On a lighter note than everything else going on right now, I think I’ve just found my new favorite Priority Pass lounge in the world (which I’ll be reviewing in greater detail in a separate post).
Most Priority Pass lounges aren’t very exciting
Priority Pass is the world’s largest network of independent airport lounges, with over 1,300 lounges around the world. You can either buy a Priority Pass membership, or get one through a premium credit card. The idea is that Priority Pass gets revenue for memberships, and then Priority Pass pays lounges for each person who visits.
As you might expect, many Priority Pass lounges aren’t great:
- Since lounges are getting a fixed amount of revenue per visit, there’s not much of an incentive to provide a great experience
- In the United States Priority Pass lounges can get ridiculously crowded, given how many people have premium credit cards that offer a membership
If you ask me, Priority Pass lounges generally range somewhere between not great and okay. But at least for those of us who have visited some truly great lounges, they don’t often “wow.” I often read the posts in a Priority Pass group on Facebook, and I had to laugh yesterday when a member posted a picture of a certain lounge. Someone commented that “it looks like a hospital cafeteria,” to which someone responded “the difference is they’re free.” LOL, that just about sums it up.
Anyway, I wanted to report back on a Priority Pass lounge that I particularly enjoyed.
The Primeclass Lounge Muscat is pretty awesome
Over the weekend I visited the Primeclass Lounge Muscat, which is the only lounge at the airport not run by Oman Air (Oman Air has an excellent business class and first class lounge).
Design-wise, this is a very nice lounge, in my opinion.
Seriously, how pretty is this lounge entrance?
The main part of the lounge is in one room, with very high ceilings, and floor-to-ceiling windows.
Unlike some other contract lounges, the furniture here felt pretty high-end, and the finishes were well done.
I loved the amenities, ranging from a pool table, to massage chairs…
The food selection was pretty good too, even though I’m not necessarily a big lounge eater.
Much more important to me is good coffee, and that’s an area where the lounge delights, as there are proper barista-made cappuccinos and lattes. Yum.
A Priority Pass hotel room?!?
This is the area where the lounge really impressed me. Long story short, I had a 1AM flight and arrived at the airport way early, and was ridiculously tired and in need of a nap. I was considering going to the nearby Aerotel and getting a room for a few hours so I could nap.
I entered the lounge roughly six hours before departure. I presented my Turkish Airlines business class boarding pass, and was informed that lounge use was limited to three hours before departure. However, the agent asked if I had another way to enter the lounge (like Priority Pass), and I said I did. So I was able to “stack” the two, and get six hours of time in the lounge.
Even better? I was informed that stays of over three hours are entitled to a complimentary private room at no extra charge. So I was given the below room, with a comfortable bed, bathroom, and shower, to use for my entire time in the lounge. I can’t even begin to say how appreciative I was.
For us avgeeks, the lounge even had views of the apron (though they were somewhat obstructed). Plane views never help much with trying to get some rest, though!
Having a private bedroom for six hours was incredible, as I was able to get some shut eye. While there are some Priority Pass options that include nap pods or private office spaces, this is the first “true” hotel room I’ve ever been able to access with Priority Pass.
The Primeclass Lounge Muscat is exceptional, possibly my favorite Priority Pass location I’ve ever visited. Not only is the lounge itself beautiful, but those staying for over three hours can get a private bedroom.
While you’re limiting to accessing the lounge for three hours per entry method, if you’re flying business class and have a Priority Pass membership you can visit the lounge for six hours, and therefore get a private room. Being able to get some proper rest before a redeye flight can make such a difference in terms of not feeling miserable.
What’s your favorite Priority Pass lounge you’ve been to?
The best Priority Pass lounge that I have visited several times is located at Punta Cana airport.
That seems extremely counter-intuitive and a very dumb policy. You can only get one of those rooms if you are in the lounge over three hours, but one lounge visit is only limited to a maximum of three hours?!?! How many people might rock up 2 and a half hours before their flight and want to take an hour nap but can't even if a room is free? Additionally no one would rock up mroe...
That seems extremely counter-intuitive and a very dumb policy. You can only get one of those rooms if you are in the lounge over three hours, but one lounge visit is only limited to a maximum of three hours?!?! How many people might rock up 2 and a half hours before their flight and want to take an hour nap but can't even if a room is free? Additionally no one would rock up mroe than three hours unless they actually informed you. And also how many people have two ways of accessing the long?!?!?
Have been using Priority Pass for quite some time. Travel during non peak and only had a problem once, in Athens 2018. But we had 3 Lounges to choose from. We don't care about bells and whistles, just want goodfood, quiet, good seating and good liquor which we get at Priority Pass
Can you do a post re: list of your favourite pay in/priority pass lounges in the world?
Yep, completely echo your sentiment about this lounge. My last visit was in March 2020, a week before Covid really took off..
Nice to see it hold up well!
Been here pre-covid and I couldn't believe how amazing it was. No problem getting a seat at all.
Ben, would you now say this is a better contract lounge than the GVK lounge you visited in Mumbai a few years ago?
Miracle First Class Bangkok BKK and Plaza Premium Phnom Penh PNH come to mind. Strangely the Plaza Premium Winnipeg YWG is really similar to the one in Cambodia.
Oh and Priority Pass gets you into the Oman Air lounge Bangkok BKK. OMG Yum
On our recent (October) trip to Greece & Istanbul, my wife and I were VERY impressed with the IGA Lounge in the International terminal at the Istanbul airport (IST), which were able to visit twice on our trip. Huge lounge, plenty of elbow room, very nice seating options, big buffet area with many choices. They were even presenting live musical performances while we were there. A big step up from Priority Pass lounges we had...
On our recent (October) trip to Greece & Istanbul, my wife and I were VERY impressed with the IGA Lounge in the International terminal at the Istanbul airport (IST), which were able to visit twice on our trip. Huge lounge, plenty of elbow room, very nice seating options, big buffet area with many choices. They were even presenting live musical performances while we were there. A big step up from Priority Pass lounges we had visited in the U.S., and even much better than those offered at the Athens, Greece airport.
Thank you, Ben for shedding light on this lounge! As I previously mentioned (after you revealed you were going to Oman), Oman is on my super short list of places I want to visit in the Middle East. I knew this lounge was available through Priority Pass and the pictures looked really amazing. I'm looking forward to hearing more from you about it.
We visited the Malevich lounge in TC at SVO on Sunday. It was my second time there and it's fantastic (though the food is just okay...). I didn't realize during my first time that there are sleep rooms and we took advantage of it before our flight this time around since we had about a 5 hour layover. It was a full hotel room with an extremely comfortable bed, spacious shower, and sweeping views of...
We visited the Malevich lounge in TC at SVO on Sunday. It was my second time there and it's fantastic (though the food is just okay...). I didn't realize during my first time that there are sleep rooms and we took advantage of it before our flight this time around since we had about a 5 hour layover. It was a full hotel room with an extremely comfortable bed, spacious shower, and sweeping views of the runway. We were extremely impressed, especially since this was a Priority Pass visit. In full transparency, I think you do usually pay for these rooms but we were not charged for whatever reason. Too bad this will be the last time visiting for a very, very long time most likely...
Cool! Sort of like the Cabanas at CX Wing or Swiss air, etc.
on a slightly different angle. I think I know have two Priority Pass accounts. One with AmEx cause I’m Bill with them. One with VentureX where I’m a William. Seems like I should be able to stack them - especially on upcoming RTW trips with long layovers.
I don't really think stacking works.
Lately some of them seems to scan my BP as well. (from PP device, not lounge device)
But as far as stacking goes, I think it's up to the lounge not PP. As I don't think PP can tell the difference between 2 person with same names or it's the same person.
But if I can stack, I think I have 7-8 of them so a full 24 hours?
Doubt it. The fine print was "do you have another way to enter". 8 PP is still 1 entry method. Like the thought.
Wonder if they also do Lounge Buddy or Lounges for everyone or some other scarcely known program.
I was wondering about stackign PP, too. In theory, I could see them allowing it. They could run each one and get two credits/payments from them. I'm not sure PP is sophisticated enough to know I'm the same person on both - they make you have separate logins for each account, etc.
I was thinking about this earlier today, but for a different reason. I have 2 cards each allowing 1 guest, could I use both (including me twice) to allow myself and 2 guests into the lounges?
My only visits there were pre-COVID and the lounge was always absolutely packed - finding a seat was a challenge and the general experience was quite miserable. Sure, the lounge LOOKED good but thats not a positive when you have to spend 10 minutes looking everywhere for an empty seat.
Fair, but I think it also depends on when you visit the lounge. Most flights in the region leave in the middle of the night (similar to DXB, AUH, DOH, etc.) so the lounge is usually packed around that time. However, if you enter in the during the day time (or "non-busy departure hours") you'll experience something a bit different...and find a more seats.
In feb 2022 Onyx lounge in Doha was full and PP members were not allowed to use the lounge