Going to the airport when you're not going on a plane can be quite a disheartening experience – all those happy holidaymakers jetting off to sunny town when you're heading back home to watch The One Show. So we weren't sure how our request for Heroes to try out the new Escape Lounge would go down.
“The facilities feel very exclusive but the price is very inclusive,” said one Hero.
The promise of a free feed and a massage no doubt helped and we had a gaggle of people who wanted to go. The five Heroes chosen out of the virtual hat joined us last Wednesday for the Escape Lounge Experience – a chance to go 'airside' without actually leaving the ground.
The Escape Lounge is a brand new £1.7m passenger lounge in Terminal One that's a whole lot more relaxing, peaceful, and pleasant to use than normal passenger areas. It's got a spa, a catering team, Wii, and free wi-fi. There are areas for working, chilling, and thanks to some strategically placed curtains, places for being alone. In other words, it's got everything you might want during your pre-flight wait, including a giant Scalextric.
It being a new facility, Manchester Airport wanted to know whether they were getting it right. So they asked the Heroes to give feedback on their experience.
Food wise, they thought their Escape Lounge dinner was a winner. Roasted parsnip with apple crisps soup, rib eye of beef in claret, and lemon tart with chocolate crackles – good stuff prepared on site by Mosaic Hospitality who have a Michelin star for operations elsewhere. “Service wonderful, food excellent,” commented one Hero.
Another mentioned the layout of the lounges as a favourite feature: “The different zones mean that different requirements are catered for, yet are still comfortable.” So people who want to relax don't have to sit next to someone tip-tapping on a lap-top or having hardball negotiations on their mobile phone.
Most Heroes imagined using the lounge as tourists rather than as business travellers, though it's designed to please both. “It has the atmosphere of a hotel or restaurant rather than an airport lounge,” said one. Another commented that, “It would be a wonderful way to start a holiday.”
Peacefulness and pampering is what you need when you're on a mission to relax and enjoy yourself. With low-cost airlines getting evermore basic, it's nice to start your holiday with a bit of luxury away from the crowds.
The only criticism from the Heroes was that they felt slightly too relaxed in Escape Lounge. There are no screens showing flight times so they were worried that they'd get too comfortable and end up sprinting to the departure gate.
According to the Escape Lounge people, they wouldn't let this happen. If you're actually going on a plane (and not just back to Manchester in a cab), they'll log in your flight details when you enter the lounge and make sure you leave for your flight in good time.
Finally, the price. At the moment, the cost for Escape Lounge is only £15 for adults, including drinks and snacks. “The facilities feel very exclusive but the price is very inclusive,” said one Hero. All in all then, a thumbs up.
If you're travelling from Terminal One this autumn or winter, why not give Escape Lounge a go? Customers can book in by clicking here, or by phone on 0871 200 4450.
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