Bits: Plaza Premium T2 voted ‘Best Priority Pass’ lounge, a hotel booking site just for new hotels

Even more news in brief as I clear the post-party backlog!

Plaza Premium in Heathrow T2 voted ‘best lounge’

The Plaza Premium departure lounge in Heathrow Terminal 2 has been voted ‘best Priority Pass lounge worldwide’ by members of the Priority Pass scheme.

This is not surprising.  I rate the lounge highly – I reviewed it here and here and see the image below.  There is also an impressive Plaza Premium departure lounge in Terminal 4 which I reviewed here.

These two lounges are also part of Lounge Club as well as Priority Pass, which means you can get into them for free using the 2 free Lounge Club passes that come with the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold card – which itself is free for the 1st year.  You can also pay for entry to Plaza Premium lounges via this site.

The prospects for Plaza Premium pulling another winner out of the hat with their new Terminal 5 lounge in 2017 are hopefully pretty good.

Plaza Premium Heathrow 2

‘Be The First’ – a hotel booking site for new properties

One of the more interesting new companies I bumped into at World Travel Market last month was ‘Be The First‘.

This is a niche hotel booking site which focuses on new and refurbished hotels worldwide.  And this is an idea I like.

There are many times in the past when I have specifically tried to search out new hotels when visiting somewhere.  If your miles and points don’t direct you somewhere specific, looking for a new property is a good way of guaranteeing that you will be OK.

A new hotel will have (hopefully) modern furnishings, will not be in desperate need of renovation and will have the latest technology – things you cannot even guarantee from many five star hotels.  As long as a new hotel is fully open with all the facilities operating and construction finished (it isn’t unusual to open hotels too early to get some money in), it is usually a good choice.

Even better, because it takes hotels a couple of years to build up their occupancy levels, there are often good deals to be had at new properties.  You would expect a discount during a ‘soft opening’ when not all facilities are open, but ‘fully open’ new hotels will also want to be price competitive as they try to build awareness and tempt guests from other properties.

One problem is that is often tricky to identify new hotel openings. In the past I have often found myself using Google to try to find news stories linked to new hotels in a particular city.

Be The First is a UK based website focusing only on new and refurbished hotels.  If you want an easy way to find somewhere fresh, you may find it interesting.

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Comments

  1. Great to hear one is coming for T5. Aspire lounge is so bad I left after 10mins.

    • I am hoping to try Aspire in T3 next week – looks a lot better.

      Review of the new Cathay lounge in T3 coming up too.

      • I was in this yesterday morning. It was quiet but nothing special. Staff were pleasant trying to offer me breakfast (didn’t go for this). BA F still a great product. Also AA 777 business today better than CW. However still annoying they take the Bose headphones an hour from landing and you can’t use your own as it’s a 3 prong headphone plug…

        • Did you try it with the doubler provided by Bose? My understanding was that the 3rd prong was just for power, thus not required when using your own headphones. With BA the upper socket is smaller (hence the doubler does not fit), however is not required.

  2. Mark1980 says:

    Some hotel chains / brands have a coming soon or newly opened section on their website (I know Hilton does) which are worth keeping an eye on. A few years ago I stayed at a brand new Hilton garden inn in new York and snagged an opening rate of £70 per night. The hotel was brand new and one of the best hotels I’ve stayed at. Plus it was only 2 blocks from the empire state building!

    • Ditto for the HIX San Francisco that I stayed at in May – was covered on here and I stayed for 5 nights at a massively cheap redemption rate! Room was like a 4* hotel and location was excellent, just a few doors down from the Hilton!

    • It can be great, or it can be a desperate experience.

      I won’t name the hotel or chain, as I was invited back for a free long weekend (including economy flights from LHR) in return for an honest review which turned out just great.

      We arrived at the US City Centre hotel at 11pm to find our room (two doubles) had been accidently allocated to another guest. We were offered a king + sofa bed instead – the hotel was full as a baseball match was on that night.

      First guests in the room, found little snagging Post-its throughout the room, the bathroom door was awaiting hanging and the smoke detectors and sprinkler still had their blue builders covers. TV still in box.

      There was no bed linen for the sofa bed in the room. Dialled down to reception, around an hour later an embarrassed security guard arrived at the door to say the reception staff didn’t have access privileges for the linen stores. It was a warm night, so we managed to fashion two beds out of the bed linen and pillows from the King.

      It was at this point that we found the only light with a bulb in it was main one controlled by switch next to the door (and the bathroom)…

      Next morning we were assured all would be sorted. However, back that evening to find the TV had disappeared altogether, the sofa bed had been folded away and “donor” linen removed, however the bathroom door was now hung and blue covers removed. Check closet for spare bed linen only to find the contents of my suitcase have rifled through and thrown inside, suitcase and travel kettle (very British) missing. Staff were still locked out of the linen store, but this time they went out and bought a duvet, covers and pillows. Still no bulbs. Police wake us up at 2am to take details of stolen suitcase, kettle and boxed Hotel TV.

      Fire alarm goes off at 3am

      Next evening back to hotel room. Door won’t open. Try again, someone else opens door wondering why we are trying to get into their room. Down to reception to find out what’s going on and where our stuff is. Oh dear, big mistake with booking system had incorrectly coded us as 2 nights rather than 3 when the room was changed on check-in. Our stuff is stuffed randomly into the remaining cases or in black bags with concierge. Hotel is full, taxied across town to a sister hotel…

  3. Concerto says:

    Any idea what the answer to today’s Iggy is? (IHG Advent calendar)

  4. the real harry says:

    O/T redeemed by Virgin ISA for a tad under £440 (£450 paid in). Shame we went for the safe option as ALL the other options were quids in thanks to Brexit – one option up over 20% :)

    But that would have defeated the point of going for safety.

    Anyway: £10 for 12K miles = 0.8333p/ mile

  5. Concerto says:

    If it helps anyone, I think today’s Iggy must be 117,500 points. Have a look here:

    https://www.globalcatalogue.ihg.com/detailview?@,@bfJiwAmWjh5HjWLVm6GIeL1vZoDqGok9wvRj7G9EO3p/hPOcVbf/sTk/nl3eDztn

  6. When last at T2 Arrival lounge they asked for a boarding card, never needed one before. Any idea why the change, the lounge is small but never full

    • the_real_a says:

      Apparently it has been abused by PP holders as its landside. I have no idea why they care so much do this as its never busy when i arrive and they will get paid per deim by PP.

      I was told unofficially they also want to keep the place “upmarket” and that it was attracting the wrong type of customer so they want to ensure people are actually flying (i.e. business people!). I must say the staff in there do not really do the upmarket brand any favours. I watched (amoungst) other things, an argument in the bar area between a female assistant and the male chef – about how he should treat her with more respect – they only stopped when i glared at them. On another occasion two staff were complaining about their visa situation whilst they watched me attempt to remove the cling film left in the breakfast buffet items.