When we travel by plane, we know that it’s best to get to the airport at least two hours ahead of departure time.
However, anyone flying via Qatar’s Hamad International might want to double or even triple the time to stay to this gleaming, ultramodern airport, which is probably the most luxurious on the world. Opened in 2014 with the ambition of turning the Arabian Gulf city of Doha into a global aviation hub serviced by Qatar Airways, now houses more than 30 million travelers a year.
Every floor of its lavish departure and arrival areas is, of course, spotless, and it is completely quiet, too, except for Islamic calls to prayer which are made five times a day.
It’s built on land reclaimed from the sea, and a rail link should open in time for Qatar’s 2022 hosting of soccer’s World Cup finals.
If art in an airport is not an unusual thing, even here it is not missing! There is for example the “Lamp Bear”, by subversive Swiss artist Urs Fischer: a giant, surreal, yellow teddy bear sitting under a black lamp. Located in the main departure hall, there’s a near-constant crowd of people in front of it, to take a selfie, of course.
Or, by the departure gates, “Small Lie” by popular New York pop artist Kaws, installed in March 2018 after an operation that involved removing an entire wall of the airport.
These are pieces of art that some fanatics might actually travel here to see!
An airport that is a gateway to arts and culture, and there are currently more than 20 permanent art installations in its areas.
Of course there are also restaurant, numerous upscale boutiques like Gucci, Burberry, Coach, Rolex, Swarovski, and even the communal area seating is luxury, all Italian-style chrome and leather. There’s a fantastic airport gym too, open to any passengers who want to book themselves in for a session, with an inviting 25-meter swimming pool, a full range of workout equipment, two squash courts (although these may get turned into a golfing area), plus hydrotherapy and spa treatments.
The sports facility is attached to HIA’s Oryx Hotel, a 100-room transit accommodation that matches the rest of the airport for quality and cleanliness!