Flying from Italy to Kuwait, I booked my journey with Middle East Airlines (MEA). This journey included a stopover at MEA’s hub in Beirut, Lebanon. As a SkyTeam Elite Plus member, I had access to MEA’s Cedar Lounge at the airport. It far exceeded my expectations and was really quite breathtaking!
Arrival and reception
Portions of the airport are currently undergoing renovation, so at some points, it felt like a very shoddy, developing-country, kind of airport. However, going one floor up to the lounge area, you could tell a lot of energy and money was invested to make the place modern.
I found the Cedar Lounge quite easily and checked-in without an issue. The reception staff scanned my boarding pass and I was done. Their check-in desk alone is grand – the photo below demonstrates just how much floor space there is for the lobby!
Walk a few meters past reception and you see the lounge’s center atrium area – check it out in the first photo of this post. What you see is a wide-open area under natural light with benches and trees. It’s very reminiscent of an upscale mall or even an urban downtown plaza.
From the atrium, you have 270 degrees of seating areas and food stations. They really embraced the idea of open-plan! The photos below show how much seating there is. It might not be as big as Air France’s international lounges in Paris, but it feels like it is.
The color scheme of the lounge is lovely in my opinion. The tones of gold, wood, and black give it a sense of luxury and elegance but comfort at the same time. Seating is a mix of restaurant-style tables, enclosed “pod” type seats, and different styles of lounge chairs. The lighting is pleasant – not too dim and not too bright.
On one side of the lounge, you have a beautiful, wide-open view of the tarmac and some of the departure gates. You can also see some of the southern areas of the city. In the distance, you can watch aircraft take-off.
As you can see in the photo below, there is no shortage of alcohol, with a fully stocked bar. Unlike the Middle East countries of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, the Beirut airport in Lebanon does serve alcohol.
As for non-alcoholic options, there are coffee machines located throughout. Furthermore, there are several fridges with various soft drinks and juices and even strawberry-banana smoothies.
If water bottles aren’t your thing, there are also at least two water dispensers that serve ice-cold water infused with mint.
The food here is plentiful and it is good! Lounge guests have a great amount of choice. Some of the food available at the lounge:
- Cold dishes like pre-plated bowls of salad and cheeses
- Fresh fruit: Apples, apricots, bananas, etc
- “Sugar-free” desserts: Only naturally sweetened by the fruit it contains
- A selection of various breads
- And hot dishes. This time it was waffles, a pesto bow-tie pasta, vegetable rice, and a delicious fish dish.
The service here was solid. The lounge was spotless. There were many staff walking back and forth collecting dishes and standing off to the side waiting to spring into action. I found them all to be courteous and carry out their duties with a smile.
This lounge is fantastic and highly recommended.
The ONE issue I had was the electrical outlets. 99% of them are under steel, spring-loaded doors. Beneath these covers, the plugs are fairly recessed. The problem I had was that my adapter plug (one of those bigger SKROSS branded ones) was a little bulky and didn’t fit in well enough to get electricity. While I see the value of keeping your electrical outlets covered, I think the design is very flawed – especially at an international airport where people are more likely to use bulky adapters.
Other than that, this lounge was great and I had no problem spending a whole 12+ hours here during my overnight layover. You should check it out if you’re ever flying MEA business class or have the appropriate frequent flyer status. Oh – and as a bonus – this lounge also accepts Priority Pass.