentials for a short stay, this is more than enough space.
Our en-suite bathroom was clean and spacious, featuring a large and excellent rain head shower, with additional hand held shower head option.
There is a double sink vanity unit, giving you no issues as a couple when you come to get ready for your onward flight at the same time.
There’s also a retractable clothesline in the shower to dry your swimming attire before your next flight, in case you used the hotel’s swimming pool or hydrotherapy pool.
Rituals toiletries are provided, including shampoo, conditioner and shower gel.
If you require a dental kit, sewing kit, shaving kit or hairdryer these are available on request from guest services. Just call and they will deliver the items to your room. There is already a fixed hairdryer on the bathroom wall, so presumably the on-request version is superior.