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United Arab Emirates
Dubai International Airport
Business & First
- Plenty of natural light in an airy, open space
- Good variety of hot and cold food at the buffet
- There's Champagne (but not the full Champagne bar)
- No à la carte dining for first class passengers
- A long walk from premium check-in
- Much quieter than Emirates' other lounges, given its location
Emirates operates a staggering seven lounges at its colossal Dubai Airport hub: three first class lounges, three business class lounges, and the seventh, branded simply as The Emirates Lounge, welcoming both first class and business class passengers.
With many similarities to the airline's 'outstation' lounges overseas, The Emirates Lounge in Dubai is hidden down the far end of Concourse C, generally making it a quieter and more relaxing choice than your other options here.
And, when we say "hidden", we do mean that in the literal sense: for passengers beginning their journey in Dubai, to find it, you'd have to walk past two other sets of Emirates lounges and then continue walking even further, knowing that this seventh lounge awaits.
Australian Business Traveller stopped by The Emirates Lounge on a recent trip through Dubai to bring you this review.
Location & Impressions
Located in Terminal 3 at Dubai Airport's Concourse C, The Emirates Lounge is down the far end of the concourse near gate C11, being about 25 minutes on foot from Emirates' business class and first class check-in areas at the airport's Chauffeur Drive drop-off point, which is below Concourse B.
As this is a combined business class and first class lounge, much like Emirates runs at overseas airports including in Australia, the entrance to the lounge features the familiar 'outstation' look, albeit here at Emirates' home hub...
... while inside, passengers are greeted by lofty ceilings with a view back into the main departure concourse...
... with some familiar design aspects as seen in many of the airline's overseas lounges, including Rolex clocks with world times, Sydney included...
... and although the lounge is largely rectangular, styled privacy dividers help separate the space into smaller areas for a more intimate feel:
In the lounge's far corner, there's also a smoking room, but beyond taking a quick snap, it's not a place I spent any time:
The Emirates Lounge in Concourse C is open 24/7, and with Emirates' separate Concourse C business class lounge currently closing daily from 10am until 10pm due to nearby construction works, this is a handy option to keep up your sleeve if your flight departs from this part of the airport.
- First class and business class passengers of Emirates
- Emirates Skywards Silver, Gold, Platinum and iO cardholders flying with Emirates
- Qantas Gold, Platinum, Platinum One and Chairman's Lounge members travelling with Emirates on a QF or EK flight number
- Qantas Club members travelling with Emirates on a QF codeshare flight number only
- Paying guests who purchase access at reception for US$136.50 (~A$189), reduced to US$105 (A$145) for all Skywards members and their guests, including entry-level Blue members.
As with all of Emirates' lounges in Dubai, it doesn't matter which gate or concourse your next flight is departing from – you're welcome to visit any lounge if you qualify for entry or choose to purchase access, so although your boarding pass might direct you to a particular concourse's lounge, you're free to explore.
That said, given this lounge's location, it probably wouldn't make sense to trek down here to the end of Concourse C, unless this is where your flight departs, given how long it would take to get back to the other gates.
Being a hybrid business class and first class lounge, there's no à la carte dining as you'd find in Emirates' dedicated Dubai first class lounges, but there's still a dining room, per se, where you can enjoy meals from the buffet:
An early morning visit found a variety of juices, yoghurts, breads and spreads...
... continuing with Western breakfast options such as scrambled eggs, sauces, baked beans and hash browns...
... along with a variety of local and international dishes, of which my favourite was the Middle Eastern fatayers – third dish from the left, offered with a cheese filling on the left or a tomato and onion filling on the right – which were delicious.
Chilled meats, yoghurts, cakes and sandwich roles are also on offer...
... and if you're in the mood for dessert, even first thing in the morning, the lounge has you more than covered:
Like the lounge, the bar is open 24/7 with a good variety of spirits...
... joined by beer, soft drinks, chilled Voss water (still and sparkling) and wine, and I was pleased to notice that the reds were chilled to 17°C – close to cellar temperature, without being too 'cold' – with the white wines stored separately at a lower temperature.
Speaking of Champagne, the house drop here is Moët & Chandon Brut Impérial NV, although for the Moët Rosé, Nectar Impérial or Grand Vintage cuvée, you'd need to visit Emirates' Moët & Chandon Champagne bar in the Concourse B business class lounge, which has a broader Champagne selection.
Separate to the main buffet counter, there's a small refreshment station offering fruit, non-alcoholic drinks and machine-made tea and coffee...
... while towards the end of the dining room, you'll find a staffed ice cream and sorbet bar, even in the mornings:
Being a quiet morning in the lounge, the staff occasionally wandered through to offer drinks and top-ups to seated travellers, which was appreciated.
Business travellers are catered for with a working centre at the far end of the lounge, although this can prove particularly sunny in the mornings...
... so power points are also available near most other seats – generally at the front of the cocktail tables topped by a lamp, as shown above.
WiFi here is lightning-fast with average download speeds of 90Mbps and average uploads of 87Mbps during my tests.
With time on your hands, there are plenty of places to relax, whether you're seeking a little sunlight to help combat any jet lag...
... want to watch TV or catch up on news and current events...
... plan to socialise – where you'll also find the flight information screens to monitor your departure, as boarding calls fortunately aren't made here (or there'd be no end to them)...
... are making just a brief stop and want to sit away from the direct sunlight...
... or want to use your time to catch up on some much-needed sleep in the semi-private relaxation zone at the opposite end of the space to the business centre, where there's likely to be less noise:
Overall, The Emirates Lounge here in Concourse C lacks the expanse of the Concourse A business class lounge – which is literally the size of the entire terminal, on its own dedicated floor – and the added extras of the Concourse B business class lounge, where there's barista-made coffee and the full Champagne bar.
With no à la carte dining for first class passengers as available in the dedicated Concourse A, B and C first class lounges, visiting this space also won't be a priority for first class flyers, who would be better-accommodated elsewhere.
So then, who would visit this lounge, and why?
Firstly, given the current opening hours of the separate, standalone Concourse C business class lounge, passengers visiting this part of the airport between 10am and 10pm daily would use this as their 'default' business class lounge when the other is closed, avoiding a trek back and forth between to Concourses B and C.
When the Concourse C business class lounge is indeed open, it can also get particularly busy in the mornings. There, I found it tricky to get a seat, but walking down here to the far end of the terminal found almost nobody in The Emirates Lounge, which made for a much more relaxing stay.
Because of that, it's a good option to keep in your back pocket if you'd otherwise use the Emirates business class lounges in Dubai – especially if you have a long transit and want to stretch your legs with a good walk in between flights – or if your flight departs from Concourse C, and you'd prefer to be close to your gate when it's time to take off.
Chris Chamberlin travelled to Dubai as a guest of Emirates.