The idea of voluntarily spending time in an airport is about as unimaginable as an in-flight beverage large enough to quench your thirst. So, when we learned that Emirates' first-class lounge in Dubai was not just a nice place to wait, but a delightful place to relax, we were dubious to say the least. As soon as we entered Dubai International Airport and wheeled our carry-ons up to the lounge's front desk, however, we realized a glorious truth: Traveling can be fun.
With its Italian marble finishes and mahogany paneling, the reception feels more like checking into The Ritz than a place to pass time before a flight. After a warm welcome, we set our bags down and begin exploring the lounge that spans the length of the entire concourse, bringing with us a camera, previous misconceptions of airport lounges, and gaping mouths.
From logistical necessities like secure charging stations and fully equipped business centers (including private conference rooms), to the more indulgent cigar bar and in-lounge designer boutique (duty-free), the lounge has everything you could possibly want: no venturing out into the hustle and bustle necessary! A few other highlights include a Le Clos Wine cellar with expert sommeliers on hand to help you choose the best vintage (choosing the wrong vintage pre-flight is no longer your concern, thankfully), and dedicated quiet rooms replete with chaise longues, blankets, and pillows.
Choosing the wrong vintage pre-flight is no longer your concern, thankfully.
Prepare your skin for the ultra-drying effects of flying with a visit to the Timeless Spa before you board. A full menu of treatments and beauty therapies including a de-stressing back massage, reflex therapy, and a professional blow-dry might even have you arriving at your destination feeling more refreshed than when you left it.
And then there's the food! A dining room with an included all-you-can-eat buffet, à la carte menu, and a full-service bar, to start with. Though, might we recommend sticking to the lounge's juice bar so you can save room for the in-flight meal you're about to devour (more on that to come).
The gold-plated Rolex wall clocks from Geneva will let you know when it's time to board your flight, and when it is, you can pass directly from the lounge to the upper-deck cabins of the aircraft—you don't even have to go back into the harsh reality of the world before taking off in your own private suite (more on that here).
Lesson learned: Airports can be glorious. We still won't be arriving hours early to LaGuardia or O'Hare just to hang out, but next time we're passing through Dubai? You'll know where to find us.
Emirates flies from New York to Dubai three times a day. For more information, visit emirates.com.