My review of Terminal 5’s new Priority Pass arrivals lounge, Club Millesime

This is my review of Club Millesime, the new Priority Pass at Heathrow Terminal 5 inside the Sofitel hotel.

This is part of our series of reviews of airport lounges across the UK.  You see all of the reviews here.

I had a rather surprising arrival from Geneva on Friday.  The plane landed 10 minutes early, parked at an A gate and there was no queue at passport control.  This meant that I was running earlier than expected so I decided to use the time to check out the latest Priority Pass offering.

The news – broken by Head by Points in July – that the executive lounge of the Sofitel hotel at Terminal 5 had joined Priority Pass came as a surprise.  Someone at Priority Pass or the hotel had been thinking creatively.  After all, the British Airways arrivals lounge in Terminal 5 closes in the early afternoon and is only accessible by First Class, Club World and Gold card holders (no guests).

How to get there

If you’ve never walked from the terminal to the Sofitel Heathrow Terminal 5, you will find it a little further than anticipated.  That said, it only took me 7 minutes from walking into the arrivals hall to sitting down in the lounge.  This included the time that it took for the hotel to process my Priority Pass card.

In Terminal 5, you exit by the most northern set of doors and take the lift up to Level 1.  You are then sent down a long walkway – longer than it first appears – until you enter the hotel.  You then go down an escalator to the lobby.  Diagonally across from you, by the front door, is the Guest Relations desk.  This is where you need to sign in.

The guy on the desk was polite and insisted on walking me to the lounge entrance, which is just down the corridor.  Priority Pass holders also get access to the showers in the Sofitel spa, although I didn’t check this out.

What’s inside?

I arrived at 4.15pm, in the no-mans lands between lunch and dinner.  As you can see, the lounge is a large rectangular space (click on any of the photos to enlarge):

Club Millesime Sofitel Heathrow

with lots of seating.  There were only two other guests when I went in.  A jazz soundtrack was playing, a little loudly, in the background.

Club Millesime Sofitel Heathrow

Food consisted of finger sandwiches:

Club Millesime Sofitel Heathrow

….. scones and cakes.  It was almost identical to the British Airways ‘afternoon tea’ I had received an hour earlier in the air, but fresher.

Club Millesime lounge Sofitel Heathrow

There was no alcohol available at this time of the day, but the coffee machine was working just fine and a wide selection of teas were also available.  Someone arrived to start setting out the evening drinks as I was leaving.

Club Millesime priority pass lounge Sofitel Heathrow

As the club lounge for the hotel, I imagine that a decent breakfast is available here in the morning.

There are two computers and a printer for guest use, and a large selection of newspapers and magazines, although the latter are in a holder at floor level and easily missed.  Don’t try to read HFP on the computers as they only have a handful of fonts loaded and the text either doesn’t display or looks unformatted!

My only complaint is that I wasn’t offered a code for the wi-fi.  This wasn’t an issue as there was a good 4G phone signal but you wouldn’t want to use this if you were based outside the UK and didn’t have inclusive data roaming.

If you have some time to kill in Terminal 5, it is a perfectly pleasant place to wait.

How to get in

As far as access goes, it is Priority Pass only.  Club Millesime is not a member of Lounge Club or Dragonpass.  It is part of Lounge Key if you have a World Elite MasterCard.  I doubt you can pay on the door either as it would undermine the value of the lounge as an add-on for hotel guests.

(You are not asked for a boarding pass, by the way.  There is no reason why hotel guests cannot access the lounge via Priority Pass if they are staying here!)

Priority Pass comes free with American Express Platinum.  You receive two cards (one is for your main supplementary cardholder) and each can bring a guest so a family of four can access a lounge for free.  Alternatively, you can buy a Priority Pass here.

HSBC Premier World Elite is the only travel credit card which comes with Lounge Key.

Dragonpass cardholders can access the Regus Business Centre in Terminal 5.  This is not a lounge per se, however.  You can get a free cup of coffee but it only has a handful of seats and these are almost all around communal work tables where you are expected to get out your laptop.

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  1. One very small thing. I believe that you can bring a guest into the BA arrivals lounges if you are Gold Guest List.


  2. More hotel lounges should accept PP.

    • +1 Would make PP A LOT more valuable than it already is.

      • it would actually make PP a killer card via Plat – you could easily justify the value in drinks without being a frequent flier

  3. OT- Amex Lounge club via PRGC
    Can lounge club card be used for 4 people via main and supplementary card holder’s lounge club cards?
    It says the card allows two free visit, I presume two free visits per lounge club card can be used as a one visit that includes a guest.
    Can anyone please confirm your experience.
    Will be using this at LGW North terminal later this year.

    • It’s a really nice lounge, I have use it twice this year when I was staying in the Sofitel.
      Decent breakfast, hot and cold with à good choice, you don’t need to get a breakfast somewhere else.
      And a great selection in the evening, wine , beer, alcohol and also a choice of hot and cold plate.
      Not to crowded, but it was before access was granted to priority pass holder.

    • Yes that works fine. ..I’ve done this with a group of friends when travelling from BCN… I got 2 of us in with my priority pass, my brother who is a supplementary card holder got 2 in; then .. 1 in as guest by my club europe ticket!

    • Does the main Gold supp really get a Lounge Club card?

    • As far as I know, the free supplementary card you get with AMEX Gold does NOT come with free passes to lounges. So you only get 2 for the main card. Happy to be corrected by somebody else, however.

  4. A good way to get Priority Pass (which doesn’t seem to be mentioned on here at all) is it comes as part of Natwest private banking – £28 a month for a joint account and each person on the joint account gets a full PP card. There are all the other usual benefits you would expect with a packaged current account as well eg travel insurance etc.

    • Some of the Barclaycard commercial cards also come with PP so you might be able to one through work for free.

  5. Just to say that it’s not just PP with access – it’s on the LoungeKey list as well.

  6. No need to show boarding pass and no requirement to be a hotel guest suggests you could use it if just passing. I occasionally arrive early at Heathrow to meet a flight, this would be a good place to wait.

    • Good question. I tried to find some more news recently but gone quiet. The T4 arrivals lounge will open first. They are doing a T3 hotel as well.

  7. How does one pronounce the name?

    I keep wanting to read it as ‘slime’ !

  8. LoungeKey also accepted here.

  9. I used the lounge as a convenient point to be picked up by a taxi. The taxi I ordered had an allowance of 15 minutes before a parking charge was due.

    I was there around 1 pm. The lounge food consisted only had a bowl of fruit. This was disappointing and I was underwhelmed. Soft drinks and tea/ coffee was available. Some of the other people in the lounge had bought sandwiches in the terminal and we’re eating them in the lounge.

    I could see this lounge being useful during breakfast, afternoon tea and evening drinks. I would have been disappointed if I had paid £15 for guests. The background music is too loud to try and work.

    I could see that the shower may be attractive if you had just arrived on a flight and didn’t have access to the BA lounge.

  10. I’ve used it twice. It’s OK. You can go to the Spa but PP only gets you use of the shower. As others have noted the food and beverage is the same as you would get at a good hotel lounge. It’s on the ground floor, down the side of the hotel and there are NO windows so there is no view. And the toilets are back near reception behind the lifts. It was packed when I arrived during the evening.

    Audi owners (etc) will be pissed off to discover that the best parking at the hotel is reserved for BMW cars! I have never seen that before.

    • I went last Sunday for the fourth time in as many weeks as a PP member — and I am also an Accor Plat — and was told by the ESPA SA that PP holders get access to the spa facilities, not just to the showers: she even went away and came back brandishing the ‘rule book’. I mention this as my girlfriend had issues with us trying to use the sauna/jacuzzi/etc. under the pretext of “just using the shower facilities”, i.e. I had no scruples whatsoever with using the sauna or steam room, but my girlfriend did and she even ended up saying to the ESPA lady after being let through that she’d actually like to use the sauna now and could we actually pay to use it (!!) and could it be added to our hotel bill (!!!). I was not amused, frankly, as this made us look like idiots, as much as I may love the missus :o). Anyway, when we left later, the ESPA manageress was very apologetic and reassured us that no bill charge for use of the spa would be added to our hotel bill because PP holders get free use of the SPA facilities, not just the showers. So, from the horse’s mouth.

  11. Is there a limit to ‘unlimited’ PP cards? Could, say, someone who works nearby or a limo driver meeting clients, theoretically use this every day without raising any eyebrows?

    • This was happening at Plaza Premium in T2 which is why they have started asking for a boarding pass.

      • That is bad news.. The T2 arrival lounge has been very useful for me when waiting family and friends to arrive. I have use the lounge many times in the evening and most of times there was only 1 or 2 people actually.
        On the other hand when I visited Sofitel club lounge last time around 6.30 pm which was during happy hours, it was packed.

        • Simon Schus says:

          BOOOoooOOOoo, this is rubbish news. What are people’s experiences of this? Always denied, always asked for a BP?

          I used to wait for my wife arrive on her flight, and would just sit in the lounge waiting for them before heading to our hotel after she landed (she is terrible with jetlag, it isn’t worth my while to drive her straight home… we just get an airport hotel and she sleeps until she is ready haha). In my case, this doesn’t happen to often anymore but at some stages I was in the lounge once a month. I also distinctly remember having an early morning flight and so got an airport hotel… I headed to the lounge because I was frankly bored of my hotel room, got some dinner and a few drinks. Now that is presumably prohibited. Rubbbissssh.

          It is annoying because:
          – I tend to throw my boarding passes after I collect the luggage and check it is all as intended. I hate carrying little scraps of paper around when travelling.
          – PP stills get paid, so why does it matter to them? The lounge only ever really seemed overcrowded in the morning between 730am and 1030am when most of the morning flights were arriving.

          Anyway, rant over. It is their lounge and they can do what they want haha.

        • Simon Schus says:

          *once a week, not once a month

        • There are only odd reports of this so it is not necessarily 100% guaranteed you will be asked.

          My feeling is that Priority Pass is finding that some people are buying unlimited passes and then going in 3-4 times per week. If you work at Heathrow you could go in for after-work drinks every night, or a free lunch. Priority Pass starts to lose money once you start to visit more than two lounges per month, assuming you pay £250 for unlimited access. They look at what these people are doing and, if it turns out they are using the same lounge on a very heavy basis, they will have a word.

  12. I’m going to be flying back from a California Big Holiday trip next September (2017), so just waiting on the return flights to be released. It looks like we’ll probably fly out of Phoenix or San Jose, as they seem to have the best availability for using Avios for 4 people in Club World or First. Our flight will only arrive around 13:30 and the Terminal 5 arrivals lounge closes at 14:00. I don’t have a Priority Pass, so can’t use this lounge. Can anyone suggest where we can go as we will be waiting on a flight to Belfast, as we live in Northern Ireland? Thanks.

    • If you are transiting at T5 from a BA international flight to a domestic leg, you can use the premium lounges in T5 if travelling in Club World/F prior to your domestic leg.
      We used the Concord Room following arrival from HKG in F prior to our domestic leg to BHD.

    • Hi Paddy, we did the big California trip this summer – awesome by the way!

      I went through the same thought process as we used the free domestic add-on flight to fly to Glasgow and visit family. As the arrivals lounge was due to close shortly before we arrived back from SFO the Executive Club booking agent confirmed that we could use the T5 Galleries Lounge before our onward flight.

      As it turned out the SFO was delayed almost 4 hours so although we were bumped onto a later flight to Glasgow we had no time to use the T5 lounge. We did however have the joy of skipping the boarding que due to the Glasgow leg effectively being a business class ticket.

      As side note, I’m not sure how your onward flight to Belfast was booked but just to warn you that we spent well over an hour at SFO arguing for our baggage to be booked all the way through to Glasgow. Seemed such an obvious thing they should have been able to do but we eventually got the manger down and she signed it off.. bonkers! Anyway, if you get the same hassle just don’t give in… My complaint to the Exec Club is on it’s way.

      Enjoy the trip!

      • ‘Enjoy the trip!’

        I had an annoying ‘uncle’ (in reality cousin) who used to say that when we were kids and stumbled

        Now he is a very popular cousin who takes us all out en famille for blowouts in the local Indian 🙂

  13. Does anyone know if you can access the lounge as a non hotel guest using your Accor Le Club Platinum membership without PP?

    • I wouldn’t have thought so, lounge access as an Accor Plat is only if you’re staying in the hotel.

  14. Is anyone been denied spa access? Raffles’s review did mention that you only have shower access, but in the Priority Pass website it also claim that you get: Complimentary shower facilities and spa access

    But I recently got denied spa access and Hotel said the information in Priority Pass website was incorrect

  15. This was good timing , I’m flying into Heathrow next week at 1pm with the family and the in laws. I was thinking about using the PP at the Sofitel before transferring to Gatwick but I am now reconsidering my options.