We recently returned to the skies after the enforced Pandemic Hiatus and were eager to get back to Lounge Life as a way of maximizing our travel experiences. While we have been flying reasonably often during the Pandemic, these were all shorter hops to more local destinations, so had opted against booking a lounge, but now we were back on a Transatlantic route and flying for a bit longer we wanted to get back into the lounges.
We were flying from Heathrow with Virgin Atlantic out of Terminal 3 and using the Priority Pass which gave us the option of two lounges, No1 and Club Aspire. Like most things travel-related Lounges have taken quite a hit through the pandemic and the experience has changed quite a bit so we were looking forward to seeing what you can expect now from the most popular Lounges. this No1 Lounge Heathrow Review takes a look at what the lounge is like right now and what you can expect in the near future.
Choosing the No1 Lounge?
Honestly, we had actually decided not to visit the No1 Lounge and instead were headed for the Aspire. We are not ones to take too much note of TripAdvisor reviews but the No1 Lounge was getting particularly savaged! So we headed to the Club Aspire Lounge in Terminal 3 only to find it closed, as we were using our Priority Pass, we only had the No1 Lounge as an option. In a way we are pretty pleased about this as the difference between what we found at No1 and the TripAdvisor reviews was pretty stark.
Booking the No1 Lounge
We were using our Priority Pass and as such did not need to book the lounge, the Priority pass is great for frequent travelers but if you want to just book the lounge you can do so either directly or through our preferred site Holiday Extras for around £30-35 depending on availability.
The Lounge is hidden away behind the retail outlets in the Terminal 3 main building. We struggled a little to actually locate the place and went wrong a couple of times. There are a large number of Lounges in this area and signposting is not clear. But even going catatonically wrong we only ended up a little out of our way.
No1 Lounge Area
The Lounge is a moderate size for a Non-Airline lounge and is really nicely appointed. These levels of lounges usually have a bit of an Ikea feel about them, modern and functional rather than luxurious. But there is lots of wood and fabric rather than plastic. We really were presently surprised.
There are several areas, a dining area, lounge area, Quiet/Work area, and even a mini Cinema! There is a Spa area with shower facilities but this was closed on our trip and not really needed as we were just starting our trip. Likewise, the Sleep area was not something we investigated.
We pitched up with a window seat. These were not the most comfortable but offered some nice views of the Apron where we watched the flight operations and some take-offs and landings once the Runway Directions changed.
Overall it was a very pleasant place to while away a few hours. Comfortable and relaxed and the perfect way to wind down after a manic trip to and through the airport.
Food is scaled back and was one of the area’s highly criticized in the reviews we read. We however were presently surprised. The food was not exactly gourmet but it certainly was adequate, and most importantly fresh.
Choices were basic, an Arberita Pasta, a Creamy Chorizo Chicken, and Basmati Rice. There was also a nice Salad Bar with various stations including Falafel, Chickpea Salad, and Garden Salad. As we said while the selection was limited it was all tasty enough. You could also order ala carte but again limited selection and we were content with the buffet selection.
Lounges are traditionally a little weak when it comes to the afternoon selections and seem to fair better for breakfast where most people are content with regular breakfast items, catering to the masses with limited choice is more tricky at lunch and dinner.
You probably could get better food out in the main terminal but you would probably pat more of a premium and that is before we get to the most important Lounge Offering, Drinks
Staffing levels were also really good when we were there with plates and glasses cleared nearly immediately and
The drinks offering is one of the more important elements of a lounge, this is often the element that makes the lounge worth it. it does not take many Airport drinks to mount up to the cost of entry, so anyone looking for a bit of fizz or a few drinks to get the holiday started early can really find great value in a lounge… if the drink selection is right.
The Drinks in the No1 lounge were handled by a bar, like most locations in the world serving alcohol. However, this comes as a disappointment to some in the longe world and is actually a big bone of contention in the online reviews. This is because many lounges offer self-serve alcohol which, as you can imagine is VERY popular!
But really nipping to the bar and requesting drinks is hardly a major issue, and there was rarely a queue of more than one person, and it’s not like you have to pay so we really don’t see the issue at all. It also means beer is on draft and you can order mixed drinks and cocktails too.
The bar was really well stocked for a lounge bar and was more comparable to the premium airline lounges than the usual budget lounge. There was no prosecco on offer! But a sparkling English wine was an excellent substitute to toast in our return to the skies. Champagne was available but this is an extra charge.
The beer was a craft brand called Curious that we had not heard of, but it was actually really nice, very similar to Punk IPA, with which I am in a bit of a love affair with. There was also a Cider by the same brand. We will definitely be keeping an eye out for them elsewhere.
Overall the bar was really good, the drinks flowed no issue and there was a great selection with people ordering cocktails, mimosa’s, apparel spritz, and all kinds of different mixed drinks. There are no Cocktail menus as such, but the bartenders will happily knock up anything they have the ingredients for. We mainly stuck to beer and wine but moves slightly to the top self as the flight drew near.
Had we enjoyed a bar in the same way out in the Aiport, our bill would have been significantly more than the entry fee to the lounge!
There are also Self Serve Coffe Machines, Soft drinks, and some refreshing water stations for those not looking for booze.
Is the No1 Lounge Heathrow Worth it?
This really is a two-part question, first is any lounge worth it, and second is the No1 Lounge worth it over other Heathrow lounges?
We love lounges and just find them a more relaxing and stress-free way of starting off your trip. Airports are really stressful and the feeling as you pull up a chair in the lounge is incredible as the stress just melts away. You are at the airport on time, you are checked in and through security, the trip starts here cheers!
However, they are not always worth it! We find you need to make use of at least a few of the lounger perks to make them really worthwhile. The entry cost is £30-35 and it doe not take long out in the terminal to rack that up. But only if you but a few drinks and a meal. For short flights around Europe, the lounges are less appealing, especially the early flights. Here we would just buy a coffee and maybe a breakfast sandwich and that only runs to £10-12. However, the lounges still offer a quieter, comfier, and more relaxed space that may be just as important to you.
They also are intended o be a quieter space so larger groups are not really that welcome, stag parties and such could easily take over a lounge and that is not really appreciated.
But for special trips or longer haul destinations where you plan on getting to the Airport early a lounge is a great choice to while away the hours before the flight. They are also great for transit flights as the relaxed space and chance to grab a shower are basically priceless, but Heathrow is less of a hub and more of a destination airport, especially T3.
Compared to other lounges in this class the Now stood up really well. The interior is really plush compared to many basic lounges and felt more like an airline lounge. The food was basic but as good as most and the drinks selection was really good. Ok, you can’t help yourself guilt-free from the fridge but the extra choice and cocktail options really made up for that.
After checking out the recent reviews we find it really hard to quantify what the reviews were talking about, the Now Lounge has all the amenities we expect from this class of lounge and really stood out in some areas.
These multi-purpose airport lounges for everyone are never going to rival the high-end business class lounges of the airlines, and if you can get into one of those, normally by purchasing a business class ticket, then you absolutely should. But you can’t expect that level of service and product in a Lounge like this. We worry that some guests are Spillover from these Lounges and expect an executive lounge and only find a regular airport offering.
We do really think this Lounge is one of the better Airport lounges we have visited in recent years.
As far as Covid, it felt a distant memory once n the lunge. The Staff still wore masks and customers were required to before moving around, but once seated this is one of the few places inside an airport you can de-mask and relax.
Where to Book the No1 Lounge Heathrow
Our go-to site for Lounge booking is Holiday Extras, this is a great site for booking things like Lounges, car parking, and Airport Hotels, those little extras that you think of after booking your trip. Their prices are normally unbeatable and the No1 Lounge comes in at around £30-$35 per person depending on current discounts and surge pricing.
If you are a more regular flyer then consider the Priority Pass that gets you in for £20 per person or free depending on your membership level, a real bargain, but you do need to visit a few lounges a year to make it worthwhile.
Have Your Say
Let us know your experiences when Visiting the No1 Lounge? What did you make of the interior, the food, and the Drinks? let us know how you think it compares to other lounges and let us know any bad experiences you had with the lounge. We love to hear your thoughts and it helps us keep these reviews updated and current to help other travelers.