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May 4, 2015 / oneworld82

Emirates Dubai First Class Lounge

Emirates has three first class lounges at DXB – One for each section (A,B,C) of the terminal. The newest and most famous one is in Section A, an equivalent one is in section B, and a smaller one is located in section C.

My plane landed in the middle part of the terminal, so I headed to the “B” section lounge. Now, I am not sure how it compares with the “A” section one, but this lounge is big. Comparing it with pictures I found online, it looks like it’s a little more understated, but overall it’s very comparable – bar the absence of quiet room (unless I missed it) and cigar bar. Check in was rather straightforward, and the attendant informed me that my flight would leave from section “C”, about 20 minutes’ walk from where I was now. He advised that Emirates had a lounge much closer to my departure gate, but that I was welcome to use the current lounge as well.

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The lounge is big, spanning an entire floor in almost all its width. There are self-service buffet areas scattered throughout the lounge, with light bites and refreshments. On the right hand side after entering stands the quiet area, an open space section with plenty of comfortable sofas where to sit. That is located next to the Timeless Spa, where First Class passengers get a variety of complimentary treatments. Since I am a sucker for spas, I went to book a back massage, and I was told to come back in about a hour.

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So, I wandered around the lounge. I am not sure how I felt about it. It’s big for sure, and it offers plenty of privacy and areas where to relax. But it is so big to become disorienting. You have to walk quite a bit to go from the entrance to the main dining area, for instance, which is not the best if you’re carrying luggage with you. And from the dining area it’s another bit of a walk to get, for instance, to the showers.

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Also, the lounge ends being so big to feel impersonal. Don’t get me wrong: it’s very well appointed and attendants are at every corner waiting to please customers; but it misses character. Lufthansa First Class Terminal, if you ask me, offers a much better overall experience.

In any case, I proceeded to the restaurant to check the food out. Upon seeing me standing by the entrance, one of the waitresses came greeting me and offered me a table, together with a menu and something to drink.

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The restaurant area looks very nice, airy, and it features a nice buffet and an extensive a-la-carte dining menu. As you can imagine, I wasn’t exactly hungry at this point, but I was certainly in the mood for something nice. I hence opted for the heart of palm salad as “cleansing” measure, and I then went for some duck breast.

The salad was brought out in about 10 minutes. I have mixed feelings about it, especially because of the weird, gelatinous dressing at the bottom of the plate. The hearts of palm were good, but overall all the ingredients did not go too well together, and the dish had something missing.

The waitress offered me some wine with my lunch, and I first opted for the Australian pinot noir, which was nasty – I suppose because they left the bottle open and sitting for too long. The other option was a Bordeaux, which was better but still nothing to write home about.

The main course was much better. The duck breast was tender and flavorful, but the side coming with it was somewhat odd (as it seemed to have little bits of meat together with the vegetables, giving it an unlikely taste).

Overall, the meal wasn’t great. Perfectly edible, but not on par with Etihad, or Qantas, or Lufthansa lounges. The only great thing about the food was the presentation – excellent overall.

It was not time for my massage, and so I proceeded to the spa. After checking in, my 15 minutes back massage started. The massage was not that great. It was painful more than relaxing, and did not leave me feeling revitalized but it let me somewhat sore. There is no pleasing me today at this lounge.

About one hour before my flight, I decided to leave the lounge and proceed to the “C” section of the terminal,  to be closer to my departure gate and to check the First Class lounge there. This lounge is much smaller than the one I had just come from, but it had a similar décor and had an extensive view over the tarmac. It was laid out over two floors, with the restaurant on the ground level and a seating area with a self-service bar on the second floor, together with a nice quiet room with lounging chairs, eye shades, and blankets. I had a carrot juice and I browsed the internet for a bit, before napping for a few minutes in the quiet room (the chairs are very comfortable). Yet, time to board approached quickly, and at 3.20p I proceeded to my gate for the final leg of my journey to Nairobi.

Overall, I was disappointed with the two lounges I tried here at DXB. While I am sure that the lounge in the “A380” section of the terminal be better, I do not understand the discrepancies in terms of quality and offerings among the three lounges. That was rather disappointing. Also, the whole concept of having a lounge spanning an entire floor is, in my mind, silly and detract from instead of adding to the overall experience. The food was overall decent but underwhelming (especially counting that there is a fully staffed kitchen preparing food made to order), and the spa possibly the worse lounge spa I have been so far to. While not bad and still glitzy, Emirates could definitely do the ground experience better. But, after all, this just means that not even Emirates is perfect.

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