Qatar Airways has extended its complimentary transit hotel program until at least April 2018. I had the opportunity to test it out on my trip through Doha this week.
About a week before travel I visited the website. Economy class passengers are offered “premium” hotels while business class passengers have access to “premium” hotels as well as “luxury” hotels. While the list of hotels is tremendous in theory, in practice the free choices are limited. The Four Seasons or Ritz Carlton were not available.
My two premium choices were the InterContinental or a boutique hotel called the Souq Waqif. I chose the Souq Waqif because my stay would be from about 2pm to 12am…I just wanted a place to sleep and relax and this hotel appeared much closer to the airport than the InterContinetnal.
Upon choosing the hotel, I was taken to a booking screen, entered my information including my e-ticket number for the reservation, and hit submit. A reservation was successfully generated with a eight-character booking reference number.
I tried to apply for an e-Visa online as well, but was told I was too late…apparently 7-10 days are needed to process it. That did not concern me, however, as 80 nations (including the USA) are eligible for a free visa on arrival.
While the choices were limited, the booking process was smooth and I printed out and brought my hotel confirmation along. Turns out, some drama ensued at the airport. Stay tuned for that…