The Ahlan Business Class Lounge is a multi-airline lounge for premium passengers, Priority Pass and Lounge Club holders, to name a few, as the list is extensive.
We travelled through Dubai Airport Terminal 1, when we flew from Dubai to London with British Airways. Most international flights fly out of Terminal 1 (apart from Emirates and Qantas) so there’s a range of different airport lounges in the terminal.
You can also access the lounge by paying AED200 / ~£40 / ~USD$ 54.
Although the repeated 5-star ratings from many reviewers on Trip Advisor for the lounge was a bit suspicious… after visiting, we thought it was fair, as it was one of the better airport lounges we’ve been to. So, we thought the steep £40 represented good value for money, especially if you’re planning on having a meal and drinks before flying. You can pay at the reception or pre-book by visiting the website.
Ahlan is one of the few lounges to be open 24/7, so a good option even if your flight departs really late/early. They state visits are limited to 4 hours, but we’re unsure if they police this.
There was a large reception desk as we entered the lounge, and we were greeted politely by the receptionists. After checking our documents, they ushered us though. As so many airlines use the lounge, we were surprised that there were no queues of passengers waiting to get in.
We have often experienced long queues snaking outside the door for paid-for multi airline lounges (e.g. Aspire Lounge at LHR T5). As such, entry to the lounge was quick, and we were through to the bar and dining area – after a couple of snaps for this blog – in a couple of minutes. It would, however, have been nice for the receptionists to talk through what was available in the lounge.
The Ahlan Business Class Lounge was spacious. There was ample seating, a dining and bar area, and they had additional facilities like a child play and work area. It was easy to find somewhere to sit without being on top of other passengers. The styling wasn’t really doing it for us, although it didn’t detract from the comfort in the lounge. Aesthetically, the Ahlan Business Class lounge looked mid-range, but the service, food, beverage and facilities made up for the lacking style. That being said, upholstery seemed durable and clean. We didn’t see much by the way of stains or grubby marks. Perhaps drab isn’t so bad after all.
We visited the lounge late in the evening (~11 pm) and found it fairly quiet. Considering how many airlines and programmes allowed access to use the lounge, we thought it would be much busier.
We’re sure that the crowdedness fluctuates throughout the day depending on when the international flights take off. On this occasion, it was so quiet in fact that the cleaners started to mop around us! They have to clean at some point!
The lounge was large and sizeable, so they have planned for large numbers of passengers. We thought that even at peak times, finding a seat would not be an issue.
The selection of food options available was frankly impressive at the Ahlan Business Class Lounge. There was a large buffet serving a choice of local cuisines, a cold salad bar, a range of desserts and a rack dedicated to bread. If you like bread, then you’re in luck, as the assortment of bread on offer was extensive. We thought it was a bit unnecessary, but perhaps they had an in-house baker showing off their skills!
As if the large buffet selection wasn’t enough, one of the waiters came round to ask if we wanted to order food from the á la Carte menu! We thought this was a bit over the top, but then again, more is more in Dubai! On the menu, there was a broad selection of international cuisine from a pastas, burgers and noodles. Suffice to say, you won’t go hungry in the lounge and it was a good place to have a proper meal before your flight.
As so many airlines from all over the world use the lounge, the broad selection catered for every taste. However, don’t expect top quality Michelin Star dining. The quality was OK, and tasty – comparable to an average restaurant. One of our readers actually outlined to us that you need to be careful if you’re a vegetarian and they might not prepare these using separate areas. We would recommend checking with the staff at the lounge to confirm before ordering from the menu or having one of the buffet options.
There was a large choice of beverages, from alcoholic to non-alcholic drinks. They had lots of different types of juices, soft-drinks, sparkling water, teas and coffee. There was also a full-service bar at the Ahlan Business Class Lounge. The bartenders were great, and made different cocktails at our request. We ordered an Old Fashion and a Bloody Mary when we visited, which were both delivered to our table, tasting delicious. Nothing was too much trouble for the waiters, which set it apart from the other lounges. Compared to the BA, Marhaba or SkyTeam lounges next-door, the drinks offered at the Ahlan Business Class lounge were the best.
Toilets and Showers
The toilets were a bit dated and looked like they needed a bit of a facelift, but they were generally clean. There were two showers, with clean towels provided upon request. When we visited, there were mops propping the doors open in the showers, but no one was cleaning. It looked like it was mid-way being cleaned, and they left all the cleaning equiptment out and went for a very long break. The soap dispenser and moisturiser looked like they have been filled and labelled as part of a home economics project. This is a shame given the efforts made elsewhere in the lounge.
WiFi, Power & Productivity
There was a dedicated business centre/work area in the lounge. It was equipped with a printer and two computers. It was a good quiet space for business travellers to work and take calls. The Wi-Fi speed was decent, sufficient for checking emails and downloading presentation files (↓ 18 Mbps ↑ 1 Mbps), expect to wait a while to upload anything! Charging points were readily available throughout the lounge, close to the seating areas.
The Ahlan Business Class lounge hosts multiple airlines and in doing so tries to cater for a large number of passengers. The extensive food options were impressive, catering for a wide range of passengers from most corners of the world. Also, the bar and food service were great. Even though it was late, the staff were polite and happy to help.
As Priority Pass and BA Executive Club Gold members, we had the option of exploring four different lounges before our departure in the terminal (BA Lounge, Skyteam, Marhaba Lounge and Ahlan Business Class Lounge). The Ahlan Business Class lounge was one of our favourites. We were disappointed with the BA Lounge in Dubai (read our review of the BA Lounge), so we opted to spend most of our time in the Ahlan Business Class lounge before our flight.
Aesthetically, the Ahlan Business Class lounge appeared a little “90s corporate”, but what it lacked in style it made up for in other places. If you’re considering paying £40 to use the lounge, we think it’s good value. Although it might sounds like a lot for accessing a lounge, we thought the food and beverage options made up for it. Food and beverage in Dubai is expensive, so it’s not a bad place to have dinner before you fly. Having a couple of cocktails, a glass of wine and something to eat will easily make up £40.
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