It’s a nice treat to add an airport lounge experience onto your travels, so I decided to try out the No1 Lounge at Heathrow ahead of our flight to Nairobi. The No 1 Lounge operates across Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Edinburgh and Birmingham airports and for a fee of £36 per person (prices vary across the other airports), you can enjoy lounge access with complimentary buffets, hot and cold drinks and a hot menu selection. If you’re able to fit in a bit more down time before your flight, you can even make use of their shower facilities and (at an extra cost), spa and sleep pods.
Despite all attempts to give ourselves a good chunk of time in Terminal 3, after checking in our bags, picking up currency and passing through security, we had little more than an hour to enjoy the lounge. But it was enough to relax and grab a bit eat before our flight. On arrival, it was very busy and access was reserved for pre-booked places only. So I’d recommend booking ahead if you’re considering fitting the No1 Lounge into your Monday morning travels! Luckily though, there was a minimal wait and we managed to get seated pretty quickly.
The reception staff were nice and friendly and the set-up was relaxed and informal, with a range of armchairs, table and chairs and lap-top stations for us to choose from (there are suspended ‘egg chairs’ too. There’s also a cinema, children’s area, VIP area and spa and the lounge has a relaxed but sleek design. All tea and coffee is complimentary, and the bar prices for alcoholic drinks are very reasonable for an airport (To give you an idea, a glass of prosecco or buck’s fizz is around £4).
The tea and coffee is self-service from a machine and the coffee wasn’t quite coffee shop standard but it wasn’t bad! On the breakfast bar, we had cereals, croissants and a pasta dish to choose from, fruit juices and fridges of unlimited soft drinks (diet coke, sprite etc). I thought the variety of buffet items was a bit limited and could have stretched to perhaps some fresh fruit and yoghurt. But on the plus side, you will find a handful of basic hot dishes – such as bacon rolls and eggs – which you can order from the menu. Our eggs benedict was small but pretty tasty and well-presented. And it arrived speedily- which was good, because it meant I had another eggs benedict in front of me within minutes, after BC ate mine while I was on the phone.
When you’re done eating, there’s a selection of newspapers for guests to enjoy, a mini cinema – as I mentioned – and a spa if you’re super organised and book ahead (I can’t report back on the treatments themselves but the prices look very reasonable).
The ambience in the No 1 Lounge at Heathrow is really nice. The design is light and airy and it allows you to just chill out for a bit ahead of your flight. Admittedly, the £36 fee is quite steep for travellers on a budget, or those who just have enough time for a quick bite to eat. But if you have a bit of time on your hands in between flights, are on business, or you want to treat yourself to a slightly more comfortable environment to the airport terminal, the No 1 Lounge is not bad at all and offered a relaxed start to our trip through Africa.
Until next time x