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Review: The Emirates Lounge at London Heathrow Terminal 3

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This is our review of The Emirates Lounge at Heathrow’s Terminal 3.

It’s been almost a decade since we last reviewed The Emirates Lounge at Heathrow on Head for Points.

I have never been inside it before. Although I’ve used virtually every other lounge in Terminal 3, Emirates has eluded me – largely because I’ve never flown the airline!

The lounge was last refurbished in 2015 and expanded to accommodate up to 400 passengers – necessary given the six A380s and one Boeing 777 that now call in at the airport each day. It is one of the few UK lounges to offer direct boarding.

Emirates lounge access requirements

Access to The Emirates Lounge is limited by the fact that Emirates is not part of an airline alliance. The only way you can use the lounge is by actually flying Emirates.

Access to the lounge at Heathrow is complimentary if you are:

  • Flying in business class or first class
  • Emirates Skywards Gold (+1 guest)
  • Emirates Skywards Platinum (+1 guest and up to 2 children)

Whilst I couldn’t find the published details, I suspect that Qantas elites and First and Business Class ticket holders may also get access due to the partnership between the two airlines. Emirates elite members and First and Business Class passengers are definitely allowed into the Qantas London lounge as an alternative to their own lounge.

Paid access is available if you are flying in economy or premium economy on Emirates. As of writing, the going rate is 684AED at Heathrow, or just under £150.

It is priced so as to put most people off without removing the paid option entirely. You are clearly going to struggle to get £150 of value in the three hour timeslot in which you can use the lounge.

Where is The Emirates Lounge at Heathrow?

Emirates operates from Heathrow Terminal 3 – a terminal with one of the highest concentrations of fantastic lounges in the world.

To cope with the sheer number of lounges, Heathrow has implemented a lettering system with each lounge getting its own letter from A to H. This can sometimes be confusing, as if you miss the information sign listing the lounges and their respective letters you will struggle! Emirates is Lounge E.

To find The Emirates Lounge, head through the duty free maze and to the left, towards the Qantas lounge. You want to turn left down the corridor, passing the Cathay Pacific lounge on your right, to gates 1-11.

After a short walk the lounge entrance will be directly in front of you.

The lounge is open every day from 5:30am until 10:30pm.

Inside The Emirates Lounge at Heathrow

Check in and reception is on the departures level. Staff are on hand to scan you in. You then head up the stairs or take the lift to the floor above, which is where the rest of the lounge is located.

Walking out of the lift you are greeted with floor-to-ceiling windows and an incredibly bright space, overlooking one of the A380 gates.

The lounge is a long thin space and you can choose to turn either left or right. Here is a photo looking from one end of the lounge to the other:

The two sides are virtually identical; the only difference is the dining room / buffet on the right hand side.

The shape of the lounge means you are never more than five metres away from the windows which is great for views and natural light. A lot of the seating is set up to make the most of this:

Views were fantastic, although sadly no A380 was parked at the gate during my stay. The lounge faces south, overlooking runway 27L with a constant stream of take-offs.

The centre of the lounge is narrower, but it opens out into larger, more rectangular areas at both ends:

Virtually all the seats have dedicated mains and USB-A power:

There is a range of seating but the vast majority is with one armchair or another. I didn’t see a special area for hot desking, although I might have missed it.

The large dining area on the right features restaurant style seating and would be a good spot to use a laptop:

When I arrived at around midday the lounge was virtually empty. For a good half an hour or so I was one of about 10 guests. It got progressively busier as my departure approached, but was never more than 40% full.

There is a fully stocked magazine and newspaper rack with a greater variety of daily papers than I have seen anywhere else since covid. The Times, The Guardian, The Telegraph, Daily Mail and Financial Times were all there, as was The National and Gulf Times. Magazines included Wallpaper, Hello and OK!

Other facilities include showers, of which there are two in both the men’s (and I assume) women’s bathrooms. You can request a ‘shower pack’ from the attendant which includes towels.

Toiletries are by Voya:

Whilst the style of the lounge isn’t going to win any awards, there is an attention to detail (and expense) in the lounge which you won’t find in many other places.

This includes the fresh cut Anthurium and gerbera daisy flowers in vases at every single table – including in the dining area:

There must be hundreds of stems in the lounge, all of which need to be replaced on a weekly basis at least. It’s the sort of ‘frivolous’ expense you just won’t see in many other airline lounges …. but which makes an impact.

Other touches include real ficus ‘hedges’ used as dividers between seating areas and creating a sense of privacy, especially for seats facing the window in the ‘corridor’ section of the lounge:

Food and drink in The Emirates Lounge at Heathrow

A self-serve bar with spirits, wines and beers as well as coffee machines is available on both sides of the lounge:

Champagne is self-pour, with both standard and rose Moet & Chandon on offer. Emirates is known for its huge wine cellar and true to type was offering a couple of bottles of both red and white wine retailing in the £20 region.

For anything more substantial, you need to head to the right hand side of the lounge with the buffet dining area.

The area comprises a few different sections. There are two circular stations featuring a range of cold small plates, salads, starters and desserts. These are beautifully presented and include dishes such as the salmon tartar:

Hot food is along the back wall and included truffled ravioli, prawn parmigiana, chicken tikka masala and more:

Although it’s ‘just’ a buffet, I was impressed with both the quality of the food and the presentation. There were 3-4 staff hovering around at all times making sure everything was fully stocked. As soon as one plate was taken away it was replaced whilst the serving area was regularly cleaned.

Board your flight directly from the lounge

Emirates is the only airline at Heathrow to offer direct boarding for some of its flights from the lounge. It mirrors the service it offers from its lounge in Concourse A at Dubai Airport Terminal 3, which also features direct lounge-to-plane boarding.

The lounge is connected to two gates. Gate 7 is on the right whilst Gate 5 is on the left.

The gate is opened by an attendant when ready. Once your boarding pass and passport is checked you can head down the escalators and take the appropriate jetbridge to the aircraft.

Conclusion

The Emirates Lounge at Heathrow might not be the flashiest, the most stylish or offer the most amenities. Somehow, though, it is better than the sum of its parts.

Even with two A380s scheduled there was plenty of seating still available, with lots of it benefitting from fantastic views and lots of light.

The drinks selection is very good and all self-serve, with better wines than you’d find in most lounges. Food, whilst not a la carte, is very good and the buffet area is kept very clean and tidy.

Although it’s almost a decade since it was last refurbished, it is still in good nick although the style is looking a little dated. If I were in charge of a future refurbishment I would add in a staffed cocktail bar, a dedicated First Class area and perhaps even an (enclosed) children’s playroom.

You can find out more on the lounge page of the Emirates website.

Coming up later this week are reviews of Emirates in A380 Business Class and the brand new A380 Premium Economy cabin.

Comments (17)

  • alex says:

    I too find this lounge very pleasant and bright with very nice food options and drinks. It’s a shame the etihad lounge doesn’t have a more airy feel but like it also. I’m yet to try the qatar lounge at LHR but hopefully not long.

    • Ian says:

      I was in the QR lounge (which is in T4) recently and found it to be pretty good, with attentive helpful staff. It was quite busy as there were 2 departures to DOH (one and A380) within an hour of each other. Probably just me but I found it all a bit confusing, walking past the hot/cold buffet area into the restaurant part of the lounge. To be critical, the food wasn’t fantastic and, not having flown QR for a few years, we didn’t think the onboard food and service were quite as good either. A “fillet steak” certainly wasn’t a fillet, that’s for sure. I don’t know if the new guy in charge of QR is starting to make his mark with little economies?

      • blenz101 says:

        When Qatar want cuts they can just ask IAG to make them via their shareholding and keep their own brand and reputation as a premium offering.

        I am sure one bad cut of reheated steak on a plane doesn’t mean systematic cost cutting.

  • Mark says:

    Does anyone know if you can still pay to access the Qantas lounge? You used to be able to pay £55 but not sure if that’s still a thing?

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