Is this Emirates Lounge the best in the world?

Could this be the best First Class lounge in the world?

Is this Emirates Lounge the best in the world?

A grand entrance. Photo: Luc Wiesman / DMARGE

When one thinks of the ultimate layover, few places hold a candle to Dubai, a veritable mecca for the discerning traveller, thanks to its sprawling spaces, seamless transit experiences, and decadent opportunities for retail therapy… not to mention lounges that rival five-star resorts.

During our most recent venture to the annual Watches & Wonders event in Switzerland, I took it upon myself to test the opulent waters of the Emirates First Class Lounge at Dubai International’s Terminal 3.

Flight: EK83 – Disguised under a Qantas (QF) flight code—because who doesn’t like to squeeze every ounce of value from those precious status credits to retain Platinum.

Access: You must be flying First Class with Emirates or have Emerald status with Oneworld.

The moment I stepped through those doors, the typical airport chaos was replaced by a symphony of service that would put many a concierge to shame.

I was met by a quintet of Emirates staff who expedited my entry with the swiftness of a pit crew at the Monaco Grand Prix, making any regular airport check-in process look pedestrian in comparison.

The Power Of The Shower

Photo: Luc Wiesman/DMARGE

First on my agenda was a much-needed visit to the showers. Here lay nine cubicles, each a temple of cleanliness, stocked with a bevy of toiletries that would make your dopp kit blush — plush towels, high-end toothbrushes, and more.

It’s a welcome sanctuary where the weary traveller can wash away the grime that anyone who regularly enjoys international travel will be all too familiar with. I thank the cleaner on hand and I skip to breakfast smelling like a rose…

Culinary Delights, Day & Night

Photo: Luc Wiesman/DMARGE

Dining options presented the very best kind of moral dilemma. The smaller, more intimate restaurant offers a laid-back ambience and unrivalled level of personal attention from staff, while its larger counterpart serves up a feast fit for royalty.

Breakfast pancakes are cloud-like confections that we cannot recommend strongly enough. The sirloin steak is a far sturdier affair that any committed carnivore should try. Ask for fries with your steak too.

Plus, spotting celebrities like Roberto Carlos or Joseph Kosinski casually dining nearby adds a sprinkle of star power to the meal…

A Sneaky Sneaker Revival

Photo: Luc Wiesman/DMARGE

For those whose travel-trodden footwear has seen better days, the shoe shine service is nothing short of miraculous. My Dior sneakers were returned in such immaculate condition that I half wondered if they’d been replaced by new ones under my very nose.

In Dubai, nothing is out of the question…

Catch A Quick Nap On Long Layovers

Photo: Luc Wiesman / DMARGE

In a welcome acknowledgement of the oft-overlooked needs of jet-lagged, ‘quiet rooms’ offer respite for anyone who needs to catch up on their Zs without resorting to the abominable awkwardness of public airport napping.

Why Get Up? The Emirates Team Will Come To You

Photo: Luc Wiesman / DMARGE

If lounging is your strategy for layover survival, the Emirates lounge caters to your inertia with a QR code service that brings an array of dining options right to your seat. Why stretch your legs when you can stretch your palate instead?

Privacy Partitioned To Perfection

Photo: Luc Wiesman / DMARGE

The design of the lounge cleverly carves out private nooks from the larger expanse, ensuring that every guest can find their own quiet corner. Whether you’re seeking solitude or a confidential chat, the layout accommodates all.

Kid’s Corner That’s Perfect For A Man-Child Like Me

Daytona, baby! Photo: Luc Wiesman / DMARGE

Tucked away in a distant corner of the expansive lounge is a games room — a considerate nod to both families travelling with kids and those young at heart. Armed with Sega Daytona arcade games, it’s a space that beckons with the allure of nostalgia. And come on, a Daytona machine is just awesome.

A Free Spa To Maximise Your Serenity

Photo: Luc Wiesman / DMARGE

Emirate’s specialised spa offers a very welcome pit stop for those battered by endless hours of air travel. Complimentary 15-minute massages provide a brief but blissful escape. Swift service ensures minimal wait time, allowing more travellers to enjoy a touch of pampering without the delays that all too often come to characterise our time in and around airports…

A Global Gazette For Your Reading Pleasure

Photo: Luc Wiesman / DMARGE

With newspapers and magazines from across the globe, staying informed is easy. This array of reading material will cater to everyone’s interests, whether they want to keep up with current affairs at home (wherever that may be) or dive into the many intrigues of the Middle East. That said, magazines have been in major decline since COVID, so we do wonder how many people pick these up.

Direct Gate Access Is A Game Changer

Finally, one of the lounge’s most ingeniously pragmatic features is its direct gate access. This exclusive path allows guests to bypass the usual boarding scramble, maintaining the serene bubble of first-class luxury right up until the moment of departure.

The Bottom Line

The Emirates First Class Lounge at Dubai International doesn’t just elevate your layover, it totally transforms it. It’s a place where the grimmer aspects of air travel dissolve into understated elegance and flawless service where everything — from food to shoulder massages — is delivered with grace.

Next time you’re passing through, don’t miss it.