Gulf Air Lounge, BAH

Since Gulf Air has decided recently to close down its lounge in BAH for renovations and a new look, I’ve decided to share with all of you some images I’ve taken from there before the closure and review it in hope that the new design would be a lot better in comparison. You can also compare this lounge review with my visit to Gulf Air lounge in DXB.

BAH mainly has three lounges: Gulf Air, Cathay Pacific, and Dilmun. For those who are traveling on business/first class on Gulf Air or are of Silver/Gold status of Gulf Air’s Falconflyer frequent flyer program, you can access the lounge for your leisure. Otherwise, most of the flyers would be redirected towards the common Dilmun lounge.  All of the lounges in BAH are located in the upper floor and they accessible by escalators/lifts. Gulf Air has the best view of the airport runway and the parked planes due to its strategic location in the upper floor. The lounge is equipped with a business center, wireless internet connection, prayer hall, quiet room for rest, children’s playground and on-site nanny, hot food buffet, snacks and appetizers as well all variations of soft drinks, hot drinks and liquor.

The mood here is usually laid back unless there are the typical middle eastern families who are not attending to their kids’ behavior, so you can hear them running all around the hard wood flooring of the lounge in a disturbing way. Gulf Air lounges are famous for the Arabic tent in it where you can chill and relax with your family members or friends. Unfortunately, on many occasions I’ve witnessed solo travelers hugging the tent to himself and laying all over the seating and it was distasteful.

Unfortunately, the area allocated to the lounge is not as big enough as Dilmun lounge, and finding seats could be a problem when it gets crowded during afternoon/evening trips. Recently, I’ve noticed that the quality of the furniture is dropping down due to overusage and it needed replacement. I guess Gulf Air sensed that and started with the closure early this season. According to their email, it would take around two months to finish and re-open the lounge. We’ll have to wait and see what Gulf Air is promising us in the newest improvement to their local lounge.

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Intercontinental Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia

Another blast from the past. Like the previous post about an old stay in 2008, I’ve stumbled upon some old pictures in 2008 when I was still with MEW and did my first ever business trip! That business trip was my first official business meeting with my current employer! see how things change in life. Well, since our current office building is next to Intercontinental Al Khobar, it was recommended to us to stay in it since it was a walking distance to the meeting. At that time, I didn’t have any kind of relationship with any frequent guest/flyer program/affiliation at all. I barely traveled when I was in the shifts for 7 years. I needed my yearly leave just to sleep around like a hippo!

Well, back to the hotel. The lobby of the hotel is very neat and professional but very minimal in the lounge area where there’s only a single cafe and the main restaurant. Since then and till today, I’m never impressed by the quality/type of items/dish in the buffet menu. It has always disappointed me and I think the hotel management should research this the utmost dedication.

My colleague reserved the rooms for us, so I didn’t know what kind of rooms we are getting. Upon check-in, I’ve realized that she got us the executive deluxe rooms, which were pricey and almost broke our piggy bank. Honestly, the rooms were great. More than great. Wireless/wired connection was provided for each room. Interactive Cisco VOIP headsets of the latest release were made available. The room had a living area, seperate from the bedroom. I can’t say more and I’m going to leave it to the pictures to decide for yourself. Last comment is that the location of the hotel is in the heart of the business district of Al Khobar area, surrounded by banks and airline agencies. Finding the hotel might be hard and to enjoy most of your local entertainment in Al Khobar, you would surely need a car transportation. Otherwise, excellent choice for business travelers who wish to get their money’s worth!

Killing Yourself To Live

~With Tribute to Black Sabbath’s song “Killing yourself to live”~

Over the course of humanity on this Earth, crimes against the human nature has taken place repeatedly for many typical reasons such as race, gender, religion etc. Everyone tried to justify it according to what seems fit and appealing to the acceptance of the general masses.

Murder is never justified. Especially when punishment for any grade of crime is conducted by the hordes of maddened illiterate masses such as this recent case in Lebanon (pictured above) when a rapist and murderer of a single family was publicly beaten to death and his body was toured around the village. I didn’t find that appealing. I’m not against the death penalty, or the public execution of the death penalty. Yet, I’m against the implementation of justice by hands of the typical masses such as what’s going on recently.

The same went for the public execution of the American logistics personnel at Iraq (pictured) where it reminded Americans of the same fate they faced in Somalia in 1990s.

The same goes for Gaddafi. No one can deny his dictatorship against the poor Libyans. Please note that Libyans in general are not that of the poor standard of living such as Egypt, yet they were victimized through the Gaddafi dogma of faith and preaching of his idealistic crazy methodology of greatness and anti-almost-everything. Simply, the guy was a nutcase and he was making them shy in shame for being their ever-lasting revolutionary leader. Yet, the way he was handled and killed on site by the Islamic militias is not acceptable nor forgiven. Justice should have taken its course and he should have been provided with a fair trial. The Islamic militias and those with interest were in fear that they might have to hand him over to NATO or Europe where a bargain might take place.

It’s an awful sad end of a dictator, but then by doing such barbaric acts against humanity, we are killing our humane selves to live.

Le Méridien Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia

Le Meridien Al Khobar is one of the oldest hotels in the Easter providence in Saudi Arabia. Strategically located at the corniche road of Al Khobar where all the best and most popular food chains are located. It’s also the main attraction for those who would enjoy a stroll at the evening time when the weather is nice and breezy. I have visited this hotel in 2008 and forgot to review it. Through file browsing, I’ve just found the pictures for it! please note that even though that these pictures were taken in 2008, I’ve visited the place recently in July to see a friend and the same set of furniture is still in usage, so there’s no updates in case of raising doubt about the accuracy of this review.

Le Meridien is surrounded by a huge concrete wall and maximum security due to the regular threat of terrorist attacks on its foreign guests. It does block the lovely old architecture of this building. Unfortunately, at the lobby floor there’s a limited number of places that you could chill at. I’ve seen so far only one coffee shop that was apparent and providing most of the services. I visited Le Meridien for a major GCC meeting and the conference hall was very huge and remarkable. Due to prior arrangements, our stay was paid-for and we surly have received great attention. I would just like to note that the furniture is very regular and there’s nothing remarkable to wow about. It’s strictly a business traveler’s spot in Al Khobar area, but it’s prices are almost stable along the year and till now I have not seen any competitive offers, since they are usually satisfied with the level of patronage from the foreign/western guests.

If you are looking for something of  5-stars grade of lodging in Al Khobar area, then I would generally recommend this hotel instantly for its premium location and good services.

First/Business Class Lounge, DMM

Back to blogging! well, since I have moved out of Kuwait last April I’ve relocated temporarily in The Eastern providence in Saudi Arabia. From there, I really hated driving the usual 4 hours drive back to Kuwait since the quality of the road and the available services till now are not of the convincing levels that would induce me to use it regularly. I had to use King Fahad International Airport a couple of time either flying directly to Kuwait or through Bahrain. So, during my business trips I had the privilege to try out the First/business class lounge in DMM and I’m reviewing it here for all of us. Please note that DMM airport was built mainly around the late 80s and was used primarily during the Gulf war for the military aviation services. We’re talking about a very huge set of architecture covering big mass of land. The airport itself has as I remember three levels or more.

Upon checking in the lounge which is right after immigration, you take a left and walk for a few minute to see its entrance.

After the admission which is being handled poorly through manual fill-in of the guest details on a single leaf of paper. The seating area is OK, although the signs of decay on the furniture is noticeable and its a sore to the eye. This is the main hall. Note for international flights terminals, this is the only available lounge. I have not been to the domestic terminal but I know that there’s another lounge there as well.

As you can see, this is used to be very luxurious back in the day. But due to poor management and maintenance, it was reduced to this current stage of retardation.

Now honestly, I don’t really recommend going for the food in this lounge. This lounge by far is the weirdest I have encountered yet. The type of food offered are mainly sandwiches and pastries which are kept inside a glass counter you can’t reach for, and the lounge staff are the ones who are assigned to help you. This is not usual since it does feel like it’s limiting your movement and portions because on some occasions, there was no one at the counter and you just couldn’t access the food. Of course, the quality of the sandwiches is one of the worst I have ever tried. Flat taste and the cold meats taste like paper board! The drinks are not offered usually in cold status so you have to request ice, that is if you found one of the staff to help you. I’m pretty sure there’s no wireless internet connectivity here. The newspaper stand consists mainly of Saudi newspapers in almost all of its formats, excluding the foreign newspapers except for an Egyptian newspaper or two.

Another negative note is the public announcements of flights and the live updates on the designated monitors. DMM airport is really not helpful in their public announcements since it’s not repeated or even considerate in frequency. The flight updates monitors are something from the prehistoric age. I mean they still use the old blue screen with the white typing, looking like something out from MSX DOS! and it’s not even updated regularly.

Overall, I can’t recommend this lounge or even boarding from DMM airport since even if you decide to skip the lounge, there’s no other suitable place to have food and relax. Unfortunately, you’ll have to stick with this one.