This is my review of the Iberia Velazquez lounge in Madrid Terminal 4S, which is Iberia’s flagship facility at its home airport. I was passing through on my return from the Thompson Madrid hotel launch event which I reviewed here.
Iberia refurbished its two main lounges in Madrid about four years ago. The Velazquez lounge is located in 4S, which is where you will often end up if flying British Airways.
Iberia is – justifiably – pleased with what it has achieved with the Valazquez lounge and has created a special page on its website which you will find here. The photos are far better than mine, like this one:
This is now one of the best oneworld lounges in Europe, albeit not perfect, and is a fitting flagship for Iberia at its home airport. I have issues over the use of space but overall I was impressed.
Anyone who has been to the modern Terminal 4 at Madrid knows that it is, basically, a monument to the folly of giving a famous architect (the late Richard Rogers in this case) all the space in the world to play with. The distances you need to cover are huge. In places there are signs indicating a 30 minute walk to your gate.
If you don’t know Madrid, there is a train stop at the town of Barajas between the stops for Terminals 1/2/3 and Terminal 4. That’s how far apart they are. The 4S satellite is also a fair trot from T4 itself – maps show it is almost as far away from T4 as it is from T1/2/3. If I had to travel through here every week it would drive me mad although I would end up 5kg lighter.
Once you’ve made it across to T4S, the entrance to the lounge is weird – it is literally in the middle of the duty free shop. Not just the duty free area …. the actual walk-through shop itself. Look at the reflection in the sign. It is easy to miss, which is saying something given that the entrance looks like this:
There is a funky luggage storage area as you enter (with clear plastic shelving) which sets the scene for the post-refurbishment new look.
The Velazquez lounge is VERY long and very narrow. The upside is that you have a very long glass wall overlooking the tarmac. The downside is that it is a heck of a long walk from end to end.
Iberia deals with this by putting the reception desk – behind the red shelving in the image below – in the centre. You have a choice of whether you go left or right, and in general most of the facilities are duplicated in both halves.
If you turn right, there are two unique areas which are not on the other side. The first is a kids area. This is not a separate room and it is not sound proofed:
The kids area contains a variety of seating areas and these video game consoles:
Walk down to the end and the lounge gains a bit of extra width as it wraps around the corner. Iberia has used this to put in place a rather smart bar.
It was operating as self service when I was there despite the traditional bar counter look. Various wines were available from this funky dispensing machine:
An eclectic selection of spirits could be enjoyed from this mobile trolley:
There was also a tall fridge fully stocked with around eight different types of beer.
If you were to turn left at the entrance and head to the other end of the lounge, you would find a formal restaurant around the corner:
It was closed when I was there late afternoon. It wasn’t clear when it did open or indeed if there was any particular requirement for entry. The lounge website isn’t much help. (EDIT: The comments below suggest it is open in the late evening for pre-flight dining.)
There were two identical food stations at each end of the lounge:
There was a moderate selection of hot cuisine including potato croquettes and toasted reuben sandwiches. Cold sandwiches, several salads, fresh fruit and cakes were also provided.
I just missed the soup station which served between 13.00-16.00 and 20.00-23.00. It wasn’t the greatest offering overall but it was acceptable considering I was there in between the lunch and dinner slots.
This is the drinks station:
It had an excellent choice of teas, coffee and many familiar soft drinks.
There are a variety of seating options such as this:
There are power sockets built into every table in sight:
The magazine and newspaper area was situated directly behind the entrance desk. It is actually just an empty shelf which I suspect used to house various publications. Instead there is signage containing a QR code. Scanning this connects your phone or tablet to the Press Reader website and gives you access to a plethora of reading material. I was able to download a magazine and continue reading it on the plane.
There is a business centre with meeting table:
There are also rest/sleep rooms and shower facilities, neither of which I experienced firsthand:
My biggest problem with the lounge is that it has the unfortunate feel of being an airport terminal itself. If it was broken down into smaller zones with more variance in carpeting and seating then it might feel more intimate. Because it feels like you’re in the main terminal (albeit with free food and drink and far posher seating!) I didn’t get the same feeling of relaxation.
This is just a personal quirk though. If you are heading to Madrid and you qualify for lounge access via your British Airways status or having a Club Europe / Business Class ticket, I recommend making enough time in your day to spend an hour at the Velazquez lounge. Remember to give yourself at least 30 minutes to get from the entrance to Terminal 4 to the lounge, given that you need to get over to the satellite.
How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (September 2023)
Here are the four options to get FREE airport lounge access via a UK credit card.
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.
If you have a small business, consider American Express Business Platinum instead.
Additional lounge visits are charged at £24. You get four more free visits for every year you keep the card.
There is no annual fee for Amex Gold in Year 1 and you get a 20,000 points sign-up bonus. Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.
HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard gets you get a free LoungeKey card, allowing you access to the LoungeKey network. Guests are charged at £24 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.