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We review the new (2nd) Aspire Lounge at Edinburgh Airport – is it worth a visit?

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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.

(And, 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 No 1 Lounge, which has been open for a little longer.  We reviewed Edinburgh’s No 1 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

andnew 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 No 1 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.

Review Aspire Lounge Edinburgh

Getting airport lounge access via a UK credit card

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

The Platinum Card from American Express

Two free Priority Pass cards (one for you, one for your supplementary Platinum cardholder, each admitting two – so a family of four gets in free) giving access to every lounge in the Priority Pass network – search it here.  You also get access to Plaza Premium, Delta and Eurostar lounges.  Our American Express Platinum review is here.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

You get a Lounge Club card loaded with two free visits to any Lounge Club network lounge – see the list here.  The list is slightly shorter than the Priority Pass list, but not by much.  Additional visits are charged at £20 per person.  You get two more free visits for every year you keep the card.  No annual fee in Year 1.  Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard

You get a free LoungeKey card allowing you access to any property in the LoungeKey network.  Guests are charged at £20 although regular travellers will find it cheaper to pay £60 for a supplementary credit card (adults only, of course).  The card has an annual 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.

Earn bonus Heathrow Rewards points when you use 'Reserve & Collect' for your airport shopping
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Comments

  1. Alcoholic says:

    Which ‘craft’ gin ?

    • Couldn’t remember, not one I was familiar with

      • presumably you could have noted it, given you were undertaking a review?

        you obviously ascertained it was a ‘craft’ gin (whatever that is), would its name have been that much bother to ascertain?

  2. And not to forget the Aspire Rewards app, meaning an individual can easily pick up 100 points per visit to Edinburgh Airport now, or 200 with a guest. Especially, if using the Priority Pass which comes with the Platinum American Express when going to both lounges.

    • I still have a few of the old stamped cards (completed) for free visits – can I still use them?

      • Per the Aspire website, you can use them, in fact you can still collect stamps until the card is completed. But, you are not allowed to collect points on the new scheme if using the card, or vice versa.

    • Yorkieflyer says:

      I was only allowed one scan for 100 points at Newcastle with a guest on Priority Pass 😳

      • That sounds correct? It’s 50 for one so 100 with a guest? (I think David was meaning 2x Aspire lounges in EDI therefore double the rewards if you visit both)

        • Alan, you are correct. I did specifically mean Edinburgh, though it is also possible at Birmingham too. If you are paying or otherwise have access to the Aspire Plus lounge at Bristol or Newcastle, you may consider popping in to the standard Aspire lounge too with the Priority Pass to double up the points as well.

          • Shoestring says:

            Quick scan to get your points, charge to you: nothing & up 50 points on the collection card; charge to Amex: £20? 🙂

  3. Glad to hear it’s finally opened, capacity has been terrible in EDI on my last three visits. Still not managed to get into the new No.1 lounge (tried twice)

    • Shoestring says:

      but the reservation cost for No1 is only £5!

      • Didn’t realise your could do this, thanks for the tip!

        • The reservation fee also includes Fast Track security, certainly at Edinburgh and I think at the other airports too.

      • “only” £5 soon adds up.
        If you fly weekly and want to reserve at one end, that’s ~£225/year; at both ends it’s ~£450 a year. So you need to pay a fair proportion of your PP/Amex fee a second time in order to get the benefits you’ve already paid for

        • Shoestring says:

          sure but it’s a simple thought process in many airports these days: EITHER I pay £5 and get to sit in a comfortable quiet lounge with as much food & drink as I like and a good wifi signal, OR I know I’m going to be turned away 9 times out of 10 and will have to slum it with the masses or pay quite a bit more than £5 to get a spot in an airside restaurant/ pub

          Either you prefer the certainty that £5 spent will bring – OR you’re happy to take your chances and be quids in 10% of the time but uncomfortable/ poorer whilst waiting for the other 90% of your flights

          • Lady London says:

            I agree with your reasoning Harry. Once you’ve got it PP is a sunk cost. So decision should be made on marginal cost only (the £5). However you’d be a fool to reinvest in PP if your last chunk of investment in it turned out to amortize at too high a cost per visit. Especially if you had to contribute a marginal cost per visit as well. You’d seek other work/food and drink options at the airport that give a better value.

            Luckily these can be found most places. As compared to overpriced low quality PP lounges.

          • Exactly my logic. I fly almost weekly at the moment I’m a no frills airline and five quid for Fast Track and no stress lounge access is money well spent.

        • Lady London says:

          +1. Why I have found Priority Pass not worth it flying out of the UK. And rarely worth it elsewhere.

    • Surprised – seemed significantly under capacity when I was there

      • Last few times has made me doubt the value of the PP card.

        Either so crowded with package tour people who’ve bought the aggressively marketed add-ons and look to drink their money back, or half empty but no space because they’ve got airline contracts.

      • Just depends on the time of day. I’ve had to wait for the old Aspire before and been knocked back from No 1 – they both have agreements with different airlines so have to hold sufficient capacity in case required.

  4. Been in it once, thought it was pretty good, on balance maybe better than the new No1

  5. Colin MacKinnon says:

    Was it jam and cream or cream and jam on the scones?

  6. FXNeeded says:

    Wildly off topic.

    I’m confused about the legacy black curve card.
    Are there any currency converters which will pass the transaction through Curve to my IHG card as a standard purchase ?

    Also, what’s the limit for taking currency out of a foreign ATM & the associated fees ?

    Cheers.

  7. Surprising there is no mention in this review that there is no need to exit the lounge to use the bathroom! A big plus over the old lounge (and many others too).

  8. Liz Forrest says:

    Tried the new Aspire lounge in Edinburgh, took us a while to actually find it, not well sign posted. Said up above Pret, asked Pret staff they knew nothing about it. It was a Sunday morning, quite quiet, buffet breakfast was quite disappointing, had to ask for things. Received 190 points for myself and hubby (think they need to be booked together) to get the points. Would go again unless I’m in the BA lounge.

    • Were you transitting from a domestic arrival into gate 17 onwards?

      It’s hard to get to Pret without walking past the lounge entrance otherwise.

  9. Is Rhys allowed to drink at work?

    • 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 ….

  10. 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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