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Iberia Dalí Premium Lounge at Madrid-Barajas Airport [Review]

Daniel Ross's image
Daniel Ross
Daniel Ross's image

Daniel Ross

Senior Content Contributor

629 Published Articles 1 Edited Article

Countries Visited: 56U.S. States Visited: 17

Daniel has loved aviation and travel his entire life. He earned a Master of Science in Air Transport Management and has written about travel and aviation in publications like Simple Flying, The Points...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury

Editor-in-Chief

31 Published Articles 3097 Edited Articles

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With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now Editor-in-Chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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If you’re flying somewhere in Europe via a transfer onto an Iberia flight from Madrid, then the Iberia Dalí Premium Lounge will be where you spend your time between flights.

You can expect a far better experience than your average Admiral’s Club, but nothing quite like the premium experience you find in business class lounges of Asian carriers like Cathay Pacific.

It’s a lounge I pass through frequently as Spain is one of my favorite countries to visit.

That, plus Madrid seems to be the airport of choice for carriers to operate their long-haul jets to from London, so naturally, I end up flying through frequently.

The Iberia Dalí Premium Lounge is a real dark horse. For me, it has everything you could ask for from a business class lounge.

This is what I experienced on my visit in late September 2021.

What Is the Iberia Dalí Premium Lounge?

The Dalí Premium Lounge — or Premium Lounge Dalí — is 1 of Iberia’s 2 premium lounge offerings in Terminal 4 of its hub airport, Madrid-Barajas (MAD), and is open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

It’s located in the main part of Terminal 4 where domestic flights and flights to Schengen countries operate (the Schengen area includes a group of countries in Europe who agreed that citizens of such countries could travel freely between member states without having to clear passport control).

Over in the satellite terminal, T4S, you’ll find the second lounge — the Velázquez Premium Lounge. From this part of the terminal, Iberia flights to international and non-Schengen countries operate, as well as flights to London with British Airways.

Information about Sala VIP Velazquez
Banner showing that the other lounge, the Velázquez Premium Lounge in T4’s Satellite Terminal, is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. According to the Oneworld website, this has now changed to 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily.

I visited the Dalí Premium Lounge because I was catching a domestic flight from Madrid to Barcelona (BCN).

Iberia’s Dalí Premium Lounge at Madrid-Barajas Airport (MAD)

Location

The entrance to the lounge is purposely located as close as possible to the check-in for Puente Aeréo — the name for Iberia’s frequent shuttle service between Madrid and Barcelona.

Iberia Sala VIP Dali Madrid entrance
The entrance to the lounge.

Despite the signage, I somehow ended up doing a lap of the terminal and asking a member of staff where the lounge was. On a visit since, I realized just how close the Dalí Premium Lounge is to security, especially if you’re coming through Fast Track.

Iberia Sala VIP Dali directions at Madrid Airport
Not sure how I missed those quite obvious signs.

It’s so close, you can see security from the entrance to the lounge.

Looking from Iberia Sala VIP Dali Madrid towards airport security
It’s only a short walk from security to the lounge.

Gaining Entry

Access to both Iberia’s Premium Lounges in Madrid is granted to those passengers flying any Oneworld airline (American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia, etc.) in business or first class. It’s also open to those with airline equivalents of Oneworld Sapphire or Emerald status, no matter which cabin class they’re flying.

However, visitors of the Dalí Premium Lounge will likely be flying Iberia, given the part of the terminal it’s in.

Iberia Sala VIP Dali Madrid entrance
The entrance to the Iberia Dalí Premium Lounge

On the subject of gaining entry, you don’t even have to speak to a member of staff to enter, thanks to these eGates. I can’t recall this being the situation in any of the other lounges I’ve visited.

It’s great for speed, but as I’ve said before, I’m old school and prefer to have face-to-face interactions.

Electronic eGates for Iberia Sala VIP Dali Madrid
The electronic gates into the Dalí Premium Lounge

First Impressions

I’ve always enjoyed the bright and airy feel of Iberia’s Dalí Premium Lounge, and this visit was no exception.

The bold reds and bright yellows give the place a warmer feel than many airport lounges — especially some airline-owned lounges that can often have a drab and boring corporate vibe.

It seems like Iberia got the memo that business class lounges are no longer just a place for middle-aged white men wearing ill-fitting suits.

I thought that the lounge was also on the quiet side for a Thursday at lunchtime.

Seating

The lounge is pretty vast and is comprised of several different seating areas.

On entering the lounge, the first area you come to is a zone of comfy, office-style chairs.

Each pod of 4 chairs is well-separated. Between each of the chairs facing the same way is a table with a lamp and power outlets.

The zone stretches from the entrance of the lounge right to the windows at the end.

Iberia Sala VIP Dali Madrid more relaxed seating
Chairs as far as the eye can see.

My favorite spot when visiting this lounge is one of the desk areas in the first main room, just to the right of the comfy office chair seating zone.

It’s close to the food service area and has the best views of the apron.

Iberia Sala VIP Dali Madrid work station
A makeshift office with a view.

Some seats face the windows, and some face away. Each table is separated by a partition for privacy, which doubles up as extra COVID-19 protection.

Iberia Sala VIP Dali Madrid eating and working seating area
A great spot to get some work done and have some food.

A little further round to the right is a small area with high desks and stools, complete with power outlets.

Iberia Sala VIP Dali Madrid high table with a view
The high-top seating area.

There are more tables just like it towards the far right of the room, before entering the bar area. These don’t have power outlets, though.

Iberia Sala VIP Dali Madrid high table seating area
High-top tables, this time without power outlets.

Separating the 2 main rooms is a window-less bar area. I don’t know why exactly, but this area feels like a proper authentic Spanish hangout.

Iberia Sala VIP Dali Madrid windowless bar area
The bar.

There are a few casual booth seating areas. These would be great for a group of friends who want to have a couple of drinks before a flight.

Again, I loved the bright red upholstery.

Iberia Sala VIP Dali Madrid booth seating in bar area
1 of the booth areas at the bar.

On the opposite side of the room to the physical bar is a wall-mounted TV that usually displays the news.

Iberia Sala VIP Dali Madrid windowless bar area looking through to main room
The TV area in the bar.

Following on from the bar area, past the huge map on the wall marking out each of Iberia’s 130 destinations around the world, is the second main room of the lounge.

Iberia Sala VIP Dali Madrid destination map
Where will Iberia take you next?

This second seating area has all the same seating areas as the other side, as well as a food service area and drink machines.

Iberia Sala VIP Dali Madrid seating area in second main room
The view upon entering the second main room of the lounge.

There is also a similar comfy office chair zone.

Iberia Sala VIP Dali Madrid relaxed seating area 2
More comfy seating.

A cozier, bright red booth zone adds privacy and comfort. This would be a great place to grab 40 winks.

Hot Tip: There are no power outlets by these booths.

Iberia Sala VIP Dali Madrid privacy booths
Cozy up in the red booths for a little more privacy.

Food and Beverage

As far as business class lounge food and drink goes, I rate Iberia’s offering highly.

Business class lounges can feel a bit soulless, and often lose their connection to the city or country they’re in — not Iberia’s lounges.

Beverages

Let’s start easy with the non-alcoholic options.

It’s always a welcome sight to see a proper coffee machine that grinds fresh beans for your caffeine fix.

Iberia Sala VIP Dali Madrid coffee machine close up
Proper coffee always, please.

Not to mention that the coffee beans are supplied by Illy — one of my favorite coffee companies.

Iberia Sala VIP Dali Madrid Illy coffee machine
Illy is about as good as big brand coffee gets.

Remember what I was saying about keeping the Spanish connection? Well, you don’t get more Spanish than Cacaolat and Don Simon tomato juice.

Iberia Sala VIP Dali Madrid Cacaolat and tomato juice
The most Spanish of non-alcoholic beverages.

There were also fridges full of soft drinks in glass bottles. And, you can get all varieties of Coke, including the hard-to-find gold-capped, zero sugar, zero calories, and zero caffeine variety.

Iberia Sala VIP Dali Madrid drinks fridges
Soft drinks galore.

There’s no chance of getting dehydrated with the copious amount of bottled still and canned sparkling water. If they can can the sparkling water, why do they put the still water in plastic?

Iberia Sala VIP Dali Madrid small drinks fridge
Water fridge filled to the brim.

There was also room temperature water on offer by the food service area.

Iberia Sala VIP Dali Madrid water options
Room temperature water if chilled isn’t your thing.

For a little more flavor and less fizz, there was fresh orange and apple juice.

Iberia Sala VIP Dali Madrid fresh juice
Fresh juices.

There was also a fridge dedicated solely to cerveza — another Spanish favorite.

Choose from a world’s worth of beer, including Spanish classics like San Miguel and Mahou, or Budweiser if you’re feeling a little homesick.

Iberia Sala VIP Dali Madrid beer fridge
The plentiful beer fridge.

Perhaps the best discovery of all is this help yourself wine unit.

Grab a glass, select your tipple, and then choose between a small, medium, or large serving…

Iberia Sala VIP Dali Madrid wine selection
The self-serve wine machine.

One thing I’m not sure of is whether or not there’s a sparkling wine or Champagne option available in the lounge. If flying business class with Iberia is anything to go by, I’d guess that there’d be Cava — I’ll check next time I pass through and update the article.

Behind the bar in the main bar area is a mixture of top-shelf liquors. I can’t confirm for sure whether all of these options were included, but I didn’t see a price list anywhere, so I would guess so.

Iberia Sala VIP Dali Madrid spirit selection
The liquor shelf.

Food

During my visit at the end of September 2021, hot food was served by a member of staff behind a screen from this central part of the first main room of the lounge.

However, on my latest visit to the lounge in November, the set-up had reverted to a self-service hot buffet.

Iberia Sala VIP Dali Madrid food service area
The main food service area.

There were 3 options: rigatoni pasta, chickpea and lentil dahl, and a third option that escapes me (but I think it was some kind of minced meat dish).

Iberia Sala VIP Dali Madrid hot food service area
Hot food was served from this food station.

Naturally, I tried more than 1 dish.

First up was the rigatoni, which, despite being pasta, had a distinctly Spanish taste thanks to the sun-dried tomatoes and flavorsome sauce.

Iberia Sala VIP Dali Madrid pasta and sparkling water
A delicious Spanish-style rigatoni pasta.

Next up, after being promised that it wouldn’t be too spicy, was the rice-accompanied dahl.

There were no complaints here, either. It packed just the right amount of spice and was full of flavor.

Iberia Sala VIP Dali Madrid lentil curry
Don’t let the look of it put you off, it was delicious.

For a lighter snack, there were prepacked options in the form of salads…

Iberia Sala VIP Dali Madrid Mediterranean salad
Prepacked salads.

…boxed sandwiches (great to see reduced use of plastic here)…

Iberia Sala VIP Dali Madrid sandwiches
Sandwiches ready to grab and go.

…and an assortment of fruit. The oranges and the bananas were loose…

Iberia Sala VIP Dali Madrid oranges
The juiciest Spanish oranges.

Iberia Sala VIP Dali Madrid bananas
Slightly under-ripe bananas.

…but the plums and apples were wrapped in a paper/plastic hybrid packaging.

Iberia Sala VIP Dali Madrid wrapped apples
Packaged apples.

Iberia Sala VIP Dali Madrid wrapped plums
Packaged plums.

I hope this is only while COVID-19 is still rife and that it’s to stop contamination, given that we eat the skin of apples and plums but not bananas and oranges.

Other snack options available were flavored yogurts and Actimel…

Iberia Sala VIP Dali Madrid yoghurt selection
Good as a snack, dessert, or to put on top of your fruit.

…lime mousse…

Iberia Sala VIP Dali Madrid lime mousse
Lime mousse, if you’d prefer.

…and packaged goodies like roasted almonds…

Iberia Sala VIP Dali Madrid roasted almonds
Nutty.

…and potato chips.

Iberia Sala VIP Dali Madrid potato chips
Not Lay’s, but they’ll do.

Amenities

Close to the entrance of the lounge is this signage pointing out each of the different amenities of the lounge.

Iberia Sala VIP Dali Madrid signage
Directions to amenities.

Showers

At the far end of the lounge is the shower area.

It’s not the most obvious to find as it’s hidden behind a partition and appears to be a staff area.

Iberia Sala VIP Dali Madrid shower area
The entrance to the shower area.

It’s only when I noticed the tiny sign high above that I knew was in the right place.

Iberia Sala VIP Dali Madrid shower area signage
Look up when looking for the showers.

There was no queue given how quiet the lounge was. I simply asked reception which to use and they told me I had access to number 2.

Iberia Sala VIP Dali Madrid shower 2
Shower room 2.

I liked the simple and clean design and the fact that it was spotless.

I also liked that there was a luggage rack/bench, which makes getting changed and finding clothes far easier than using the floor.

Iberia Sala VIP Dali Madrid inside shower 2
A zen space to refresh before a flight.

Fresh towels (wrapped in plastic…) were ready and waiting.

Iberia Sala VIP Dali Madrid towel wrapped in plastic
I just don’t understand the need to wrap a towel in plastic, even given the pandemic.

There were also all of the classic bathroom amenities that you’d expect to find: shaving set, shower cap, body wash, shampoo, and dental kit.

Iberia Sala VIP Dali Madrid shower amenities
Loving the use of paper here rather than plastic!

The men’s room was equally as spotless as the shower room.

Iberia Sala VIP Dali Madrid mens bathroom
The men’s washroom.

Gaming Area

For gamers, tucked away at the farthest right corner of the lounge was this gaming area with a PlayStation and an Xbox. Not being a gamer myself, I couldn’t tell you which versions they were.

Iberia Sala VIP Dali Madrid gaming zone
The gaming zone.

Reading Shelf

A common sight these days was this empty reading shelf, once filled with magazines and papers. The ongoing pandemic means that all reading material is now only accessible via a QR code.

Iberia Sala VIP Dali Madrid reading material info
Bye-bye magazines and newspapers.

Power Outlets

Last, but not least, let’s talk about power outlets. This lounge does electrical connectivity well. Most sockets have both a regular European socket and USB port. Just remember your adapter.

Iberia Sala VIP Dali Madrid power outlets
Power for the people.

Staff and Service

I don’t have much to report on the staff and service.

The only interaction I had with the staff in the lounge was with the lovely lady who plated up my 2 portions of food. She was both polite and professional, and even indulged in my banter about not being able to handle spicy food and blaming her if I got an upset stomach.

I did notice that there was a small but mighty team of cleaning staff who made sure to keep on top of the clearing and cleaning around the lounge.

COVID-19 Protocols

Assuming the unnecessarily wrapped up fruit was a COVID-19 protocol, the only other main protocol I noticed were these signs placed over some of the seats to remind guests to keep as separate as possible.

I can imagine this is important for social distancing, if and when the lounge gets busy, but my visit was very quiet and these signs were rather redundant.

Iberia Sala VIP Dali Madrid social distancing information on seats
Blocked seats for social distancing.

Final Thoughts

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Iberia’s Dalí Premium Lounge at Madrid Barajas Airport (MAD).

It was welcoming, comfy, and had a plentiful and delicious selection of food and drinks.

Since this trip, I flew through Madrid again and booked my next flight with Iberia (even though their Intra-European economy is about as basic as EasyJet), just so I could spend time in this lounge before my flight.

Honestly, I’d be hard-pressed to think of something that I’d say needs improving or adding to this lounge.

I know this airport (and likely the lounges in it) get a bad rap from some, but in my personal opinion, it’s up there as one of my favorite airports in Europe to fly through — partly down to this lounge.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Iberia have a lounge in Madrid?

Yes. Iberia has 2 lounges in Madrid: the Dalí Premium Lounge in Terminal 4 and the Velázquez Premium Lounge in Terminal 4S.

Can you use BA lounges flying Iberia?

Yes. If you’re flying a premium cabin or have elite status, you can use British Airways lounges when flying Iberia.

What lounge does Iberia use at JFK?

Iberia passengers can use the Alaska or British Airways lounges at JFK Terminal 7.

Can I use Avios for access to Iberia's lounges?

No. You can neither pay nor use Avios to enter an Iberia lounge. The only way to access is with a valid premium ticket or elite status.

Daniel Ross's image

About Daniel Ross

Daniel has loved aviation and travel his entire life. He earned a Master of Science in Air Transport Management and has written about travel and aviation in publications like Simple Flying, The Points Guy, and more.

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