News

Lounge Review – Plaza Premium Lounge, KLIA



Plaza Premium’s lounge at Kuala Lumpur International Airport is a great example of a modern pay-in lounge, but is also a victim of its own success, discovers Nick Walton.

Overview

Plaza Premium is making a serious name for itself in the global pay-in lounge market, with modern, spacious lounges opening in airports across the globe. Located in Kuala Lumpur International Airport’s Satellite Terminal, Plaza Premium’s flagship lounge is located on the mezzanine level with great views across the airport apron. With an ample capacity of 215 guests, a variety of bar table, dining table, and lounge seating, and a fresh, contemporary look, the lounge rivals any other at the airport. However, like other Plaza Premium lounges, it can be a victim of its own popularity.

The Lounge

We arrived at the lounge at 1pm and were quickly granted access. We’d had issues with the staff here before, when they were caught insulting arriving guests in Bahasa, but had no such problems on this visit. Catering to several airlines, as well as a host of credit card and bank members, the lounge is always busy, but guests can usually find a quiet corner in which to get some work done or watch a movie in peace. When the lounge is only half full, it’s a serene space dominated by business types typically killing time before regional flights and other travellers using the facilities as they wait during longer transits.

Unfortunately, on this visit the space was dominated by families, with no fewer than 14 children, ranging in age from newborns to 12 years olds, seated across the lounge, ensuring that there were literally no quiet corners, no matter how much we explored. From two children singing at opposite ends of the lounge, to a trio of teething babies, the ambiance so carefully crafted with intimate, elegant décor was destroyed for other passengers almost immediately. With an average of 98 decibels of ambient noise recorded during our visit, what is supposed to be a quiet space was reaching the same levels as in the cabin of a jet.

If you do manage to arrive without the little ones in tow, you’ll find a chic, contemporary space that’s divided into little nooks; there’s a sports bar with bar tables and magazine racks, lounges bathed in sunshine for plane watchers, a café setting straight out of a Parisian bistro, and even a massage service and showers on offer.

Dining

Plaza Premium lounges have a pretty standard offering cuisine wise, and consistency goes both ways. A limited selection of chilled drinks, from 100 Plus to water, is on offer in self-service fridges, while hot courses include baked curry puffs, braised chicken, and fried rice. A bespoke noodle counter served up a storm as guests arrived for a late lunch. A range of teas, coffees, and delicate deserts, as well as draft Heineken, is served from a dedicated bar counter to one side; the bar also serves cocktails and wine on a cash bar basis, which is a great Plaza Premium innovation. Diligent staff ensured that the lounge remained cleared and tidy throughout our visit.

Business Needs

If you’re using the lounge to get some work done, and manage to find a space not occupied by bored children, you’ll find high-speed complimentary internet access as well as a series of dedicated work stations.

What we loved

Children or not, this is a great example of a modern pay-in lounge, with efficient staff, great snacks, and amenities that are well worth the reasonable fee, and we certainly recommend it to anyone travelling through KLIA.

What we hated

For some reason, another consistent attribute of Plaza Premium lounges is the persistent toilet cleaning. As with their lounge in Hong Kong, on every visit to the KLIA lounge the bathrooms were in a consistent state of service, with doors wedged open and blocked by yellow signs, but with no sign of cleaning staff. Opening the bathrooms to arriving planes – or in the case of Kong Kong, arriving guests – and leaving them looking like public washrooms in a busy market certainly takes a little shine away from the rest of the lounge experience. www.plaza-network.com






© 2004 Jetsetter Copyright
Jetsetter Ltd