WANDERLUSTA guide to Dubai Airport

How to spend your time in the world’s busiest international airport

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Hosting almost 90 million passengers a year, Dubai Airport (DXB) is the world’s busiest airport, with travellers from all corners of the globe using its three terminals. Unsurprisingly, it’s state-of -the-art, with all manner of facilities designed to make sure your visit is made as stress-free as possible. Here, we share our tips on how to make the most of your time there.

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Relax in style

Start your airport experience in the VIP Al Majlis reception and service centre. Here you’ll have access to 25 different VIP lounges, as well as a personal assistant to guide you through the necessary airport administration. You’ll also find a range of ‘meet-and-assist’ services, and opportunities to relax in the Marhaba Lounge. If you’re travelling business class, you’ll have a choice of private airline lounges for relaxing or working on the go.

Emirates Skywards members may also have complimentary access to the seven Emirates lounges across concourses A, B and C in Terminal 3. If you're not a Skywards member, entry costs from 480 AED.

If you have a while between connecting flights, head to the Sleep 'N 'Fly lounge. Offering multiple sleep options including 20 Scandinavian sleep pods, with igloo-style interiors; and minimalistic double cabins with pull-out beds. It’s a great place to squeeze in a power nap, or even bed in for the night. The pods also double as office spaces, allowing you to work in comfort, with high-speed wi-fi.

Those who need to loosen their travel-weary muscles should stop in at Be Relax, with four spas in Terminal 3 and one in Terminal One. The facilities include seaweed facials, manicures, aromatherapy and full body massages. You can even do a few lengths in the health club swimming pool.

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Indulge in retail therapy

Dubai airport is as much about shopping as the rest of the city, and not surprisingly the Duty Free retail space is expansive, incorporating multiple brands in one vast shopping arena. Delve into selections of mementos, souvenirs and authentic Arabian treasures, stroll through sweet-smelling aisles of makeup, fragrances and skincare products, or explore the racks of clothing from top international designers. In a city where jewellery is found in abundance, it’s no surprise to see a glittering array of gold bangles, necklaces and earrings for sale alongside industry-leading watch brands such as Tag Heuer, Longines and Rolex.

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Airport dining from around the world

Aside from the usual burger chains and fast food outlets, Dubai Airport’s food offering is excellent. Pan-Asian food is catered for thanks to a dedicated food court, while Cho Gao serves up cuisine with Eastern flavours from Thailand, China, Japan and Singapore. Bombay Chowpati and Adya focus on all things India, Cadiz brings in a touch of the North African; gourmet burgers and milkshakes can be picked up at American Shake Shack while the likes of Le Pain Quotidien serve up healthy dishes, patisseries and all things organic.

For something a little more upmarket, visit American TV chef Wolfgang Puck’s The Kitchen for beautifully presented American comfort food such as steaks, pizza, pasta and salad prepared with only the best ingredients. Jack’s Bar & Grill is another option, offering no-nonsense, self-styled Tennessee menu, while Delizie focuses on customisable pasta, pizza and salads using imported Italian ingredients.

Despite the air-conditioning it’s hot out there in the Middle East, so ice-cream is a necessity. Fortunately, global ice-cream merchants Baskin & Robbins and have this covered. And if this is not enough to satiate your sweet tooth, there are a number of pop-up dessert carts on hand just to make sure.

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Entertaining the family

Dubai airport is dotted with playrooms for the kids to let off steam. The more boisterous will find room to expend their energy at the BOUNCE Trampoline Park in Terminal 3, with multiple trampolines, cool graffiti installations and an arcade room filled with games. In Terminal 1, head to the feel-good family restaurant, Giraffe, where they serve great coffee and fresh food for travellers, big and small.

 

Get connected or stream a movie

The airport is well-connected with unlimited, free and super-fast wi-fi throughout, which allows you to not only access the internet but also the in-airport ICFLIX entertainment list, full of newly released blockbusters (available in three languages). All terminals offer currency exchange bureaus, baby care rooms, smoking lounges and baggage storage facilities, and the staff ensure special assistance through mobility and medical facilities.