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.
The rain head shower is really excellent and up there with some of the best we have experienced in a hotel.
A full room service menu is available, with a large range of options to cater for most tastes. Prices are on the high side as you might expect, with lighter options such as salads, appetisers and sandwiches at QAR40-60 (S$15-24) and more substantial main dishes at QAR60-80 (S$24-30).
Breakfast options are available from 5am to 11am each day, with the rest of the menu available 24 hours.
There is complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the hotel. We recorded a fast connection during our stay, however it was only possible through a laptop in our particular room, which was towards the end of the corridor.
For our mobile phones to connect to the network we had to stand by the room door, so a stronger signal in our part of the hotel would have been much better.
Bar and restaurants
The hotel has no bars or restaurants of its own, aside from the room service menu, but it’s a quick trip down the elevators into the main departure concourse of the airport with an array of options in the food and drink department.
We were flying in Qatar Airways Business Class on our subsequent flight the next morning to Singapore, so armed with our boarding cards we headed across to the Al Mourjan lounge for something to eat and a glass of Champagne or two before retiring back to our room for some sleep.
That also meant we had no need to sample the room service options during our stay.
Unlike some airport transit hotels, the Oryx is not short of facilities to keep you occupied during your stay.
The Vitality Wellbeing and Fitness Centre, one floor above the hotel rooms on level 4, hosts the following:
- A 25-metre heated swimming pool
- A fully equipped gym
- Hydrotherapy pools (separate for men and women)
- Shower rooms
Plus the following at additional charge:
- Squash courts (racquets, balls and shoes provided)
- A selection of massage treatments
- A golf simulator
Changing rooms are well appointed and include showers and a hydrotherapy pool.
Showers include complimentary Rituals toiletries, similar to those found in the hotel rooms.
The main feature is of course the 25-metre swimming pool, kept at a very pleasant temperature. It was totally empty when we visited at around 6.30pm and we enjoyed a nice refreshing swim before retiring to the hydrotherapy pool for a while.
A large fully equipped gym includes a selection of cardio equipment, weight machines and free weights. It was also completely empty when we stopped by.
The other slightly more strange facilities at the hotel are the two squash courts and golf simulator. Both unusual additions at a transit airport hotel, but it’s nice to have something different.
Spa treatments include massages and facials lasting from 25 minutes to 80 minutes, and range in price from QAR240 (S$90) to QAR480 (S$180). A 25% discount applies to hotel guests.
We would definitely consider using these facilities alone during a transit in Doha, especially the pool and gym, without necessarily needing to stay in the hotel itself.
Other room types
The Oryx Airport Hotel features five room types, with our Deluxe King being the second category above the basic Superior Room. In fact we were happy to book the most basic room for our stay, however the Superior Rooms were sold out for the times we needed, so the Deluxe King was the cheapest option available.
These are the room types offered:
- Superior Room – 38 sqm, 1 king or 2 single beds
- Deluxe King Room – 42 sqm, 1 king bed
- Family Room – 56 sqm, 1 king bed and 2 single beds or 3 single beds
- Executive Suite – 92 sqm, 1 king bed plus living room
- Presidential Suite – 132 sqm, 1 king bed plus living room
All rooms include complimentary Wi-Fi, access to the gym, spa facilities and swimming pool.
Executive Suite and Presidential Suite bookings receive a complimentary Vitality Signature Seated Neck & Shoulder Massage (for 2 Adults).
One thing the Oryx Hotel is not saving you is much money compared to staying in a hotel in Doha itself. Top brand properties like the Intercontinental and Ritz-Carlton in the city come in at similar rates.
That really puts this hotel squarely in the ‘maximising rest’ category, since it really doesn’t make sense to fork out so much money for a full overnight stay given the nearby alternatives.
It is also useful for those in transit who do not hold a visa to enter Qatar, since it is an airside property this is no issue.
Here are the example refundable rates, based on a stay in September 2019.
Superior King / Twin
- 8 hours from QAR800 (S$299)
- 13 hours from QAR850 (S$318)
- 18 hours from QAR900 (S$337)
- 24 hours from QAR1,050 (S$393)
Deluxe King (our room category)
- 8 hours from QAR900 (S$337)
- 13 hours from QAR950 (S$356)
- 18 hours from QAR1,050 (S$393)
- 24 hours from QAR1,150 (S$431)
- 8 hours from QAR1,000 (S$374)
- 13 hours from QAR1,100 (S$412)
- 18 hours from QAR1,200 (S$449)
- 24 hours from QAR1,350 (S$505)
- 8 hours from QAR1,300 (S$487)
- 13 hours from QAR1,400 (S$524)
- 18 hours from QAR1,500 (S$562)
- 24 hours from QAR1,650 (S$618)
Alternatively the non-room ‘facilities only’ packages include:
- Use of the swimming pool, gym, hydrotherapy pool, shower and amenities for QAR175 (S$65 – complimentary for those staying in the hotel)
- Golf simulator for QAR75 (S$28)
- Shower room for QAR90 (S$34)
- Squash court for QAR90 (S$34)
- Spa treatments from QAR240 (S$90)
Hotel residents are entitled to a 25% discount on the spa treatment rates. A full menu is available here.
If you have a long transit at Doha Airport the Oryx Hotel provides a great option for a solid, well-soundproofed rest.
While those flying Qatar Airways Business Class can take advantage of shower and quiet rest area facilities in the Al Mourjan lounge, nothing beats a private hotel room with a proper bed for some sleep between flights, or before a late night departure.
Rooms are comfortable, spacious and quiet, though there weren’t as many universal charging options as we would have expected and the Wi-Fi wasn’t strong enough in our particular room.
The excellent facilities are the main wow factor at this hotel, and can be used in isolation for a fee even if you’re not staying at the hotel itself.
If you have lounge access, for example flying Business Class with Qatar Airways, the hotel is located a short walk from the Al Mourjan lounge giving you ample food and drink options during your stay.
The downside is that hourly booking cannot be processed online, with a rather time consuming ‘back and forth’ process by email instead. Given that this must be the primary type of stay at the hotel for most guests, it’s surprising that an online system has not been developed.
Overall though, a very good experience and we would use the hotel again in future for a transit like this, even if just for the top-notch facilities.
|Review:||Oryx Airport Hotel, Doha|
|Summary:||A well located comfortable airport transit hotel with excellent facilities, the Oryx Airport Hotel doesn’t come cheap but provides a perfect respite between flights in Doha.|
|Among 4-star hotels:|
4 out of 5
Stayed September 2019
(Cover Photo: MainlyMiles)