TAP Portugal’s Premium Lounge at LIS

TP’s new flagship lounge at LIS opened about a year ago.

It was intended to replace a tired lounge which probably dated from the early 90’s (I couldn’t determine the exact date in which it was inaugurated) and featured hanging tapestries, blue sofas and food displayed in a very cramped way in wooden tables.

With an area of approximately 500m, several areas and a futuristic appeal, the new lounge is indeed a major improvement for TP’s and Star Alliance’s pax.

When one enters, one has to go through a tunnel in which the lighting is neon-like blue: it ensures the transition into a different and more secluded environment. At the end of the tunnel, the lounge agents welcome the pax.

The lounge is divided in two levels: a ground floor and a mezzanine. In the mezzanine, there are three main areas.

There is a tiny working area with five laptops, a printer, a fax machine and a telephone – no privacy at all, though. There is, however, free wireless available in the lounge.

There are also two seating areas: one with several red and green chairs (not very comfortable, but certainly stylish and practical) around small tables, and another one with comfy black leather couches. In one of the walls, there are projected images of TP’s and its partners’ departures and of four television channels (soundless – but wireless headphones are available upon request). In the other walls, there are mirrors and/or bamboo trees, which give a natural and yet distinctive touch to the décor.

In the ground floor, there are three areas as well.
In the middle, there is an area with chairs and tables that are similar to the ones upstairs; even the walls’ décor is alike. The difference is that there are a couple of television sets nearby.

Next to it, in a corner, separated from the other areas by an opaque glass divider and with some (rather empty) bookshelves opposite to it, there is what I think is supposed to be a resting area. There are, however, two troubles: the lounging chairs aren’t that comfortable to lay down and they are disposed in a circle around a television set. Resting becomes a difficult task.

In the other end of the room, there is the bar and eating area. The bar comprises water, fruit juices, espresso machines, wines kept in wine-fridges and other spirits. The available food is generous: an assortment of sandwiches (roast beef, smoked salmon, prosciutto, cheese), of pies (veggies, ham and cheese, chicken, seafood), of cold cuts, of cheeses, of typical Portuguese jams, pastry and sweets, and of fruits (not only apples, but also grapes, pears, bananas and pineapple), all prepared by Chef Vítor Sobral. No warm food but definitely the best lounge I have been to in terms of diversity, quality and even quantity of the food served by far.

The restrooms are minimalistic: there are only two toilets (one for ladies and one for men) with a joint lavatory.

The same can be said of the shower facilities as there’s only one shower available. One has to request the keys at the reception (which is standard procedure) and the agent then hands one a couple of towels and some amenities. The space inside is very very restricted, though: there is barely any room for the carry-on, to hang the coat or even to place one’s clothes, not to mention the lack of a seating area (which is quite useful in this kind of facilities). The shower itself is good, with adequate water pressure and temperature.

Overall, the restrooms and shower facilities seem to be the worst aspect of the lounge. On the one hand, they are certainly not enough for periods in which the affluence is bigger, causing queues or making the pax use the airport’s restrooms instead of the lounges’ – in either case, the inconvenience is apparent and far from negligible. The very fact that the lavatory is shared might be problematic for ladies. On the other hand, the lack of a toilet for handicapped pax is appalling. That said, the design of the facilities is elegant enough – white, plainer than that of the other areas of the lounge, and only with a couple of elements of decoration –, and they are regularly serviced.

Lastly, there is a wide range of national and international newspapers and magazines available, which the pax can take with him/her. The only remark is that The Economist is not among the ones offered – but I admit that’s a matter of personal preference.

Overall, the lounge is certainly top notch. The location (the Food Court area) is very good: in the international area for Schengen departures, it is situated after the security checkpoint and not more than a 15 mins walk from any gate. The ambiance is very pleasant and calm.

As for the downsides, apart from the issues with the toilets, it lacks private areas – either for work or for rest – and the capacity (100 pax) seems a bit too short (especially when the guests who are allowed comprise: Star Alliance business class pax, Star Alliance Gold cardholders, tap|corporate and credit card TAP Platinum American Express cardholders) . But hey, when standards are high…

Final evaluation
Location [2]: 10
Overall ambiance [1]: 9
Seating areas [2]: 9
Resting areas [0,5]: 2
Working areas [0,5]: 5
Internet access [2]: 10
Newspapers and magazines [1,5]: 9
Food [3]: 9
Beverages [2]: 9
Restrooms [0,5]: 4
Showers [1,5]: 4
Massage and other amenities [0,5]: 0
Lounge agents [1]: 8

Weighed overall impression: 8,06

Note: I visited this lounge several times in 2009, both in the early morning and in the early afternoon.


~ by Tiago on January 11, 2010.

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