Within Hamad International Airport In Doha, home of the the 2017 Airline of the Year Qatar Airways, is an airport health spa like no other.
This health spa is more than your typical ‘massage and facial’ centre. Sure these options are here, but the Vitality Spa located in Doha's Airport also contains an indoor 25m pool, a fully equipped fitness centre, 2 squash courts and a Male and Female hot tab.
Doha is a major hub for international travel, with flights to more than 150 cities originating from Hamad International Airport. Passengers will often find themselves with numerous hours to kill as they stop over in Doha en route to their final destination.
Though the airport is a wonderful place to kill a few hours (with it’s amazing lounges, vast shopping options and airport hotel) what better way to get the blood flowing, sneak in a workout or refresh with a full body massage than in a health spa!
This is possible with the Vitality Spa and Fitness centre.
I have had the opportunity to utilise this spa on two occasions now, and being a health nut, I thought I would share my experiences and review the Vitalily Spa located at Hamad International.
Note: If you're looking for my Qatar Airways Business Class flight review, click HERE.
The Vitality Health spa is located in the heart of Hamad International Airport. With the elevator access in close proximity to the airports shops.
There are signs pointing to the Health Spa so it’s not too difficult to find. It is located on the 4th floor above the Airport hotel (3rd floor) and the Oryx/ Al Maha Lounges (2nd floor).
The Spa is open 24/7 (check) and this includes access to the gym, squash courts, spa (Hydrotherapy tub), showers and lockers.
Out of the elevator and heading towards the Spa Reception
Massage and Facial options require booking. On my first visit to Vitality Spa, I had to wait an hour before I could get a massage. This was OK as I utilised the gym facilities in this time.
On my recent trip, there was no wait time for my massage - this was at 7pm on a Wednesday.
The gym/fitness centre is the standout in my eyes. The centre is labelled a ‘health spa’ and it wasn’t until I looked on their site that I realised there was a gym.
Expecting a gym that would equal a typical hotel setup (a treadmill that needed a service, a swiss ball, and a run down cable weights machine etc) I was pleasantly surprised to see a fully equipped gym upon my arrival.
No this setup isn’t a training facility that will produce world champs, but it ticked a lot of the boxes when it comes to a gym setup.
To give you an overview of what was included I have made a list below:
Everything you need to complete a Size & Strength workout!
A gym in a hotel...
With a smith machine rack...
Concept 2 Rowing Machines...
And lots of great equipment!
Whats Not There
Though there is a wide variety of gym equipment, for us gym junkies, there are a few common items missing including:
Both times I have used this gym I was the only one there. It doesn’t look like it gets a lot of use so thats great for those of use who like gymming alone!
You may have to diverge from your typical gym routine while exercising here, but given the wide variety of technogym machines, it is still possible to get really solid workout in.
In fact, I personally welcome these equipment restrictions, as it means I have to mix up my workout. I tend to do 90% of my training in a power rack (squats, deadlifts, presses, chins etc) so it was a welcome change to be able to utilize some pin load machines.
Overall it is a really great gym setup for someone looking at breaking a sweat and stimulating some muscle fibres while travelling.
The gym is better than most hotel gyms, and would give a few big box / 24 hour gym centres a run for their money.
For serious gym goers you may not have access to all your usual devices, but if you were like me, and went in expecting a skipping rope and a medicine ball, you will be pleasantly surprised with the layout of the Vitality Spa / Fitness centre located at Hamad International Airport.
To see more of the gym (and the workout I did while there) be sure to watch episode 8 of #AuthenticAlex:
Not one, but TWO full sized squash courts! Like the gym, both times I have been at the spa I have never seen anyone in the squash courts.
If you’re travelling with a friend and want a hit out in between flights then this is the place to do it.
I didn’t use the courts so I can’t comment on the quality, but they looked good through the class.
And no you don’t need to travel with racquets, you can hire them from the spa reception.
As if the 2 squash courts and well equipped gym wasn’t enough, there is also a 25m indoor heated pool at the Vitality Spa.
As it’s only 1.2m deep - there is no diving allowed, and it’s not the widest pool in the world. I would say it would be wide enough for 3 lanes.
There are plenty of loungers around and I saw a few people simply having a splash and not swimming laps.
It’s in a beautiful environment - overlooking the airport below, and with fabulous ‘spa like’ lighting helping to set the mood of relaxation and tranquility (much like the airport as a whole).
In my two trips to the Vitality Spa I have seen 3 people using the pool.
Within the male showers/lockers is a large spa/Hydrotherapy tub/hot tub.
Lit up with changing colours it is a great way to wind done after a squash game or workout.
Large enough for 8-10 adults, lack of room is not an issue. Use is infrequent based on my experiences.
There is a timer switch for those that want extra jet pressure and bubbles.
As this was located in the mens changing room it is for guys only. Women have their own spa tub in their changing rooms.
No doubt the main drawcard to the health spa. There is a wide range of facials and massages on offer.
From hot stone massages, to deep tissue, to foot massages, there is something for everyone and every time constraint (massages range from a short 25minutes foot massage up to a 80minute full body 'Tranquility Jet Lag treatment' ).
On my first trip I had the full body deep tissue massage. A little light for my liking (I am used to professional sport masseurs) it was a good way to repay the body after a long flight from Europe.
My recent trip I decided to go with the 25minute foot massage. This was really good, relaxing yet strong at the same time.
I haven’t tried any of the facials on offering so I cannot comment on these.
The massages take place in private rooms within the changing rooms. You can see the full massage and facial menu HERE.
For those who simply want to freshen up, there is an option to book access to the shower an spa facilities for 30minutes. However those who are flying business class should save their money and utilise the well kept showers located in the lounges (though generally there is a 15-30minute wait for these)
The showers themselves are nice and spacious. With gels and shampoos on offer.
Upon arrival - what you get
When checking in for a massage you will be given a robe, a towel and a locker key.
You can use this locker for the duration of your layover - even storing your bags in the locker while you do a spot of shopping below.
Training gear & Swimmers
It is possible to purchase tops and shorts should you not have your own. Though this is an expensive option, it is much better to make a change of clothes in your carry on luggage if you plan on doing a gym session, swim or squash game while in Doha airport.
7hr layover in #Doha ✈️,turns out they have a pretty sweet gym and spa here! 💪Gym kit is with my checkin luggage so purchased some gear from the reception - I asked for the biggest they had - 3XL shorts. More like M sized tights 😒 #layover #noexcuses #cominghome #quads #qatar #afc_training #legstodamnbig #trackcycling #sprinterslegs #hamadinternational #doh
Personal care products
In the bathroom you have access to toothbrushes, combs, razors, deodorants and shaving cream, for those who want to freshen up before their next flight.
Everything you need to freshen up
Pricing depends on what you want.
For someone just wanting 30minutes access to the shower and spa (and not access to the pool or gym) it will cost you - 90QR.
For someone wanting access to the gym/pool/spa/showers and lockers, it will cost you 175 QR.
Prices for massages and facials vary, ranging from 240 QR for a 30minute Revitalising massage to 480 QR for a 80minute full body experience.
But the good thing about these options is that they include free access to the gym, spa, pool, lockers and showers.
So if you have some time, and you wanted to do a gym session, It is much better value to book a massage - even if it’s just the short 25minute foot massage - so you can get free access to the rest of the facilities.
This is what I did on both visits.
I should also mention, that access to the gym/pool/spa is included for guests staying at the airport hotel located downstairs. But prices for this hotel start at over $200usd for an 8 hour stay.
Though priced at the high end/luxury traveller, it is a great option if you have a few hours to kill.
On my first visit I had a 7 hour layover, half of which was spent in the spa - using the gym, getting a full massage, showering, shaving etc.
On my recent visit, I had a 10 hour layover before my 17.5 hour Qatar airways flight to Auckland. Again I spent a good 3 hours in the spa centre. I trained, swam, had a short massage, recovered in the spa, showered, and then took some of these photos for this review.
I paid 250QR ($70usd at the time of writing) for my time here, and when you work it out to an hourly cost and consider all the value I got, it was a good deal.
It's almost worth flying to #Doha for the wellness center alone! ✈️ Spa, 2x squash courts, massage centre (I had me an hour deep tissue - was amaze balls), 25m heated pool and a gym that's on par with a lot of 24hr gyms back home. And this is in an airport!! If only hotel gyms were half as good 😜 #whenindoha #hamadinternational #qatar #airportgym #allinone #layover #afc_training
However if someone only wants to do a quick gym and shower session, it may be cost prohibitive.
If you do have a bit of time and want do a gym session or swim a few laps, then I would recommend booking a massage to get free access to the pool and gym.
The centre itself is in a great location, right in the heart of the airport. You don’t have to worry about transit times to the gate or the shops, so that is a big plus.
And it is well designed for privacy and provides a calming relaxing atmosphere.
The service standards are high, with staff being polite, caring and doing what they can to look after you. This matches the high customer care levels within the airport as a whole.
Both times I have used the spa there hasn’t been a lot of people around. Whether this was because of the time of the day or day of the week i’m not sure. Nevertheless, it was great for me as I could get a massage when I wanted it and had sole access to the facilities.
Overall, if you have some time and are happy spending a little cash, then the Vitality Spa located at Hamad International is a great place to workout, unwind and recover when stoping over in Doha, Qatar or flying with my favourite Airline - Qatar Airways.
If you have any questions or want any further clarification on my experiences, please leave a comment below.
This blog post was written by Alex Fergus. Alex is a ISSN Sports Nutrition Specialist, Fitness Professional and certified Superhuman Coach who continues to expand his knowledge base and help people across the world with their health and wellness. Alex is recognized as the National Record Holder in Powerlifting and Indoor Rowing and has earned the title of the Australian National Natural Bodybuilding Champion. Having worked as a health coach and personal trainer for over a decade, Alex now researches all things health and wellness and shares his findings on this blog. Learn more about Alex's Credentials HERE.
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