- - Friday, October 31, 2014

The Hamad International Airport (HIA) replaced Doha International Airport this summer as the five-star gateway to Qatar. This is a vital piece of Qatar’s National Vision 2030, which sets out the roadmap for a national transition from reliance on petrochemical revenues to a diverse, knowledge-based economy.

The new airport can accommodate 50 million travelers, and will see extensive traffic with the 2022 FIFA World Cup on the horizon. An estimated 130,000 square feet gives way to combined retail, food and beverage facilities, including luxury brands like Bulgari, Chanel and Chopard. There is also a new airport hotel that holds a first-class wellness area, including a pool, gym, 2 squash courts and a spa.

If you are the type of traveler who likes smooth-sailing transitions from check in, to gate, to relaxing before your flight, Hamad airport is your portal. The airport has a large amount of space dedicated only to unwinding in the dimly lit male and female relaxation rooms, as well having prayer rooms. There is a stark difference in Hamad from western gateways in that this Middle Eastern airport focuses on creating quiet environments as opposed to hurriedness and hustle and bustle. However, there is a clear mission to provide a state-of-the-art, resort-like environment.

The standout feature is Hamad airport’s 32,000-square-foot, two-level Al Mourjan Business Lounge, which can seat more than 1,000 people. The lounge has four dining areas, a resort area, quiet rooms, a business center (Apple and HP computers), a complimentary meeting room, and two game rooms. There is also a Qatar Airways simulator car for game lovers. The children’s play room is hosted by a personal nanny.

The airport hotel can be accessed from the terminal and has 100 contemporary furnished rooms to be rented by the hour or by the day. The hotel wellness area is available to hotel guests and all passengers who wish to relax, rejuvenate and recharge between flights. There is a spa, hydrotherapy Jacuzzi, shower rooms, private lockers, and a juice bar. The hotel offers a range of options for the fitness-conscious traveler, including a 80- foot swimming pool and full-service gym (with TechnoGym equipment), a personal instructor, as well as two squash courts.

The leading Middle Eastern airline, Qatar Airways, has commenced its flight operations from Hamad International Airport, which means that all commercial passenger airlines flying into Qatar will be arriving and departing from Hamad International Airport. The passenger terminal complex will house 138 check-in counters across five islands, including 108 counters for Qatar Airways economy passengers and all other airlines, and 16 counters dedicated to Qatar Airways business-class travelers.

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