Next door to the Qantas first class lounge in Melbourne is the Emirates Lounge. Like all Emirates lounges we find it spacious and airy, albeit a bit formulaic. It has nice views of the tarmac, and as a business class lounge has a ‘best in class’ food and beverage selection (for Australian lounges at least).
The Emirates lounge opens variously throughout the day, approximately 3 hours before each of EK’s departures (to Auckland, Dubai, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur). Access is available to passengers flying Qantas or Emirates in business and first class or holding Qantas or Emirates Gold or higher status. Our experience is that Emirates prefers Qantas passengers to use Qantas lounges, so some discussion with the lounge agent may be required.
The lounge follows a standard design language found in Emirates Lounges across the globe, with a sea of tan coloured chairs and almost tasteful wooden accents.
The business centre is particularly functional, with a number of seats – a rarity in a world where airline lounge business centres are fast going out of fashion. There is also a massage chair in the corner.
Some may say that Emirates having its own lounges in Australia is a relic from times prior to the Emirates-Qantas partnership which took off in April 2013, bringing reciprocal access. But it is the dining area is really what sets this lounge apart from Qantas’ International Business lounge offering.
For a start the self serve bar offers good quality wines…
… including a selection of real champagne to help yourself to – Moët & Chandon Brut Impérial or Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label. We do find Emirates Champagne glasses around the world oddly cheap feeling.
An extensive buffet spread awaits to a side from the dining area (and matches almost exactly the spread served in the Emirates lounge in Sydney).
Along with the standard Emirates assortment of arabic mezzé platters, salads, nibbles, fruit plates and desserts. The staff hover closely here and are quick to replace any individual item that is removed.
If you fell into a deep sleep and woke up in this lounge, you’d be hard pressed to tell which Emirates port you were flying out of. While the lounge itself doesn’t have any standout features that distinguish it from similar Emirates lounges elsewhere, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We find this only adds to the consistency that Emirates seeks to deliver across the globe.
While it is hard to fault this lounge, it is equally hard to say anything that hasn’t been said about an Emirates lounge before. Like your favourite suit, this lounge is familiar, comfortable, and sits just right.
For those without access to the Qantas first class lounge, our recommendation is that the Emirates lounge is the pick over the Qantas international business lounge. The catering really sets it apart.