If you’re thinking of paying to use the AspirePlus Lounge at Bristol Airport, then I suggest you have a read of my review first. I paid to use the AspirePlus Lounge myself, so this is an honest and unbiased review.
Unless you’re flying for work purposes, usually the airport is the first chance to treat yourself as your holiday begins. Whatever the time is, OF COURSE you’re going to have a drink. Bar snacks? Stack them up! This is what me and Stu tend to get up to before we go away but the day we flew to Iceland was actually Stu’s birthday so I wanted to do something a little extra as a surprise. So when I got the email from Bristol airport recommending I book one of the lounges, it seemed like the perfect birthday treat.
First of all, you have the choice of the Aspire Lounge or AspirePlus. The main difference is that kids aren’t allowed in the AspirePlus lounge and this was probably the main reason I paid a bit extra and went for the Plus option which came to about £30 each. It also sounded like a wider selection of food and drink and when you consider that Stu and I love food, it was a no-brainer. Booking through the website is really simple, you just select what time you’ll be arriving and then print off the booking confirmation. The confirmation also comes with clear instructions on actually finding AspirePlus once you’re through to the departure lounge.
We were flying to Iceland fairly early (about 8 am) so got to AspirePlus about 6 am. The perfect time for a cooked breakfast and a cheeky pint or prosecco before our flight! We walked into the lounge and there was no one else there. I don’t just mean any other guests, there didn’t seem to be anyone working there. We kind of hovered in the entrance for a moment or two and then decided to just go and take a seat. Once we sat down, a member of staff appeared and asked to see our booking confirmation. They then pointed us towards the bar where the food was laid out ready for us to help ourselves. The staff member then asked if we’d like any drinks from the bar (obviously we said yes). I noticed when we were at the bar that we weren’t going to be having many alcoholic drinks this morning. They have a sign stating that your first drink will be served as normal. On your second drink, you will be reminded that you won’t be admitted on to an aircraft drunk and your third drink will be your last. Admittedly, we probably wouldn’t have had 3 drinks anyway but it just felt like a bit of a killjoy. I guess it needs to be there though as some people will take full advantage of ‘free’ alcohol.
So, the food. Like most ‘all you can eat’/help yourself restaurants, the plates are much smaller than you’d like. This is obviously a tactic to stop people eating a ridiculous amount but it never deters me or Stu. If we have to go up 3 or 4 times until we feel full, so be it. I can see why some people would feel bad for going up this many times though and that’s how these sort of places make their money.
There was a fairly good selection of hot and cold food and we both had a bit of both. As it was a buffet style, you don’t know how long the food has been sat there and a lot of the hot food had pieces of kitchen roll laid over the top. It’s not that appealing to have to peel back the kitchen roll to get to your beans but it all tasted fine. There was a sign that advised that pancakes could be ordered from a member of staff but neither of us got any. I did the standard thing you do at a buffet and chose an array of items that don’t quite go together on one plate. I’m talking bacon and sausages next to a croissant and some shortbread. It’s a great way to start a holiday haha.
As I mentioned before, all the food was fine. Not mind blowing but good enough. Should somewhere called AspirePlus serve more than ‘good enough’ food? It doesn’t quite meet expectations. There’s a few nice places to eat in Bristol Airport which offer much nicer food, just not in a private lounge.
One thing we found was that it wasn’t the easiest to eat your food because the tables are much lower than the seats so you have to kind of hunch over. It didn’t bother us too much but isn’t the best for your back.
After a bit of peace and quiet? This may be the perfect place for you to start your trip. But for me, there’s a difference between somewhere being peaceful and somewhere having zero atmosphere. It felt awkward to talk in a normal speaking voice for god’s sake!
I understand that they need to make money, but the lounge didn’t seem to be designed to do what people go there for. You feel awkward for drinking, awkward for asking for the additional food and when you have the food, it’s awkward to eat. In all honesty, I wouldn’t hurry back. I’m much happier having my breakfast in the Brunel bar with the masses.
Have you ever used a private lounge in an Airport? What was your experience like?