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Following an enjoyable stay in Dubai, it was time to head home. After trying the Meet and Greet Service from Marhaba on arrival, I got the chance to experience the Departure Service before my flight back to Düsseldorf, as well as the Marhaba lounge in Concourse B of Terminal 3. During a previous trip I made use of another provider; Ahlan and the Cadiz lounge in Concourse A. I was curious how the two compared.
Marhaba Meet and Greet on Departure
As was the case for arrivals, there are different packages available for departure for different types of travellers. Do you only want fast track through check-in, immigration and security? Then you can opt for the Bronze package. You then have to report yourself at the Marhaba Meeting lounge all the way on the right in Terminal 3. Here you can sit and have a drink while waiting for your host/hostess. Afterwards you are escorted through the formalities. At check-in you are brought to the front of the Economy Class queue. Subsequently you pass immigration through the GCC National line and at security you are again brought to the front of the queue. This service is available for around 24 GBP.
With the Silver service, a hostess and porter will be waiting for you kerbside. As with the Bronze service you are escorted through the formalities and afterwards also to your gate. Where possible, an electric cart ride will be provided. This costs around 37 GBP.
The Gold service (£80 GBP) again includes one-to-one dedicated service as well as access to the Marhaba lounge. Separately, lounge access would set you back 44 GBP if booked directly at the lounge. However purchasing through, for example, Loungebuddy is slightly cheaper. The Marhaba lounge is also part of Priority Pass so you may have access courtesy of that.
Again it is possible to opt for a Family service. This is the Silver service extended to up to 4 members of the same family and has a fee of 83 GBP.
A day in advance I received a text message with a confirmation of the service, and a request to call 10 minutes before arriving at the airport. The morning of my flight I also received a phone call asking our expected time of arrival. The hostess and porter would then be standing ready at door number 2.
Indeed they were; the Marhaba staff were waiting with a sign with my name on it. They took our suitcases from the car and immediately brought us to the check-in counters where they skipped the line. After checking in we headed to passport control. Here the time savings were most significant. Through the GCC National line it was immediately our turn. It wasn’t too busy at security but here as well we were brought to the front of the line. All in all, I reckon it only took 10 minutes from the car to being passed security.
Our flight to Düsseldorf departed from Concourse C – the old Terminal 1. Still we were driven to Concourse B by a golfcart. Generally Concourse B offers better facilities as, together with Concourse A, it is the original dedicated Emirates area, so we were happy with that any way.
Once in the lounge, we were invited to take a seat in a separate VIP-room. This wasn’t really necessary because it was not busy, however the lounge can be crowded during peak hours.
Our hostess told us she would come back to bring us to the gate 20 minutes before boarding would start, because the gate was quite far. Because we visited the Emirates Business Class Lounge after the Marhaba lounge, we did not make use of the transfer service. Nevertheless, considering the large distance between the concourses the buggy ride would have been very useful.
Marhaba Lounge Concourse B
In Terminal 3, used exclusively by Emirates and Qantas, Marhaba offers pay-per-entry lounges in all concourses. You can buy access directly with Marhaba (online or at the reception), through Emirates or Loungebuddy. The lounges are also accessible through various subscription programs like Priority Pass.
The lounge is one floor up from the main shopping area.
The lounge is designed in a U-shape with different seating areas and set-ups.
On the other side of the lounge were more individual seating areas and also sleeping pods if you would like to take a nap. You can request use of the pods at reception.
On the right of the reception was the buffet with some hot and cold options including pre-made sandwiches, wraps and cakes. There was also an extensive selection of soft drinks, regular coffee machines and also Arabic coffee.
The lounge itself does not have showers, but there were signs saying you could request to use shower facilities elsewhere in the terminal at the reception. The restrooms in the lounge weren’t in the best condition.
The Marhaba lounge in Concourse B is a basic lounge. During my visit it wasn’t busy at all, but I can imagine it can get cramped during peak hours as it’s the only Priority Pass lounge in Concourse B. The service staff were friendly, but the food selection wasn’t very extensive. All in all, it’s a pleasant enough lounge to wait for your flight but you shouldn’t arrive early for it.
Disclaimer: Lounge access and the Meet and Greet service was provided complimentary by Marhaba