Review: Gulf Air Falcon Gold Lounge London Heathrow

Introduction
Gulf Air Falcon Gold Lounge London Heathrow
Gulf Air Business Class A330 London To Bahrain
Westin Bahrain City Centre
Etihad Airways Business Class Lounge Abu Dhabi Airport
Etihad Airways First Class Apartment A380 Abu Dhabi To London
Andaz London Liverpool Street Hotel
Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel Copenhagen
Radisson Blu Royal Hotel Copenhagen
Sheraton London Heathrow Hotel
Cathay Pacific Lounge London Heathrow Airport
American Airlines First Class 777-300ER London To New York
Sheraton New York JFK Airport
American Airlines Flagship Lounge New York JFK Airport
American Airlines First Class A321 New York To Los Angeles
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American Airlines Admirals Club Honolulu Airport
American Airlines First Class 777-300ER Los Angeles To London
Sheraton Skyline Hotel London Heathrow
Etihad Airways Lounge London Heathrow Airport
Etihad Airways First Class 777-300ER London To Abu Dhabi
Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort & Spa
Cairo Airport Ahlan VIP Service
Qatar Airways First Class 777-300ER Cairo To Doha
The Airport Hotel Doha Hamad International Airport
Qatar Airways A350 Inaugural Flight Gate Party
Qatar Airways Business Class A350 Doha To Frankfurt
Hilton Garden Inn Frankfurt Airport
US Airways Business Class A330 Frankfurt To Philadelphia


My morning wasn’t off to an especially good start. I spent the night at the Hilton London Heathrow Terminal 4, which is quite convenient given that it’s connected to Terminal 4 (which Gulf Air flies out of) by a covered bridge.

I set my alarm for 4AM, figuring I’d get up nice and early so I could get some work done before my wifi-less flight to Bahrain.

Unfortunately my body seemed to have different plans for me, as I overslept and only woke up at 8:15AM, which was 75 minutes before departure.

I literally sprinted to the terminal, and arrived at Gulf Air’s check-in at 8:22AM, which was just a few minutes before their check-in cutoff.

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Gulf Air check-in London Heathrow

I was completely out of breath and handed the agent my passport and tried to get out the words to indicate that I was checking in.

“Good… morning… going… to… Bahrain.” As I explained in the previous post, I’m pretty sure I sounded like a beached whale giving birth while trying to get those words out.

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Gulf Air check-in London Heathrow

I was issued my boarding pass within moments and headed straight for Fast Track security. Much to my surprise the security checkpoint was more or less deserted, which I wasn’t expecting given that it was just a couple of days before Christmas.

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London Heathrow Terminal 4 airside

At check-in the agent explained that Gulf Air’s lounge was located near gate 6, so I headed in that direction. As it turns out, Gulf Air’s lounge is located in the same area as the beautiful Malaysia Airlines lounge, which I used a couple of years ago before my Malaysia Airlines A380 first class flight to Kuala Lumpur.

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Gulf Air Lounge London Heathrow signage

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Gulf Air Lounge London Heathrow entrance

I was keen to see what the Gulf Air lounge would be like. Gulf Air isn’t in a very good financial situation so I was kind of surprised they had a lounge in London, and given that they did, I had fairly low expecations. I was very pleasantly surprised.

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Gulf Air Lounge London Heathrow entrance

At the entrance I immediately noticed a Gulf Air A340 model airplane. It’s a bit ironic they display that plane, given that they no longer have any A340s in their fleet. I handed the agent my lounge invitation, and she advised me that boarding would be announced in the lounge about 30 minutes before departure.

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Gulf Air Lounge London Heathrow model plane

The lounge was gorgeous. It’s worth noting that during this time Etihad Airways was also using Gulf Air’s lounge, given that their lounge was still being renovated (stay tuned, I’ll review the Etihad lounge later in this series). So even though it was more crowded than usual, it still wasn’t that full.

The lounge is sort of in a square shape, with seating along the sides.

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Gulf Air Lounge London Heathrow seating

The seating feels very private, thanks to the semi-see through dividers between the various seating areas, along with the strategically placed mini-closets.

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Gulf Air Lounge London Heathrow seating

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Gulf Air Lounge London Heathrow seating

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Gulf Air Lounge London Heathrow seating

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Gulf Air Lounge London Heathrow seating

The window seating had some great views, most immediately of the Jet Airways 777-300ER parked immediately “in front of” the lounge.

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Gulf Air Lounge London Heathrow view of Jet Airways 777

In the distance you could see the Gulf Air A330 that would be taking me to Bahrain, along with a Saudia 777-300ER just past that, and an Etihad 777-300ER past that.

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Gulf Air Lounge London Heathrow view of Gulf Air A330 in the distance

On the other side was a Malaysia A380, shortly bound for Kuala Lumpur.

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Gulf Air Lounge London Heathrow view of Malaysia A380

There was a very nice bar area near the center of the lounge, though I figured it was a bit too early to start drinking. I did notice it had a coffee machine, so I was ready to order a “real” cappuccino.

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Gulf Air Lounge London Heathrow bar

Across from that was the dining area, which is right next to the buffet area.

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Gulf Air Lounge London Heathrow dining area

The buffet spread was quite impressive. I wasn’t especially hungry given that my heart was still racing after being so late, but I did take a look and grab a couple of things.

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Gulf Air Lounge London Heathrow buffet

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Gulf Air Lounge London Heathrow buffet

In terms of western continental options, the buffet had a good selection, including croissants, muffins, yogurt, parfaits, cheese, cereal, etc. The buffet also had a good Arabic selection, including olives, hummus, dolma, etc.

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Gulf Air Lounge London Heathrow buffet

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Gulf Air Lounge London Heathrow buffet

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Gulf Air Lounge London Heathrow buffet

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Gulf Air Lounge London Heathrow buffet

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Gulf Air Lounge London Heathrow buffet

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Gulf Air Lounge London Heathrow buffet

There was also a good hot selection with eggs, sausage, hash browns, etc.

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Gulf Air Lounge London Heathrow buffet

There were several servers roaming the lounge, so I ordered a cappuccino, and had a yogurt parfait and some Arabic bread to accompany it.

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Gulf Air Lounge London Heathrow breakfast

In the back of the lounge was a business center with a few iMacs.

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Gulf Air Lounge London Heathrow business center

The lounge also featured a few shower rooms, though I didn’t check them out as they were in use.

The flight was departing from gate 8, so I left the lounge at around 8:50AM for the five minute walk to the gate.

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Gulf Air departure gate London Heathrow

Once I got there boarding was already well underway. I have to say, I was really excited to get on my first Gulf Air flight, since the airline has always intrigued me.

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Gulf Air A330 taking me to Bahrain

The jet bridge to the plane was long, and brought me right past a Saudia 777 (another airline I’d really like to fly).

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Saudia 777-300ER London Heathrow

Gulf Air Lounge London Heathrow bottom line

I was very pleasantly surprised by the Gulf Air ground experience in London. Their lounge is gorgeous, given that they only have two flights a day with a total of 72 premium seats (and based on what I’ve seen, their flights almost never seem to be full). Not only was it nicely decorated, but the food spread was good and the service was attentive, at least for the short time I was there.

At this point I was hoping the onboard experience would match the ground experience.

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Comments

  1. @ wwk5d — Lounges in T4 operated by foreign carriers are consistently excellent, oddly enough. I thought it was on par with the other lounges I’ve experienced in the terminal.

  2. @ Donald MacKinnon — They’re not part of oneworld, but they’re an AAdvantage partner airline. American has several airline partners which don’t belong to oneworld, including Alaska, Air Tahiti Nui, Etihad, Gulf Air, etc.

  3. Writing this in this very lounge now. Agree with all you said and also wanted to add that the seating is very comfortable. And the food selection, despite taking up a small area, has a lot of choice. Tonight they have thai chicken, grilled chicken shawarma, veg curry and provencal lamb as the mains, plus two types of soup. And a rather well stocked salad bar.

  4. Snooty snooty staff. I love Andaz but really disliked staff at Andaz London. Been at most Andaz’s and have always lived the staff but not this one

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