- Introduction: The Long Way To Abu Dhabi
- The Unglamorous Reality Of My Review Trips
- Review: EVA Air Business Class Boeing 777 (IAH-TPE)
- Review: EVA Air Infinity Lounge Taipei Airport (TPE)
- Review: EVA Air Business Class Boeing 787 (TPE-HKG)
- Review: Regal Airport Hotel Hong Kong
- Review: Chase Sapphire Lounge Hong Kong Airport (HKG)
- Review: Cathay Pacific The Pier First Class Lounge Hong Kong Airport (HKG)
- Review: Cathay Pacific The Wing First Class Lounge Hong Kong Airport (HKG)
- Review: Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Hong Kong Airport (HKG)
- Review: Qantas Lounge Hong Kong Airport (HKG)
- Review: Cathay Pacific Business Class Airbus A350 (HKG-SIN)
- Review: Singapore Airlines The Private Room Singapore Airport (SIN)
- Review: Singapore Airlines First Class Lounge Singapore Airport (SIN)
- Review: Singapore Airlines First Class Boeing 777 (SIN-CGK)
- Review: Garuda Indonesia Lounge Jakarta Airport (CGK)
- Review: Plaza Premium Lounge Jakarta Airport (CGK)
- Review: Garuda Indonesia Business Class Boeing 777 (CGK-JED)
- Review: Aerotel Jeddah Airport, Saudi Arabia
- Review: Etihad Business Class Airbus A321 (JED-AUH)
- Review: Etihad Business Class Lounge Abu Dhabi Airport (AUH)
- Review: Etihad First Class Lounge Abu Dhabi Airport (AUH)
- Review: Pearl Lounge Abu Dhabi Airport (AUH)
- Review: Etihad First Class Airbus A380 (AUH-LHR)
- Review: British Airways Concorde Room London Heathrow (LHR)
- Review: British Airways Galleries First Lounge London Heathrow (LHR)
- Review: British Airways First Class Airbus A380 (LHR-ORD)
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 Lounge, Etihad 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.
In this post:
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.
Just follow the signage in the direction of the D gates, and then eventually you’ll also see signage for the Pearl Lounge.
The lounge is one level above the concourse, and has quite a large entrance area, with both escalators and elevators.
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 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:
- The lounge can be accessed with a Priority Pass membership
- You can purchase access to the lounge
- This is a contract lounge, so many airlines other than Etihad send their premium passengers here
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
The lounge has multiple twists and turns, and if you keep going, you’ll eventually find yourself at another bar area.
There’s some more random seating in the back of the lounge, plus some meeting rooms.
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.
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.
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.
Then there was a selection of cereal, muffins, and cookies.
Hot options included scrambled eggs, ful medames, pancakes, hash browns, sausage, and more.
In terms of drinks, there’s a coffee machine, a selection of tea, canned soda, and a soda fountain.
While the above pictures are from the main buffet by the entrance, the second buffet has a largely similar selection, and stays much emptier.
Then the bar on the terrace has pastries and other light snacks.
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 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).
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?