No 1 Lounge, Gatwick North – UK

Pecan PieI get a lot of value from my Priority Pass membership.  Given that it is provided to me with compliments of American Express I think the price is just right! I use the card often, although I do sometimes feel a little disappointed when I fly in business (or reach elite status) with an airline that allows me access to the same lounge as I could have used with Priority Pass anyway. I have been flying from Edinburgh to London City for sometime, however due to a change of client and a divorce from CityJet I was flying from Gatwick yesterday.  I had cleared security and made it into the departure lounge and searched for the ‘Lounges’ sign.  I hadn’t been to Gatwick for a while but it hasn’t changed much; all of the lounges in the north terminal are together. I had a choice of two new lounges to choose from!  I could use Aspire (new Servisair brand) or No 1 Traveller Lounge.  I haven’t yet tried an Aspire but it was up one floor on the lift, and despite only having one laptop bag, I decided that the journey was too far. The No 1 Lounge has been refurbished (I think it was the old BA lounge, but I might be telling lies) and it looks great!  There was a reception area (with staff waiting for Customers to help), a spa that offered quick treatments, a full size pool / snooker table, a quiet area with nice sofas and furnishings (where I could have done some work), a cinema (comfy sofas and Harry Potter), a kids room (small but had some toys) and a bar along with some tables to eat at. I was very impressed with how the lounge looked, however a great venue isn’t enough on its own.  There were three staff members loitering just in front of the bar all chatting to each other (about pecan pie?!), unfortunately the conversation was deemed more important than my arrival as it continued as I approached the bar.  I waited for a few moments and then shouted “hello” in their general direction.  I heard a sigh from one of the ladies (girls) and another went behind the bar to serve me.  I ordered a Peroni and as this is a No 1 lounge, (there is a small selection of food that you can order for free, and a larger selection of food you can order and pay for)  I ordered a Croque Monsieur (from the first list) and took a seat. I connected to the WiFi with little stress and caught up on some emails.  It wasn’t until I was almost finished my Peroni that I noticed I hadn’t had my food yet but the chap sat at the table next to me was happily munching on something… and I ordered first.  I went back to the bar for another Peroni and enquired as to the whereabouts of my snack… I was given a half-hearted apology and the order was eventually placed.  Clearly all of the staff were too interested in conversations about pecan pie to remember to actually perform their duties and keep people like me content if not happy.  The said item arrived only a few minutes later (and both tasted and looked microwaved) but it was palatable.  Almost. Gents were clean if limited (only two!) and there was soup, cheese and bread along with the normal assortment of snackage on offer at the tables.  I also noticed some nice booze here (Hendricks) that I must try the next time I visit. Overall No 1 is a massive improvement from the tired lounge with croissants that I avoid at Edinburgh early on a Monday morning, however the service in Edinburgh is always excellent.  Perhaps I can’t have it all? Well worth the price I paid (snigger) and much more fun than anything I can think of doing outside the lounge.  I have not one but two tips for you – check-in on Foursquare and save £10 on the entry fee (first visit) which I think is pretty good if you don’t have access any other way.  On your third check-in you get a free glass of Champagne.  Ill toast to that. (If you don’t know what ‘Foursquare’ or ‘checking in’ is then ask someone young to help you…) Click here to learn more about Priority Pass (for frequent Lounge users) Click here to purchase one-time access (for occasional Lounge users)

Wow. It's Quiet Here...

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