Review: Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi Airport (AUH)

Review: Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi Airport (AUH)

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NAME: Pearl Lounge
Airport: AUH
DATE: December 2023
REVIEW RATING:
BEN SAYS: The Pearl Lounge is Abu Dhabi's Priority Pass and contract lounge. It's a pretty large lounge with a strange layout, a nice terrace with natural light, and a substantial selection of food and drinks.
7
The Long Way to Abu Dhabi
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During my review trip, I had the chance to check out Abu Dhabi Airport’s new Terminal A, which is such a massive improvement for the airport. I visited all the lounges in the terminal, including the Etihad First Class LoungeEtihad Business Class Lounge, and Pearl Lounge. In this installment, I’ll be reviewing the Pearl Lounge, which is the contract lounge in the terminal, and is also open to Priority Pass members.

I’d say the Pearl Lounge is an above average Priority Pass lounge, with a good selection of food and drinks, and a huge terrace that’s pleasant to sit on. However, the lounge has a very strange layout, and the interior space of the lounge feels quite dark.

I’d definitely visit the Etihad Lounges if you have access, but otherwise this is the next best (and only other) option. Let’s get into the review.

Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi location

The Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi is located in Terminal 1, near gate D43. Below is a map of the terminal layout, and as you can see, the lounge is close to the central area of the terminal.

Abu Dhabi Airport Terminal A map

Just follow the signage in the direction of the D gates, and then eventually you’ll also see signage for the Pearl Lounge.

Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi signage

The lounge is one level above the concourse, and has quite a large entrance area, with both escalators and elevators.

Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi entrance
Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi escalator

There are several more floors above the Pearl Lounge, and I believe those will eventually become an airside transit hotel at the airport, which will be a great addition.

Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi escalator

Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi hours

The Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi is open 24/7, reflecting that flights at Gulf airports operate all hours of the day and night. So you never have to worry about whether this lounge is open or not.

Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi entry requirements

When it comes to accessing the Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi:

Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi seating & layout

Some airport terminals are clearly designed with lounge space in mind, while others aren’t. Abu Dhabi Airport Terminal A fits in the latter category, as lounges appear to be an afterthought with the design.

The lounge consists of an interior area with fairly low ceilings and a winding layout, plus a large outdoor terrace. Let’s start by taking a look at the terrace, which I’d consider to be the nicer part of the lounge.

Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi entryway

You could visit this lounge and completely miss the terrace, because the only way to access it is via double doors that look like an emergency exit. Weird, eh?

Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi door to terrace

The terrace is basically one huge area that’s a level above the main concourse. It’s rather sparsely furnished, which I appreciate, given how many other lounges try to cram in as many seats as possible. The terrace has everything from chairs with ottomans, to booths, to dining tables, to high-top seating.

Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi terrace
Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi terrace
Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi terrace
Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi terrace
Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi terrace
Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi terrace

It’s a comfortable place to sit, though there are virtually no outlets in this space, which furthers my belief that this wasn’t even intended to be a lounge to begin with, but rather that was decided after the fact. The terrace has a circular bar with a limited selection of food, though you’ll find a lot more food options indoors.

Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi terrace bar
Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi terrace bar

Back inside the lounge, the area that seems to consistently be the busiest is the seating near the buffet. This is also the least nice area of the lounge, as the ceilings are low, there’s no natural light, and the area even feels a bit drab.

Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi seating
Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi seating

However, I think a vast majority of people don’t realize that there’s more to the indoor space, due to the unusual layout. If you go down the narrow hallway at the end of the room, you’ll find way more seating. There’s a whole second buffet here, similar to the first one.

Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi walkway
Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi seating
Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi seating
Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi seating
Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi seating
Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi seating

The lounge has multiple twists and turns, and if you keep going, you’ll eventually find yourself at another bar area.

Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi bar area
Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi bar area

There’s some more random seating in the back of the lounge, plus some meeting rooms.

Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi seating
Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi meeting room

Lastly, I should mention that the lounge has some luggage storage near the entrance, should you want to store your bags during your time in the lounge.

Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi luggage storage

So yeah, what can you really say about the lounge? On the plus side, I appreciate that the lounge is quite large, and I also like the natural light of the terrace. However, there’s a lack of natural light in the indoor space, the layout is very strange, and there aren’t many outlets. So we’ll file this lounge under “weird, but above average for Priority Pass in the Middle East.” Fair?

Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi food & drinks

The Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi has a couple of buffet stations inside the lounge.

Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi buffet

There are open display cases that are refrigerated, and during my visit they offered cold cuts, salad, individually plated appetizers, yogurt, cake, and fresh fruit.

Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi buffet
Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi buffet

Then there was a selection of cereal, muffins, and cookies.

Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi buffet
Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi buffet
Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi buffet

Hot options included scrambled eggs, ful medames, pancakes, hash browns, sausage, and more.

Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi buffet
Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi buffet
Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi buffet
Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi buffet
Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi buffet

In terms of drinks, there’s a coffee machine, a selection of tea, canned soda, and a soda fountain.

Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi drinks
Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi drinks

While the above pictures are from the main buffet by the entrance, the second buffet has a largely similar selection, and stays much emptier.

Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi buffet

Then the bar on the terrace has pastries and other light snacks.

Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi buffet

The bar also has complimentary alcohol, including rum, whisky, gin, vodka, and two kinds of beer, red wine, and white wine.

Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi bar menu
Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi bar

Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi bathrooms & showers

The Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi bathrooms were reasonably well maintained but busy, so I couldn’t quite do my usual bathroom photography without getting some looks. 😉

The Pearl Lounge has showers, but there’s an extra cost to use them. I overheard the person checking in ahead of me asking, and he was informed that a shower would cost 100 AED (~$27).

Bottom line

The Pearl Lounge is Abu Dhabi Airport’s only Priority Pass and contract lounge. It’s a huge improvement over the lounge setup in the old terminal, as this lounge is much larger and more modern. The Pearl Lounge has a terrace and an oddly shaped indoor space, and a solid selection of food and drinks.

I’d say that this is an above average Priority Pass lounge for the region. It’s not my favorite (that award goes to the Primeclass Lounge Muscat), but it’s still a good option if you don’t have access to the Etihad Lounges.

What’s your take on the Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi?

Conversations (7)
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  1. Asma Malik Guest

    Dear Pearl Lounge Management,

    I hope this message finds you well. I am writing to bring to your attention a disappointing experience I had during my recent visit to the Pearl Lounge in Abu Dhabi on February 6th.

    While dining at your establishment, I was going to serve a chicken dish with mash potatoes Unfortunately, upon beginning my meal, I discovered a hair in the dish. This was not only unpleasant but also concerning in...

    Dear Pearl Lounge Management,

    I hope this message finds you well. I am writing to bring to your attention a disappointing experience I had during my recent visit to the Pearl Lounge in Abu Dhabi on February 6th.

    While dining at your establishment, I was going to serve a chicken dish with mash potatoes Unfortunately, upon beginning my meal, I discovered a hair in the dish. This was not only unpleasant but also concerning in terms of hygiene standards.

    I immediately reported the incident to one of your staff members, expecting a swift and appropriate resolution.

    As a loyal customer, I believe it is crucial to bring such matters to your attention to ensure that the high standards of quality and hygiene are maintained throughout your establishment. I trust that you will take the necessary steps to address this issue and prevent similar occurrences in the future.

    I appreciate your attention to this matter and look forward to hearing from you regarding the actions taken to rectify the situation.

    Sincerely,
    Asma Malik
    [email protected]

  2. Mrs M Guest

    This lounge was one of the worst I have used. After a long flight from Sydney with 3 further flights to get to my final destination. I expected to be able to use the showers & wash my hair, blow dry & style it. I was happy to use my own toiletries, BUT nothing is supplied except a threadbare towel & no bath mat so floor is wet. You get a toothbrush & comb (and...

    This lounge was one of the worst I have used. After a long flight from Sydney with 3 further flights to get to my final destination. I expected to be able to use the showers & wash my hair, blow dry & style it. I was happy to use my own toiletries, BUT nothing is supplied except a threadbare towel & no bath mat so floor is wet. You get a toothbrush & comb (and a shower cap) There are no power points in the entire shower / toilet area and the therefore no hair dryers supplied. The first area where the food / drinks etc are gets packed, as no information was given that there were other areas further inside this lounge. Overall the food was awful the ambience was awful & the showers / toilet area awful. I would not want to recommend this lounge if you had requirements of the above.

  3. Julia Guest

    Since the relaxation rooms are tricky to find, people might actually be able to access them with ease even during peak periods for the lounge. When I visited the old Terminal 1 lounge it was so crowded and you had to take whichever seating you could get.

  4. Michael_FFM Diamond

    Currently „enjoying“ a stay in the Pearl Lounge. Compared to the old lounges the food offering turns out to be not better, the selection of drinks is reduced (No sparkling wine for example) including bottled water not being available.

    1. Michael_FFM Diamond

      Instead they offer tap-water from a spender, for „sustainability reasons“. The issue is, this is Abu Dhabi tap-water, which is of course perfectly safe, but tastes rather dreadful.

  5. Azamaraal Diamond

    There is a fact of life that planning is probably not a strong suit. In 1999 they started building a highway improvement from the city to the airport. The highway was completed to the canal from the city and then from the canal to connect to the Airport and Dubai/Al Ain/Ruais.
    Then they started the planning for the bridge which took another 3 years.
    The Grand Mosque was another example.

  6. NSS Guest

    Can I ask a question? I've now read all three lounge reviews, and it just seems odd that in a brand new terminal, each of the lounges you reviewed have fairly significant issues - hard to find, weird to navigate, some very light, some very dark, some missing basic services for the type of lounge, etc.

    If you were building a brand new terminal, and were as status-conscious as the Middle east airlines seem...

    Can I ask a question? I've now read all three lounge reviews, and it just seems odd that in a brand new terminal, each of the lounges you reviewed have fairly significant issues - hard to find, weird to navigate, some very light, some very dark, some missing basic services for the type of lounge, etc.

    If you were building a brand new terminal, and were as status-conscious as the Middle east airlines seem to be, how is it possible you'd end up in this position?

    Is it not weird to anyone else? Ran out of money? Not likely. Just didn't care? Not likely.

    What happened?

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Asma Malik Guest

Dear Pearl Lounge Management, I hope this message finds you well. I am writing to bring to your attention a disappointing experience I had during my recent visit to the Pearl Lounge in Abu Dhabi on February 6th. While dining at your establishment, I was going to serve a chicken dish with mash potatoes Unfortunately, upon beginning my meal, I discovered a hair in the dish. This was not only unpleasant but also concerning in terms of hygiene standards. I immediately reported the incident to one of your staff members, expecting a swift and appropriate resolution. As a loyal customer, I believe it is crucial to bring such matters to your attention to ensure that the high standards of quality and hygiene are maintained throughout your establishment. I trust that you will take the necessary steps to address this issue and prevent similar occurrences in the future. I appreciate your attention to this matter and look forward to hearing from you regarding the actions taken to rectify the situation. Sincerely, Asma Malik [email protected]

0
Mrs M Guest

This lounge was one of the worst I have used. After a long flight from Sydney with 3 further flights to get to my final destination. I expected to be able to use the showers & wash my hair, blow dry & style it. I was happy to use my own toiletries, BUT nothing is supplied except a threadbare towel & no bath mat so floor is wet. You get a toothbrush & comb (and a shower cap) There are no power points in the entire shower / toilet area and the therefore no hair dryers supplied. The first area where the food / drinks etc are gets packed, as no information was given that there were other areas further inside this lounge. Overall the food was awful the ambience was awful & the showers / toilet area awful. I would not want to recommend this lounge if you had requirements of the above.

0
Julia Guest

Since the relaxation rooms are tricky to find, people might actually be able to access them with ease even during peak periods for the lounge. When I visited the old Terminal 1 lounge it was so crowded and you had to take whichever seating you could get.

0
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