QATAR. Qatar Duty Free and Harrods this morning (12 December) celebrated the official opening of the Harrods Tea Room at Hamad International Airport (HIA).

HIA is the first airport in the world to house a Harrods Tea Room, which complements two Harrods signature stores at the Doha gateway.

(From left) H.E. Sheikha Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Thani; Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker; Harrods Director Raj Assanand;  Qatar Investment Authority Board Member H.E. Dr. Hussain Ali Al-Abdulla; and Qatar Duty Free Vice President Operations Thabet Musleh officiate at this morning’s inauguration

The Moodie Davitt Report was on hand to witness the inauguration of the spacious and elegant new 440sq m facility. The ceremony was officiated by Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker; Harrods Director, Mr. Raj Assanand; Hamad International Airport Chief Operating Officer Engr. Badr Mohammed Al Meer; Qatar Duty Free Vice President Operations Thabet Musleh and Harrods Director Raj Assanand.

H.E. Sheikha Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Thani was also in attendance, alongside VIP guests and officials, including ambassadors, dignitaries, and senior representatives from Qatar Investment Authority.

To announce the much-anticipated arrival of the Harrods Tea Room, London Fanfare Trumpets (a UK trumpeters team) sounded a welcome as H.E. Mr. Akbar Al Baker led the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

A giant digital screen announces the Harrods Tea Room opening, next to Swiss artist Urs Fischer’s magnificent bronze Lamp Bear sculpture

Guests were then invited to explore the elegantly-designed tea room and taste an array of Harrods dishes, including British favourites such as fish and chips and a signature Harrods Tea Menu against the backdrop of a live classical jazz performance.

H.E. Mr. Akbar Al Baker said: “I am incredibly proud to be here today as Qatar Duty Free officially opens the Harrods Tea Room at HIA – a world first for an airport. Harrods is an iconic institution that is all about the customer experience from start to finish and, in this regard, it is the perfect partner for Qatar Duty Free and the wider Qatar Airways group.

“With 10.7 million passengers travelling through HIA in the last quarter of 2019, the Harrods brand is already reaching an audience of substantial proportions. The new Harrods Tea Toom further complements the two Harrods signature stores already in operation in the airport.”

Assanand said: “Harrods is a London institution, but has always been global in its outlook. The new Harrods Tea Room is the next natural stage in our long relationship with HIA and Qatar Duty Free, a partnership which has allowed us to bring the Harrods experience to even more of our international customers. We are delighted to continue to work with HIA as one of the major gateway airports in the world and Qatar Duty Free to bring the finest Harrods experiences to a new audience of global travellers.”

Engr. Badr Mohammed Al Meer, said: “We are pleased to welcome Harrods Tea Room to Hamad International Airport, making us the exclusive host airport of such a prestigious name. We have had a long-standing and successful partnership with Harrods, which is one of the most reputable brands in the world.

“We aim to provide a world-class passenger experience through our multi-dimensional lifestyle offerings. HIA and QDF therefore work together with brand partners to explore and implement innovative retail concepts at the airport to curate memorable retail experiences for travellers. We look forward to welcoming more brands, both local and international, into our award-winning terminal, giving them the opportunity to be showcased to a global audience of more than 35 million passengers every year.”

Musleh said: “To be associated with an iconic global brand that is synonymous with luxury and service is a great honour. We are delighted to officially open the Harrods Tea Room at the heart of our award-winning global hub. The Harrods Tea Room at HIA has developed bespoke dishes that fuse the much-loved English classics with unique traditional Qatari flavours.

“It is very fitting that this partnership with Harrods, a Qatari-owned brand, marks the first in a series of events at HIA to celebrate Qatar National Day on 18 December. Across the month of December, our customers will be able to discover a special menu of Qatari-inspired dishes at the Harrods Tea Room in celebration of Qatar National Day. Travellers will also be able to enjoy various performances, activities, shopping and dining offers throughout the airport.”

Harrods Director Raj Assanand and Martin Moodie inside the elegant Harrods Tea Room

(Right to left) Martin Moodie; Qatar Duty Free Vice President Operations Thabet Musleh; Harrods Director Raj Assanand; and Travel Retail Business co-owner Nigel Hardy

Anyone for tea? Qatar Duty Free Vice President Operations Thabet Musleh; Travel Retail Business co-owner Nigel Hardy and Martin Moodie take time out to sample some distinctively Harrods fare

The Harrods Tea Room takes centre stage at the heart of HIA. It offers a wide range of Harrods specialties, including an impressively diverse selection of teas from the Harrods Food Halls, along with popular pastries. The Tea Room also features an ice cream parlour with an eclectic variety of local and international flavours.

​​​The Harrods Tea Room, inspired by its counterpart in Knightsbridge, London, boasts classic-style furniture with elegant curved backs and stitching details, brass finishing on tables, and lighting. The Tea Room also features Herringbone timber flooring and classic traditional tiling with elements of abstract peacock theming to tie in with the London Food Hall.

Bearing up: Martin Moodie meets a very well-dressed furry friend

NOTE: The Moodie Davitt Report also publishes FAB, the world’s only media focused on airport (and other travel-related) food & beverage. The FAB Newsletter is published every two weeks and The FAB eZine every month.

Please send all news of food & beverage outlet openings, together with images, menus, video etc to Martin@MoodieDavittReport.com to ensure unrivalled global exposure.

The company also organises the annual Airport Food & Beverage (FAB) Conference & Awards. FAB 2020 will be held in Istanbul on 23 and 24 June.

Istanbul Airport will host the event, which will be a celebration not only of the best in international airport dining but also of Turkish cuisine and culture. FAB 2020 will be supported strongly by Tum & Ictur, the concessionaire managing 34,000sq m of food & beverage space at Istanbul Airport.