Monday, January 23, 2017

Lounge Life at Plaza Premium Lounge Edmonton

Plaza Premium Lounge
I’ve always found the least enjoyable part of travelling is the actual travel part of travelling. Packing, ensuring your suitcases aren’t too heavy, getting your luggage and yourself to the airport, followed by the hassle of getting through security these days makes travelling less pleasant than it should be. All of this has to happen so that you can sit in uncomfortable seats in a noisy  airport for 90 minutes or more before you can begin the process of boarding your flight.

Lounging about
This long and arduous journey that one has to endure to get from point a to point b is one of the many reasons I try to cash in points whenever possible to fly first class, so I can at least escape the insanity of waiting at the gate and wait in a luxurious airline lounge. However, it’s not the most feasible option, as I don’t have an infinite number of points, and whenever I buy a plane ticket, I always purchase the cheapest possible which means buying an airline lounge pass is not even an option. So what’s a cow to do?

Comfy seating
In comes Plaza Premium Lounges, a network of lounges located around the world that anyone can access for a fee. On my most recently flight home to Vancouver, I tried out the Plaza Premium Lounge located in the domestic terminal of the Edmonton International Airport. Found across from Gate 52, it shares an entrance with the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge and is on the second floor. The tranquility begins at the door to the lounge where the din of the airport fades away and the air, once thick and heavy with commotion and frantic energy, suddenly feels calmer.

Red tea
The lounge itself allows you to choose how you wish to spend your time, whether it be people watching people below through a plexiglass wall, catching the Canada World Juniors hockey games on the tv or just relaxing in a comfortably padded chair with a book or a laptop. Aside from the variety of seating options, they also have food and drinks from a light snack of party mix to a heartier chicken cacciatore. The majority of food, both hot and cold, are serve yourself, with the exception of a few items located in a display case behind the counter.

Hot foods
My only complaint about the food was the lack of sweet items, with only cookies and nanaimo bars to be seen for dessert, a few more sweets would be most welcome. Coffee, tea, juice and pop are also self-serve, but wine and spirits are served by a staff member. Although I do love the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge, their espresso based beverages come out of a self serve machine and usually taste watery. Whereas Plaza Premium Lounge opts to have staff members make espresso based beverages for guests with a traditional Italian espresso machine. This choice not only provides guests with a properly made latte, but choices similar to any cafe including being able to ask for flavourings and a different choice of milk.

Espresso bar, plus alcoholic beverages
The only thing out of place in the Plaza Premium Lounge was the washrooms, which appeared to be standard airport washrooms with some decoration added to the counter. I would recommend they consider adding some amenities for guests in there such as hand lotion, mouth wash and other toiletries to allow guests to freshen up before or between flights. They also had other standard lounge features such as wifi, computer stations, and magazines. With the ability to book lounge access in advance through their website and reasonable prices (2 hours for $40, 3 hours for $50 and 6 hours for $70), it’s a worthwhile expense for those who want to relax pre-flight or get some work done.

Overall, it was a much more enjoyable experience than sitting and waiting at the airport gate would have been and I will definitely be keeping an eye out for Plaza Premium Lounges on future flights where I don’t have access to an airline lounge.

Plaza Premium Lounge 
Edmonton International Airport
Domestic/International Depart
Near Gate 52
780-890-2187
Twitter: @plaza_network
Instagram: @plazapremiumlounge

(Note: There was no financial compensation from Plaza Premium Lounges or Edmonton International Airport for this blog post, although they provided free passes to the lounge. Any review provided by me will completely reflect my thoughts and opinions – good or bad – and will not be swayed by having free passes provided.)

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