Dubai is home to no less than seven Emirates lounges, but no doubt one of the busiest is the Emirates business class lounge in Dubai Airport's Concourse B, catering for over 1,500 business class passengers, mid-tier frequent flyers and even Qantas Club members.
With barista coffee, an exclusive Champagne bar and plenty of natural light, we put Emirates' buzzing, recently-refurbished business class lounge to the test.
Location & Impressions
If beginning your journey in Dubai and arriving at the airport via Emirates' complimentary Chauffeur Drive service, clear passport control and security through the dedicated premium area – conveniently in Terminal 3 Concourse B where this lounge is located – and take the lift upstairs, where you'll see clear signage pointing to this lounge:
If you're stuck in economy and arrived at the airport the 'normal' way, or if you've arrived into Dubai on one flight and are connecting onto another, clear the usual formalities and follow the same signs once you emerge in the terminal concourse.
When you're in the right place, it's hard to miss the entrance:
Inside, there's plenty of natural light throughout the space along with views over the boarding gates below...
... and speaking of space, this lounge is big: clocking in at over 900 square metres with a variety of zones, which you'll discover as you continue to explore.
It doesn't feel like a 'holding pen' as such, but the lounge was busy before my mid-morning flight to Brisbane... really busy, which meant quite a trek until I found a vacant seat.
Because it is Emirates' most centrally-located lounge in Dubai, this one does always tend to be the busiest, but the layout helps to break the lounge up into zones and separate areas:
Among them, a quiet space, a Champagne lounge, a business zone and more, with directional signs throughout to help get your bearings.
Many of the signs here also offer maps in case you're having trouble finding something:
- First class and business class passengers flying with Emirates and Qantas
- Qantas Gold, Platinum, Platinum One and Chairmans Lounge frequent flyers travelling with Emirates or Qantas
- Qantas Club members when their next onward flight is booked on a QF flight number, including codeshare flights operated by Emirates
- Emirates Skywards Gold, Platinum and iO cardholders flying with Emirates or Qantas
- Emirates Skywards Silver members flying with Emirates or on a Qantas codeshare flight
- Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald frequent flyers when travelling on a Qantas flight with a QF flight number only
Not covered by the list above? Skywards Blue members can purchase access at the door for US$105 (A$131.10), while non-frequent flyers can also buy entry for US$136.50 (A$170.45), including VAT.
However, if you happen to be a Priority Pass member – such as packaged with high-end cards like the AMEX Platinum Charge Card and Westpac Altitude Black – that membership could grant you access to the Marhaba Lounge and 'Ahlan Lounge at B' in the same concourse, so consider those options too.
Need a morning coffee hit before your onward flight? There's a Costa Coffee counter near the main entrance for that barista-made latte...
... with a number of small buffet counters dotted throughout the lounge for snacks and lighter bites...
... and for the calorie conscious, a dedicated 'health hub' in the far-left corner.
That's where you'll find a variety of fresh fruit...
... healthy smoothies and salads...
... and plenty of chilled water to stay hydrated, with dining tables nearby:
There's a main buffet area in the centre of the lounge for a broader selection of hot and cold food, but this area was incredibly busy with a small queue just to get near the food, so while I enjoyed a few bites before tucking into a more substantial meal on board, we don't have any photos of the space to share.
But on the beverage front, there are several tended bars throughout the lounge with a selection of beer, wine and spirits...
... joined by many self-serve beverage counters, all of which feature Moët & Chandon Impérial – the brand's entry-level, non-vintage Champagne...
... and in the far corner of the lounge, a dedicated Moët & Chandon Champagne bar.
That's where you'll find Moët & Chandon Rosé Impérial, Nectar Impérial and Grand Vintage 2008 on top of the entry-level drop as found elsewhere in the lounge: you can try them all, have a glass of your favourite or even enjoy a matching canapé with your wine.
As the Champagne is actually better here than in Emirates' first class lounges – which pour only the Moët & Chandon Impérial (NV) – high flyers with ample time before they depart might choose to visit this business class lounge for a glass or two of the upgraded Champagne, before retreating to the first class lounge.
When your time in Dubai calls for productivity, there are plenty of tables which you can commandeer as a makeshift office...
... but finding power points can be a little harder: not because there aren't any here, but just because the lounge is so busy, that often the seats closest to power outlets are taken first.
My trick is to hang out near the Champagne bar – not only as there's Champagne, but as it's the furthest point inside from the lounge entrance, many travellers simply settle down when they spot the first spare seat along the way, leaving this space for those 'in the know'.
There are also power points tucked away under each of the gold tables at the bar and at many of the surrounding seats too, which, as it's a quieter area, are also easier to snap up.
As you'd expect, free WiFi is available regardless of where you sit – you'll find the password on signs throughout the lounge – although with so many users connected at the same time, the speeds can vary considerably.
Across multiple tests during my visit, I measured downloads between 18.9Mbps and 44.2Mbps, uploads between 3.15Mbps and a staggering 90.5Mbps, and ping speeds ranging from 6ms to 32ms.
In simpler English, the connection was more than usable for web browsing, sending and receiving large files and for watching HD video, even when the WiFi was at its slowest, which is no easy achievement in a lounge catering to over 1,500 people.
Because most Emirates flights offer inflight Internet access, there isn't the usual rush to sync your email inbox while in transit as there can be with other airlines, which hopefully means you can spend less of your lounge time working and more of it relaxing.
Whether you go wandering through the lounge to admire the artwork and sculptures...
... kick back while watching TV...
... put your feet up at one of the day beds or visit the user-pays day spa...
... devour some reading material...
... swing by the smoking area...
... socialise with fellow travellers...
... or stop by that Champagne bar...
... the choice is entirely yours.
Just note that boarding announcements aren't made here: the onus is on you to make it to your gate, so keep an eye on the flight information screens as it gets closer to departure time.
Shower suites are available too, but there were long lines for these as well – meaning that travellers with shorter transit times may not be able to squeeze one in.
Chris Chamberlin travelled to Dubai as a guest of Emirates.