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Review: Eurostar Business Premier from Amsterdam to London St Pancras

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This is our review of Business Premier on the Eurostar train from Amsterdam Centraal to London St Pancras.

After spending a long weekend in Amsterdam it was time to return home, this time in Eurostar’s top cabin – Business Premier.

(If you are just catching up with my trip to The Netherlands then you can read my review of Eurostar Standard Premier here, as well as my review of the W Amsterdam hotel here and my review of the Andaz Amsterdam hotel here. Eurostar kindly provided our rail ticket.)

Eurostar

What is Eurostar Business Premier?

Unlike Standard Premier, which exists to entice holidaymakers to upgrade, Business Premier is intended for – you guessed it – the business traveller, and so comes with substantial flexibility. The key thing is that you are really paying for flexibility and a quick transfer through the station rather than anything else.

This is what the Eurostar website says:

“We know your plans can change at the drop of a hat, and that’s why Business Premier offers tickets that are fully flexible. You can exchange or get a refund for your ticket before and after departure. 

If you’re travelling between London and the Netherlands, you can get a refund, or exchange your ticket up until departure. You can also exchange your ticket to travel on our indirect route from the Netherlands to London. You’ll need to take a Thalys train from the Netherlands to Brussels and change onto a Eurostar train there.”

The other upgrades from Standard Premier are lounge access and fast track security / immigration, plus a Raymond Blanc designed menu which is meant to be a step up from the meal served in Standard Premier.

At Amsterdam Centraal

Finding the Eurostar terminal at Amsterdam Centraal is a little bit of a challenge, given that unlike St Pancras the station wasn’t rebuilt with the service in mind. You have to go through the gate line at the station and up to platform 15b:

Eurostar Amsterdam Centraal sign

Once level with the trains you need to trek all the way down the platform:

Amsterdam platform 15b Eurostar

…. until you see this building:

Eurostar Terminal Amsterdam

Security is immediately as you enter, with fast track on the left. If it is raining, and there is a queue, you will get wet.

Once past security you go past Dutch and British immigration control, before being ejected into the holding lounge:

Eurostar Amsterdam Terminal

This is for ALL passengers – there is no Business Premier lounge, at least not as far as I could find! As the Eurostar terminal is built on one of the platforms the lounge is very long and thin. There is further booth-style seating which is not pictured.

Your only food and drink options are these vending machines and an out-of-service coffee machine:

Eurostar Amsterdam Terminal vending machines

Note that you cannot leave the terminal until it is time to board the train.

It’s a shame that more hasn’t been done with the space. It would be cool to have a cocktail bar, like the one in St Pancras. You could give Business Premier passengers a couple of free drinks and charge everyone else.

On board Eurostar Business Premier

Once it was time to board I headed to my seat in the very last carriage of the train – 16. It turns out I was the only passenger in the entire carriage, although someone else did join me at Rotterdam.

The seat is the exact same as you get in Standard Premier, with 1-2 style seating:

Eurostar Business Premier cabin

I was originally assigned a seat with a flip-down tray table but since I was the only passenger I swapped to a double seat with a proper table:

Eurostar Business Premier twin seat

The table itself is quite clever, because it can be extended on both sides. Here it is extended:

Eurostar Business Premier tray table

Underneath the armrest is the USB and UK plug socket which is a little tricky to access.

The seats have a modest recline that you can activate by pulling this lever on the side:

Eurostar Business Premier recline

…. which shifts the seat bottom slightly forward. It’s not a huge amount, however.

As on the outbound, I found the seating is a little firm for my liking, especially on a 4 hour trip.

Service in Business Premier

The train crew came round almost immediately after departure to deliver some snacks and drinks. I went for the Piper-Heidsieck champagne:

Eurostar Business Premier snacks

Note that this is all you are getting for the first half of the journey until Brussels, with the exception of top ups – so depending on your appetite I suggest you stock up!

The full meal service is delivered between Brussels and Lille, so that all passengers can be served at the same time. (I’m not sure what happens if you get on at Lille!)

The first tray comes with a goat’s cheese starter, roll, bannoffee pie and some more cheese:

Eurostar Business Premier starter

As this Eurostar you get some actually decent soft camembert style cheese, which I prefer to the bricks of cheddar and stilton you get on most flights.

For the mains you have three options: hot, cold and salad. The hot option was braised beef whilst the cold was smoked salmon. The salad was vegan curried cauliflower. I went for the beef:

Eurostar Business Premier main course

The portion looks bigger in the photo than in real life. It’s decent but – and I didn’t think I would say this – I do think BA’s Club Europe meals are better. Sorry Raymond!

WiFi on board

Again, all passengers have access to the same 3G/4G wifi which worked better on my return trip – perhaps because my train was relatively empty on the return.

Conclusion

In general, Business Premier is at least £80 more expensive than Standard Premier – and in some cases, double the price.

A lot of the benefits of Business Premier are soft benefits, for example ticket flexibility, which makes the upgrade less attractive for leisure travellers versus business travellers. This is unlike the airlines, which typically sell both fully flexible and inflexible business class flights, with the former being significantly more expensive but offering no additional service benefits.

I also didn’t get quite as much out of my ticket from Amsterdam than if I had travelled from Paris, where Eurostar has its own impressive lounge, reviewed here.

I do still prefer the experience versus taking a flight, especially given the disruption at Schiphol Airport last week which doesn’t seem to be immune from the staffing crunch. Having now tried Eurostar for the first time, I think the sweet spot for my future trips will be Standard Premier.

We haven’t mentioned Club Eurostar, the loyalty programme, in this review. Rob wrote a full review of Club Eurostar here, and as you can transfer in American Express Membership Rewards points it is easy to top up the points you earn to enough for a free ticket.

You can find out more, and book, on the Eurostar website here.

Comments (25)

  • JandeW says:

    I wrote a lengthy (fairly damning) review of the Eurostar Amsterdam-London St Pancras routing which can be found on the HfP Forum somewhere (I am not sure if Rhys read it or not). Maybe a link to that review would be supportive of Rhys’s own review? I also sent pretty much the same review to Eurostar for their comments and after a 2 month delay, eventually received a rather tepid and helpless reply which I will post separately below. For Business Premier passengers, facilities at Amsterdam Centraal are doleful. Yes, they are allowed to use the NS (Dutch Rail) lounge at Platform 1 but it is so far away from Platform 15 as to be totally impractical. (And, it must be said, that lounge is also very poor.)
    I have spoken to several Eurostar staff members about the standard of these facilities, and they agreed that they were not acceptable and were distinctly ashamed and embarrassed. As a resident of Amsterdam, regularly going to and from the UK, this is a routing with few redeeming features.

  • JandeW says:

    EUROSTAR COMMENTS ABOUT THE POOR FACILITIES ON THE AMSTERDAM-LONDON ROUTIING:

    Thank you for your e-mail. Firstly, please accept my sincere apologies for the delay in our reply. We have recently received a large amount of correspondence, and this has unfortunately meant not being able to get back to our customers as quickly as usual.

    I am sorry to hear that you were so disappointed with the layout and facilities available in Amsterdam Centraal station. I realise that some of the stations that we run our services to and from, do not have the same facilities as others. In the case of the Amsterdam, we rent the use of an area within the station from NS, so we are limited on the influence that we have on them to make alterations to the existing layout.

    I know that the person in charge of our Amsterdam route welcomes customer’s comments and obviously feedback such as yours, helps to highlight areas which customers feel require improvement. Unfortunately at present this does mean that we are unable to guarantee that the situation in Amsterdam will change in the near future. However, hopefully by continuing to provide our senior management with feedback on this issue, we will be able to improve customers’ experiences when they are travelling from Amsterdam station.

    Thank you for taking the time to provide such detailed feedback and I hope that I have been able to reassure you that your comments have been passed to the relevant manager.

    Kind regards,

    Eurostar Customer Care

  • ADS says:

    “although someone else did join me at Rotterdam”

    did it fill up from Brussels ?

  • William Hill says:

    No mention of the rather important fact that Eurostar is still requiring people to ‘Mask Up’ against the dreaded virus. There is still no idea when this ludicrous rule could end

    Unless you eat or drink of course when it apparently goes away. LOL

    • Mike says:

      It’s seldom enforced, at least in Business Premier. Just like on flights, where passengers are technically still required to wear them if the country of origin or of destination legally require masks be worn on public transport. Lately I’ve found that a bit of mask-wearing theatre for the first 15 mins of the journey (on Eurostar and on planes) does the trick; it’s masks off for the remainder.

  • Chris Rogers says:

    When you say cocktail bar at St Pancras do you mean the champagne bar that isn’t part of eurostar’s area?

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