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Review: the Aspire lounge (Gate 4) at Edinburgh Airport

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This article is my review of the Aspire lounge at Edinburgh Airport.  This is the original Aspire lounge by Gate 4.  Our review of the new Aspire lounge, by Gate 16, is here.

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 – No1 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 No1 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 No1 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 No1 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 No1 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 No1 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 No1 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 book for cash via the Lounge Pass website here.

Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (October 2022)

As a reminder, here are the four options to get FREE airport lounge access via a credit card:

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points (SPECIAL OFFER), £200 travel credit and unbeatable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with two free Priority Pass cards, one for you and one for a supplementary cardholder. Each card admits two so a family of four gets in free. You get access to all 1,300 lounges in the Priority Pass network – search it here.

You also get access to Plaza Premium, Delta Air Lines and Eurostar lounges.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

If you have a small business, consider American Express Business Platinum instead.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for the first year. It comes with a Priority Pass card loaded with two free visits to any Priority Pass lounge – see the list here

Additional lounge visits are charged at £20.  You get two more free visits for every year you keep the card.  

There is no annual fee for Amex Gold in Year 1 and you get a 20,000 points sign-up bonus.  Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard

A huge bonus, but only available to HSBC Premier clients Read our full review

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard gets you get a free LoungeKey card, allowing you access to the LoungeKey network.  Guests are charged at £20 although it may be cheaper to pay £60 for a supplementary credit card for your partner.

The card has a 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.

PS. You can find all of HfP’s UK airport lounge reviews – and we’ve been to most of them – indexed here.

Comments (24)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Will says:

    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.

  • Fraser says:

    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.

    • Alan says:

      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).

  • Kinkell says:

    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.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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