Having flown into and out of Bahrain International Airport on the home carrier, Gulf Air, I have a well-rounded impression of the experience. Here’s what you can expect when flying out of Bahrain Airport in Business Class on Gulf Air.
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Bahrain, like Qatar, is very compact, with the majority of activities located on the north side of the island. Coming from my hotel in the city centre, it took around twenty minutes to get to the airport by taxi.
Uber is available in the country, but I found it very difficult to get picked up from the airport when I arrived and was hounded by local taxi drivers. From the city, however, there were no issues with taking an Uber car. Careem, a UAE-developed ride-hailing service now owned by Uber, is also available and will often provide slightly cheaper prices but with lower-quality vehicles.
Bahrain International Airport opened its new terminal in 2021, which made it practically brand new during my trip in July 2022, thanks to the pandemic. From the outside, the airport is modern and clean, with several drop-off points for each airline as well as a premium check-in area for ‘Falcon Gold’ Business Class passengers. This is similar to many airports, such as Istanbul and Doha, which makes the experience a bit more exclusive.
The terminal is large and airy, with an interesting lighting installation that makes it a bit more interesting to look at than most glass and steel terminals. To the right of this unattended reception area is the Business Class check-in, which had minimal waiting times. The addition of the chairs are nice, but I don’t think I actually saw anybody use them.
Immigration is just 100m away from this premium check-in and is a separate facility for Falcon Gold passengers. I didn’t take a picture of the immigration desk after a very frosty welcome from the Bahraini border force on arrival.
Once through, you’ll be greeted by a central atrium flanked by numerous expensive shops. Signage for the Falcon Gold Lounge is displayed throughout the terminal, making it easy to find.
Gulf Air’s Lounge first impressions
When arriving at the Gulf Air Falcon Gold lounge, I felt a bit underwhelmed in that the entrance didn’t really give the space justice. With a dated wooden design and low ceiling, the entrance just feels and looks dated.
Despite the dated look, there is a lovely model aircraft of the Gulf Air retro livery for the 70th Anniversary a few years back.
Once through the entrance, however, the lounge gets much better and is larger than the first impressions would suggest. While there are many elements to this lounge, it effectively splits into two main zones – dining and relaxing.
Impressive dining at Gulf Air’s Lounge?
For a Business Class lounge, the Gulf Air Lounge offering has one of the more impressive offerings I’ve seen from an airline. Firstly, the breadth of options is outstanding, as seen on the menu:
Notably, the best thing about the food and beverages at this lounge is the pizzas and pasta made to order. They tasted great and were of good quality, too.
The rest of the food offering was self-serve with a selection of local, Indian and Western options to choose from. If I’m nitpicking, the serving areas were a little messy, but that is a really minor criticism – I genuinely enjoyed the food here.
Even better was the selection of seating. The lounge rarely felt busy, even during the peak hours of the airport’s operations, meaning you’ll rarely be fighting over seats here.
As for drinks, self-serve soft drinks in fridges were dotted around the lounge. For alcohol, a bar area is available in the main seating concourse with alcohol displayed visibly (which is not always a given in this part of the world). I didn’t manage to get a direct shot of the spirits, but the essentials seem to be available, as well as a basic assortment of wine and beer.
Even more space at the Gulf Air’s Lounge
Heading into the other primary part of the lounge, the main concourse will be where most passengers will spend their time. Here, there’s pretty much any seating type you’d need – tables, solo chairs, sofas, etc.
For what is effectively one long and wide rectangle, Gulf Air has done a good job of subdividing this main concourse into different areas. This creates a bit more of a sense of privacy while the lounge design itself feels modern but classy at the same time.
There is a gaming zone at the far end of the lounge, which is extremely random. This features a pool table, table football and a ‘VR gaming booth’.
I opted not to use the gaming zone but instead used the excellent WiFi. Download speeds of 277.67mbps and uploads of 476.38 must be some of the best I’ve ever had in an airport. It certainly contrasts with the ultra-restrictive WiFi at Istanbul Airport… These speeds can also be accessed on desktop computers in the Business Centre.
Prayer rooms are available for those who wish to use them.
While the rest of the Gulf Air Lounge is excellent, the bathrooms feel an afterthought. For an airport that opened just two years ago, this is the shower. It’s functional, yes – especially after a long day exploring in the summer heat – but it’s just very basic for a mid-tier Middle Eastern airline. The rest of the bathroom was kept clean throughout the time I spent at the lounge.
Conclusion for Gulf Air’s Lounge
On the whole, Gulf Air Lounge is a good lounge. The dining and selection of seating available are excellent. Transit passengers spending several hours here will be comfortable and may even enjoy their visit before their onward flight. The only thing they can do better is improve their showers – I would probably prefer those of BA at Heathrow than these!
Like our review of Gulf Air Lounge? You can read more Airline Lounge reviews here.