The Emirates Lounge at Brisbane International Airport is again open after a major renovation. After fours years shuttered, I was beginning to hold great fears whether it would ever open again. But alas, my fears were unfounded.

Passengers onboard one of the carrier’s two daily flights to Dubai can relax with an extensive buffet and later board their flight directly from the lounge. Not having to fight the masses to board is a great stress-avoider.

The 1,108 sqm space caters for 183 passengers and is open from 5:30pm to 1:30am daily. This is in line with the airline’s two evening flights to Dubai. These photos were taken on a media tour during the day, but the food and beverage options will remain the same for the evening departures.

Inside the renovated Emirates Brisbane Lounge

If you’ve wined and dined in an Emirates lounge, you’ll instantly recognise this space. Emirates continues its signature palette of dark wood tones and furniture in light sand hues. And if you’ve been inside the Brisbane lounge before the renovation, you’ll notice that the renovated lounge is more of a refresh than a brand-new design. This is not a bad thing, as the layout of the lounge has a very ‘homely’ feel to it. The lounge is not so huge lounge that you feel like you’re in a huge hotel lobby rather than a cosy lounge room. And, of course, it comes with a brand new lounge smell to boot.

The most obvious change is the airline removing the old Business Centre (remember the days of desktops), which is now replaced by male and female Prayer Rooms.

As expected, there’s a range of zones, with most focused on relaxation. Power outlets are available at the side tables with a lamp throughout the lounge.

A dedicated dining room is located near the buffet, serving an extensive range of Middle Eastern, Asian and Western dishes. During the day, plenty of light streamed through this area, which also has great views of the tarmac, a plant spotters dream. Given the evening departures of both flights, you’d have to travel in the height of Queensland’s summer period to take advantage of this sunlight. But I’ve been told by the lounge staff that the evening views are also excellent.

Overall, the design isn’t as modern as you might find at some other lounges, but it’s consistent with Emirates’ other lounges around the world and definitely among the more premium lounges at Brisbane Airport.

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Food & beverages inside the Emirates Brisbane Lounge

I’ve never gone hungry in an Emirates lounge, and I doubt you will either. With both a cold and hot buffet, there are plenty of choices for everyone. Appetisers include mini smoked chicken lettuce cups and smoked salmon blinis. My sweet tooth always kicks into gear in these lounges, and it is not disappointed. The vanilla bean pannacotta, loaded with fresh berries, goes down a treat.

Over at the hot buffet, a multitude of dishes await, similar to what is found in the Emirates Perth Lounge. Highlights include chicken stroganoff, braised beef cheek and harissa-marinated fish pastilla.

Emirates stands out with two Champagnes on display – Moët & Chandon and Veuve Cliquot. A comprehensive bar offers a strong range of spirits and wines. For the non-drinkers, there’s still coffee, tea and soft drinks. But do note that there still isn’t barista-made coffee, and you’ll need to mix up your own drinks.

Our thoughts

It is great to see the Emirates Lounge back in action in Brisbane. And not just because as a South-East Queenslander, Brisbane is the largest International Airport to where I live. But also because I hold Qantas Platinum status, meaning that I can enter this lounge whenever I am flying on an Emirates or Qantas-coded flight operated by Emirates. Technically, I can also enter this lounge before a Qantas-operated flight, but to date, the Emirates lounge is closed when all Qantas flights depart Brisbane.

For that matter, Qantas Gold and even Qantas Club members can access this lounge when flying on certain QF or EK-coded flights operated by Emirates, subject to several criteria, such as your Status and where you are flying to.

I especially love the direct boarding feature of this lounge. It is a popular feature and has actually been around since 2008, the first outside of Dubai, so it’s great to see it return.

The Emirates presence is back stronger than ever in Brisbane and now that the lounge has once again opened, Brisbane will look forward to the return of 2x double daily A380 services starting 1 October 2024.

Photography by Daniel Sciberras, who attended the event as a guest of Emirates. Additional reporting by Brandon Loo.

First Look: Emirates Lounge, Brisbane was last modified: February 29th, 2024 by Daniel Sciberras