After two days of positioning flights to Vietnam and several hours exploring the city, it was finally time to head back to the airport to catch my first of eight Qatar Airways flights. My first flight was from Ho Chi Minh to Doha and departs at 7:25PM. Like most airlines, Qatar only staffs the check-in counters 3 hours prior to the scheduled departure. At that point I was finally able to check into my flight and retrieve my boarding pass.
At approximately 4:30PM local time, the Qatar Airways contract check-in agents opened their kiosks and began issuing boarding cards. Since I was traveling in Qatar Airways Business Class the agent handed me a lounge invitation along with my boarding card. The lounge invitation allows passengers to utilize the Apricot Lounge. There are three lounges in Ho Chi Minh airport (Rose, Apricot, and Orchid). Of all the lounges, the apricot is the most centrally located and the only one that offers guests the ability to shower.
Entering The Apricot Lounge Ho Chi Minh Airport
After clearing the central security check point in Terminal 2 I made my way to the Apricot Lounge to relax before my Qatar Airways flight. The entrance to this lounge is somewhat difficult to find as it’s actually inside one of the duty-free shops. There are a few signs that direct you to the lounge entrance, but ultimately I needed to ask one of the duty-free shop attendants to point me in the right direction.
The Apricot lounge is near the center of the main terminal and which is extremely convenient when compared to the other contract lounges.
Once inside the duty-free store you’ll find the elevator which takes guest down to the entrance of the Apricot Lounge.
Once inside the elevator there is a clearly market button which takes guests down to the Apricot Lounge main entrance.
As you exit the elevator you’ll find a faux flower covered wall with Apricot Lounge branding. At this point a lounge receptionist took my Apricot Lounge invitation and welcomed me into the lounge.
Inside The Apricot Lounge Within Ho Chi Minh Airport
Once inside the Apricot Lounge you’ll quickly notice that the long is a single room which takes up the area between two boarding gates. The lounge flows fro a general seating area to a dining room without any true walls. The support pillars located in the center of the lounge help divide the space into smaller sections. I found the seating was plenty when I entered the lounge around 5PM, but at 7PM guest occupied nearly ever seat in the lounge.
Once thing I enjoyed about this lounge is that one entire wall of the lounge is made of windows. These windows allow guests to see the various Vietnam Airlines A350s and 787 moving around the airport, but also gave me the opportunity to watch a fantastic evening thunderstorm roll through the area.
Located at the far end of the lounge is a small business center with three computer terminals and a printer. Each contract lounge and the airport itself each offers free WiFi. The lounge WiFi was slightly better than the free airport WiFi, but as the lounge filled up the WiFi became painfully slow.
Just behind the business center is a “Relax Zone” with two reclining massage chairs.
At the other far end of the Apricot Lounge is a small sitting area which is perfect for groups traveling together.
Apricot Lounge Beverage and Dining Options
A food and beverage buffet runs the full length of the lounge across from the windows.
At the far end of the buffet is a refrigerator which was full of canned beer, bottled water, and a few other non-alcoholic canned beverage options. Next to the refrigerator is a soda fountain which offers just 5 Pepsi product options. Next to all of that, at the beginning of the buffet spread, is a self-service liquor bar.
Further down the buffet line is a coffee machine which also dispensed hot water for the various tea packets available to guests.
Food options were plentiful within this lounge. I avoided eating much because I wanted to save room the Qatar dine on demand meal service. The food buffet featured the expected various deli meats, pastries and fresh fruits. However, the lounge also offered hot items like fried spring rolls, a pasta dish, a noodle dish, and a vegetable stew. Free food is always nice, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to eat at this lounge before my flight. If you are hungry, do yourself a favor and grabs something to eat prior to entering the lounge.
Overall the Apricot Lounge in Ho Chi Minh airport is just an average lounge. The lounge doesn’t come close to competing with most international business class lounges. However, the lounge is a welcomed place to sit back and relax before a flight.
Ho Chi Minh airport features an odd setup. The main terminal is elevated above the boarding gates. Passengers take stairs/escalators down to the boarding gates which is the only area with ample seating. During peak travel hours, it can be very difficult to find an open seat. For that reason, the lounge is a great place to go before the boarding gate opens. Also, although I didn’t take a picture of the lounge showers, it’s worth noting that the lounge does offer a shower. Sadly, the bathroom isn’t very inviting and the shower didn’t look all that appealing. However, if you’re in dire need of a shower before your flight, you take one Apricot Lounge.
It’s nice that Qatar Airways offers this lounge to their Business Class and Elite status passengers. I enjoyed sitting in the lounge and having a few drinks before the flight, but I wouldn’t make an effort to arrive early to visit this lounge as the space became fairly crowded in the hour leading up to our departure and the food options weren’t exactly tasty. Either way it’s hard to complain about a more private/comfortable seating area than the main terminal.