Originally branded “No1 Traveller”, the British lounge provider changed its name to “No1 Lounges” in 2015, and revamped and expanded its existing facilities at Gatwick, Heathrow, Edinburgh and Birmingham.
At the time, Phil Cameron, founder and CEO, said: “Six years ago we started to pioneer common-user lounging in the UK and we haven’t stood still since. To ensure we remain the market leader we are making a big statement with our lounge brand refresh – inspired by the jet-set age of travel, a new-look website, and lounge upgrades. We want to show our guests just how serious we are about putting the glamour back into pre-flight.”
Today it has five No1 Lounges in four airports (Birmingham, Edinburgh, Gatwick North and South, and Heathrow T3), plus two Clubrooms (Gatwick North and South), and one MyLounge (Gatwick North). The lounges are all open to the public for a fee (£18 to £40) but some passengers get free access via their airline if flying business class, for example.
WHERE IS IT?
The No1 Lounge in Heathrow’s Terminal 3, after security (just follow signs to lounge F).
WHO CAN ACCESS?
The general public can access the lounge if they pay £36, but providing the venue is not at capacity, travellers who have Priority Pass, Diners Club, Wexas or Dragonpass cards can enter for £5. I was flying business class with Garuda Indonesia so had free entry as this airline doesn’t have its own lounge. My boarding pass was photocopied by a member of staff before I could enter.
WHAT’S IT LIKE?
The No1 Lounge at Heathrow T3 is smart, clean and contemporary. I was impressed to discover lots of private library-style living rooms, dimly lit and behind glass for small groups or families. These had all been booked out in advance. There is also a cinema, lots of comfy seating, and a long, low counter by the window to sit at and work or eat. There are no announcements on so you have to keep an eye on screens for your flight status. Newspapers and magazines are refreshed regularly.
A dining zone served both complimentary and paid-for a la carte meals. Most drinks (ordered at the bar) are also free (including G&Ts and prosecco) although you do have to pay for champagne (£8 a glass). There was a complimentary self-service buffet with various salads (potato, pasta, greens, tomato and quinoa) as well as brownies, muffins and cakes. Water and juice was on tap.
I ordered the free mac and cheese with kale and crispy onions, made to order – it was very good and went nicely with a glass of the house Merlot. Other options (after 11am) include soup of the day, lamb hotpot, fish finger sandwich and cheese plate. Breakfast items range from porridge to beans on toast.
For a fee, a la carte dishes include Arabic steamed lamb with steamed rice (£10), Cajun chicken Jambalaya and cornbread (£10), halal beef burger with thick-cut chips (£8) and tagliatelle with Italian-style meatballs and tomato sauce (£10). Quite a few people were ordering these meals. It took a while to get my drinks order. Staff whizz around cleaning tables and delivering plates of food from the kitchen. In general it’s a well-run operation.
There are showers (£10) stocked with towels, hairdryers and toiletries, and a spa offering paid-for treatments lasting from 15 minutes to two hours. You need to make an appointment when you arrive at the lounge. The 90-minute “Jet Lag Cure”, for example, costs £90. You can take your pick of massages, facials, manicures, pedicures and even waxing. If you have a treatment lasting longer than 25 minutes you can use a shower for free. The spa is open 0600-2200.
There are a selection of cutting-edge sleep pods (single, double and triple) with en suite toilets and showers stocked with Aromatherapy Associates products available for £20-£35 an hour (with a minimum three-hour stay), ideal for layovers. They all have wifi, desks and international calls.
There is free unlimited wifi.
Overall I thought the lounge was excellent – quite busy but lots of amenities, contemporary décor and good food.
£36 for three hours when booked online. If you need to stay longer you have to pay by the hour.