In addition to Emirates’ own lounges, there are multiple different contract lounges too. The most widely available ones are Marhaba Lounges at least one of which can be found in each of the airport’s three terminals. In the past, I reviewed the one in Terminal 3 Concourse B.
That said, with almost five years having passed since then, I was glad to have a chance to visit the Marhaba Lounge in Terminal 3 Concourse A back in December 2021. Continue reading this review to see what the lounge was like.
Location, Opening Hours & Access
The lounge is located in Dubai airport terminal 3 concourse A which is used by Emirates’ A380s and is fairly well sign-posted. It’s located airside, after security and immigration.
Being located on the terminal’s fifth floor (two floors above the main departures level), the Marhaba Lounge in concourse A can be accessed through a pair of elevators near gates A2 and A3. While, as can be seen in the photo above, at first glance it looks as if one of the elevators is for the Plaza Premium Lounge on the fourth floor and the other for the Marhaba Lounge, both of the elevators go to both lounges.
The lounge is open 24 hours a day. Make sure to check before planning a visit, though, as the opening hours can chance, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
You can enter the Marhaba Lounge with Priority Pass and some other membership programs. Additionally, you can buy one-time access either directly or through services like LoungeBuddy. The latter is not always the best deal, though.
After getting off the elevator leading into the lounge, there was a staffed bar on the left and the reception on the right. Considering that I visited in late-December, there was also a Christmas tree. Lastly, there was a display case with some bottles of liquor, presumably for sale.
The rest of the lounge’s facilities were spread across or along the lounge’s long and narrow main area extending to the entrance’s left and right.
In the middle of the lounge, the buffet area and quite a few sofa chairs arranged around coffee tables could be found. Along the glass panels overlooking the terminal were dining tables, each with two or three chairs.
The part of the lounge extending to the left of the central part included some more sofa chairs. Those were separated by small consoles. At the very end of this part, a few lounging chairs for those that wanted to take a nap could be found.
Entrances to a smoking room, a seating area reserved for Marhaba Elite customers (whatever that means), a kids’ room, and the restrooms could be found in this area of the lounge too.
The other side of the lounge featured a large counter lined with bar-height chairs. On the other side of the counter, there were some more sofa chairs with coffee tables.
Lastly, there were a couple of sleeping pods. Those needed to be reserved at the reception and might have come with an additional fee.
Food and Drinks
In addition to a variety of liquor, wine, beer, and soft drinks available at the lounge’s staffed bar, there were also some self-serve drinks at in the buffet area. Those included a selection of coffee drinks from an espresso machine, a variety of tea bags, and bottles of water. Arabic coffee was available as well.
Food available in the lounge included some fruits (apples and bananas), cereals, and a variety of packaged items including muffins, dry cakes, and mince pies.
There were also toasts with butter, jam, and honey.
Additionally, there were some fresh vegetables, a fairly nice selection of sandwiches and tortillas, and an orange cake.
Lastly, there was a selection of warm items. Having visited early in the morning, during breakfast time, those included baked beans and scrambled eggs among other things.
Marhaba Lounge Dubai Airport Concourse A Summary
As can typically be expected from lounges in the Priority Pass network, the Marhaba Lounge in Dubai airport terminal 3 concourse A was nothing to write home about. At the same time, it provided a decent selection of food and drinks and a fairly pleasant environment to wait in for a connecting flight.
The one drawback of the lounge that I think is worth pointing out is the lack of any sort of workspace. While it was certainly possible to get some work done in the lounge, personally, I prefer lounges offering some kind of work desks or cubicles. Not only do I find it easier to get some work done when those are available, but they also tend to open a bit more privacy than the typical open seating.
All in all, if you do not have access to Emirates’ business or first class lounge but have Priority Pass or other way to access the Marhaba Lounge without paying, it’s definitely worth a visit on a layover if for nothing else then to grab a cup of tea or coffee. In the vast majority of cases, however, I do not think it’s worth paying for access to this lounge – you are likely better off spending that money at one of the terminal’s restaurants.