I’ll be honest – I’m a massive fan of budget airlines, it means we can visit loads of wonderful places in Europe for only a few quid, sometimes even less than £10. How could anyone complain about that? In fact we have £9.99 flights booked in a couple of weeks to Hamburg, Germany. It costs us more on the train from our town to the nearest city. When our flight is only a couple of hours or so I can quite happily live without a drink and something to eat. International flights normally offer drinks and food in the price of the ticket, however more and more now are offering a base price ticket which doesn’t include a bag, a seat reservation or refreshments, very much following the principles of budget air travel. We flew to New York last week with Norwegian Air, one of the airlines that offers this service, meaning we could fly there and back for a bargain £260 each! We therefore booked No1 Airport Lounge at Gatwick airport before our journey to ensure that we had the opportunity to have something to eat and drink and relax before the 8 hour flight.
The No1 Airport Lounge was very well signposted and can be found in the departures lounge at Gatwick South Terminal after security and on the other side of the World Duty Free shop, which you have to walk through. After a quick check of our booking we were free to enter. The entrance to the lounge is currently being remodelled, so there was a little bit of building work going on but nothing so significant that it would put you off and once in the actual lounge, nothing you could see or even hear. Our first impression of the No1 Airport Lounge was ‘wow’, having never visited one before, I was instantly impressed, especially with the panoramic runway views. My favourite feature was the tended bar. In other lounges we have visited there have been fridges with vodka and diet coke in them that you mix yourself but, and it may just be me, drinks always taste better when someone else has mixed them for you. The bar is well stocked with wine, draught and bottled beers, and premium spirits.
So with a vodka each in our hands we perused the menu which has been designed exclusively for No1 Airport Lounges. It included a lot of yummy dishes which we could choose from including soup, sandwiches, salads and a few hot options too. The food is seasonal and locally produced. We finally opted for the Mac and Cheese – macaroni in a rich cheddar cheese sauce with wilted kale and crispy onions, and a Cheese Plate – a selection of English and Welsh cheeses served with a spiced plum and ginger chutney with water biscuits and celery. Included in the price is one dish from the menu each and I would class them as light bites rather than meals. If you are still hungry you can order another dish from the menu for an additional £4.
There was a buffet table as well, located in the centre of the lounge which was brimming with sweet treats and fruit. Before 11am this is used as the breakfast buffet table. I highly recommend the chocolate brownies, they were possibly the best I have ever tasted (and I’ll be honest I have tasted a few). I did get Mr ESLT one but he said he didn’t want it, well I couldn’t let it go to waste could I?
If alcoholic drinks aren’t your thing, or your visit is too early in the morning to stomach the strong stuff (is it ever too early?), there are also self-serve tea/coffee and soft drink stations that you can help yourself too.
There were plug sockets dotted all around the lounge which meant we could both give our iPods a last blast of juice before hopping on the plane, it also meant other travellers could charge their phones, kindles, laptops etc. There were also tables of newspapers and magazines, I didn’t know if you could help yourself and take them away or if they were simply to read whilst in the lounge. A member of staff obviously saw the confusion on my face as I battled internally whether or not to shove the Cosmopolitan and Vogue that I had in my hand into my hand luggage and style it out, as she came over and told me to help myself. Phew, perfect reading material for my flight.
The main area of the lounge was quite full on the day we visited but there were still plenty of seats and tables available and the atmosphere was still very relaxing. We also found a quiet library area for those we do not like the hustle and bustle, guest computers – maybe for that last-minute research regarding your destination and also a Sports Bar which I had to physically drag Mr ESLT away from.
The No1 Airport Lounge is open 4:00am to 10:00pm daily. They do have a smart/casual dress code, however they also state that they aren’t too judgey, so providing you having got too much skin on show, football shirts, fancy dress or wearing anything with an offensive slogan on it, you should be fine. The maximum time covered by the entrance fee that you can stay in the lounge is 3 hours, you can pay more to stay longer if you wish. We spent almost the full 3 hour allowance there and it passed in a flash. It was a lovely and very relaxing way to prepare for our flight.
- Adults £30
- Children £16
If you book directly through No1lounges.com they’ll also include access to Premium Security lane for visits until 31/03/2017. This was a great added bonus!
- Our experience at No1 Airport Lounge on this occasion was complimentary. However, we would happily pay in the future, it was the perfect start to our trip!