Qatar Airways made a five-star splash with the debut of its new Al Mourjan ‘The Garden’ lounge at Doha Hamad in April 2023, but it turns out the Gulf carrier was still holding an ace up its sleeve.
It wasn’t enough that the sprawling 7,000m2 business class lounge boasted multiple dining venues, 24-hour quiet rooms and – opening soon – a gym and Dior day spa.
Qatar Airways then revealed a world-first ‘lounge within a lounge’ concept, created in collaboration with fashion house Louis Vuitton.
Officially known as the ‘Louis Vuitton Lounge by Yannick Alléno’ (yes, the 12-star Michelin chef), this unique collaboration is equal parts lounge and restaurant.
The lounge welcomes Louis Vuitton VIPs in addition to Platinum and Gold members of Qatar’s Privilege Club loyalty program – and, for now at least, nobody else.
That exclusion extends to business class and even first class passengers and top-tier members of other frequent flyer schemes, including other airlines in the Oneworld alliance.
Regardless of these limitations, there was a steady stream of passengers visiting when Executive Traveller called into the Qatar Airways Louis Vuitton lounge in the early afternoon.
While the gleaming LV duty-free store is a landmark of Qatar Airways’ Doha hub, the entrance to the lounge is less obvious: you can reach it through an elevator at the rear of the duty-free store, or directly if discretely from the entry of the Al Mourjan Garden lounge.
Within the glass-encased branded lounge, which curiously faces away from the striking ceiling of the ‘Orchard’ atrium, is a central bar, and seating and lounge areas on either side. It’s a relatively small space but still allows for plenty of privacy.
The lounge features a number of pieces from the Objets Nomades collection unveiled at Milan Design Week in April, including the striking Quetzal bird decorative mobiles created by Atelier Oï and a custom version of the Cocoon Chair by Fernando & Humberto Campana.
The ‘Twist’ glasses used in the lounge are made of Murano glass and feature the distinctive Louis Vuitton flower monogram on the base.
Behind the bar, they’re serving up cocktails made with Alléno’s signature sous-vide extractions, Champagne from the LVMH stable – headlined by Veuve Clicquot and Dom Perignon – plus Scotch whiskeys and premium spirits.
On the dining front, Alléno has developed what he calls a “multilingual” concept, with a menu blending local ingredients, French favourites, and Japanese influences, along with dishes for various palettes and dietary needs.
On the extensive menu you’ll find soups, salads and hot sandwiches, as well as sushi and caviar.
There are also larger dishes representing Alléno’s distinct approach to cuisine, such as langoustine carpaccio with geranium essence, confit lamb shoulder flavoured with yuzu and pilaf rice with dried fruit and spices.
Fancy something lighter? You can also order a coffee, along with a number of LV themed pastries for afternoon tea.
Unlike food and drinks freely available in the wider lounge, those found within the Louis Vuitton hangout come at an additional cost: prices vary from around QR70 (AUD$29) for a soup to QR1570 (AUD$659) for 50g of top-shelf caviar.
There’s also a QR1500 (AUD$630) degustation menu taking you through up to six of the menu highlights, or the Lunch menu for under QAR300 (A$120).
Surprisingly, Louis Vuitton branding is rather subtle, ranging from a simple golden motif on the marble floor to ‘grill marks’ on sandwiches. If anything, it proves that sometimes less is indeed more.