Travis is my first new contributor to the blog, who will be posting a couple of times per week. The idea behind adding guest contributors is to add different perspectives to the blog. Travis has a unique approach towards travel, given that he travels almost exclusively with his wife and young children, which is in stark contrast to my travels, which are usually alone.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past two months, you probably know that there is a good signup bonus on the Citi Prestige credit card.
I actually got this card back in the fall primarily because I wanted a Priority Pass membership to use during our Southeast Asian Adventure. Although the signup bonus wasn’t as good then (30,000 points) as it is now (50,000), it had a valuable companion airfare benefit which has since been discontinued.
Anyway, like I say, I mostly got the card for the Priority Pass membership and I haven’t been disappointed. After seeing the inside of far too many United Clubs over the years, I’ve really enjoyed exploring new and sometimes quirky lounges. That’s why I was rather excited to have a couple extra hours at Newark Liberty last month as it gave me the chance to check out Art & Lounge. (Yes, it has it’s own website.)
This lounge is located landside in Terminal B, home to mostly internationally carriers. Interestingly, Art & Lounge is the contract lounge for La Compagne, the all business class airline flying Newark – Paris and Newark – London. Or occasionally Newark-London-Paris.
For United flyers on a connection,the Terminal B location is less than desirable and will involve a ride or two on the AirTrain. But since I had arrived at the airport early and had an extra hour to kill prior to departure, it worked out fine. The lounge is located landside near the stop for the AirTrain, which for some us will make it conveniently located in an inconvenient terminal.
I walked in, presented my Priority Pass card (again, this is a great benefit of holding a credit card with lounge access), and was quickly welcomed into the lounge. Apparently you can also buy a day pass for $35.
Despite it being 5pm on a Thursday, the lounge was virtually empty. The concept of the lounge is really unique; as the name implies, it’s sort of an art gallery masquerading as a lounge. I wandered around and looked at some of the pieces. Of course, I have no idea what I’m looking at, but it did seem better than the bare white walls of my house. The most interesting to me were a few video clips that were playing over and over again.
The layout of the lounge is appealing with several areas for seating. The furniture is kind of trendy but not uncomfortable. Since I have two pre-schoolers, I’m always on the lookout for distractions for the kids, and sure enough, they had a booth with what I think was a video game console in it. Also, the layout of the lounge was such that a family could likely sit in one area and be somewhat isolated from the others.
The food offerings in the lounge are decent. There were mini-sandwiches, chips and salsa, packaged chips, cookies and perhaps my favorite, a small salad bar. There was a place for some hot food items, but nothing appeared there during my visit, despite it being the dinner hour.
There was a small bar and for those preferring to serve themselves, the mini-fridge was stocked with Budweiser. Hey, it’s something, right?
The views from this lounge are non-existent, as it’s on the interior of the airport — the art on the walls distracts you from that fact a bit, but at some point, the lack of natural light might get old.
I left the lounge about 1 hour before my flight which was more than enough time to ride the Air Train over to Terminal C, go through security with Pre-Check, and walk to the gate. If I had it to do over again, I might even have hung out in the lounge longer.
Overall, this is a very nice lounge and a nice alternative to the United Club’s which dominate Newark. The location in Terminal B certainly isn’t the most convenient, but at least it is located landside and near the train. For those just connecting on United, a visit to this lounge will require exiting security, riding the AirTrain over and back, and then re-clearing security. Given the hassle, I’d probably want at least 1.5 hours between flights to make it worthwhile, though in my younger days, I’m sure I would have dashed over in far less time.
I’m glad to have a new unique lounge option in Newark and I look forward to continuing my exploration of the Priority Pass lounge network.
Have you visited Art & Lounge?