Review of No 1 Lounge Gatwick South

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This is our review of the No 1 Lounge in the South Terminal at London Gatwick Airport.

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

It is now just over four months until the big terminal switch at Gatwick.  On 25th January 2017, British Airways will move overnight from the North Terminal to the South Terminal.  easyJet will move across to the North Terminal, consolidating their entire operation under one roof for the first time.

British Airways is building a brand new lounge complex in Gatwick South for status and premium passengers.

If you are travelling in economy without BA status, you won’t be getting in.  The good news is that No 1 Lounges opened a brand new facility in Gatwick South in February.  You can get access to this using a Priority Pass (with American Express Platinum or bought outright) or Lounge Club (two free entries with American Express Gold) card.  You can also buy passes directly on the No 1 Lounge website.

Last week I went on holiday to Croatia to spend a week on the gorgeous island of Vis (I will spare you a review of my independent 2* hotel, with a bed so bad I spent one night sleeping on the floor).

Flying Norwegian from Gatwick South to Split, we decided to give the new No 1 Lounge a try.  We bought access for cash and No 1 Lounges was not involved in this review in any way.

The No 1 lounge is located upstairs next to Dixons.  You need to walk along a hallway to reach the reception desk.

no-1-lounge-gatwick-south-location

The first thing you notice is the size – this is substantially bigger than the old No 1 Lounge at Gatwick South – and different sitting arrangements.

no-1-lounge-gatwick-south-tables

The middle bit is the restaurant:

no-1-lounge-gatwick-south-dining-area

and next to the table area is the bar where you can order drinks and food.

no-1-lounge-gatwick-south-bar

There were nuts, apples and cakes for self service.  All other food had to be ordered from a menu at the bar.

no-1-lounge-gatwick-south-cake-fruit

There were two coffee machines and a good tea selection in the lounge.

no-1-lounge-gatwick-south-coffee

At the far end of the lounge were very comfy sofas.

no-1-lounge-gatwick-south-lounge-area

The lounge also has a meeting room where kids under the age of 12 are not allowed.

no-1-lounge-gatwick-south-meeting-room

This is the TV room.

no-1-lounge-gatwick-south-tv-room

The work area in the No 1 lounge has got two desktop Macs:

no-1-lounge-gatwick-south-computer

Food

The food menu very good and the dishes were freshly prepared. If you have got enough time, this definitely makes for a great lounge experience. However if you are under time pressure you may find the wait annoying – during busy times you will need to wait 10-15 minutes for your food.

As our flight was delayed (good old Norwegian) we had enough time to try almost the whole menu ……

The spinach and ricotta pasta shell was delicious, but the portion size was more starter than main.

no-1-lounge-gatwick-south-pasta-dish

…… that’s why I also tried the superfood salad mezze with quinoa. If you like healthy food, this is my recommendation.

no-1-lounge-gatwick-south-food-superfood-salad

Here is the full food menu (click to enlarge).

no-1-lounge-gatwick-south-food-menu

Conclusion

The No 1 lounge at Gatwick South is a great way to start your holiday. The atmosphere was very calming and relaxing and the food quality was great.  I think British Airways passengers without lounge access will be pleasantly surprised by what they find here after 25th January.

The only thing that could get annoying when the lounge is busier is the queue at the bar and the time you have to wait for your food to arrive.  In order to make the most of it the lounge, I recommend arriving at least 90 minutes prior to departure.

You can find out more, and buy entry passes, on the No 1 website here.

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Comments

  1. Was here recently and it was so crowded that the entrance dragons assigned everyone seats when they brought you in. This was on a weekday morning.

    • I had the same experience, it was between 6am and 7am on Sat. I am curious about what time of the day when Raffles visited there. It looks empty.

      Priority pass holders were refused and an invitation needed to be issued on checkin. Couches were all reserved for large families. The egg benedict was so tiny, I had a better one at the other No.1 at LGW a while ago.

  2. The biggest challenge with these lounges now is crowding. I only find a lounge a nice experience if it is about max 50-60% full. Any more than that then I find the whole thing so noisy and annoying having to queue for food etc I’d rather get a Pret and go find a quiet spot in the terminal instead!

  3. I thought you used to get the first ordered dish free and had to pay for repeat orders? I’m sure that was the policy at No1 Birmingham when I was there a few weeks ago – have things changed or is Gatwick different?

    • Ian Giles says:

      You do – that’s why it says ‘complimentary menu’ in Anika’s photo 😉

    • Was there are few days ago, got multiple free dishes. The barkeeper actually encouraged it – ‘the portion sizes are fairly small, you probably want to get both’.

  4. I was in there recently for the first Cathay flight from Gatwick south. It was packed, but the service still prompt.
    Staff had major issues with the huge TV, and were standing around it for most of the time i was in there attempting to get sky working.
    Ordered Eggs Benedict, and the poached egg was hard boiled, and the ham still freezing cold.

    Flight on the other hand was amazing.

    • I’m on the a350 to HKG in March. Hoping to be able to use the new BA lounge by then. Glad the flight was good – looking fwd to it.

  5. OT- Trailfinders
    Trying to make use of Amex offer but TF are adamant and not able to book return trip with return flight to UK in first week of September.
    Many *A (incl. Swiss, LH, TK etc.) has already availability for my flight destination but TF suggest I wait until middle of October to book flight coming back in first week of September.
    This leaves only one option to use current Amex TF offer which is to buy GC and hope the offer is honoured.

    • Do you just mean that they can’t get round BA’s T-355 rule? That’s not surprising. On Amex Travel it’s even shorter than T-355.

      I just booked 4 flights for Sept 3rd, 2017 (on T-355) so I guess you could just ask again in a few days.

      • No, not just BA but also other airline.
        I think she said can only book upto August currently which I interprete as T+330 ahead.

        I guess you booked flights on BA directly which does work (same like any other *A which is available until second week of sep-17); I want to book with TF for next Sep-17.

    • When you say “GC” do you mean gift card?
      If so it’s excluded clearly in the T&C.

      • My flights are over £3k; so if it works I can get £600 back from Amex
        Taking GC route for £3k worth and waiting until next month may be too much of gamble for Amex offer.

  6. How about the booze? What’s on offer? Any limits like the food?

    • No limits on booze but you pay extra for Champers. Not self-serve so if you’re going for ‘fill the tank to the brim’ gold you might want to have a strategy.

      • Strategy: Your friend gets one round, you get the next one and so on 😉

        • That’s what we did when we were there in June. Remember: gin on the plane, wine on the train

        • what did you drink in the lounge, then?

          probably knocking back the tequilas, little bit of salt on the edge, bite the lemon, whole lounge cheering & egging you on to go for number 10

        • or just pretend you have 2 friends sitting round the corner, which is why you need 3 drinks every time you come up to the bar

  7. I agree with Anika’s review – nice lounge. But as other posters have mentioned it gets horribly overcrowded.

    We were there yesterday before a flight to Faro, and very glad we pre booked. Hoardes were being turned away, so that would be my tip!

  8. Rebecca McCullough says:

    I was there on 2nd Sept, I didn’t know you could have more than one dish! I had the lemon chicken tagine but was really small. Filled up on cakes (which were amazing) and olives.
    I was drinking red wine and was given about 1/3 of a glass every time I went to the bar which was a bit tiresome. Burnt off some of the cakes getting up I guess.

  9. Luke edwards says:

    Excellent review as always, just wondering whether there is any news on when the BA lounge will be opening at Gatwick South?

  10. OT apologies. Anyone know of converting Quatas Reward points to Avios, or a way of buying Reward Saver flights with them?

    Thanks

    • No you cannot do this. You can book BA flights with Qantas points though, it just requires more Qantas points than Avios generally.

    • You can book QF using avios on the BA site. Generally I’ve found that using avios for J is excellent value. For economy flights cash is good value if booked on QF website. I’m about to book MEL-BNE-ADL-MEL all on QF (not Jetstar etc) for £500 for 2ppl.

      I’ve 2 J QF flight MEL-PER for 20000 avios and £9/per head for 4hr flight.

  11. I’ve been in this lounge several times and I think both your photos and review paint it in a much nicer light than it actually is. It is always packed to the rafters (I was denied entry at 2pm on a Wednesday because it was full) and while the fitout is reasonably high end, there’s rarely a free seat and the tables are usually covered in dirty dishes. I do agree the runway views are excellent though. The one free menu item is whatever can be made for the lowest cost and slapped onto a plate by a kitchen hand. The buffet food is reasonably substantial but again, its what can be made for the lowest cost, ie dense cake. At the bar, wine is poured into a metal measurer and then slopped into the glass (can they really not teach/trust the staff to pour a glass of wine? How hard is it?
    As Gatwick quickly grows they really need another lounge in this terminal – full service airlines like CX are starting to add extra flights there as a Heathrow alternative and this lounge is not up to standard for premium pax on a premium airline. As much as people bash Heathrow, if you are flying out of T2 or T5 both the terminals and lounges are excellent.
    In terms of non-Heathrow UK PP lounges Ive been much more impressed with the Escape lounge in Stanstead. Even when its full it doesn’t feel crowded, bright, fun, airy design, hot food options which is unusual for a PP lounge, plenty of healthy salads instead of dense carbs and the staff there are absolutely incredible – bright, bubbly, genuine, and they will even escort you to a seat and help get you settled (again, unusual for a PP lounge!). Even at 6pm on a Friday which I assume is one of the busiest hours of the week the staff were handling the lounge well and everyone was happy. I actually quite like Stanstead given its not nearly as big or as many people as Gatwick, and this lounge.

    • Alot of that CX traffic might move across to the new BA lounge when it opens which may help out No1.

    • there’s actually a reasonably good choice of free menu items http://i1.wp.com/www.headforpoints.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/no-1-lounge-gatwick-south-food-menu.jpg (though normally only 1 free item per pax before you have to pay £4 for additional items, sounds like some people got lucky)

      I think No1 are normally pretty good except when they get swamped. I use No1 in T3 every few months and it has always been absolutely excellent.

    • I agree with on the Escape lounge at Stansted airport, I think it is better than the PP options at LGW and definitely LTN which is crap. Only £2.50 for a Prosecco (more reasonable considering you have already payed to get in) which they ran out of so offered Champers as a replacement..

  12. I still can’t believe that toast has to be ordered and counts as your complimentary item rather than being self-serve. Especially mad when you can have as much booze as you like but a second bit of bread is going to cost you!

  13. Lewis Watson says:

    Is there a club rooms for first passengers?

    • There are Club Rooms at Gatwick South but, as BA will have its own First Class lounge, you will be sent there instead.

      • Lewis Watson says:

        So no more confusion sending first passengers to the club rooms and club passengers to the no1 lounge

        • That arrangement is at North terminal whilst BA remains there without a lounge. This article is about South terminal where, once they move, BA will have its own lounges for premium and status passengers. As the article says, this No. 1 Traveller lounge at South will be an option for non-status and economy passengers travelling with BA after the move.

  14. Don’t forget the No 1 avios offer:

    http://www.avios.com/gb/en_gb/collect/no1-lounges?from=collectNav

    £20 entry and receive 750 avios.

  15. OT

    Does anyone have any experience buying/using a Visa pre paid gift card or one from pay.com?

    I’m considering purchasing one to help with hitting a spending target and thinking further down the line, has anyone paid their council tax with one? Does it work just like a debit card in that sense?

    • heh heh there are about 500 experts on this thread 🙂

      yes you could pay council tax (pay.com acts like a debit card) but have you considered just using Amex direct via Paypoint @ Co-Op stores? Most councils allow this (not all).

      your problem is the fee for buying the prepaid Visa in the first place, which can make it a costly exercise.

      • Thanks for replying.

        I tried to use Paypoint, however, currently my council doesn’t allow this method 🙁

        I’ll have a proper look at the fees for both before I make up my mind, but I think I’m leaning towards pay.com

        • Why don’t buy supermarket giftcard to hit spending target?

        • That’s also definitely under consideration, I just want to explore other options that allow a little more flexibility. Further down the line, paying off the council tax using this method would be a great earner and probably secure the spend I need for an upgrade voucher.

        • Can you top-up pay.com card from an amex card?

        • don’t think so.
          As it is a prepaid card which AFAIK cannot be credited any further than initially loaded amount.

        • I think it can be topped up, it’s listed in the fees section of pay.com

          There’s no mention of amex however.

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