Edinburgh Airport lounge reviews: how is the Aspire lounge?

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This article is my review of the Aspire Lounge at Edinburgh Airport.

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

A long layover at Edinburgh Airport last week gave me a chance to take a look at three of the lounges – No 1 Lounge (reviewed here), Aspire and the British Airways Galleries.

You can learn more about the Aspire Lounge, and pre-book cash visits, on their website here.

The Aspire lounge is located next to the British Airways lounge at the far end of the shopping precinct.  The No 1 Lounge is more central, although you shouldn’t pick a lounge on this basis as they are only a minute or so apart.

I got in using my Priority Pass, which comes with my American Express Platinum card (or you can buy one) and allows unlimited free lounge visits.  It also accepts Lounge Club, which comes with American Express Gold (two free visits per year) or HSBC Premier’s LoungeKey card.  You can also pay cash on the door, or pre-book a spot via this website.

I had been in the No 1 Lounge first, and leaving there to enter the Aspire lounge was a bit disheartening.

Aspire Lounge Edinburgh Airport review

Here’s the thing.  If you look at the pictures below, it looks OK.  And, of course, it is ‘OK’.  It has clearly been refurbished recently.

The lounge is an odd shape.  As you enter there are a few cubicles on the right hand side, which makes this a better option than No 1 if you want to work in semi-privacy.  You then enter a fairly small room (so small I couldn’t photograph it well) with both cubicle, booth and bar stool seating.

Initially, you think this is it.  Eventually you spot that, behind the buffet and bar, the lounge snakes away around the corner, and you find yourself in a bigger space with a lot of light and views of the airport.

Aspire Lounge Edinburgh Airport review

I think my bad vibe came from a few things.  There was a general sense that things were not ‘smart and neat’, from the newspaper table:

Aspire Lounge Edinburgh Airport review

….. through to the scuffed and creased menus everywhere, through to some of the buffet presentation:

Aspire Lounge Edinburgh Airport review

It is also quite a tight space with a lot of furniture and the dark colours don’t feel too inviting.  Coming from the open plan, bright walled No 1 Lounge, Aspire felt cramped.

Aspire Lounge Edinburgh Airport review

Heading to the loo is tricky.  You let yourself out into the main corridor via a one way fire door, and then walk around the corner.  On your return, you need to head back to main entrance and see the reception staff.

Perhaps I am being too picky.  The lounge was not busy.  It also, at least over lunch when I was there, has hot as well as cold food on the buffet.  If you are in need of something hot and more substantial than a No 1 Lounge fish finger wrap, you will be at home here.  I had a plate of pulled pork and rice which wasn’t bad at all.

Aspire Lounge Edinburgh Airport review

Aspire was also more generous with its wine, pouring straight from the bottle.  The No 1 Lounge poured your wine into a measuring device and then into your glass, which is odd given that you weren’t paying for it and could have as many as you wanted.

As I said above, if you look at my pictures you might wonder why I wasn’t full of enthusiasm.  It is hard to put my finger on it myself.  Aspire is certainly a better place if you want some privacy or are worried about your kids making a noise, as you can tuck yourself away in a corner.

If I was back in Edinburgh with a Priority Pass or Lounge Club card, I would head to the No 1 Lounge first (reviewed here).  If I got turned away because it was full, however, I wouldn’t be too concerned if I ended up in the Aspire Lounge.

You can find out more about the lounge, and pre-book a cash visit, on Aspire’s Executive Lounges website here.

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  1. Largely in agreement with your relative assessment of the lounges. I always choose No.1 except at breakfast time when I favour aspire if I want to eat something.

  2. I prefer the Aspire lounge as it has a bit more privacy about it and the breakfast option tends to be better. The introduction of draught Heineken was a massive plus too

    • Shame about the spirits, dubious about the origin of the gin Gordon’s? Anything over two fingers of tonic taste of gin disappears. Is it really 37.5% proof or is it a ‘special edition’ ?

  3. Wow, that was a VERY quiet time you were there! It’s normally bursting at the seams (I’ve been denied entry a few times due to it being full to PP holders).

    I often lounge hop and visit both. I find the Aspire has more choice food-wise and if leaving on an international flight with anyone except BA or Jet2, then this is normally much closer to the gates.

  4. the real harry1 says:

    Q – re: Lounge Club – I’ve never yet kept ours long enough to find out! so we get 2 free passes per annum – do they send out a new Lounge Club card or does the old card get loaded up with 2 new free visits on day 366?

    interested to know as we’ll be keeping my wife’s Gold card long enough to bank the annual spend bonus & it/ date coincides with Easter travel

  5. Slightly OT but does anybody know if/when the reduced APD is coming into effect in Scotland?
    I believe it had originally been proposed as spring 2018 but I’m struggling to find out any further information.

    • APD reduction has been delayed due to EU regulation issues related to subsidies (I think, someone will google it and provide more info!). Also, due to coalition government in Scotland there is a chance that the Green party will try to block the eventual bill.

      • Yes I agree there is a good chance that the Greens will demand this is dropped for their support of the Scottish budget.

    • I think it is supposed to be from April 2018 – MSP’s have approved it but the actual rate is still to be agreed. The Greens are vehemently against it and with the Scottish Budget a consideration (the Greens helped carry the last SNP budget) there could still be some horse trading. I don’t think it’s done deal.

    • Could be sometime yet, ironically it’s the EU that’s a stumbling block for the SNP on this…

    • No sign of the outrageous 244% “tax” on taking the tram an extra couple of hundred metres to the Airport being slashed either.

      And that’s something that could be organised between TSG, TS & Edinburgh Council without involving Europe or Westminster – if there was a will to do so.

    • Katy, further to comments by the others, I think it is already dead or at least dormant in the current parliament. The EU was merely a good face-saving excuse. However, don’t forget you can fly from Inverness and avoid APD.

      • Thank you all for your comments. I suspected it had stalled, thanks for the Inverness tip!

  6. I think the Aspire lounge is the one used by the long haul airlines (Qatar, Etihad, Turkish etc.) and when i have walked past it always looked very busy, so i have always avoided it.

    I also still recall the old Servisair lounge which sat there, and being it on a rugby weekend, when the staff kept letting more and more people in when there was standing room only (#wetherspoons).

    • Philip White says:

      There is always a tell tale sign of who has the Turkish contract, the bottles of Efes in the fridges.

      • I drank that stuff while in Baku working. It was the only bear available. Left you with a stinking headache WHILE YOU WERE STILL DRINKING.
        Took a good 4 days to get used to it and the headaches to go

    • The No1 Lounge is used for the the long Hauls in EDI, was jammed when I flew Qatar last month. I used the BA lounge instead.

      Have to say I much prefer the Aspire to no.1 at Edinburgh, much more cosier.

  7. Philip White says:

    I’m a frequent (weekly) user of Edinburgh lounges. I used to be a fan of the No. 1 Lounge. It is a much more inviting space and feels more upmarket. However I found the buffet food to be bland / tasteless. Plus the seating arrangements tended to be uncomfortable if you were there for more than 20 minutes or so.
    The Aspire Lounge suffers from a lack of interest by the staff, hence the poor menu cards, newspapers poorly presented and at busy times tables left strewn with used glasses and cutlery.
    The big plus for Aspire is the food. There are generally more options which are rotated. Particularly the hot breakfast items are good, the pulled pork decent but my favourite tends to be the cakes and scones with clotted cream (harps back to the old bmi days).
    The BA Lounge is pretty decent with a better food selection than No.1 but worse than Aspire. The plus point for the BA Lounge is its selection of self-serve drinks.
    If I was playing Edinburgh Fantasy Lounge it would be:
    Space & Staff = No.1
    Food & Functionality = Aspire
    Drinks & View = BA

  8. Mark Potts says:

    As a frequent traveller to Edinburgh (Who has lost his BA status), I find my Priority Pass is not as useful as it should be, on my last 3 visits I have been refused entry to both lounges as they were at capacity, looking through the door they don’t seem to be full, but I guess they had enough paying customers so they didn’t need priority pass people filling up the lounges.

  9. No mention of the booths with Tv screens? I thought they were quite comfortable and allowed me to watch some of the 6 nations while waiting for a flight.

    I agree that the food in Aspire is much better (No1 portions are pretty stingy). Also it’s easier to find a corner to relax quietly or work. In No1 all the noise carries due to the completely open layout – all it takes is one ‘I’m a really important businessman and I have to make everyone aware of that by talking annoying loudly’ to ruin the atmosphere.

    The only thing better for me in the No1 lounge is the boardroom table and chairs which I find are really comfortable for working. Also it does appear a little less dishevelled but I put this down to the fewer guests – watching the staff in Aspire they’re constantly on the move and cleaning up after people.

  10. I fly from EDI every 1-2 weeks and tend to use the No.1 lounge. Never had a problem getting access with Priority Pass. There’s plenty of space and quiet, and I like the small hot dishes.

    If you want a fry-up breakfast or booze, Aspire is better, but it’s more crowded and messy and dark. Rather uninspiring. It also gives a stamp for Lounge Miles with free PP entry, eg one seventh of a £5 voucher, so might be worth signing in and then walking straight out the side door, but I don’t bother.

    BA is decent enough and better than Heathrow for power sockets, plus has boarding calls for BA but for LHR as Rob says, No.1 is better as it’s opposite gate 11. As the airport has 2 hours of free WiFi, this is not an issue whichever lounge you use.

    At least there is plenty of choice, all are no more than a 5 minute walk from any gate, and other than first thing on a Monday there is rarely a very busy period so you can find a space easily, whatever you use the lounge for.

    • Watch out for their stamp scheme. Withdrawn without notice then returned but with limited supply of cards. Meant to be going electronic, but don’t know how that’ll work for passing the free pass you’ve earned on to friends (as I have done previously).

  11. Usually a quick food and drink stop at the BA lounge/ No 1, then off to sit in a comfy chair facing the windows overlooking the runway In the main concourse. . EDI is the one airportwhere the lounges have no particular attraction for me, cold, dark and no view…other than of a carpark.

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