Al Dhabi Lounge, AUH

IMG_0473This is this updated lounge of the Airport Hotel Lounge in AUH, which I have blogged about in 2011.

This lounge went through major revamp and furnishing to reach the true magnificent level of service and recognition that Abu Dhabi is reaching for to represent its image to the world of travelers.

Access to this lounge can be through association of major frequent flyer programs, priority pass and I believe some credit card programs as well. This lounge is still located at Terminal 1 of Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH), right after the e-gate and immigration desks.

Shower facilities, Computer access area, kids area and smoking lounges were added in order to provide the best service and accommodation to AUH patrons. The seating, decoration, furnishing have all been renewed and improved to a level that it surprised me in comparison to the previous set-up of its old version.

I have to add that the choices for the buffet need some improvement, yet it still beats any premium lounges in Europe, where hot food and in almost unlimited portions are as rare as water in the Arabian desert!

While traveling to Abu Dhabi, I would suggest visiting this lounge to experience comfort before taking off on your flight!



iPhone Travel Apps: Supporting Apps

The third post in the series after the airlines and hotels, comes this post which is of supporting apps that are must have for all frequent travelers. I hope that this list, I can cover most of the essential iPhone apps that could come handy for everyone.

eCurrency App:

This app is a must have, in my opinion. A very handy currency exchange app that could allow you to have up to 8 active exchanges, with different bases for each choice. This is not usually found in other apps. For example, you can have US dollar Vs Japanese Yen in the first slot, then British pound Vs Saudi Riyal in the next and so on. And there’s a calculator that you can use along, which is an awesome extra. The app is usually updated to the latest rates and it never crashed on me and has been my first choice to check rates. It is a paid app, but worth every penny, highly recommended.

Priority Pass App:

This is a must have for all users of the Priority Pass services worldwide. Instead of the heavy booklet which they usually send along in the membership kit and usually takes space in any brief case, this app covers it all. It uses GPS to locate the nearest lounge at your location that accepts Priority Pass. You can also review the lounges in whichever destination you may be heading to. Also, it downloads the latest additional lounges and updates about the current one, in case of changes in policies and such. In some lounges, images are provided but not all of them. I wish that the developer would add in renewal of the membership in the app for easier service and access.

Diners Club App:

I’m an ex-user of Diner Club and I have to say that I’ve started using it in its last years of fame and power. I have acquired mine 2-3 years ago locally in Kuwait and honestly, this powerful credit card is fading away. Yet, it comes very handy for lounge entrees and recognition when you’re traveling. This app is designed to fulfill the basic needs of any Diner Club holder, instead of going straight for their website. You can check for ATM machines which accept Diner Club cards, airport lounges, and some essential services such as merchant offers, currency convertor and customer support. Of course, don’t expect too much from the merchant offers since most business started to take down the Diner Club card sign from their business. The app is a must have only for Diner Club card owners.

American Express App:

Here’s another credit card-based app that would be handy for frequent travelers. American Express has been improving its cyber services and developed an app that would come handy for its owners. Unfortunately, this app is only for AmEx cards issued from the states. There’s no other app for other countries. So much can be achieved from this app for anyone living outside of the states. There are some services that can be utilized like checking for international merchant offers and such. But I have known that with this app, if you have an American AmEx, you can check your balance and pay your dues and more for your account. Otherwise, let’s hope that American Express would recognize its international customers and provide us with an alternative.

Cathay Pacific Lounge, BAH

In my last trip to Malaysia in last November, I have used Cathay Pacific for my trip, departing from Bahrain. This gave me the only shot to have the privilege to enter its lounge in BAH airport and review it here, after my first post about it.

Cathay Pacific (CX) maintains a dedicated lounge for their patrons in the upper level in Bahrain International Airport (BAH),across from Dilmun Lounge, which both can be accessed via the escalators at gate 16.

Upon checking-in at the lounge counter, it could be seen that this lounge is the smallest lounge in Bahrain Airport, when it comes to size. Very limited seats that can only accommodate First/Business class travelers on Cathay Pacific or Marco Polo Club Silver/Gold/Platinum tier frequent flyers and One World Alliance high tiers, traveling on Cathay Pacific.

The good thing about this lounge is the view of the runway and seeing airplanes taxing off to their destinations.

The choice of food is limited and less space is dedicated for that, although they share the same supplying kitchen that supplies Gulf Air Lounge and Dilmun Lounge. Of course, the liquor has to be made available!

The reading materials are variant, including Chinese magazines and newspapers as well major international publications.

These are some dedicated desktops for usage, but no praying space and a small bathroom. Only TV monitor is provided for the current news and I don’t remember seeing any dedicated screen for flights updates.

The lounge has been used by Gulf Air during its renovations of its lounge only for its business/first class travelers and it used to get packed to the extent that people started depending on Dilmun Lounge bathrooms for comfort.

In general, this is a very minimal lounge and doesn’t offer exclusive privileges and maintains a very quiet resting area till boarding time. I think Cathay Pacific could do more with this lounge.