Going on holiday to Europe is such an exciting adventure and thrilling experience, yet the transit from Sydney can be so horrible. The long journey can often prove incredibly exhausting with its lengthy flying time and mandatory requirement to change planes!
On our recent Emirates flight from Sydney to London, we were lucky enough to be granted lounge access on all legs, with a short layover in Dubai. This added touch really enhanced our trip, making the pre-flight and mid-flight experience more relaxing as well as a little more indulgent.
Sydney International Airport Emirates Lounge
Sydney International Airport is in the final stages of a complete renovation which has seen the terminal undergo huge transformations and new openings. The Emirates lounge is relatively central just a short walk after exiting security.They say the early bird gets the worm, and our 6am flight to Dubai was first of the rank taking off just as the sun laid eyes on the horizon! The lounge is styled comfortably with conservative modern décor featuring amber timber finishes, beige couches with windows overlooking the Sydney Airport runway.
A huge selection of magazines ranging from fashion to travel to cars to sports and everything in between, caters to everyone’s interest, providing ample reading material whilst sipping on a glass of Moet champagne! There’s no better way to begin a vacation than with some bubbles; it must be midday somewhere right?!
As it was breakfast time, the area was plentifully supplied with an assortment of breakfast items perfect for a pre-flight snack! I was thoroughly impressed with the quality and range of hot food, cold food and drinks on offer!
In the hot food section, everything was completely stocked featuring freshly made French toast, Welsh rarebit, chicken quiche, omelette with tomato & fresh basil, beef sausages, hash browns, baked beans, sautéed mushrooms, roast cherry tomatoes and poached eggs.Cold items included smoked salmon bagels, a meats plate with roast beef, cheese, boiled egg, pickles and dips, small fresh fruit platers, delicious Australian brand Yalla’s homemade yoghurts, organic muesli and cereals. Stay clear of the bread and pastry area if you are easily tempted like myself! Not only was there toast, raisin bread and small bread rolls, but delectable mini croissants, danishes, brioche, pain au chocolat, and soft centred muffins!
You can choose to sit at proper tables and chairs, or find one of the comfortable lounges by the window where you can watch as dawn begins to light up the city! Power points are aplenty, perfect for charging up all your devices pre-flight!With an extensive variety of Dilmah teas, coffee, juices and soft drinks, your thirst will definitely be quenched in the Emirates lounge. For something a little more refreshing the fridge is stocked with beers including Peroni, Crown Lager and Heineken, and those wanting to get the party started already, self-serve spirits are available with Campari, Canadian Club, Cointreau, Chivas Regal, Drambuie, Bailey’s, Hennessy VSOP, Jose Cuevo, Bombay Sapphire, Absolut and even some Glenmorangie!
When your flight is boarding, the Emirates team will broadcast a message over the loud speaker ensuring you make it to the gate on time, where you are greeted by the friendly staff aboard the A380.
Dubai International Airport Emirates Business Class Lounge
All Emirates flights usually go via Dubai with the UAE acting as the home to the airline. Hundreds of Emirates aircrafts line the runways, parked up at the terminals! With thousands of travellers transiting through the airport each day, the Business Class Lounge is huge and breathtaking, seeming to extend for endless miles.
Located on the second floor of the terminal, the Emirates Business and First Class Lounges in Dubai have recently enjoyed a huge US$11million transformation, making this space an impressive place to re-fuel and unwind pre-flight. Located on the terminal concourse, the friendly staff will greet you scanning your ticket as you enter.The recent renovation brings the lounge to a whopping 10,000 square feet to cater to the 1,500 guests travelling through. The improved lounge facility includes a health spa for hair, beauty and therapy treatments, an expanded kids corner and extensive food selection to keep your hunger at bay. The sweeping ceiling above allows natural light to filter through, making the room bright, airy and luminous.
The first place one spots upon walking in is the new Voss Water sponsored Health Hub. Emirates has identified the high focus on healthy living and taking care of one’s body especially when travelling and have incorporated this into their new lounge. This area allows visitors to enjoy healthy refreshments with endless shelves of Voss water decorating the brightly lit walls, emitting a fresh and clean ambiance that echoes the feel of the clean living movement. I loved this area with cool water infusions, fresh juices, health smoothies and nutritious snacks. There was a wide assortment of wholesome wraps with fillings such as tandoori chicken, grilled Mediterranean vegetable, grilled beef, Vietnamese style chicken, dips with crudités, healthy mini salad bowls or DIY salads with a selection of fresh ingredients and veggies.
If you explore a little, you will find an in-house Costa Coffee store which is basically a European Starbucks equivalent. The kiosk supplies freshly made coffee and hot drinks, as well as offering a delicious selection of Costa muffins, pastries and cookies all provided complimentary to guests in the Emirates lounge.
My time in the Emirates lounge was quick and speedy thanks to very short layover of two hours between flights. This sadly meant that I didn’t get time to find the Moet & Chandon champagne bar and indulge in its sleek gold décor, selection of bubbles and sophisticated gourmet canapés on offer. The bar boasts Moët Impérial, Moët Rosé Impérial, Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage and my personal favourite the Moët Nectar Impérial!The lounge stretches over the length of the entire terminal, with over seven stations presenting a range of hot food, salads, premium wines & spirits, fresh fruit, salads, sandwich rolls, coffee, tea and alcohol. The variety of dishes catered to both Western and Middle Eastern tastebuds with pastas, rice, biryani, ratatouille and more. Meanwhile staff will happily pour you a selection of premium wines, Moet champagne or whatever you please.When I visited, the salads included fattoush, Panzanella salad, seared tuna nicoise, chicken tikka salad, Italian roast aubergine salad, cauliflower and more. Being half Lebanese, I love the traditional foods such as Hommos, Moutabel and the Iranian mix grill in the hot foods. Staff are constantly monitoring the levels of food and replenishing dishes frequently from the kitchen ensuring freshness is at the foremost focus of their offering.
I’ll let you in on a little secret, ask some of the kind staff for an ice-cream if you’re after a sweet finish to your meal. They have miniature tubs of Haagen Dazz ice-cream in scrumptious vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. I can attest that these are creamy and heavenly!As it was Christmas time, a delicious Chocolate cake was on offer for dessert. It went down a treat with a glass of red wine, and a little Middle Eastern sweet. My only criticism would be that being the indulgent sweet tooth I am, the desserts left a lot to be desired for. You’d be better off opting for some fresh fruit, yoghurt or a cookie from the cookie jar.
Gatwick International Airport Emirates Lounge
Emirates to Dubai flights depart from Gatwick Airport in London. The lounge here is more modern than its Sydney equivalent. I was sincerely impressed with the array of food – with a great variety for lunch time including steak, quiches, pasta, grilled chicken, fish, curries.
The cold buffet offering was also fresh and appetising with smoked salmon plates, Middle Eastern dips, salads, roast beef, salads and fresh fruit. Generous wedges of cheese tempt many, alongside desserts including profiteroles, trifles, cheesecake and more treats!Spirits, wines, champagne and coffee are all widely available, and again staff were very proficient at ensuring food levels were stocked and replenished as required. It was sad to leave London after a wonderful holiday, but at least I departed on a high of champagne bubbles and full stomach thanks to the Emirates Lounge.Even if your ticket is not business or first class, as an Emirates frequent flyer Skywards member you have the ability to pay a fee for lounge access. A fee of US$100 will get any Emirates Skywards member admission to the Business class lounge or allow a Business Class passenger to upgrade their lounge access to First Class Lounge entry. The lounge is definitely a huge benefit for travellers looking to unwind, indulge, relax or rejuvenate in sleek confines with high class service.
I Ate My Way Through were guests of Emirates Airlines