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Review: the new Aspire lounge (Gate 16) at Edinburgh Airport

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This is our review of the new, second, Aspire Lounge at Edinburgh Airport.

Last month we wrote about the opening of the new Aspire Lounge in Edinburgh, which complements the existing Aspire facility.  This is our review of the lounge, which brings our UK lounge review portfolio closer to completion! You can see the long, long list of reviewed lounges here.

If you want to compare and contrast, our review of the original Aspire lounge at Edinburgh is here.

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

The new lounge is in the north east part of Edinburgh Airport near Gate 16.  It is on the first floor.  For reference, the existing Aspire Lounge, which remains open, is at Gate 4.  This is what you currently see from the concourse (click any photo to enlarge):

new Aspire Lounge EDI

…. which looks like little more than an emergency staircase.

Note that the signage has already been updated to include the new Clubrooms lounge, which isn’t yet open.  This should be the most premium facility in the aiport.  It looks like another trip to Edinburgh will be on the cards after Christmas …..

Inside the new Aspire Lounge at Edinburgh

Once you are upstairs you face the entrance for both the Aspire Lounge as well as the No1 Lounge, which has been open for a little longer.  We reviewed Edinburgh’s No1 Lounge here.

new Aspire Lounge EDI

There is a small check in desk immediately inside. Once inside you’ll see the lounge is split into roughly three zones. To the right, you have a row of booths:

new Aspire Lounge EDI

…which is where I based myself – a very comfortable place to work from with plenty of table to spread out on.

You also have a variety of casual seating:

new Aspire Lounge EDI

In the middle, you have a small section, again with casual seating. This was quite busy so I didn’t get a photo but it looks much the same. It is flanked on one side by the newspaper shelf, which are marked ‘not to be taken out of the lounge’:

new Aspire Lounge EDI papers

To the left, the largest area, flanks the buffet and bar and is a more dining-friendly area with tables:

new Aspire Lounge EDI

As you can see, the lounge is not gigantic, which I like, and each zone feels cosy thanks to the clever use of dividing screens.

Dining

The buffet is spread out on two islands in the bar area:

new Aspire Lounge EDI buffet

and

new Aspire Lounge EDI hot buffet

There was an interesting range of items. I got there at around 4pm, and there was a pancake machine (yeah!), a selection of three hot items including a beef & cheddar casserole, soup and cauliflower dhal, as well as a limited selection of cheeses and meats.

new Aspire Lounge EDI buffet

There were also some pasta and other carby salads, in teeny tiny bowls that were almost one portion each!

new Aspire Lounge EDI salad

I ended up filling my plate with the casserole and a pesto pasta salad:

new Aspire Lounge EDI food

…. although the pasta salad was clearly from frozen, given some parts were still a little icy!

For dessert, I pinched the last two scones:

new Aspire Lounge EDI scones

The Aspire Lounge is not, if we are being honest, going to win any catering prizes, although I understand the difficulty doing catering for a relatively small lounge.  That said, there was a decent mix of both hot and cold dishes and it is better than many independent UK lounges.

The bar is next to the food:

new Aspire Lounge EDI bar

I had a gin and tonic with a choice of Beefeater or a craft gin. The staff that man the bar are also responsible for clearing dishes etc so sometimes you have to ring the bell.

Teas and coffees are self service from the hot drink machines around the lounge.

Conclusion

The new Aspire Lounge Edinburgh is an excellent place in terms of seating options, with a wide range of choices from booths to dining tables to armchairs.

There is room for improvement when it comes to the food, however, and the tiny salad bowls really do need replacing with something that can fill more than one person’s plate!

With the opening of this Aspire Lounge, as well as the new No1 Lounge earlier this year (review here) and the upcoming refurbishment of the ‘old’ Aspire Lounge, Edinburgh Airport is well kitted out for Priority Pass and Lounge Club holders.  This should mean that you will be able to secure a spot when you walk in, unlike at many London airports where there are now significant capacity constraints.

You can book for cash via the Aspire / Executive Lounges website here.  Doors open at 4.30am and, on weekdays, it closes at 8.30pm.  Entry costs £26.99 for adults (discounts for pensioners and children) if booked online in advance.

You may also use a Priority Pass (included with the The Platinum Card from American Express or buy one here), a Lounge Club card (two free passes with ‘free for a year’ American Express Preferred Rewards Gold) or DragonPass to enter as well.

You can find out more, and book cash visits, on the Aspire website here.


Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (October 2021)

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

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel 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 and Eurostar lounges. The card has a sign-up bonus of 60,000 points which is a special offer running to 2nd November 2021.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 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 a special 30,000 points sign-up bonus until 9th November 2021.  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 (37)

  • BJ says:

    Is Rhys allowed to drink at work?

    • Rob says:

      Our office is in a WeWork – there are beer taps (free) on every floor!

      When Anika was in the office we used to keep all the free drink we were sent or given, which was a fair bit, in our desks (we are 100% paperless so we have lots of spare drawer space!) and dig it out on a Friday afternoon ….

  • David says:

    Thanks for the review. Although I’ve been in a few times, it’s always been at breakfast so it’s interesting to see what it’s like later in the day.

    I think it’d be interesting to revisit this 6-12 months down the line. I was rather impressed by The Aspire lounge at Gatwick North when it was refurbished, but it didn’t take long for standards to slip: plug sockets at tables to fail, large sections of the normal food offer to be randomly missing, etc, etc.

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