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):
…. 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.
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:
…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:
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’:
To the left, the largest area, flanks the buffet and bar and is a more dining-friendly area with tables:
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.
The buffet is spread out on two islands in the bar area:
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.
There were also some pasta and other carby salads, in teeny tiny bowls that were almost one portion each!
I ended up filling my plate with the casserole and a pesto pasta salad:
…. although the pasta salad was clearly from frozen, given some parts were still a little icy!
For dessert, I pinched the last two 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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.