We landed in Dubai from Colombo around 6AM and I was greeted at the gate by a representative we booked through a separate service as benefit of the American Express Centurion Card. Emirates doesn’t typically offer an escort service to the lounge.
We were delirious from the middle of the night flight, and a stressful rescue of Jason’s phone which managed to fall between the seat and the window. An engineer had to come and completely take apart the seat, which he managed to do in about 15 minutes.
This might be obvious for some travelers, but the Dubai airport is ginormous. I was so thankful to have an escort because we had to clear security, take a tram, and several elevators to reach the First Class lounge. If you don’t have an escort, I would definitely recommend researching ahead of time how you plan to get from point A to B.
Check-in was quick and easy. We asked about the complimentary spa services, which is actually located a floor below the First Class Lounge and next to the Business Class Lounge. We immediately went down to reserve a service, but to our surprise all the appointments were taken before our flight. This was disappointing given we were flying First Class and had several hours before our flight.
We returned to the First Class lounge, and I was blown away by the sheer size of it. It is less like a lounge and more like an entire level of the airport dedicated entirely to passengers flying in First Class. It provided an exorbitant amount of seating options and space for passengers to spread out.
We started with breakfast, so we made our way to the fine dining restaurant. On our way, we reserved 2 shower suites about 40 minutes before our flight was scheduled to take off.
When we arrived at the restaurant, I was surprised at how busy it was but we were seated right away. Multiple servers attend to you and we were offered menus, newspapers and asked for our drink order right away.
The food was delivered quickly and the service was very attentive, maybe overly attentive. The food was good, but not great.
After breakfast, we wanted to check out the wine shop, which is supposedly open 24/7 but was it closed.
When we returned to the shower suites at our reserved time, we were told they were all full. We had to wait about 20 minutes, which started to really creep into our boarding time. Eventually, we were both able to get into a shower suite, which is such a great benefit before a 16 hour flight. The products weren’t my favorite and didn’t scream luxury to me.
We boarded “directly” from the lounge, which is definitely a nice feature. Unfortunately, there was an extra security check that required first class passengers to go back into the gate area with everyone else, so it quickly lost the benefit of boarding directly to the plane.
Overall, this is a very unique First Class lounge because it spans an entire terminal rather than a dedicated space. Overall, I was underwhelmed. The service was mediocre, the food was ok not great, and the amenities weren’t luxe. In my opinion, the elements of a First Class lounge that truly make it feel like a First Class experience is personalized service, not having to wait in line for amenities (showers, dining, shopping are available), luxury amenities and exceptional food. Most of or all of those elements exist in the Lufthansa First Class Terminal or the Private Suite experience at LAX, but I didn’t find that Emirates could do this at scale in their First Class lounge. Unfortunately, the whole experience felt a little more like business class than first class. It seems like Emirates is focused on updated their First Class cabin, so I’d love to see them update their First Class lounge as well.