Introduction: A Hop to the Maldives
Review: Park Hyatt New York
Review: Emirates Lounge JFK
Review: Emirates First Class A380 JFK-DXB
Review: Park Hyatt Dubai
Review: Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai
Review: Emirates First Class 777 DXB-MLE
Getting to the Park Hyatt Hadahaa
Review: Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa
Review: Etihad Business A330 MLE-AUH
Review: Etihad First Class Lounge
Review: Etihad First Class A380 AUH-JFK
Review: American Business A321T JFK-LAX
After two and a half days exploring Dubai, including an afternoon in the Emirati desert near the border with Oman (and yards from the beautiful Al Maha Resort), we were back at Dubai International Airport, ready to continue on our way to the Maldives.
Our flight was departing at 4:30 AM, so rather than pay for a night at the hotel only to sleep for a handful of hours, we headed straight to the airport at around 10 PM. I wanted to check out Emirates’ First Class Lounge, so we had an extraordinary amount of time to do so!
Emirates has its own terminal at DXB, and premium passengers have their own check-in building. Yes, it’s a separate building. We walked in to a completely deserted departures hall larger than any I’d ever seen before, and this was only for business and first class passengers! We were literally the only passengers there. Dubai seems to stack a large amount of its departures for the middle of the night, so 10 PM was still super early.
Check-in was a synch, and followed by a short jaunt through customs and security. A few minutes later we were inside the terminal, Concourse B.
I didn’t know it at the time, but there are two international first class lounges, one in Concourse A and one in Concourse B. Concourse A is dedicated to all of Emirates’ A380 flights; we were flying a 777 to Male, which is why we were in B. Had I realized the difference, we would have headed to the other concourse and spent the night there; the lounge in Concourse A is even nicer than the one in B.
Oh well. We have an excuse to go back!
We took a few minutes to check out some of the terminal’s shops (the whole airport is basically just a massive, super-fancy mall), and soon enough found signage pointing us toward our destination.
One floor above the departure gates, the Business and First Class Lounges run the length of the terminal. That’s to say, these things are enormous and over-the-top. #Dubai
The First Class Lounge spares no expense or detail. We passed a stunning flower display in the entrance.
Our first stop was the Spa, where as First Class passengers we were entitled to one free treatment. Danielle and I both selected massages, which we booked for 3 AM, which would be right before we would need to head to our gate. Around the corner was a phone-charging wall of lockers, which I imagine could be extremely useful.
The lounge is filled with section after section of different seating options. Each has its own types of chairs arranged in different setups. One section, where we settled down for a while, surrounded a nice, relaxing water fountain.
I took the opportunity to get things started with our first of many glasses of champagne for the evening.
Across the multiple seating areas there are perhaps a half-dozen different bars in the lounge, each with a selection of drinks and prepared foods.
There is also a formal restaurant, with a larger buffet and a menu for ordering freshly prepared meals. The area was broken up into three different areas, each with its own type of seating. We were invited to sit wherever we wanted (we were the the only passengers there!) so we tried out all the options, and settled on a fairly standard table.
We were a little hungry and the food looked delicious, so we perused the menu as well as the buffet. Our mouths grew wide reading through the options, but then we remembered how late it was, and tamed our overambitious inclinations, set down the menu, and looked over the prepared foods.
At the far end was a sushi bar, with some nigiri and sushi roll options. Fish seemed like a fresh, healthy route, so we started taking a few pieces, only to be stopped by the wait staff and offered fresh sushi. Why there is a buffet if you’re likely to be offered the same items freshly-prepared, I do not know. #Dubai
We asked for a few pieces of salmon sashimi, and returned to our seats.
Not five minutes later, two waiters paraded to our table with dishes. They didn’t feel right bringing two people one plate, so they brought two, and a few pieces of sashimi didn’t feel appropriate, so they brought what seemed like an entire fish!
For the umpteenth time since coming to Dubai, my jaw dropped to the floor.
After putting back half of the Atlantic salmon supply, it was time for a shower. We’d had a long day in the desert, and wanted to clean up before our flight.
On the other end of the lounge were the shower rooms, which felt oddly like a fancy locker room. This was one of the few ways in which the Emirates First Class Lounge seemed to miss the mark. Don’t get me wrong – the showers were completely functional. And each shower was nicely adorned with mosaic tiles. But the entire lounge experience was over the top comfortable and fancy, and the showers were just a line-up of stalls in a large room. If there were other passengers using the showers at the same time, I don’t know how comfortable it would feel. I left behind high school gym class almost two decades ago already!
But water is water, so it did the trick.
By now it was nearing 1 AM, well past my bedtime. We found a “Quiet Room” where we could relax for two hours before our spa appointments.
While it’s nice to have a place to relax at such an ungodly hour, you should know that the Quiet Room is hardly quiet. The only thing dividing you from the next room is a thin curtain. And the walls to the room are anything but soundproof. Since the First Class Lounge is open to the full terminal, the sound travels very easily. The Quiet Room is a place to stretch out and nothing more. If I wanted to sleep, I would have been better off taking over a full (flat) couch back out in the lounge. But given the late hour I was too worried about missing our flight to actually sleep, so I laid down and did some reading for a few hours.
Soon enough, it was 3 AM, and time for our massages! I have no complaints to offer about a free spa treatment in the middle of the night. Nothing at all.
And with that, it was time to be on our way. We had a long walk to our gate, where a bus was waiting to take us to the plane, parked at a remote stand.
There was a special bus just for first class, of course, and this bus was beyond anything I’d ever imagined on four wheels. There is no reason that four people needed a bus of this size and scale to take us to our plane. But, again, #Dubai.
We drove for a few minutes to the far end of the airport, where our plane was parked with a number of other 777s. And there we were. We were ready to go to paradise!
Coming up, Male, Maldives and getting to the Park Hyatt Hadahaa.