I’ll admit before this flight I had barely heard of Gulf Air. Gulf Air is the state-owned airline and the flag carrier of Bahrain – a country I was set to visit for a wedding earlier this year.
Before I attended the wedding I had a connection via Bahrain on my way to Singapore. I found a great deal on a business class flight via Aeroplan and thought I might as well try out the flag carrier of a country I was set to visit shortly.
Now being in the Middle East, I had high hopes for Bahrains flag carrier. Gulf Air does not currently operate flights to the US but I hear that is changing soon.
Gulf Air is not part of Star Alliance but they are codeshare partners with a few airlines and available to book via Air Canada Aeroplan. I found plenty of award availability when my flight was set to depart in March of this year.
I’ve always been a fan of Aeroplan and often times find the best redemptions via the program. A major plus is the amount of transfer partners they have, which makes it easy to rack up points.
I even checked upcoming availability and there seems to be plenty.
Not a bad deal for 60,000 Aeroplan points on a 7 hour flight in a great business class. Upon booking and after my first leg from Abu Dhabi, I decided to check out the flagship lounge at the Bahrain Airport.
Gulf Air Falcon Gold Lounge
The Gulf Air Falcon Gold Lounge is located in the main terminal, thats not too big so hard to miss, on the second floor. You will take an elevator up and be greeted by the large doors directly in front.
Entering the lounge was a smooth experience and you can immediately see just how large it is with its various different areas.
The lounge itself has a number of different seating areas including dining, lounges, couches, and even some games.
When you walk in you will be led into the main area that has most of the food you will find that is served as a full buffet.
The dining area in the front was the least populated and I can understand why since there were plenty of more comfortable place to sit.
Also note I visited around 10:00 PM so that may be the reason it was so quiet.
The first food station I noticed was light bites, pastries, and breads. This was located directly as you get into the lounge and what I liked was how stocked it was considering the time of night.
Next was the cold sandwiches and wraps with a number of different options to choose from. They had both a mix of standard sandwiches as well as some middle eastern specialities like falafel wraps.
Next to the cold sandwiches was a selection of cheese, fruit, and some desserts.
As you make your way further into the dining room this is where the real food offering comes up.
Next up was the mezze station, which is always a highlight of middle eastern buffets. They had all the fixings and salads you can need and I was sure to come back to this after I surveyed the rest of the food.
I finally made it to the hot food station and it started with a full pizza bar. The pizza actually looked decent, not like I was going to eat it with the other options, but it looked better than I expected.
Now onto the main buffet there was a number of different dishes that were mostly meat based. There was a selection of rice, lamb, chicken, as well as some cauliflower and other vegetable sides.
As I moved further down the bar there was a lot of different vegetarian friendly dishes including lentils, lasagna, potatoes, veggies, and a cheese cauliflower that was actually delicious.
Even though I just ate on the short flight from Abu Dhabi I decided to make a quick plate.
I went with some lasagna, cauliflower, lentils, croquets, as well as a few veggies and others from the mezze bar.
Overall I was impressed with the food, especially for it being a late night lounge buffet, and while I’ve had better like in the United Polaris Lounge, there were plenty of options to choose from.
After I ate I decided to explore the rest of the lounge since I only had a little bit more time before my flight.
Like I mentioned the lounge had a number of different areas including a separate bar as well as more seating. I did notice a few more people on this side and the lighting felt more inviting than where I ate so it makes sense.
There was no shortage of types of seats in this lounge with every section having its own unique touch.
Then I finally made my way to the back of the lounge and found what is arguably the best part, the gaming area.
While it’s not new for lounges to have gaming areas the benefits of Gulf Airs was how quiet it was. There was a golf simulator, foosball, pool table, and even this car simulator.
I did notice there was nothing left out so you did need to ask for assistance but I can’t think of a better way to spend time in a lounge than to hit a few balls against the simulator.
The car racing looked interesting but it did look tough to fit into it so mostly only for kids. As you can notice in the background it was nice to overlook the terminal, similar to Turkish Airlines lounge at IST, that make the space feel more open.
Lastly before I left I noticed their TV area had these great loungers that can view a number of different screens. Given flight times out of this airport may have some late ones, this would be a great area to have a quick nap or just relax if you have time to pass.
Summary & Takeaways
After taking my first few flights on Gulf Air and experiencing Bahrain Airport I was really impressed with how efficient and relaxing the experience was. The airport itself was very spacious and I never once had to wait in a line on my multiple times going through there.
The lounge itself really spaced out as much as possible making it have plenty of room even if there were more travelers. The unique touch in each section made every part of the lounge unique and I was excited to keep exploring as I spent my time there.
Gulf Air is back to their investing phase of expansion and I look forward to potential future visits to Bahrain or onwards.
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