What is the best hotel lounge? I don’t mean one that’s good, but rather one that takes good and turns it into GREAT. Seems to me many lounges are fine, or even good, but I’m thinking about what creates a lounge that stands out. Defining the qualities that make for greatness helps us decide which lounges measure up and which don’t.
See what you think of my 13 criteria. Here’s my list (in no special order):
1. REAL food. For me, snack foods don’t count. And include salad, please! Too many lounges put out bowls of what they call salads, but they are usually unidentifiable and filled with some kind of dressing. I’m talking about a simple green salad with some vegetables. For all you hotel chefs reading this, I promise you we’ll eat the greens!
2. Fresh fruit. During the day, it’s great to be able to stop into the lounge and get a piece of fruit.
3. A concierge who is outside of the lounge. I’ve seen this set-up in a few places and it makes total sense. It keeps the lounges quieter and less congested.
4. Longer lounge hours. I was talking with a friend who is a lounge concierge in Canada, and she commented how lounges in the U.S. often close by 8pm. She said that at 8pm, her lounge is first putting out desserts! Lounges tend to be open early enough to start the day but close too early in the evening.
5. Beautiful views. Remember, we’re talking about GREATNESS here..and my wish-list 🙂 I’ve had some spectacular views from high floor lounges.
6. TV placement in a lounge makes a difference to me. Some lounges have more than one TV and I see this as a detractor. If there’s one TV, I prefer it to be placed so that there are still places to sit in the lounge where you don’t HAVE to view it.
7. Enough tables. This may seem obvious but some lounges have way more counter seating than tables and I prefer tables of different sizes too. Sometimes all I need is a small table to eat or work at and sometimes it’s better to have larger tables enough for 4 people or more to enjoy.
8. You would think the placement of outlets as well as enough outlets would be an obvious amenity in a lounge, but many of the lounges seem old and in need of tech upgrades.
9. Bathroom facilities inside the lounge or outside. This is a tough one to choose. Recently, a friend pointed out that in some lounges there are no bathrooms. Then there’s the other side of this, in Stockholm at the Hilton the bathroom was placed too close to the food offerings and it seemed odd. On second thought, I think I might prefer no bathroom in the lounge.
10. A separate room for the business center. Many lounges have a small room or corner area where they keep the computers and printers which I prefer. Some lounges have the computers/printers right next to the tables and frankly, I don’t feel like hearing people’s personal or business Skype conversations while I’m in the lounge.
11. Comfortable seating with privacy. I’m
obsessive picky about comfortable seats and I like a few choices of different seating options. I just can’t bear couches or chairs in lounges that are old and worn out.
12. Good lighting and some natural lighting as well. Lighting can make a world of difference, especially if there’s not much sunlight.
13. Lounge staff that’s friendly and seem to enjoy their jobs. I’m generally a friendly person and enjoy talking with the concierge and lounge staff, especially in the hotels I frequent. I can tell whether or not they enjoy their work and are proud of the hotels they work for. It makes a difference. In the best lounges, the staff often remember what I like to eat and in one instance when they ran out of bananas, the next morning when I opened up the door to my room, I found a bunch of bananas waiting for me!
Now that you have my criteria for GREATNESS in the world of lounges and are thinking I’m a really strange person who needs to get a life, are there lounges that meet my expectations? YES, in all the hotel chains I frequent! When I write hotel reviews I often talk about the lounges that shine above the others. I’m looking forward to hearing about your criteria for lounges! Which ones rank highest on your list? I’d love to get some recommendations for hotels and lounges I’ve yet to sample.
Shelli Stein is a health and fitness entrepreneur who travels the world in search of culture, food, and fun! Besides contributing to PointMeToThePlane, you can find her at Joy in Movement.
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