Where is it?
Airside in the terminal. Pass through security and then take a left. The lounges in Terminal 4 are well sign-posted, and this one is next to Gate 1.
Walk up the slight slope and you’ll find yourself at the entrance of the Qatar Airways Lounge which is on the “ground” floor (actually level 2). The Air India and Plaza Premium Lounge are on Level 3, one floor up. There are stairs or a lift to take you from concourse level 2 up to the lounge on level 3.
This lounge opened in June, 2015, and you can read our original news story on it here
That piece has some pictures supplied by Plaza Premium, including one of the entrance, but also a VIP area which I did not see because, well, I’m not a VIP.
The lounge is very large (8,500 square feet, the website says). There are also private resting suites for those wanting to sleep, but I did not see those either, and I believe they have an extra charge.
The receptionist was very friendly, and when it took a while for my card to be registered she said I should go through to the lounge and she would bring my boarding pass and card to me in there. I must look honest.
The lounge is in two parts. The larger part is to the right, and it’s here you’ll find the buffet and main seating area, whereas to the left is the bar.
Head right first and you’ll see that a fair amount of attention has gone into the design of the place. There are decorative shelves with clever back lighting, comfortable chairs of every variety, different floor surfaces and an urban feel to the wall covering.
There’s even a tree and a skylight which is a nice touch, particularly if you have ever been in one of those vast American airport lounges with a ceiling so low that it actually meets the floor in the far distance and you know that if you walk down there looking for something to eat you will become jammed like Alice in Wonderland and have to take a pill to escape.
The lounge made an immediately positive impression on me, but in the interests of fairness I should note that I was probably seeing it at the best possible time. This was mid-week, around 1430, and there were only three other occupants. The sunlight was streaming in through the windows and outside it was a beautiful hazy winter’s afternoon.
I’ve been in other Plaza Premium Lounges at Heathrow that have no natural light at all – but those make a feature of it and emphasise a calm atmosphere, a little like a spa. This lounge was more “classic” in that there was a counter with buffet food, windows running down one side and clearly demarcated areas for quiet, for eating, and for working, but it’s all done very well, and the lounge was spotless.
What’s more, even without walking any further I could see there were lots of plug points for powering my various devices. This meant I could breathe more easily, since I spend most of my travelling life worrying about the diminishing batteries in my so-called smart devices.
I settled down to do some work, and also helped myself to the buffet, which was healthy with lots of salads and the option of soup, along with penne pasta and some other hot dishes. There weren’t menus on the tables, which I noticed mainly because I was looking for the wifi code (you have to get the password from reception).
There were a couple of televisions showing news with the sound turned down and also a board showing flight departures. After a while I walked back to reception. Behind reception there are some showers and also the toilets. Then on the other side of reception is the bar.
I spoke to the bar man and asked if everything was included. he said yes, apart from the Champagne and the Prosecco. He asked if I would like a beer. At such times I am very tempted to give a big smile and, like Jack Nicholson in the Shining, sit down and start drinking (here’s the clip). Instead I had some nuts from the end of the bar, checked out the comprehensive selection of dips on offer with the nachos, noticed there were yet more places to sit beyond the bar, and then went back to work.
I should mention these strange work booths. They have a little side table and a power supply but the lounge would have to be quite busy for me to use them.
Very good. It must get busy at other times but compared to the other lounge that a Priority Pass gets you admittance to (the Skyteam Lounge at the other end of the airport), I prefer this one. The Skyteam Lounge has its strengths, but can get very busy, and some of the staff working there are very surly in my experience. Here they were sweetness and light.
There are lots of offers and ways of reducing this, and of course you could always buy a series of admissions or have a card with Priority Pass, but on the website, since I was in France by the time I came to write this, it priced for me in dollars (?) the following amounts.
- 2 hours $43; 5 hours $68; 10 hours $84.
- Shower 3o minutes, $18