Dubai International is one of the world’s busiest travel hubs and was voted 3rd best airport in the world in 2017 by Condé Nast Traveler readers. It is also the fifth-busiest airport in the world by passenger traffic and the sixth-busiest cargo airport in the world. It is the gateway to the incredible hotels in Dubai and we have reviewed the best hotel club lounges in Dubai and the best beach hotels for families in Dubai to help you decide where to stay. We also reveal the secret to getting the best deal at luxury hotels, once you get to Dubai so that you not only fly but also stay in style.
Dubai International airport also has the world’s largest airport terminal (for now), Terminal 3, with over 1,713,000 m2 (18,440,000 sq ft) of space. This terminal comprises two concourses: Concourse A and Concourse B. Both concourses feature Business and First Class lounges. This Terminal is used solely for Emirates and Qantas flights. It has 11 levels, complete with separate levels for First Class and Business lounges.
Terminals 1 and 3 are connected by a transit area, and you can move freely between them after security. All international flights (except Emirates and Qantas) arrive in Terminal 1. Terminal 2 is on the other side of the airport and serves regional destinations and low-cost airlines, including Dubai’s budget airline, flydubai.
Short-stay and long-stay parking are available at all terminals. Terminals 1 and 2 offer economy and premium options. Premium parking spaces are closer to the terminals. You can also book your transfer from Dubai Airport with a discount but still in luxury.
Free Airport Lounge Access
If you have not paid for Business Class or First Class, you can still access several brilliant lounges at Dubai International Airport for a fee or for free if you have a Priority Pass. Priority Pass Lounges at Dubai Airport include Ahlan Business Class Lounge in Terminal 1 Concourse D, the Marhaba Lounge in Terminal 1 Concourse D, the SkyTeam Lounge in Terminal 1 Concourse D, the Marhaba Lounge in Terminal 2, the Marhaba Lounge in Terminal 3 Concourse A, sleep ‘n fly – The New Airport Sleep Concept by YAWN in Terminal 3 Concourse A, Ahlan Lounge at B, Terminal 3 Concourse B, the Marhaba Lounge Terminal 3 Concourse B, Marhaba Lounge Terminal 3 Concourse C.
Paid entrance is also sometimes possible using cash or a Priority Pass which comes free with the Amex Platinum card (contact our concierge for a referral for extra free bonus points). You can also and you can also access most Priority Pass lounges for free using the free Amex Gold Card with its two free Lounge Club passes.
Below I outline the very best airline lounges at Dubai Airport:
1. Emirates First Class Lounge
The Emirates First Class Lounge in Terminal 3 is located in Concourse A and features one of the most amazing spaces in any airport. Facilities include shower spas with towels, luxury toiletries, and hairdryers. This is probably the best airline lounge at Dubai Airport.
All Emirates flights arrive and depart from Emirates Terminal 3. The Emirates First Class lounge in Dubai is one of the most spacious and unique lounges in the world. The lounge is very luxurious and spans the length of the terminal. Crucially it offers direct access to most gates with multi-level boarding. You enter the lounge via the hugely impressive reception area, with truly massive and hugely impressive roman style pillars.
Beyond the reception, you reach a gallery full of high-end, duty-free boutique shops (Tiffany&Co, Bvlgari, and so on). From there, two walkways run along both sides of the lounge, offering views of the terminal’s ground floor and with seating corners along the way, most of them centered around the gates. At the far side of the lounge, the two walkways converge into the main seating area, which features an impressive chandelier.
The level of bling in this lounge is somewhat overwhelming, and there are plenty of seats, comparatively few First Class passengers. To say this lounge is impressive is an understatement, and there is no way that First Class passengers won’t feel very privileged to experience this lounge.
Every seating area in the First Class lounge comes with its own food station, with food varying from light snacks, sandwiches, and sushi, to desserts, coffee tables, and cheese spreads. The main restaurant is located halfway to the lounge and offers a la carte dining and an extensive buffet with an open kitchen that creates a sense of intimacy.
During my visit at around lunchtime, the food tasted superb and included:
Starter: foie gras terrine, served with fig and walnut chutney.
Entree: pan-fried Red Snapper fillet, served with quinoa, grilled courgette, and a trio of Mediterranean-flavoured purées.
Emirates’ First Class passengers also enjoy complimentary treatments at the Timeless Spa, located adjacent to the First Class lounge. The lounge also features a business center, a cigar room, a wine cellar, and two sleeping rooms (each featuring dozens of day beds).
The lounge has direct gate access. When it was time to board, a staff member scanned my boarding pass, and I took the elevator down to the jet bridge, which offered some terrific views of my flight to Amsterdam on Emirates A380 in First.
2. Emirates Business Class Lounge
Emirates Business Class Lounge can be found in Concourse B and is a superb Business Class lounge but is not a patch on the Emirates First Class lounge reviewed above. Within the Emirates Business lounge, you can enjoy a Costa Coffee, Moët, and Chandon champagne and wonderful canapés crafted by Michelin-star chefs.
Although conservative and functional in design, the airline’s lounge at Dubai International Airport is vast and impressive. In fact, you can see the immense size in the photos in our full review of the Emirates Business Class Lounge. This airport lounge overlooks the main concourse and its shops. It’s so huge that you will have no problems in finding a quiet spot – while I was there, many of the seats were empty, and the lounge felt incredibly spacious.
International cuisine is available from various (warm and cold) buffet stations, as well as Moët and Chandon Champagne. Guilt-free snacking is available from the Health Club, where there’s a range of delicious treats, including Mediterranean wraps, hummus, Scottish smoked salmon, and more.
The shower rooms are really good here and ideal for a wash between flights. Treatments can also be booked at the lounge’s Timeless Spa. There is an additional functional office space for those working as they travel. Evidently, free high-speed Wi-Fi is available. Crucially, the lounge gives direct access to most gates.
For more details of the excellent Emirates Business Class product, which I traveled on after spending some hours in this airport lounge, read my full review of Emirates Airbus Business Class Dubai to Sydney.
We have compared the Emirates First vs. Business Class lounges to share the differences between these lounges so that you know what you are missing out on.
3. British Airways Lounge
British Airways recently launched a really nice new Galleries Lounge for First and Club World (Business Class) passengers in the new Concourse D at Dubai International Airport. Stocked with hot food, drinks, and snacks, the British Airways Lounge is a stylish haven with its own business center. Passengers traveling in British Airways First Class can unwind at the sleek Concorde Bar.
The seating area features a communal table and private recliners with footrests and power outlets at every seat. The view is out onto the airport’s shopping area. There is a selection of snacks and alcoholic drinks. Unlike Lufthansa, the British Airways lounge does not offer showers or hot meals.
To enjoy a higher level of amenities and services, you’ll want to be flying British Airways First Class or be an Executive Club Gold member, or a Concorde Room cardholder to access the First Class lounge, which features a Concorde Bar (the first of these elite rooms which opened in Singapore Changi). The private room features black Nero marble and European oak flooring, with a better food and beverage selection and extra privacy.
The Concorde Bar operates just like the Concorde rooms in London Heathrow, New York JFK, and Washington, DC – available exclusively to British Airways top customers. Even though the new British Airways lounge doesn’t match up with the Emirates ground experience, it will help make travel to Dubai much more appealing for Oneworld customers.
4. Al Majlis Lounges
You can access the Al Majlis lounges irrespective of your class of travel out of Dubai Airport. Al Majlis has 25 VIP lounges, divided between Terminal 3 and concourses B, C, and D, featuring flat screens and Wi-Fi zones.
If you book into an Al Majlis Lounge, you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner plus free drinks as well as a dedicated BMW series 7 cars latest model transportation between the Al Majlis terminal and departure gates and arriving flights. They also offer a dedicated Dubai Duty-Free outlet, VIP parking, and drop-off at the curbside for quick access and prayer rooms for men and women.
There is also an Al Majlis Arrival, Departure, and Transit at a VIP facility separate from the public terminals. All travel formalities, including check-in, immigration, and baggage, are handled by a personal assistant to make your life easier.
Al Majlis reservation service is available 24/7, and customers may request or cancel services or make amendments through email (firstname.lastname@example.org). The reservation team consists of two reservation attendants and is responsible for promptly receiving and replying to all Al Majlis reservation-related queries. Although service requests may be made 24/7, a minimum of 24 hours lead time is required for all service requests. Email: email@example.com
Rates for Al Majlis Lounge access are currently 1500د.إ AED per adult passenger and 500د.إ AED per child age between 3 and 12 years old. Infants below 3 years are free of charge. A 5% VAT on the total amount of the reservation.
5. Sky Team Lounge
The Sky Team Lounge at Dubai Airport is a huge lounge at more than 960 square meters in size. The look is contemporary yet relaxed. Located in Concourse D, the lounge comes with refreshments and shower facilities, as well as bar services, TVs, and a well-stocked selection of newspapers and magazines. You also get free Wi-Fi and magazines as well as a children’s play area.
First and Business Class passengers of Aeroflot, AirFrance, China Eastern, Kenya Airways, KLM, Korean Air, MEA, and Saudi Airlines can access this lounge.
6. Marhaba Lounges
Whatever your airline or class of travel, you can relax in style at Marhaba’s lounges, located in every terminal at DXB. With locations across Terminals 1, 2, and 3, the Marhaba Lounge Dubai is the most accessible Dubai airport lounge. There’s hot and cold food available in the buffet area along with drinks to help yourself to and full bar service.
The fully-equipped Business Center provides complimentary Wi-Fi, while the Marhaba Lounge also offers an exclusive Meet & Assist service. This unique service offers a speedy clearance through arrivals or departures to help with transfers, baggage, and family travel, ensuring a swift, smooth, and safe passage through the airport.
You can access the Marhaba lounges using your Priority Pass.
7. Dubai International Business Class Lounges
Ideal if you’re traveling Business Class on an airline that doesn’t have its own dedicated lounge, or you hold one of a range of approved cards. Facilities include a spacious luggage area, six workstations with high-speed internet connection, wireless internet facility, flight information screens, two shower stalls with amenities, one sleeping room with shower, and smoking and quiet rooms.
8. Lounge @ B
You’ll have to be departing from Terminal 3 to access this lounge, but your flight class doesn’t matter. Both Economy and Business Class flyers can access this lounge. Pre-purchase a lounge pass or use your lounge membership program to get in.
This lounge is one of two Swissport executive lounges At Dubai Airport. Lounge @ B has free-to-use massage chairs and complimentary shower facilities, international newspapers, and magazines, along with luxurious seating and free high-speed internet.
Hot and cold drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) are free, along with hot and cold food items from the continental buffet area. Vegetarian options are also available.
9. Dubai International Business Class Lounge
This Swissport lounge is located in Terminal 1. The Dubai International Business Class Lounge is spacious, with complimentary Wi-Fi, a business area, complimentary food and drink, and showers at cost.
There’s also a sleeping room with shower, smoking and quiet rooms, and six workstations with a high-speed internet connection and a spacious luggage area.
10. Ahlan Lounge
The Ahlan Lounge is located in Terminal 1 Concourse D of Dubai Airport. This lounge can be found opposite the SkyTeam Lounge and is operated by the Dubai International Hotel.
Dubai Concourse D in Terminal 1 is also the terminal that British Airways uses. In fact, most other long-haul airlines use this terminal (excluding Emirates). DragonPass, but not Priority Pass, will get you access to the Ahlan First Class Lounge.
First and Business Class passengers of Jet Airways, Cathay Pacific, and Singapore Airlines can also access this lounge.
This lounge is excellent and feels luxurious with free Wi-Fi, leather chairs with footrests, a dining area, and a well-stocked bar, as well as a hot and cold food buffet. There is also a Business area, a Kids’ area, and plenty of newspapers and magazines.
11. Gulf Air Lounge
Gulf Air Lounge
Gulf Air passengers can use the Gulf Air airline lounge in Concourse D with business facilities, showers, and a buffet with hot and cold food, as well as complimentary drinks.
12. Lufthansa Lounge
The Lufthansa Lounge at Dubai airport is separated into Business and First Class areas. With modern-style passengers flying on the German airline, Lufthansa can enjoy comfortable seating, dining facilities, and bar services. This lounge also has shower facilities for free.
13. First Class Lounge
The First Class Lounge by Dubai International Airport is located in Terminal 1, D. We don’t have any further information on this lounge.
14. Plaza Premium
Plaza Premium has a new lounge in Terminal 3 (Concourse A) of Dubai International Airport. This is the first and only Plaza Premium lounge at Dubai airport.
This is a large lounge with 1,260 square meters of space. The lounge looks pretty smart from the photos, with seats that end at the edge of a balcony to one side. Beyond the railings, the whole wall of the airport is floor to ceiling windows, so the views should be great.
The lounge offers comfortable seating and a delectable array of Arabic, Asian, and International cuisines freshly prepared in the kitchen. Brewed tea and coffee, soft drinks, and alcoholic beverages from our well-stocked Aerobar are served throughout the day.
Plaza Premium Lounge Dubai is also equipped with free Wi-Fi, dedicated smoking rooms, shower rooms with quality amenities, and four Private Family Suites for an extra fee. The Family Suites come with butler service and can accommodate a maximum of 6 guests (adults and children inclusive), ideal for families and business travelers who prefer their own space and privacy. We also have a specially designed Kids’ Play Area with sustainable wooden toys for our little travelers.
The lounge currently costs Dhs 199 (£41 GBP) per person for access. You can get free access to this lounge via a Priority Pass, or take out the Amex Platinum which comes with a free unlimited Priority Passes for 4 people. The free for a year, Amex Gold credit card gives you two free Lounge Club passes, enabling you to enter this lounge free of charge. Get an extra referral bonus for the Amex Gold and Amex Platinum credit card here.
In April 2016, I flew First Class on an Emirates A380 Airbus A380 from Dubai (DXB) to Amsterdam (AMS). Pre-departure, the lounge I was given access to was the Concourse A Emirates First Class Lounge at Dubai International Airport. Read More.
British Airways has launched a new Galleries Lounge for First and Club World passengers in the new Concourse D at Dubai International Airport. The seating area features a communal table and private recliners with foot rests, along with power outlets… Read More.
Emirates is a world-class airline, but which are the best Emirates lounges at Dubai International airport, and is it worth paying to use the Business and First Class lounges? The best lounge is obviously the First Class lounge at Dubai… Read More.
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