AKL: Auckland Emirates Emirates Lounge

 

Emirates Lounge Auckland Jan 2012
Auckland Emirates Lounge
The brand new Auckland Emirates Lounge is a huge change from the older lounge (opened in 2003 and closed in 2011 due to massive overcrowding). It now has windows for a start, plus a much larger dining room, many more seats, a bigger business centre, and more showers. Indeed, you may wonder why Emirates needs such a vast lounge in Auckland, which is after all, the end of a long line from Dubai.
Emirates Lounge Auckland Jan 2012
Auckland Emirates Lounge

There are however three planes (and two of them massive A380s) all due to depart Auckland to Dubai within 35 minutes, it needs it. This place can get packed. These three planes split to Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, before joining up again the next morning in the UAE. Most London bound passengers are on the 1850 via Melbourne, and hang around the lounge the longest, however if you want to maximise lounge time, the A380 to Sydney may be a better bet, as this generally goes to the A380 gate, gate 16 (under the lounge and turn right).

The lounge itself is easy to find: turn right after security and the duty free maze, along the small corridor to the right, turns sharp right at the new Emperor lounge, up the escalator, and turn right at the Qantas lounge. There is a large reception desk often with two receptionists from when the lounge opens, right on 2.30pm, as soon as early check in kicks off.

Check out the statue at reception too: this monumental animal bronze is as pricey as the lounge it cost no less than $2million.

Emirates Lounge Auckland Jan 2012
Auckland Emirates Lounge

It sets the tone for the lounge, which is full of what is unsubtly known as Dubai Chic: The lounge is full of gold, tan leather, fountains, expensive artwork on the wall, and with opulence screaming louder than elegance. Welcome to Dubai.

Emirates Lounge Auckland Jan 2012
Auckland Emirates Lounge

There is no separate Emirates First lounge in Auckland: both First and Business are lumped in together, but at the back of the dining room is a small counter for First, with better champagne glasses and First chocolates.

The new Emirates lounge Auckland is shaped like a great big U, with the toilet block in the centre: you enter up one arm of it, where there are a couple of large seating areas.

At the bottom of the U are the large floor to ceiling windows. Alas, the view isn't great: it's of the duty free shop, and large curtains hang down obscuring sight of aircraft, which are behind another viewing platform anyway. There is a fountain here (more of a water feature really) in front of the entrance to the business centre, and vast acres of seats, plus a couple of large plasma TVs, which are always on CNN, however you can reach around the side to change the channel to the domestic NZ channels. Further around, up the other end of the U, is the dining room, with a long low counter overlooking the windows, plus plenty of dining chairs, all neatly decked out and even with flowers on the tables, and then at the back of the table area is the rectory side board, with food and drinks.

Emirates Lounge Auckland Jan 2012
Auckland Emirates Lounge

Food

It is the Food which is the mainstay of this lounge. Many people eat as if they haven't seen food in weeks. It is laid out on a sideboard opposite the main dining chairs. Alas getting hold of one of these chairs can be a little tricky at peak times.

Emirates Lounge Auckland Jan 2012
Auckland Emirates Lounge
Reflecting its status both as a combined First and Business lounge, and also as a lounge 'at the end of the line', where most passengers are in for a very long haul, food is a little better than you might expect. Under the hot plates there are hot dishes with lamb curry, chicken tagine, pasta, noodles, and fish, along with a heated tray with hot sandwiches, Zucchini Pates, salmon steaks, sausage rolls (chicken sausage of course) and meat pies. There is a large pot of soup (changes daily). Garlic bread is in the basket. Next to it in the standard Emirates round fridge with lots of mini plates laid out with different types of salad: there are lables on them all showing what they are. There are also plenty of desserts in mini-bowls, or cheesecake slices on a plate.

Bar

Of course the main attraction is always the bar. There are two bar areas, both by the dining hall, and by the first TV as you walk in. It is fully stocked with some excellent Kiwi wines, including three whites (with generally Cloudy Bay Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, along with a Chardonnay, and Pinot Gris) plus three reds which are oddly among the spirits on the bar top. Absolute top marks must go for the bottles of Verve-Cliquot Champagne: no kiwi sparklers here, it is the proper French stuff.
Emirates Lounge Auckland Jan 2012
Auckland Emirates Lounge

There are better glasses if you go to the rear of the dining section which is designed for First passengers, but made available of course if you are in business, or even slumming it in economy and just using a Gold card.

Spirits are equally good, with the usual Emirates selection of Martini (3 types) Campari, Canadian Club, Baileys, Drambuie, Kahulua, Cointreau, Absolute, Bombay Saphire, Bacardi, Mount Gay rum, Glenlivvett, Hennessy VSOP, Chevas Regal, and Jack Daniels. Beer is in the fridge, with Stella, Amstel, Crown, Heiniken, and Steinlager. Soft drinks are however very poor, with just Coke (normal and diet) and Sprite).

Bathrooms

The bathrooms are noteworthy, with most excellent showers (two each in the gents and ladies).
Emirates Lounge Auckland Jan 2012
Auckland Emirates Lounge
Bath robes and towels are left in the showers, along with shampoo. Soft rolled towels, hair dryers, and even small packets of toothbrushes and razors are left in the toilets too.

Business Facilities

Computers are fairly good, with eight brand new desktop PCs with a lightning fast internet connection in the new Business section. The Wifi is pretty nifty too: the password is on cards on the tables (p/w: emiratesakl). The huge magazine rack in the Emirates Auckland Lounge is also worthy of note: despite the distance, you can get copies of all the Dubai magazines, from Golf to Time Out (and they are updated weekly too). There are also all the usual Australia and New Zealand papers.
Emirates Lounge Auckland Jan 2012
Auckland Emirates Lounge

Tips

Incidentally at Auckland there is always a frantic zoo at the gate, particularly with the A380 to Sydney (which generally leaves from gate 16: a fair hike from the lounge) and the 777 to Brisbane (which is sometime a bus-from-the-gate job). Hence the lounge has a decent boarding process of waiting until almost everyone has boarded, and then making two calls, so you can spend an extra 20 minutes drinking in the lounge.
Emirates Auckland Lounge
Food:
►Basic finger food.
►Hot noodle station.
►Good salad bar with ham and cheese
►Biscuits, cheese, nuts
►Sandwiches in the evening.
►Five hot dishes
►Very good deserts
Bar:
►Free alcohol, free pour
►Beer: Heiniken, Carlsberg
►Good spirit selection
►3 good reds & 3 decent white wines
►Real Champagne
Business Facilities:
►Several fast PCs, printer
►Wifi in lounge
Entertainment:
TV in lounge. Newspaper rack.
Showers & Bathrooms:
Bathroom in lounge, no showers
Emirates Auckland Lounge rated: 8 out of 10
from 25 visits by loungeindex taking 3 images.
 
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