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Review of Oman Air’s flagship Business Class lounge in Muscat

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This is our review of Oman Air’s Business Class lounge at the brand new Muscat International Airport.

This review is part of our series on my recent trip to Oman as a guest of Oman Air and the Al Bustan Palace in Muscat.  My flights and hotel were complimentary but HFP paid for its own incidental costs. If you are not familiar with Oman you can read our overview here to set the scene.

My review of the Gulf Air lounge in Heathrow Terminal 4 – which is the one used by Oman Air – is here.  More importantly, my review of Oman Air’s very impressive First Class Suite is here.  My hotel stay, at the Al Bustan Palace, is reviewed here.

You can find out more about Oman Air’s lounges on this page of the Oman Air website.  This also includes details of the Arrivals Lounge in Muscat, which is free for Business and First Class passengers and with paid entry available for Economy passengers.

Inside Muscat’s new airport

The new terminal building at Muscat International Airport opened in March 2018.

It is everything you would expect from a new international terminal, but without the crowds.  The airport was definitely looking to the future when it specified the new terminal, and at present it is a breath of fresh air compared to Dubai.  It has a very logical layout, with a central facilities building for check-in, shopping and lounges and then two wings to either side for the gates.

Oman Air business class lounge review, Muscat International Airport

I was flying back to London in Business Class, having travelled down in First Class.  If you are flying in Business or First Class, there is a dedicated check-in area you can use which is laid out like a mini-lounge in itself, with plenty of comfy seating.  This is clearly marked outside the terminal so you can ensure your taxi drops you in the right place.

Oman Air business class lounge review, Muscat International Airport

Once you clear security and pass through the shops, which are more varied than your average international airport, you should head for the escalators.

The upper level of the terminal, which is basically a ring overlooking the lower level, contains three facilities – Oman Air’s First and Business Class lounges, a Primeclass independent lounge used by other carriers and Priority Pass, and an Aerotel transit hotel.

The entrance

Oman Air definitely wanted to make a statement with the entrance to the lounge:

Oman Air business class lounge review, Muscat International Airport

The doors, featuring traditional Omani lattice work, are closed as you approach, although you can see glimpses of the lounge beyond.  Once the huge doors slide open you can head to the reception desk.

Oman Air business class lounge review, Muscat International Airport

Once inside the Business Class area, the layout is a little odd.  Once you are through the hallway, you come to a staircase which is blocked off by a tensa barrier.  From what I can tell, this stairway has always been closed off since the airport opened last year, and no-one is clear what may eventually be upstairs!

Oman Air business class lounge review, Muscat International Airport

You come to a circular area with food stations around the edge:

Oman Air business class lounge review, Muscat International Airport

and a large amount of seating in the middle.

Oman Air business class lounge review, Muscat International Airport

There is then a narrow area running past a window:

Oman Air business class lounge review, Muscat International Airport

with a bar on the opposite side of you (closed during Ramadan).

Oman Air business class lounge review, Muscat International Airport

You then emerge in ….. another circular eating area!  Like the first one, this has food stations around the outside edge:

Oman Air business class lounge review, Muscat International Airport

and a lot of seating in the middle:

Oman Air business class lounge review, Muscat International Airport

I grabbed a light snack.  Options at the far end of the lounge included biryani rice, rigatoni pasta, paneer and vegetable curry, lamb in Thai red curry sauce and baked hamour creole.  It was very good – a notch above what you would expect in a British Airways business class lounge – athough not on a par with what you’d get at the a la carte restaurants in Heathrow’s Virgin Clubhouse or Qatar Airways T4 lounge.

Oman Air business class lounge review, Muscat International Airport

There was also a salad bar:

Oman Air business class lounge review, Muscat International Airport

Just behind this area are the loos and showers.  There is no spa area.

Tucked away in a corner were some day beds.  These were not very private – privacy consisted of a curtain you could pull around the space – but were a good option for anyone looking for a deeper rest.  On longer stopover, however, I would recommend the Aerotel opposite the lounge instead.

Oman Air business class lounge review, Muscat International Airport

There is some more relaxed seating away from the food courts, but not much:

Oman Air business class lounge review, Muscat International Airport

and

Oman Air business class lounge review, Muscat International Airport

The newspaper and magazine selection in the lounge is very poor, unless you’re a fan of Worldwide Golf (“The Middle East’s No 1 Golf Magazine”) or the local English-language Omani newspapers.

Conclusion

The new Oman Air business class lounge in the new Muscat International Airport does the job.  It is light and airy, not too busy (although as I was leaving it was getting more crowded, with the European flight wave kicking in) and with high quality food.  As it was Ramadan I can’t comment on the bar.

The lounge is a perfectly pleasant place to spend an hour and you will eat well whilst you are there.  If you have the choice between another hour on the beach and another hour in the lounge, however, I would take the beach.

You can learn more about Oman Air’s lounge network on its website here.

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Comments

  1. Oliver O says:

    Passed through last month. Wanted to add that while there are shower rooms, they are located within the (small) restrooms, are small themselves and do not contain anything but a shower stall, stool and a lockable door. Should you wish to shave or use the loo, you have to use the facilities on the loo side. And since my flight landed at what I guess was peak time, the restroom was continuously busy, even with a queue forming at times (and I was not there that long, but I did have to shave) for the stalls.

  2. Michael says:

    The daybeds are fine but there are also private sleeping rooms in this lounge, with proper beds and lockable doors. I spent 8 hours in one last summer during a long layover. Much better than opting for the airport hotel, assuming they’re available.

  3. Sapiens says:

    Muscat airport Primeclass lounge is excellent, good range of hot food etc.

  4. For a new airport, the lounge is already cramped and too small.
    Fine if you want to sit and eat, but limited numbers of relaxing seating and each ‘set’ is in 4.
    Bathrooms are very small with I think 6 toilets (male) and they have a key to lock them, how old fashioned is that!
    Shower rooms, very small and flood the place when you use them. Also no toilet within the room.
    Considering the time and money spent building the new place, I would of expected much more.
    Appreciate they do not have many flights, but it would not of been difficult to add the number of J seats and frequent flyers to get usage numbers.

    Really lets down the onboard experience and comfort.

  5. Lee Thomas says:

    The Primeclass lounge has sleeper rooms that are allocated on a first come first served basis. Quite a bit cheaper than the aerotel rooms.

  6. Lee Sutherland says:

    What a pity that the oman air service at airports is so poor. Together with a group of passengers travelling to Muscat and beyond I was stuck on a 27- hour delay at Manchester airport last Friday – Saturday. Treated appallingly by the ground crew staff at Manchester. Unsympathetic and argumentative. Given 1 x 5 pound voucher in total, along with a 4 hour stay in a hotel and a dodgy lunch. Nowhere to sit or store our bags. No reply from the complaint I lodged after 4 working days. Never again.

    • Shoestring says:

      You could have taken matters into your own hands, ie book your own hotel, choose your own food & drink (not booze) – claim it back afterwards under duty of care. Just be reasonable in your expenses. BA, for example, is happy to refund £200 for a hotel room, more if you can demonstrate there wasn’t a cheaper option.

      Absolutely no need to accept a £5 voucher & a dodgy lunch as being sufficient for 27 hrs!

      I accept that sometimes it’s not quite so simple, eg they keep you hanging on at the airport in the hope a replacement flight will materialise etc.

      Which airline was it?

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