A couple of weeks ago I got the chance to try out the new Eurostar e320 trains on a trip to Paris. That review will follow in a couple of days.
First, however, I got to review the Eurostar lounge at St Pancras again.
One of the lesser known benefits of American Express Platinum is that you and your supplementary cardholder get access to Eurostar lounges. I don’t use this benefit often, but it is a bit of a lifesaver when you do. St Pancras is chaotic at peak times in the main terminal hall and, until the current rebuilding work is finished, Paris is even worse.
(I won’t be reviewing the Paris lounge because a new one is due to open later this year.)
It is worth remembering that Standard Premier tickets do not come with lounge access. Without a Platinum card or Eurostar status you need to be holding a Business Premier ticket.
Having said that the terminal was chaos, the lounge was also overrun at 6.45am with a couple of trains due to depart imminently. However, once it hit 7am, calm descended and I had a very pleasant half an hour until I headed off to board.
The St Pancras Eurostar lounge is long, narrow and operates on two levels. A lot of people never venture upstairs, but the facilities are the same and there is more space. You also are not disturbed by people walking to and from the lounge entrance. I recommend looking upstairs first before taking a seat downstairs.
I have a soft spot for this lounge but it isn’t based on any hard benefits. I just like the feel of it and the way it is blended into the fabric of the old station.
There is also no shortage of reading material, which always wins brownie points with me:
which makes the weak British Airways Galleries selection look pitiful.
These pictures are all taken from the upper level:
There isn’t much variety in the food on offer. (I did say that my liking for this lounge was not based on its facilities!) It helps to have a love of pastries, which were pretty decent – better than the ones served on the train:
This is the food and drink station on the lower level. There is no shortage of alcohol although you don’t see it in this image. The coffee machines were also high quality which was welcome at 7am.
All in all, it does the best it can given the limited space. The Paris lounge is substantially larger and is due to become even bigger following the building work.
And if you don’t have lounge access, you will be stuck in the massive queue outside Caffe Nero!
Disclaimer: Eurostar provided me with a free Business Premier outbound / Standard Premier inbound ticket to Paris. I was planning to pay, but when I got in touch with them to ask which services would have the new trains (it is impossible to tell before you book) they offered me one, so I accepted. It was a good job I did as I had an ‘equipment swap’ and they were happy to rebook me. Qudos to Eurostar, who were fully aware of the slating I gave the food in Standard Premier last time I wrote about it!