Review: the Plaza Premium lounge at London Heathrow Terminal 4
Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.
This is my review of the Plaza Premium departure lounge in London Heathrow Terminal 4.
This is part of our series of reviews of airport lounges across the UK. You see all of the reviews here.
Full details of all of the Plaza Premium lounges in Heathrow including this one can be found on their site here. Note that this review is of the airside departures lounge – the Plaza Premium arrivals lounge in Terminal 4 is now permanently closed, as are the other Plaza Premium arrivals lounges at Heathrow.
I didn’t actually intend to review the lounge this week, although it is eight years since we last covered it and a re-review is well overdue. My plan was to visit the new ‘Blush by Plaza Premium’ lounge in Terminal 4, but it turns out that you cannot get access to this with an American Express Platinum card.
As a reminder, Plaza Premium lounges are no longer part of Priority Pass or LoungeKey. You can get access by booking for cash here, using an American Express Platinum card (show your card at reception, one free guest allowed) or using a DragonPass lounge club card.
I had no trouble getting in around noon on a Monday. The lounge was busy but certainly nowhere near full.
With the SkyTeam lounge now closed, there are no Priority Pass options in Heathrow Terminal 4.
Where is the Plaza Premium lounge in Heathrow Terminal 4?
The Plaza Premium lounge is situated directly above the Qatar Airways lounge facility which is to the left as you clear Terminal 4 security. It is by Gate 1, which due to the weird gate numbering system in Terminal 4 is nowhere near the end of terminal!
The Etihad lounge and the Etihad gates are a fair walk away down at the other end, to your right.
You need to head up a quite a few stairs to get to the lounge, but a lift is available.
Because of the number of people about, there are fewer wide angle shots than usual in this review.
Inside the Plaza Premium lounge in Heathrow Terminal 4
The lounge has an odd layout driven – I think – by the fact that a number of Middle Eastern airlines use it, including Saudia.
To one side of reception you have a bar, with all drinks having to be ordered – there is no self pour alcohol. To the other side of reception is the dining area, which is completely dry with not a whiff of alcohol in sight.
Here is the main seating area facing the buffet, which is light and bright. You have two long communal tables nearest the food and then a number of tables for two directly behind.
This is helped by a large window (this is an old photo) but there isn’t much to see – this is a ‘dead end’ part of the apron and if the gate isn’t being used there will be no aircraft in sight. You don’t get aircraft passing you.
Slightly bizarrely, the lounge used to have a tree! Where the flowers are on the table below used to contain a tree, which stuck out of the table and stretched up to the skylight above it (not visible). The plug sockets built into this table have also been removed as you can see.
Getting rid of the tree has removed the main ‘feature item’ from the lounge, and removing plug sockets from this table doesn’t help either. Bring back the tree!
There are elements of Shoreditchy / warehousey styling but unlike, say, My Lounge at Gatwick South, these are only light touches. The space is generally warm.
There is a large seating area behind the dining area and, slightly hidden away, a run of seats by the windows around the corner from the buffet:
Off to the side are a honeycomb of work pods, which are also quite cosy. If you want to use a ‘house’ computer, however, you need to sit on a stool in the reception area.
There is no play area but little people have their own table with a view over the gates:
Food and drink at the Plaza Premium Terminal 4 lounge
In terms of food, you certainly won’t go hungry. They were serving lunch when I arrived:
The hot dishes were definitely varied – chicken tikka masala, a chickpea tagine and mac ‘n’ cheese, with a very English apple crumble for dessert!
What is interesting is the bar. As I mentioned earlier, Terminal 4 is home to many of the Middle Eastern airlines – not just Qatar Airways and Etihad but also Gulf Air and Saudia. There is also Royal Air Maroc and Malaysia Airlines in T4. Possibly for this reason – or perhaps just for design reasons – the bar is in a totally different area on the other side of reception.
There is no self pour alcohol. Standard soft drinks, beer and wine are free. All other drinks must be paid for – prosecco is £5 per glass, champagne (Pannier) is £35 per bottle, non-house wines are £3 to £5 per glass, speciality beers are £4.50 per bottle, spirits are £3 to £6 for a 25ml shot.
It’s worth knowing that the bar has a lot more seating that you would guess if you just put your head around the door. There is an extra area tucked away after the bar.
The lounge does have showers available. These are not always included if you get free entry via a lounge club programme so do check with reception.
All in all, I’ve always had a soft spot for this lounge even though it’s a modest size – although losing the tree has taken away some of its character. Plaza Premium knows what it takes to run a good third party lounge. You don’t get the same number of bells and whistle as a No1 Lounge (no cinema, no kids room, no library) but what you do get is well executed.
If you don’t get free access via American Express Platinum or DragonPass you can buy access via the Plaza Premium website.
How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (March 2023)
As a reminder, here are the four options to get FREE airport lounge access via a credit card:
The Platinum Card from American Express
30,000 points and unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review
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.
You also get access to Plaza Premium, Delta Air Lines and Eurostar lounges. Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.
American Express Business Platinum
Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 30th March) and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review
If you have a small business, consider American Express Business Platinum instead.
Until 30th March 2023, the sign up bonus on American Express Business Platinum is increased to 120,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. T&C apply, see the application forms for details.
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for the first year. It comes with a Priority Pass card loaded with four free visits to any Priority Pass lounge – see the list here.
Additional lounge visits are charged at £20. 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
A huge bonus, but only available to HSBC Premier clients Read our full review
HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard gets you get a free LoungeKey card, allowing you access to the LoungeKey network. Guests are charged at £20 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.