I recall a sense of deja vu writing this here on the blog but I have always been a creature of the night. There is something about the stillness, the societal pause, something about the convergence of curtains and dimming of lights that drives me to write into the early hours, to think into the early hours, sometimes to over think. I thought it would suit my habits well that the airports of the Middle East breathe a new life as night time prevails.
I was first to learn this two years ago when an indirect flight to Borneo took me via Dubai airport at 3am. Disembarking with a tension headache, I thought it unlikely a pharmacy would be open at that hour. Like any organised traveller, I had remembered a supply of painkillers for my travels. And like any disorganised traveller, I had packed this in my checked in baggage rather than my handbag. Allaying me from my unwarranted concerns, not only did I find a pharmacy open but also I found the entire micro-cosm of Dubai airport to be open, bustling and energetic; staff were mingling, passengers varying in their state of rousability, the shops, each and every one of them with a fully decked out window display, eagerly encouraging custom. Somehow, I fell out of my comfort zone at this hour of the night with its crowds and lights and cashiers.
Prior to my recent visit to Abu Dhabi, I realised I would have several late night hours to pass at the airport before boarding our flight to the Seychelles. This time, I took a few moments out (a few hours to be precise) by setting up camp in the relative quietness of the Al Reem Lounge, a Plaza Premium Lounge in Abu Dhabi.
The Al Reem Lounge Abu Dhabi
The benefit of the Plaza Premium Lounges is that you don’t need any annual memberships or business class seats to access them and anyone who wishes to spend some time in the lounges may do so with a simple booking procedure with prices at the time of publishing this post starting at 29 USD per person for a 2 hour package. This lounge is located in Terminal 1 and a bowl of succulent dates stand near the entrance of the concierge alongside a pointy gold teapot.
Dining at Plaza premium Al Reem Lounge
A little peckish from our early arrival at the airport, we headed straight to the buffet food where we found a selection of salads and hot dishes of barbecue chicken, a deliciously creamy potato curry, cumin rice and beef biriyani (as a non beef-eater, I can’t comment on the quality of the latter.)The desserts were quite high calibre contrary to those I have tried in other lounges, including a pistachio semolina pudding, caramel bavarois and a 3 tier platter of tasty Middle Eastern desserts, which I washed down with a cup of green tea.
Self serve cold, non-alcoholic beverages are available at the buffet but for a freshly made coffee or an alcoholic beverage, head to the bar on the downstairs level. Aside from the freshly made hot food, bowls of apples and unlimited cookies and marshmallows were lurking in naughty corners around the lounge. I just had to pretend I hadn’t seen them. The bikini was looming. Needs must.
Ambience at the Al Reem Lounge
The lounge is dimly lit dim with a few television screens in the corners showing news headlines silently and a backdrop of soft piano music and a beautiful chandelier forming the centre point of the lounge. The lounge is split across three levels with the bar at the lowest level and the buffet, concierge and bathroom facilities at the higher level. There are other Plaza Premium Lounges at Abu Dhabi Airport so if you have booked lounge access, be sure to double-check these details.Lounge Amenities
What is a lounge in this day and age without free WiFi and I was pleased to find that it worked very well during our time at the lounge with just one very brief break of connection lasting only a minute or two and even some good old fashioned glossy magazines for those of us who still enjoy the touch of published print between our fingers. Plug points were plentiful and both the ladies’ and gents’ bathrooms come with showering facilities, which we had intended to use but at 2am with an upcoming flight (which we were hoping to be asleep on anyway,) we became rather complacent. Please don’t think us unkempt 😀The lounge itself is not huge in size and became quite busy after midnight. We arrived in good time and managed to obtain comfortable seats of our choosing but those arriving a bit later found it harder as seats started to fill up. The service was courteous and un-intrusive, which frankly was all I wanted at this time and the lounge must have done the trick in helping me to unwind as I managed nearly five solid hours of sleep on board the flight!
Disclaimer: We were guests of Plaza Premium Lounges for review purposes but I am an opinionated little lady and all views, good or bad, are entirely my own.