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Review: Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai (Concourse A) Ricky November 7, 2019

Review: Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai (Concourse A)

Let’s catch up on the journey so far: we spent six hours in the Emirates First Class Lounge in Dubai Airport’s Concourse B before catching a six-hour flight in Emirates 777 New First Class to Geneva, and then caught the same plane immediately back in the very same swanky First Class suites. 

That flight dropped us off back in Dubai at the groggy hour of 6:40am. We got our passports stamped once again to enter the United Arab Emirates before catching the airport shuttle over to the Holiday Inn Express, where we proceeded to nap for the next six hours or so. After all, having been overcome with excitement during the entire round-trip Emirates New First Class journey, we had barely been able to get any sleep at all.

After taking advantage of the Holiday Inn Express’s generous 2pm late checkout, Jessy and I now made our way back to the airport, this time with all of our belongings in tow. Our flight to Toronto wouldn’t be departing until 3:30am, so we had just about 13 hours to kill. 

And despite not having been overly impressed with the First Class Lounge in Concourse B, a combination of fatigue and a lack of viable alternatives meant that we were planning to kill all 13 hours in the confines of the Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai, Concourse A.

In This Post

Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai (Concourse A) – Access

It wasn’t all smooth sailing, though. We returned to the same First Class check-in area where we had been the day before, collected our third and final boarding pass for Toronto, and dropped off our checked luggage. Then, we proceeded to the UAE exit immigration counters, but were stopped in our tracks by the agent there, who said we could only exit the UAE if our scheduled flight was in 12 hours or less!

After retreating to the Burger King for an hour or so, we eventually returned and were granted passage through to Concourse A of Dubai International Airport. From there, it was a quick ride up the elevators to the Emirates First Class Lounge, which occupies the entirety of the airside terminal’s highest floor.

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Entrance

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Entrance

We presented our documents at one of the many check-in desks, and were granted entry via the doorways behind the desks. For what it’s worth, the Emirates First Class Lounge is open 24/7 and can be accessed by passengers flying in Emirates First Class, as well as Emirates Skywards Platinum members. 

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Front desks

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Front desks

Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai (Concourse A) – Interior & Seating

Similar to the First Class Lounge in Concourse B, the Concourse A lounge also takes the form of a long hallway with several distinct zones branching off from both sides.

However, while the Concourse B lounge was an impressive size, this one was veritably gargantuan; indeed, it feels slightly unfair to even call this place a “lounge”, since it can more accurately be compared to an entirely separate airport terminal in itself. 

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Walkway

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Walkway

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Walkway

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Walkway

Seriously, it takes you a good five minutes or so to walk from one end of the lounge to the other, and the whole place is jam-packed with food stations, sit-down dining areas, nap zones, shower and restroom facilities, and many more features that would’ve felt totally unnecessary in any other airport lounge, but have found a nice home here in Emirates’s flagship First Class ground facility. 

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Walkway

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Walkway

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Overlooking the concourse

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Overlooking the concourse

All of the lounge’s bells and whistles are laid out across the huge corridor with a pleasing sense of symmetry, as is shown in the below Lounge Map:

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Lounge map

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Lounge map

Let’s go for a tour of the premises, then, roughly in the order of how we spent our 12 hours in the lounge before the flight back to Toronto.

Many types of seating options are scattered throughout the lounge, so that you’re never too far away from a place to sit down no matter where you find yourself in the overwhelmingly large space. There are a few rows of two-person seats along the hallways, interspersed with larger pockets of seating space every now and then.

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Seating area

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Seating area

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Seating area

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Seating area

The largest seating zones, however, would be found at the two ends of the lounge, where several dozen chairs and tables are arranged in a circular pattern underneath a patchwork of bright LED lights. Importantly, the lounge had a wealth of universal power ports among the seats. 

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Main seating area

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Main seating area

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Main seating area

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Main seating area

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Main seating area

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Main seating area

Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai (Concourse A) – Buffets

Near these twin seating zones on the far ends of the lounge, you’ll find some light buffet spreads, which consist of Arabic sweets, cheeses, finger foods, a small meze selection, and a few types of bread: focaccia and grissini, or as they’re more commonly known, breadsticks.

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Buffet spread

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Buffet spread

Emirates-First-Class-Lounge-Dubai-Concourse-A-30.JPG
Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Buffet spread
Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Bread selection

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Bread selection

Each of these buffet spreads also featured Arabic coffee (complete with the distinctive golden coffee pot, from which you could pour some coffee on your own), a premium tea selection, and a bartender who could whip up your drink of choice to sip on as you relax.

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Pastries and liquor

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Pastries and liquor

These mini-buffets were only one of many dining options. Similar to the Concourse B lounge, the Concourse A location also had Japanese, Mediterranean, and International food stations as well, where you could choose from some small buffet spreads, but mostly à la carte items, inspired by those cuisines.

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Global flavours

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Global flavours

The Japanese and Mediterranean food displays occupy their own little nooks along the lounge’s vast hallway…

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Japanese buffet spread

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Japanese buffet spread

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Mediterranean buffet spread

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Mediterranean buffet spread

…while the International spread is found within the main dining areas – again, there are two of these, positioned on either side of the lounge near the very end. 

At these dining areas, you have the option of helping yourself to the International buffet spread and eating at one of the nearby communal tables, or taking a seat at one of the formal dining tables to be served by a waiter. 

Finally, there are standalone beverage stations scattered at small intervals throughout the lounge, giving you a fix of your coffee, tea, yogurt, or Voss Water as you saunter from end to end – with some Arabic dates for good measure too.

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Beverage stations

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Beverage stations

Besides the unlimited food and drink, there’s plenty else in the Emirates First Class Lounge to keep you occupied.

Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai (Concourse A) – Duty Free Shop

Perhaps the most over-the-top feature, a symptom of the lounge’s incredible size, is that there is a full-scale duty free shop in the lounge itself. You could literally help yourself to a glass of premium liquor at the bar and then walk over to the duty free shop to buy a bottle to take with you! 

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Duty free shopping

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Duty free shopping

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Duty free shopping

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Duty free shopping

As if the duty free selection wasn’t varied enough to your taste, there’s also a separate Le Clos outlet that sells fine wines and spirits as well! Purveyors of expensive liquor, beware: the Emirates First Class Lounge is unlikely to have any mercy on you.

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Le Clos liquor store

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Le Clos liquor store

Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai (Concourse A) – Cigar Lounge

In addition to serving the discerning drinkers out there, the lounge also caters to the savvy smoker as well, offering an elegantly-decorated cigar lounge for all your huffing-and-puffing needs. I didn’t consider myself quite sophisticated enough to partake, but there definitely seemed to be a wide variety of cigars available for eager guests to sample. 

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Cigar lounge

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Cigar lounge

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Cigar selection

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Cigar selection

Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai (Concourse A) – Business Centre

After quickly walking the full length of the lounge, Jessy and I settled into one of the lounge’s business centres to get some work done for a few hours during the afternoon. These spaces have several dedicated workstations, some with Windows and iMac computers for guests to use.  

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Business centre

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Business centre

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Newspapers

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Newspapers

After finishing up my work by around 5pm, I was feeling rather exhausted, since I had barely gotten any sleep the previous night amid my excitement onboard Emirates 777 New First Class. Jessy was still working, so I decided to take a brief nap before going for dinner at the sit-down dining zone. 

Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai (Concourse A) – Nap Rooms

One of the advantages that the Concourse A lounge holds over its Concourse B counterpart is its nap rooms, which are spacious, dimly lit, and very suitable for getting some quick rest for a few hours. 

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Nap room

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Nap room

Upon entering the nap room, guests will find a counter stocked with Voss Water, which they may bring with them as a means of refreshment during their nap.

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Voss Water

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Voss Water

Then, there are a few dozen nap-chairs available, each with a pillow and light blanket at the seat. Lounge staff occasionally wander through the nap rooms to refresh the seats, although for the most part there’s very little movement around here, and napping guests can enjoy their rest in near-total peace and quiet.

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Nap chairs

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Nap chairs

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Nap chairs

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Nap chairs

I slept for about an hour and a half before waking up to find Jessy and go for dinner.

Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai (Concourse A) – Dining

It was around 6:30pm by this point, and the lounge, which had been virtually empty since we arrived in the mid-afternoon, was just beginning to see a steady trickle of guests flow in. Unlike most airports around the world, Dubai International Airport’s rush hour tends to be in the early hours of the morning (our flight to Toronto, for example, was departing at 3:30am), so the lounge only really starts to get busy during the evenings. 

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Sit-down dining

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Sit-down dining

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Sit-down dining

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Sit-down dining

We were presented with the dinner menu as we sat down, which was exactly the same as the Concourse B First Class Lounge. Having enjoyed my poke bowl from yesterday, I ordered another helping, along with a char-grilled wagyu burger. Jessy ordered the Caesar salad, and we also got a traditional cold meze selection to share.

Just like yesterday, the meal began with a glass of Emirates’s delightful mango juice. 

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Mango juice

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Mango juice

The simple yet tasty meze plate was served first, followed by the poke bowl and the Caesar salad. 

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Arabic meze

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Arabic meze

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Poke bowl

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Poke bowl

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Caesar salad

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Caesar salad

The wagyu burger was a real treat, and I savoured every bite of it alongside the thick-cut French fries. I loved that the dining service in Emirates First Class Lounge had reasonable portions for every dish, allowing guests to savour multiple items off the menu or simply have some light bites and save room for their onboard meal instead. 

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Wagyu burger

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Wagyu burger

After dinner, Jessy and I retreated to the various seating areas in the lounge, and I went ahead and explored several more of the lounge’s features. 

Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai (Concourse A) – Shower Rooms

In terms of wellness, the lounge has several shower rooms for you to freshen up before your flight – although keep in mind that if you’re travelling on Emirates A380 First Class, you may well want to save your shower for onboard. 😉

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Shower rooms

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Shower rooms

Indeed, that was exactly my plan, so I just asked the shower attendant if I could take a look at the shower rooms instead of actually taking a shower.

The shower rooms feature a sink, toilet, and an individual shower stall. They seemed nice enough for a quick rinse, although I’ve certainly seen more luxurious shower rooms in other airlines’ First Class Lounges around the world. 

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Shower room

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Shower room

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Shower room

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Shower room

Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai (Concourse A) – Other Facilities

I then stopped by the children’s play room, which is where you can drop off your kids to occupy themselves if you happen to be flying Emirates First Class with your little ones; adjacent to that is the games room, where I played a few games of FIFA on the PlayStation 4 terminal to pass the time. 

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Kids’ play room

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Kids’ play room

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Games room

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Games room

I should note that, similar to the Concourse B lounge, this one also features a Timeless Spa, although in this case the spa is actually outside the lounge itself by the entrance.

Jessy and I didn’t make sure of another spa treatment this time around, but if you’re spending time in the First Class Lounge in Terminal A, you’ll want to remember that you actually need to exit the lounge to visit the spa and get your complimentary 15-minute spa treatment. 

With boarding not scheduled until 2:30am, the remaining hours passed idly by in a haze of sitting around at the far end of the lounge, sipping on Arabic coffee, and snacking on sushi and miso soup from the Japanese food station. The friendly staff members milling around the lounge were always ready to take your order and serve you anything you needed.

And when the clock finally struck boarding hour, it was time to make use of what’s perhaps the Concourse A First Class lounge’s most impressive feature: the in-lounge boarding gates that lead you straight to the jet bridge! 

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Boarding gates

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Boarding gates

Indeed, the lounge has no less than twenty-four (24!) boarding gates positioned along all sides of the long rectangular space, with most of them concentrated at the farthest ends of the lounge. When a flight is ready to board, the gate agents will take up their positions by the gate and start to check-in the First Class passengers; otherwise, the gates mostly sit empty until their next use. 

We’d be boarding Emirates Flight 241 from Gate A12, one of the gates in the middle section of the lounge.

We briefly gathered in the seating area adjacent to the gate with several other Toronto-bound passengers, and then, after a quick boarding pass check, we were invited to take the dedicated elevators down a few levels…

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Boarding gate A12

Emirates First Class Lounge (Concourse A) – Boarding gate A12

…to find ourselves within the secure area of the gate, only a few steps away from the jet bridge leading to the Emirates A380 that’d be bringing us to Toronto!

Emirates Airbus A380

Emirates Airbus A380

Conclusion

The Emirates First Class Lounge in Dubai’s Concourse A makes for a seriously impressive ground experience. 

No other airline in the world can match the sheer size of this lounge, which is larger than many entire airport terminals around the world, and as a result, the lounge is filled to the brim with amenities and features to occupy your time, from the top-notch food and drink to the comfortable nap zones to the slightly outlandish duty free lineup.

Boarding your plane straight from the lounge is also a unique experience that few other First Class Lounges around the world offer, and in this regard the Concourse A lounge definitely stands head-and-shoulders above its counterpart in Concourse B as well. 

Having said that, despite being blown away by the size of the lounge at first, I eventually found it to be a little sterile as time went on, and I felt that the huge distances between various parts of the lounge took away from the sense of intimacy I’d ordinarily expect from First Class Lounges – especially after spending nearly 12 hours on the premises. In my view, Emirates’s First Class ground experience is worth a few hours of your time to sample, but I probably wouldn’t recommend arriving at the airport more than, say, four or five hours in advance. 

Instead, save your excitement for the onboard experience, because as I had experienced on the 777 and was about to experience now on the A380, that’s where Emirates truly shows its world-class colours. 

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1 Comment
  1. Avatar
    bingo

    I really enjoyed this one. Great write-up. Out of curiosity, you booked this via Alaska, correct. What was the total points usage? I don’t recall any recent changes, but I’m looking at a similar flight with Emirates in F, hopefully.

Ricky

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