Family facilities: 7.5/10
After check in at the dedicated Business and First Class terminal I was excited to check out the Emirates business class lounge.
In the interest of doing a proper review I didn’t do any prior research to try and get that unexpected feeling that most travellers have upon entering the lounge. I was hoping for the wow factor, however, I was extremely let down by the lounge in almost all regards.
It’s actually hard to call it a lounge, given that it is basically a whole mezzanine floor of the airport looking down on the rest of the terminal below. It is a behemoth with many different zones which can only be an attempt to add a degree of intimacy but it fails on all accounts. Furniture is relatively worn, carpets look cheap and there is simply no premium feel whatsoever.
There are a number of buffet areas all serving much the same food. A number of Indian and Arabic dishes along with fruit platters, muffins, small rolls and breads. None of it looks especially appealing and there is an open kitchen where you can see the meals being prepared, but it really feels more like a food court than a business class lounge.
On the plus side, there is an excellent children’s area complete with its’ own buffet featuring hot dogs, donuts and Hagan Dazs ice cream. Around the corner from there is the play area which has a 2 player Hummer game and a Hello Kity ride, the kids you put $2 into at a shopping centre. It was somewhat disappointing to see no additional toys or facilities in the room, compared to other facilities I’ve seen at Etihad, Qantas and Air NZ lounges in various places. A TV with some shows looping wouldn’t go astray. There is also an ‘E-Zone’ which had 5 x PS3 and Xbox 360 terminals, 4 of which were broken and the whole room showed a lot of wear and tear.
There is free Wi-Fi, a good selection of drinks and plenty of power outlets. But those practical things hardly get the blood pumping, what I’m looking for in a business class lounge is an experience and it’s just not there. It’s sterile and the Emirates branding does nothing for me and is feeling cheap and dated. Perhaps Emirates save luxury for the First Class lounge and I can see why it is important to keep First Class relevant but that’s hard to justify given that Emirates aren’t exactly the cheapest business class airline going around and their major competition for transit flights have far better lounges.
My only tip when you arrive is to head straight to the back of the lounge, as far as you can go. There lies the nicest lounge area, featuring the same food as at other buffet areas. Fortunately when I got onboard the 777-300ER to Doha the experience to a significant upswing.