Friday, May 6, 2016

REVIEW: Emirates LAX premium lounge

Experienced travelers know the benefits that come from traveling Business or First Class. But passengers who travel in those upmarket cabins aboard U.A.E.-based Emirates enjoy some additional perks including dedicated lounges at many of the airports the carrier serves.

Entrance to Emirates Premium lounge at Los Angeles International (LAX)
Entrance to the LAX Lounge
One such facility is the airline’s lounge in the Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Although Emirates has but a single flight per day and will only have two per day starting July 1, the airline has its own dedicated facility so first and business-class passengers can enjoy something to eat or drink, check emails or simply relax before boarding their Airbus A380 for Dubai (DXB).

Considerable thought was put into the facility’s design. Opened in 2015, the 840 square meter facility provides an atmosphere of understated elegance. The leatherette furniture, done in warm tones of beige and brown, is accented by glass-topped tables and planters of stone, brushed chrome and wood. Ceilings of nine and a half feet are the perfect height, contributing to a cozy feeling without crossing the line into claustrophobic.

Although the facility can accommodate up to 165 people, the tables for dining and chairs for sitting and socializing are carefully arranged in groupings of four to six, with groups separated from each other by planters or screens. The arrangement provides families or small groups of fellow travelers a setting which, while not exactly private, is nonetheless very intimate.

The lounge at LAX is staffed by personnel that speak many of the languages of their guests, including Arabic, Urdu and English. As on board Emirates’ airplanes, newspapers and periodicals are available in several languages.

The LAX lounge has a business center with five computer stations and printer for those items of which one just must have a hard copy, Wi-Fi throughout the facility, bountiful food reflecting many of the destinations Emirates serves, and two self-service bars with both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

Positioned on the sixth floor of the terminal, the lounge also has an “outdoor” terrace that overlooks the main concourse with its array of shops and stores and, this being the home of Hollywood, a variety of glitzy state-of-the-art multi-media displays.

Like most airline lounges, Emirates’ LAX lounge has restrooms for its guests, complete with shower facilities so guests can freshen up before their flight. Owing to Emirates’ base in the United Arab Emirates, the facility also has a prayer room. Bathrooms contain an area for ablution, the washing ritual in which Muslims wash their hands, head and feet to cleanse themselves before praying.

carldombek's Emirates LAX Lounge album on Photobucket

As with virtually any aspect of the hospitality industry, service can make or break an experience. A mediocre physical setup can be overlooked if the service is excellent while the most beautiful property on the planet may fail to impress if the service is lackluster.

Service at Emirates’ LAX lounge was absolutely top-flight. As I walked in the door, the attendant on the desk said, “Welcome, Mr. Dombek.” They had been advised that I would be visiting to photograph the club and write about my experience and, because she spotted me taking a picture of the entrance, took the calculated risk of addressing me by name. Very impressive indeed.

Service on the lounge floor was equally attentive. Almost before I settled on a place to sit, one of the attendants asked if she could bring me anything to drink. As I nibbled my lunch, another attendant discreetly watched and, as I finished the last bite or sip, whisked away my empty plate or glass.

Served buffet-style, the food items were also quite good. I generally am not impressed by buffets, simply because the dishes are seldom at their optimal temperature and the quality suffers as a result. That did not seem to be the case at the Emirates LAX lounge. The items still had a freshness about them and made an excellent lunch, dinner or pre-boarding snack.

Clocks with times in various time zones at the Emirates Premium Lounge at LAXUnlike the lounges at Emirates' home base of Dubai International, the LAX lounge does not offer direct access to the gates the carrier uses. Guests do have to plan their departures to allow sufficient time to reach their gate, which can mean a walk of between five and ten minutes, depending upon which gate is being used at the time. And they have to keep an eye on the time; to maintain as tranquil an atmosphere as possible, the airline does not make boarding announcements inside the clubs.

If you are traveling first or business class on Emirates, once your complimentary chauffeured car drops you off, the Emirates premium lounge at LAX would be an excellent place to spend some quality time before boarding.

Visit my main page at TheTravelPro.us for more news, reviews, and personal observations on the world of upmarket travel.



Photos by Carl Dombek
Click on photos to view larger images

Emirates provided my air travel so that I could experience various aspects of its service first-hand.

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