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Review: the Eurostar lounge at London St Pancras station

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This is our review of the Eurostar lounge at London St Pancras station.

It is five years since we last reviewed this lounge, even though I use it at least once per year, so I thought it was worth looking at it again.

It is part of our small Eurostar series this week. You can see our review of Club Eurostar here. A review of the Paris lounge will follow tomorrow.

Review: the Eurostar lounge at London St Pancras station

One of the lesser known benefits of American Express Platinum is that you and your supplementary Platinum cardholder get free access to all Eurostar lounges.  You can’t pay for access and you can’t use Priority Pass or any other lounge card so this is a genuine benefit.

The ‘sweet spot’ with Eurostar ticketing is Standard Premier. This gets you the same business class seat as Business Premier, and you still get a meal, albeit a more basic one. The only real loss (apart from the use of business class check-in) is lounge access. If you have American Express Platinum and can use the lounges then you are getting 90% of the Eurostar Business Premier experience for half the money.

Even though only 5-6 trains are currently running each day, St Pancras is as busy as it always was. This is because those 5-6 trains are running fairly full and everyone tends to arrive at the same time. I’m sure there are some quiet gaps between services but you won’t be in the station then unless you arrive unnecessarily early. The queue for Standard and Standard Premier passport control looked pretty scary as I was boarding at 10.15.

Because the station remains busy, it is good to get into the lounge which is running pretty much as it did pre-covid.

Where is the Eurostar lounge at London St Pancras station?

The lounge entrance is to the far right after passport control. It is designed to be within 5 seconds walk of the Business Premier passport desk.

If you are getting in with Amex Platinum, you simply need to show your card at the door. No guests are allowed although you may be allowed to bring in children at quiet times – I have. Your card is not swiped (they don’t have a card machine) but the expiry date is checked.

Business Platinum cards are NOT allowed. I have also heard of people with non-UK Amex Platinum cards being refused, since technically I think this is only a benefit for cards issued in countries where Eurostar operates.

What is inside the Eurostar lounge at St Pancras?

The St Pancras Eurostar lounge is long, narrow and is spread across two levels.  A lot of people never venture upstairs, but the facilities are the same and there is far more space.  You also are not disturbed by people walking to and from the lounge entrance.  I recommend looking upstairs first before taking a seat downstairs.

I have a soft spot for this lounge but it isn’t based on any hard benefits.  I just like the feel of it and the way it is blended into the fabric of the old station.

Here is a shot from the lower level showing the full length:

Review: the Eurostar lounge at London St Pancras station

…. and one from upstairs:

Review: the Eurostar lounge at London St Pancras station

Here is a closer look at some of the seating options. There are wireless phone charging pads on most tables.

Review: the Eurostar lounge at London St Pancras station

Newspapers and magazines are freely available, albeit the selection is a bit weaker than pre-covid. The choice seemed better upstairs because fewer people go there. I am guessing that ‘Creating Chemistry’ paid a few quid for the privilege of being featured:

Review: the Eurostar lounge at London St Pancras station

The upper level had Vanity Fair, GQ and a few other upmarket options which had gone from the racks on the lower level.

Food and drink

The food selection is slightly reduced from pre-covid days, although frankly this was never a selling point of the lounge. Looking at the pictures from my 2016 review there isn’t a lot of difference.

For breakfast, you have a choice of (now pre-packaged) pain au chocolat and croissants:

Review: the Eurostar lounge at London St Pancras station

….. plus cereal (downstairs only). That’s it.

Review: the Eurostar lounge at London St Pancras station

There is no shortage of coffee machines and other drinks:

Review: the Eurostar lounge at London St Pancras station

The cocktail bar on the upper level, which was installed a couple of years ago, is currently closed but would not be open for breakfast anyway. It does look smart though:

Review: the Eurostar lounge at London St Pancras station

Conclusion

All in all, the Eurostar lounge at London St Pancras does the best it can given the limited room.  It feels ‘tighter’ than the Paris lounge lounge, but only because it is very narrow and very long. Given how busy it can get on the main concourse, it is well worth using if you can.

If you use Eurostar on a regular basis, but not enough to get a Carte Blanche card to get automatic lounge access, it is worth looking at Amex Platinum to guarantee access on every trip. There is currently a ludicrous sign-up bonus of 60,000 Membership Rewards points which would convert into 4,000 Club Eurostar points. Our Amex Platinum review is here and you can apply here.


How to get Club Eurostar points and lounge access from UK credit cards

How to get Club Eurostar points and lounge access from UK credit cards (October 2021)

Club Eurostar does not have a UK credit card.  However, you can earn Club Eurostar points by converting Membership Rewards points earned from selected UK American Express cardsThese are:

  • American Express Preferred Rewards Gold (review here, apply here) – sign-up bonus of 30,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 2,000 Club Eurostar points. This card is FREE for your first year and also comes with two free airport lounge passes. 30,000 points is a limited offer until 9th November 2021.

Membership Rewards points convert at 15:1 into Club Eurostar points which is an attractive rate.  The cards above all earn 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on your card, so you will get the equivalent of 1 Club Eurostar point for every £15 you spend.

American Express Platinum comes with a great Eurostar benefit – Eurostar lounge access!  

You can enter any Eurostar lounge, irrespective of your ticket type, simply by showing The Platinum Card at the desk.  No guests are allowed but you can get entry for your partner by issuing them with a free supplementary Amex Platinum card on your account.

Comments (22)

  • Tom says:

    Does anyone know if the lounge in Paris has its cocktail bar open? Coming back from France via Eurostar next week!

    • zark says:

      Both cocktail bars are closed as of yesterday. What is more, the only alcohol options are beer and mini-bottles of wine. No spirits currently.
      SoberOctober!
      Cheers

  • Chas says:

    @Rob – is your series going to include reviews of your Paris hotel(s), and if so which ones were they? I’m just about to start researching such a trip and am looking for people’s views, but will save my queries for a specific article if there’s one coming soon.

    • Rob says:

      Just InterCon Le Grand.

      • Chas says:

        That’s one of the one’s I’ll be considering, along with some of the others which get mentioned frequently here (Kimpton St Honoré etc). I recall some comments saying that COVID restrictions meant that the benefits (Spire Ambassador) weren’t really up to scratch, so assuming that you’re doing a full review I’ll wait until that before asking for wider advice on what I’m looking for. Thanks

        • Rob says:

          LeG is brand spanking new post the refurb. Despite being open it is, mainly, shut, however.

          • Chas says:

            What’s it’s ETA for being fully open? Considering a c5 day trip after. Mad and before schools start, as I think we’ve left it too late to book anywhere sunny that doesn’t cost a small fortune!

          • Rob says:

            All the rooms are open, but the bar is shut and the lobby cafe is shut. Main restaurant is open. The lounge is open BUT food is 90% down on pre-covid levels.

          • Chas says:

            Thanks Rob.

  • Jk says:

    There’s no security or passport control in the lounge is there? Do you still need to go back out and fight your way through the scrum at the gates?

    • Pete M says:

      The lounges are after immigration and security. No need to scrum – just give it 5-10mins after the platform is announced and the queues are usually gone.

  • Chas says:

    You pass security and passport control before you get into the lounge. It’s been a few years since I last used the lounge, but I recall that you still need to use the same ramps as everyone else to get to the platforms. Happy to be corrected though.

  • Pete M says:

    Can confirm US Platinum cards are not accepted, but very occasionally very sad puppy eyes work!

  • Smid says:

    A couple of things:

    1) Amex Platinum Business does not work with this, I checked. It wasn’t valid. It’s a card with different benefits, and this is the main one I binned the card because of, especially when it went up in price.

    2) Last time we went by Eurostar, Feb 2020, pre covid, they used the other side of the departures for us, and thus we would not have been able to access the lounge. There wasn’t a connection past security as far as I am aware.

    • Tony1 says:

      Not happy that there is so much differentiation between Bus Plat and “personal” Plat – I can not understand why they are not treated the same .No retention bonuses on Bus Plat either.

    • zark says:

      That is DEFINITELY not the case and never has been.
      Once you are through passport control there is no seperation in departures and anybody can walk up to the lounge entrance.

      • Smid says:

        It’s hard to describe how wrong you are here. So let’s describe the starting point.

        Train to Brussels, 15:00ish, February 14th 2020. We approach the normal Eurostar gates.

        There is someone looking at tickets. They see we’re going to Brussels. They point ACROSS THE HALL TO AN ENTRANCE ON THE SIDE OPPOSITE TO THE NORMAL DEPARTURE GATES.

        This is the side with the Ticket office. The Marks and Spencer. There’s a door on the end, opposite end of M&S. It is open.

        We go there. There is security. We are through there fast. We enter an area best described to be “under the ramps down to the immigration desks and exits into St. Pancras”.

        There is nothing here but seats and a small desk which sells cans of beer and sandwiches. Big queue for that.

        To be able to reach the lounges, you’d have to pass through the 100 feet of corridor space to the other side of the terminal. Which is NOT POSSIBLE.,

        So it DEFINITELY IS THE CASE. Just because you did not enter this part of the Eurostar Terminal, it does not mean it exists, and you clearly have not.

        • Jk says:

          Ah this explains things for me. I always thought that was where the lounge was, and why I wondered how you got from the lounge through security. I guess this is just an overflow section they use occasionally?

          • Smid says:

            Yes, it seemed to be an overflow of some kind. Not very good. I was glad I hadn’t planned to enter the lounge.

            The lounge is on the normal side, with the gates, to the right, as you walk into the departure area. You tend to get diverted away from the entrance because normal security dumps you out past that point and you have to know to go back, but if you have business (or carte blanche, like I did), then you go through the business gates and straight out to the lounge.

  • Jk says:

    PS: how pathetic are those wrapped up croissants?! Of all the things Eurostar could and should get right, these are sad to see. Same goes for the ones on board.

  • Roy says:

    I don’t entirely agree that you get 90% of the benefit this way. To my mind, the fast track check-in is probably the key benefit of Business Premier (or Carte Blanche).

    As Rob says himself, the queues for the standard check-ins can look pretty scary. Not having to budget the time to negotiate those queues – particularly at peak times – is a key benefit.

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