Sunday, 17 December 2017

Priority Pass Unveils The World's Best Airport Lounges - and They're Not Where You'd Expect

A selection of the world's best airport lounges have been revealed by independent lounge membership program, Priority Pass, in its annual Lounge of the Year Awards.  This year winners include lounges in Jamaica, Estonia, Malta and Quebec as well as Singapore and Dubai.  

The awards are based on ratings provided by Priority Pass Members and recognize excellence within the world's largest independent lounge membership program. Priority Pass now includes more than 1000 airport lounges in over 500 cities and is this year celebrating its 25th Anniversary.

This year's overall winner is Club Kingston, at Jamaica's Kingston Norman Manley International Airport. With a decidedly Jamaican flair, the lounge features artwork and décor sourced from across the country plus local food and drink including traditional Jamaican patties and peas soup - all served to a gentle soundtrack of reggae music. An on-site bartender even creates signature cocktails, including a 'Club Kingston Classic', 'Priority Passion' and 'VIP Splash'. But it's not all pleasure! The lounge also offers excellent facilities to support business travellers on the move, including a conference facility and dedicated workstations.

Tallinn Airport Business Lounge at the Lennart Meri Airport Tallin, Estonia was crowned Best Lounge in Europe by Priority Pass Members, closely followed by La Valette Club in Malta International Airport. Tallinn's Airport Business Lounge was designed to give travellers the feeling that they are waiting for their flight in the comfort of their own living room and aims to live up to the airport's customer promise of being "the worlds cosiest airport". Stand-out features include a massage chair and sleeping pods, a library where travellers can select an in-flight read, a curated selection of local food, beer, wine and spirits, a cosy electric fireplace and even an outdoor terrace - all of which clearly helped the lounge draw the plaudits of Priority Pass Members throughout 2017.

Shelly-Ann Fung, Chief Executive Officer, VIP Attractions which owns and operates Club Kingston, said: "We believe that during our six years of existence, we have made significant and innovative contributions to the travel experience for guests entering and leaving Jamaica. Not only does Club Kingston offer the innovative design and extensive facilities that travellers expect of first-class lounges in the world's finest airports, but they also showcase the best of Jamaica through cultural designs, local brands, and a visual journey through displays, sports and music."

This year's overall winners are:

Global: Club Kingston at Kingston Norman Manley International
Europe: Tallinn Airport Business Lounge at Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport
Africa & Middle East: Ahlan Business Class Lounge at Dubai International
Asia Pacific: SATS Premier Lounge at Singapore Changi International
North America: Salon VIP Lounge, Québec Jean Lesage International

Justin Banon, Director of Priority Pass, added: "Travelers increasingly know what they want, and are not willing to settle for less. They have greater expectations and choice when it comes to airport experiences which delight and surprise. As a result, we're seeing increased investment and recognition of the value of lounges from airports, airlines, financial institutions and other organizations worldwide. This can only be great news for both business and leisure travellers as there is a wider choice on offer to meet the different needs of individuals. During 2017 we've seen this reflected in our member feedback, with lounges in different destinations recognized for their service, food and drink and business facilities."

The Club MCO at Orlando International Airport in Florida was ranked top for Best Business Facilities, with its 'Productivity Zone' (designed to help guests conduct business calls in private and provide a quiet space to work) proving very popular with travellers. The Club MCO was closely followed by Dubai International Business Class Lounge at Dubai International Airport, which was also highly commended in this category.

Both lounges received further recognition in their respective regional awards, with The Club MCO 'highly commended' in North America, while the luxurious Dubai International Business Class Lounge was named top lounge within the Middle East and Africa.

Other North American lounges fared very well in the final two categories, with Turkish Airlines' Lounge in Washington DC winning Best Quality of Refreshments. Its signature dishes of lamb with baked eggplant and Mediterranean salmon often followed up with Turkish tea or coffee alongside fresh baklava, proved a hit with travellers. Elsewhere, The Club BWI in Baltimore USA was recognized for the service and attitude of its lounge staff.

In the Asia Pacific region, SATS Premier Lounge Terminal 3 at the world-renowned Singapore Changi International Airport, was named Regional Lounge of the Year. The lounge is known for giving its guests a chance to experience Singaporean culture, featuring real orchids, a display of Peranakan porcelain plus artwork depicting local scenes, decorating the lounge - which also hosts regular events, (such as serving fresh mooncakes during the Mooncake festival) ensuring that visitors are treated to a unique experience each time they enter the lounge. Its signature SATS Laksa meal is also a favourite for travellers.

Ahlan Business Class Lounge at Dubai International was named Lounge of the Year for the Middle East & Africa. Surrounded by wine barrels and wine chillers, the lounge specializes in creating personalized dining experiences for guests. Its signature 'Refresh' cocktail, a buffet offering an array of Arabic delicacies, a la carte menu and spa - all helped the lounge secure its win. It was also highly commended in the Best Business Facilities category.

Priority Pass received over 72,000 ratings from its Members in this year's awards via the lounge rating function on the Priority Pass website and app. Members provide ratings on a wide range of criteria covering overall lounge quality, refreshments, staff, business facilities and ambience.

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