Like the city itself, Dubai International Airport (DXB)—the largest in the world when it comes to international passenger traffic—hums with a sleek, futuristic vibe, from its soaring ceilings to wow-factor design elements like a massive water cascade and gleaming metallic columns. But for certain lucky passengers on Emirates—the Dubai-based airline known for its top-notch service and luxe touches—the high life continues in the airline’s business class lounges. I recently was able to visit Emirates business class lounge in Dubai, and I was impressed with the experience. Here's what makes a stop in the glamorous space worthwhile.
The lounge experience: spacious, upscale, and with a snazzy Champagne bar
In today’s travel landscape of packed-to-the-gills airport lounges, what first struck me about the Emirates business class lounge I visited (in Concourse B of Terminal 3) was its massive size and glorious lack of crowding. With nearly 100,000 square feet of space, the lounge has a maximum capacity of 1,351 guests; during peak travel times, capacity hovers around 700, an Emirates employee told me. You don’t need to do the math to know what that means: Even when the space is busy, it feels private and calm.
Indeed, no jockeying for tables or navigating any lines here; instead, the biggest challenge I faced during my time in the lounge (which was unfortunately cut short because of a mix-up with my airport transfer from the hotel) was deciding what to eat and where to settle in. The employee who checked me in graciously provided a tour, but first-time visitors should take a lap to scope things out. Even with plenty of signage, it’s possible to get lost in the vast space. But no matter where you are, it feels distinctly Emirates, with rich design touches including mahogany wood elements and gold accents, thoughtful amenities (like a Skywards help desk and outlets galore), and, of course, spot-on, smiling service.
There are oodles of seating options, from more formal zones to tranquil spots where you can settle in with a book or your laptop. My first stop was the dedicated sleeping area facing the front of the airport, with soaring windows that allowed tons of light (another sleeping area toward the middle of the lounge might be a better choice for light sleepers, since it’s sans windows). The cushy, full-length loungers, complete with blankets, are tucked into cozy partitions, which also have small tables and outlets for charging. About half of the loungers were occupied, but I found a free one and kicked up my feet while juicing up my phone.
Along a long walkway running the length of the lounge, numerous showers are available (no reservations necessary). Since I’d just come from my hotel, I didn’t need one, but a peek into a stall revealed squeaky-clean surfaces and stacks of fresh towels—an amenity I’d certainly take advantage of after a long flight. Guests wanting to loosen travel-weary muscles can head to the Timeless Spa (services require a fee for business travelers); there’s even a shoe-shine station (also for a fee).
After my brief rest, I grabbed a quiet table near one of the buffet areas and surveyed my options for lunch at the various stations serving up Western, Asian, and Middle Eastern cuisines. There was a head-spinning array of choices, including curries, fresh-looking salads, and plenty of hummus varieties. I opted for a heaping plate of vegetable noodles, which was light yet super tasty, along with fresh fruit and sparkling water. The Health Hub, located close to the lounge entrance, is stocked with grilled vegetable wraps, fruit, smoked salmon, gluten-free muffins, and fresh juices. Somehow, I managed to avoid the temptations of the dessert bar, and instead snagged a couple of oranges from the Health Hub to stash for an in-flight snack. Coffee aficionados, meanwhile, shouldn’t miss grabbing a cuppa at the dedicated Costa Coffee stand (complimentary, of course). It had recently closed prior to my mid-afternoon visit, but would be an excellent option for morning flights.
After lunch, I headed to a quiet seating area (so many to choose from!) toward the back of the lounge to catch up on email. Serious business travelers, meanwhile, can take advantage of complimentary conference rooms and a business center with touchscreen workstations and printers.
For families traveling with children, the playroom is a nice touch. The colorful space is outfitted with a handful of arcade-style video games, a game console, padded floor tiles, and a soft couch and chairs—a sturdy, safe environment ideally suited for tykes who are travel-weary or bursting with energy, and that fact that it’s enclosed means they can be as loud as they want without disturbing other guests. As a parent of an especially active six-year-old who often joins me on trips, I wish all lounges had a place like this just for kiddos.
But the real star of the space—which is easy to miss if you don’t know it’s there—is the Moët & Chandon Champagne Lounge, an amenity only available in this particular Emirates facility. I was sincerely stunned to see such a gorgeous space within the confines of an airport: a Champagne speakeasy of sorts that could shine as a standalone hotspot, with white leather chairs, rose gold accents, and a soaring, wing-like gold structure behind the bar area. Guests can select from four iconic cuvées—Moët Impérial, Moët Rosé Impérial, Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage, or Moët Nectar Impérial. I chose the rosé: crisp, slightly tart, and perfectly chilled, it was the ideal sipper for a pre-flight tipple. (Canapés are also served, though they weren’t offered to me; if I had time to post up for a while, I would definitely have asked about them.)
How to access Emirates’ business class lounges in Dubai
Emirates has six first and business class lounges in DXB, one of each in Concourses A, B, and C. In addition, The Emirates Lounge, a premium lounge located next to Gate 9, Concourse C is also reopened; all are open 24 hours. Business class passengers have complimentary access to its business class lounges; Silver, Gold, and Platinum Skywards members also receive complimentary access. Economy passengers can purchase a lounge pass ($150 for Skywards members; $175 for non-members) for up to four hours before a flight.
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Concourse B of Terminal 3 is located on the concourse’s east side, accessible via escalator or elevator from the Duty Free section. (Don’t be confused by the Skyways desk near the escalators below; this isn’t the lounge entry). You’ll know you’re in the right spot when you see sleek biometric scanners: With Emirates leading the charge with biometric technology, lounge guests don’t even need to brandish a boarding pass. Once the glass partitions glide open, the sprawling, light-drenched oasis beckons: seemingly limitless places to relax, eat, sleep, or (if you must) work.
The overall verdict
Like Emirates’ business class cabins on its aircraft, its business lounges in Dubai International Airport are elegant, sought-after environments that offer a rare bright spot in the ongoing chaos of air travel. I’m still miffed that I didn't have more time to enjoy the array of delights in the Concourse B lounge, which was by far the most elegant I’ve ever set foot in. But even with my limited time, the lounge still left quite an impression—as well as a push to start racking up more points on Emirates, a carrier I don’t fly often, just so I can become a more regular business class lounge guest. Indeed, the facility reflects the formula Emirates has become famous for: an upscale, memorable experience accompanied by efficient, friendly service. In other words, exactly the kind of place travelers find hard to leave. It’s one that anyone traveling from Dubai would be well-advised to check out—as often as possible.