- San Francisco to Sydney: United Airlines First Class
- Eating Our Way Through Sydney + Hilton Sydney
- Road Trip to the Blue Mountains + Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort + Spa
- Diving at the Great Barrier Reef, Day Trip to Port Douglas + Hilton Cairns
- Stopover in Brisbane to Cuddle Koalas + Hilton Brisbane
- Brisbane to Male via Singapore: Singapore Airlines Business Class
- Conrad Maldives Rangali Island
- Extended Layover in Sri Lanka before ex-CMBing + Amangalla
- Colombo to London via Dubai: Emirates First Class
- Spending the Day at the Dubai Mall + Emirates First Class Terminal
- London to San Francisco: British Airways First Class
We landed in DXB just after 1pm with our DXB-LHR flight not leaving until 3am, leaving us with an extremely long layover in Dubai. Normally, I'd be perfectly happy being a lounge-potato as I can easily spend 8+ hours just sitting in a comfortable chair with wifi and an abundance of food and drink at my finger tips. And if I had been traveling alone, I very well might of just parked my butt in the lounge for the entire layover.
But since I was with my wife who loves to explore new places, I knew better than to suggest staying at the lounge for the better half of a day, and made plans to visit Dubai instead. At least I was able to convince her that we'd be able to have an excellent dinner in the lounge, so why spend money in the city on food. So we agreed to split the time, staying in the city until 7pm and then heading back to the airport.
I explored various options for spending 5-6 hours in Dubai, and the best thing I could come up with was to walk around the Dubai mall area, and visit the Burj Khalifa (I'm sure there are others that could have come up with a much better plan ) Since we wouldn't be booking a hotel room I arbitrarily picked a nearby hotel since the chauffeur service needs an address ahead of time. I ended up picking the Address Hotel Dubai Mall which is adjacent to the mall and worked out very well.
We began walking through the mall, and it is HUGE. There are literally stores from all around the world selling anything you can imagine. We headed straight for the Burj Khalifa and were planning to visit the top, but the earliest appointment we could get was at 10pm, over 8 hours away. They did offer immediate access, but at triple the price (approximately $100 vs. the standard $30 entrance fee). I kicked myself for not making a reservation ahead of time, and we decided that it just wasn't worth it. Instead, we grabbed a mix bowl of cheese and caramel corn from Garrett's and went outside into the sweltering heat to check-out the Burj Khalifa and also stuck around for a water show.
Rest of the buildings look so small
Outside the Dubai Mall
We went back inside, walked around some more, and realized that we had only killed about two hours with three more to go. We weren't in the mood to do any real shopping, and had already basically window shopped across the entire mall.
So we decided to head up to the cinema on the top floor and watched Hunger Games II. We decided to splurge on the Platinum experience which is basically a separate movie theater within the theater. Each "seat" is a recliner which also comes with a blanked and pillow, and there are only 32 seats in the whole theater. Overall, it was a pretty cool experience as it made it feel like you were just watching the movie at home.
Dubai Mall Aquarium
Only in Dubai, a $7.8M model car
As Derek Zoolander would say, "what is this, a car for ants?!"
Cool indoor fountain
Platinum theater bar/lounge
We met our chauffeur at the same spot we got dropped-off, and headed back to the airport. We arrived through the separate first class/business class drop-off area, and security and immigration lines were very short. Before long, we had arrived at the Emirates First Class Terminal.
There was no confusion on my part as I'd read several trip reports before - the lounge is literally an entire terminal, which includes it's own shopping area, restaurants, lounges/bar, cigar bar, showers, and relaxation room. There is a spa access from outside the lounge, and we each went in for a quick 15-minute back massage.
The lounge is simply amazing. Of course we were there in the late evening and into the early morning, but I'd guess that for every 100 seats available in the lounge, only 1 was actually occupied. It really felt like the entire terminal was empty of other passengers, but there were a large number of staff walking around ready to assist at a moment's notice.
We headed straight to the restaurant, where a large buffet spread and a la carte menu were offered. The food here was fantastic, and the dining area felt very upscale as if we were dining at a nice restaurant. After dinner, we both showered before our spa treatments, then headed to the relaxation room where we were able to get a few hours nap before our flight. This area was extremely quiet, and each of the recliners had a blanked and pillow.
Around T-45 we mobilized from the relaxation room and headed to our gate, which features boarding directly from the terminal only for F passengers.
Lamb with polenta, delicious
Creme caramel dessert