A fascinating new airport lounge option opens at Gatwick South today – Clubrooms.
Clubrooms is a new product from No 1 Lounges (part of the No 1 Lounges group) which will be very interesting for business travellers, high end leisure travellers and groups.
Clubrooms is a suite of four private airport lounges in the South terminal at London Gatwick. It offers a level of privacy and service which you won’t find at any other UK airport lounge – and the pricing is suprisingly reasonable.
I went along yesterday for a preview and was impressed by what I saw.
There are two large rooms and two smaller ones. Each has a TV, a soft drinks fridge and fruit. The space can be personalised at advance notice – there are PlayStations available for example. Alcoholic drinks and a wide range of hot and cold food – all included in the price, except for champagne – will be brought to you by the staff.
The larger rooms will be mostly used by smaller airlines which currently use the main No 1 Traveller lounge at Gatwick South. This will offer a substantially more premium experience to those passengers, albeit in a smaller space. It will also reduce pressure on the No 1 lounge and make it easier for Priority Pass, Lounge Club etc customers to get in at peak times.
The smaller rooms are the most suitable for booking by the general public – ie you!
Here is where it gets interesting. The price is £37.50 per person with a minimum of four people. This photo and the one below it are of the room you are most likely to get. Remember that you get exclusive use of the room for three hours.
In terms of cost, this is exceptionally reasonable. The ‘advance booking’ rate for the main No 1 Traveller lounge is £20 via the current Avios promotion, increasing to £30 on the door. For a modest premium, a group of four or more would have their own private lounge for up to three hours.
If you were hungry, the Clubrooms could work out cheaper than No 1 Traveller, as many of the food items offered for free in Clubrooms are chargeable in the main lounge. Lunch options include Keralan vegetable curry, chicken cacciatore and a range of salads as well as ‘comfort food’ options such as chicken wraps.
For a family or group that has paid a few thousand pounds for premium class tickets, or as a gift for a couple heading off on honeymoon, or for a group of business travellers who want some genuine privacy to discuss work before they travel, this is a great product.
British Airways, remember, is moving to Gatwick South next November. There is definitely a segment of BA premium passengers who will prefer to pay for a Clubroom than use the new BA lounges – after all, we are only talking about spending possibly 2% – 5% of the cost of Club World long-haul flights.
Clubrooms is open from 6am to 8pm daily – note the fairly early closing time. If you are passing through Gatwick South, I’m sure they would be happy to let you take a quick look around – the entrance is next to Dixons Travel on the upper level.
More details on Clubrooms can be found on the No 1 Lounges website here. If it sounds interesting for a specific trip, I would enquire sooner rather than later – daily capacity is obviously restricted given that each booking is for three hours.
I also have news of changes to the No 1 offering at Gatwick South – more tomorrow.
Getting airport lounge access via a UK credit card
As a reminder, here are the three options to get FREE airport lounge access via a credit or charge card:
Two free Priority Pass cards (one for you, one for your supplementary Platinum cardholder, each admitting two – so a family of four gets in free) giving access to every lounge in the Priority Pass network – search it here. You also get access to Plaza Premium, Delta and Eurostar lounges. Our American Express Platinum review is here.
You get a Lounge Club card loaded with two free visits to any Lounge Club network lounge – see the list here. The list is slightly shorter than the Priority Pass list, but not by much. Additional visits are charged at £20 per person. You get two more free visits for every year you keep the card. No annual fee in Year 1. Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.
You get a free LoungeKey card allowing you access to any property in the LoungeKey network. Guests are charged at £20 although regular travellers will find it cheaper to pay £60 for a supplementary credit card (adults only, of course). The card has an annual fee of £195 and there are strict financial requirements to become a HSBC Premier customer. Full details are in my HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard review.