Review: Plaza Premium Lounge Rome Airport (FCO)

Review: Plaza Premium Lounge Rome Airport (FCO)

NAME: Plaza Premium Lounge
Airport: FCO
DATE: January 2023
REVIEW RATING:
BEN SAYS: The Plaza Premium Lounge Rome has great decor, excellent coffee, and a la carte dining. This is a great lounge, with the only catch being that you have to pay for alcohol.
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During my recent whirlwind Aeroplan adventure, I had a 1hr40min layover at Rome Fiumicino Airport (FCO). This was after I landed from Vienna in Austrian’s A320 business class, and prior to departing to Bahrain in Gulf Air’s A321LR business class.

During my layover, I had the chance to check out the Plaza Premium Lounge Rome, which I had heard great things about. This is indeed a pretty awesome contract and credit card lounge, with a good selection of a la carte dining, great coffee, and nice design. The only downside to this lounge is that there’s a cost for all alcohol except beer, which seems particularly cheap to me, especially given how cheap wine can be in Italy.

Let’s get into the review…

Plaza Premium Lounge Rome location

My Austrian Airlines flight arrived at Terminal 1, while my Gulf Air flight was departing from Terminal 3 (which is exclusively used for non-Schengen flights). I didn’t find the signage at the airport to be very good. Based on my research, I ended up just exiting Terminal 1 and making the short walk to Terminal 3. I’m not sure if there was an easier way to do that, but the whole process was pretty efficient.

Rome Airport Terminal 3

Fortunately once in Terminal 3, the entire departures process was pretty quick, and I made it through security pretty quickly. Once through the maze of duty free shops, there was signage toward the lounges. Both the British Airways Lounge and Plaza Premium Lounge are located in the central part of the terminal, one level up from the main concourse. This is near gates E1-E4.

Rome Airport Terminal 3 departures area

At the top of the escalator I had to make a 180 degree turn. Then at the end of this area there was the British Airways Lounge to the left and the Plaza Premium Lounge to the right.

Rome Airport Terminal 3 departures area
Plaza Premium Lounge Rome exterior

Plaza Premium Lounge Rome hours

The Plaza Premium Lounge Rome is currently open daily from 5:30AM until 9:30PM, covering most departures from the terminal.

Plaza Premium Lounge Rome entry requirements

Plaza Premium Lounges no longer belong to Priority Pass, as the two companies cut ties in 2021. That’s bad news in terms of the number of people who have access to these lounges, but good news in terms of lounge crowding, for those who do have access.

Plaza Premium has a partnership with American Express and Capital One, offering premium cardmembers access to these lounges. For example, those with The Platinum Card® from American Express (review) and Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card (review) can use these lounges, regardless of which airline they’re traveling with. There’s no need to get some third party card, but rather presenting your card is enough to gain entry.

On top of that, Plaza Premium sells lounge access directly. Pricing varies, but you can generally expect that it starts around 40 EUR for a two hour visit.

Plaza Premium Lounge Rome seating & layout

The Plaza Premium Lounge Rome is roughly 1,100 square meters (~12,000 square feet), with the capacity for 300 guests. Plaza Premium is incredibly consistent with its lounge design, down to using the same specific types of furniture pieces in its lounges around the globe. Personally I find Plaza Premium to have above average contract and credit card lounges, so I’ve always quite liked these.

I have to say, the Rome Airport location is particularly nice, given the very high ceilings and windows throughout the lounge. The main part of the lounge is a circular dining area, with the bar being the focal point of this.

Plaza Premium Lounge Rome seating

This area has plenty of cafe-style seating, ranging from booths, to individual seats, to communal tables.

Plaza Premium Lounge Rome seating
Plaza Premium Lounge Rome seating
Plaza Premium Lounge Rome seating
Plaza Premium Lounge Rome seating
Plaza Premium Lounge Rome bar area

Deeper into the lounge are more communal tables, with ample outlets.

Plaza Premium Lounge Rome seating
Plaza Premium Lounge Rome seating
Plaza Premium Lounge Rome seating

Then there are a few of the seating types you’ll consistently find at Plaza Premium locations, ranging from those semi-private seats arranged in rows, to the honeycomb-shaped seats, which also offer quite a bit of privacy.

Plaza Premium Lounge Rome seating
Plaza Premium Lounge Rome seating

Then the very back of the lounge has seats arranged in rows facing one another, with great views outside.

Plaza Premium Lounge Rome seating

There are a few other seating options, including chairs with ottomans by the windows, as well as some more traditional seats along the central walkways of the lounge.

Plaza Premium Lounge Rome seating
Plaza Premium Lounge Rome seating

As far as the lounge’s views go, one direction faces the apron, with good views of the gates. Meanwhile the other direction faces the exterior of the terminal, which is no doubt a less exciting view.

Plaza Premium Lounge Rome view
Plaza Premium Lounge Rome view

Plaza Premium Lounge Rome food & drinks

The Plaza Premium Lounge has a very impressive selection of food & drinks, with one major catch. The bar area in the center of the lounge is one of the main places you can get something to eat or drink.

Plaza Premium Lounge Rome bar area

There’s a select of cold options here, including cold cuts, salads in jars, desserts, fruit, yogurt, and more. This is behind a shield, so the bartenders can plate this for you.

Plaza Premium Lounge Rome food selection
Plaza Premium Lounge Rome food selection

The bar also has self-serve juice available.

Plaza Premium Lounge Rome bar drinks

The bartenders can make any espresso-based drink, so I had a latte, which was divine. This is some of the best lounge coffee I’ve ever had, and was in line with the drinks I enjoyed at the Fiji Airways Lounge Nadi.

Plaza Premium Lounge Rome coffee

Now, here’s the disappointing part of the lounge. While there’s complimentary self-serve beer available, all other alcoholic drinks have to be purchased. This even includes basic wine and spirits.

While I’m not a big drinker in lounges (I’ll take the amazing coffee instead!), I find this to be bizarrely cheap. Other Plaza Premium Lounge locations offer free alcohol. It’s one thing to charge for premium cocktails and wine, but just for a basic house wine? I mean, you can get a decent enough bottle of wine at a supermarket in Italy for 3 EUR, so it’s not like this is a huge expense.

Anyway, you can find the drink price list below…

Plaza Premium Lounge Rome drink list
Plaza Premium Lounge Rome drink list

In addition to the bar area, there’s a further selection of food & drinks at the buffet along the outer edge of the lounge. This includes a beer machine, a soda fountain, and a coffee machine (though I’d highly recommend having the bartenders make you an excellent coffee instead).

Plaza Premium Lounge Rome buffet
Plaza Premium Lounge Rome buffet
Plaza Premium Lounge Rome buffet

Rather than having a traditional buffet, this section of the lounge has a display of the food you can order. There are QR codes all around the lounge you can order from, and you can find the menu here. It’s quite an impressive selection, and during the day includes everything from pizza, to gnocchi, to rigatoni, to beef stew, to chicken breast, to flan.

Plaza Premium Lounge Rome buffet

Honestly, what an exceptional selection. I wish I could have tried something, but I only had 20 minutes in the lounge, and I can also only eat so much on these trips, so I’ve gotta save some room.

Plaza Premium Lounge Rome bathrooms & showers

The Plaza Premium Lounge has bathrooms inside the entrance and to the left. The mens bathroom has a few stalls and urinals, and is pretty well maintained.

Plaza Premium Lounge Rome bathroom
Plaza Premium Lounge Rome bathroom

The lounge also has shower suites, though they were occupied during my brief visit.

Bottom line

The Plaza Premium Lounge Rome has great decor, lots of natural light, exceptional coffee, and an impressive selection of a la carte dining. I’d give this lounge five stars for a contract and credit card lounge, except for the odd fact that you have to pay for all alcohol except beer.

For me that’s not an issue at all, but I know many people go to lounges looking for a drink, in which case this isn’t the place for you. I can’t really wrap my head around that policy, given that alcohol is pretty cheap in Italy, not to mention Plaza Premium offers alcohol at no cost at a vast majority of its lounges.

I do consistently enjoy my Plaza Premium experiences, and find them to be much better than competing lounge providers.

What do you make of the Plaza Premium Lounge Rome?

Conversations (11)
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  1. Noa Guest

    Not sure why you always have a weird bias against contract lounges. Typically they're on par with airline lounges, with few exceptions.

  2. Jim Guest

    In my view this is one of the best Priority Pass access lounges I've been to anywhere in the world. Spent a lot of visits here. Shower rooms are perfect as is the f&b offer. Significantly better than the BA lounge next door

    1. Miles Ahead Guest

      But it isnt "a Priority Pass" Lounge...

  3. Kalevi Guest

    This is not the only Plaza Premium lounge charging for all other alcohol than beer. At least in Helsinki the Plaza Premium lounge in non-Schengen area is doing the same.

  4. Donna Diamond

    Agree with your assessment. I spend a lot of time in this lounge and it’s pretty much at the top of my list, followed by the Flagship Lounge at DFW. The prepared food is always excellent, no shortage of staff and the espresso is on par with the best of any high end caffe in Italy. Most US flights arrive and depart in the morning, and even then, it’s a light crowd. As a broker/importer...

    Agree with your assessment. I spend a lot of time in this lounge and it’s pretty much at the top of my list, followed by the Flagship Lounge at DFW. The prepared food is always excellent, no shortage of staff and the espresso is on par with the best of any high end caffe in Italy. Most US flights arrive and depart in the morning, and even then, it’s a light crowd. As a broker/importer of Italian wine, I find these wines are very reasonably priced. Barolo, Brunello di Montalcino and Amarone are PREMIUM wines, which cost a lot, even in Italy. If you don’t believe, Google it and check out the price. You will not get a glass of these on the Italian economy any cheaper, and often upwards to €18. These are not inexpensive supermarket or restaurant house wines. Also, once a bottle is opened, these wines have a very short countdown until they oxidize and turn, and why they are mostly sold by the bottle in fine restaurants and why they are expensive if even offered by the glass.

  5. Klaus Guest

    @Ben: is this also lounge that Gulf Air uses? Do they even offer a lounge access at FCO?

  6. Julia Guest

    Those prices for wine are ridiculous when you consider that wine is very cheap in Italy, even in restaurants. I realize that this is at the airport but those prices are inflated, even by airport standards.

  7. Never In Doubt Guest

    Lived in Rome during Fall 2021, and loved this lounge.

  8. Klaus Guest

    Interesting approach to focus on real food instead of cookies, crisps and booze.

    Often enough contract lounges have a limited food selection but a decent selection of alcoholic drinks.

    While a bottle of wine may only cost 3€, here they sell 4 glasses à 6 Euro - so instead of paying 3€, they make 21€. And with the good food options chances are that i would just pay for the wine pairing.

    1. John Guest

      @Klaus

      It's awesome that this lounge focuses on real food. In the past, I never had an aversion or dislike for packaged junk foods in any situation. But that all changed after I first visited lounges in America and saw it was virtually the only thing on offer. Piles of it! And not even one lousy nutritious crumb in sight....Since then, I've come to despise the very sight of tiny packets of biscuits and crisps...

      @Klaus

      It's awesome that this lounge focuses on real food. In the past, I never had an aversion or dislike for packaged junk foods in any situation. But that all changed after I first visited lounges in America and saw it was virtually the only thing on offer. Piles of it! And not even one lousy nutritious crumb in sight....Since then, I've come to despise the very sight of tiny packets of biscuits and crisps wherever I see it. Not just for health reasons, but because it shows how little many lounge operators think of us.

  9. shoeguy Guest

    For a contract lounge, it is quite good, swanky, and has a broad selection of food and great coffee.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Donna Diamond

Agree with your assessment. I spend a lot of time in this lounge and it’s pretty much at the top of my list, followed by the Flagship Lounge at DFW. The prepared food is always excellent, no shortage of staff and the espresso is on par with the best of any high end caffe in Italy. Most US flights arrive and depart in the morning, and even then, it’s a light crowd. As a broker/importer of Italian wine, I find these wines are very reasonably priced. Barolo, Brunello di Montalcino and Amarone are PREMIUM wines, which cost a lot, even in Italy. If you don’t believe, Google it and check out the price. You will not get a glass of these on the Italian economy any cheaper, and often upwards to €18. These are not inexpensive supermarket or restaurant house wines. Also, once a bottle is opened, these wines have a very short countdown until they oxidize and turn, and why they are mostly sold by the bottle in fine restaurants and why they are expensive if even offered by the glass.

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shoeguy Guest

For a contract lounge, it is quite good, swanky, and has a broad selection of food and great coffee.

1
John Guest

@Klaus It's awesome that this lounge focuses on real food. In the past, I never had an aversion or dislike for packaged junk foods in any situation. But that all changed after I first visited lounges in America and saw it was virtually the only thing on offer. Piles of it! And not even one lousy nutritious crumb in sight....Since then, I've come to despise the very sight of tiny packets of biscuits and crisps wherever I see it. Not just for health reasons, but because it shows how little many lounge operators think of us.

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