Plaza Premium Lounges have pay as you go facilities in each terminal across London's Heathrow Airport, but what do you get for that?
I tested out the Plaza Premium Lounge at Heathrow Airport Terminal 5, which is priced at £40 for two hours use, per person.You can book in advance online or just roll up on the day.
The lounge is an L-shaped area that is a room with a view as it is in a corner of the terminal with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the runway. If you get a bit claustrophobic in airports, this lounge, in comparison, feels open and airy. Watching the planes land and take off also feels quite soothing.
Fitting 140 people at most, the lounge has stylish, muted decor that works for both holidaymakers and businesspeople. A large black and white photo backdrop of the London skyline shines out from one wall.
What lures most people to a lounge is the quality of the food, free bar and element of privacy, so let's take a look at those.
To one side is a well-stacked bar that offers free drinks for the house red and white wine, Carlsberg and house spirits of gin, run and whiskey. If you want premium labels, they are available at an extra cost, plus there are some decadent cocktails at £4 each.
There's also soft drinks included for free too and "hydration stations" with water and juices dotted around the room.
Food-wise, there are hot and cold options available on the well-stocked buffet, which regularly changes to keep the menu seasonal.
For Autumn, there was beef stew, mushroom tortellini in a cream sauce, a five bean vegetarian chilli and minestrone soup and bread rolls available to warm us up.
Alongside these options was an impressive salad bar that had much more variety than just a few lettuce leaves and tomatoes. There's also finely cut triangle-shaped sandwiches, like you would get at an English afternoon tea, along with cheese and crackers and a selection of hams, cheeses and pate in the salad bar.
Desserts like apple crumble and custard offer a treat and a sense of home-cooking. It's good to see that all the food is continuously topped up, so you don't have to worry about missing out on any of these treats.
In terms of the ambience, there's efficient, polite service from the team of staff, who quickly clear up used plates and glasses to keep the lounge feeling fresh and clean.
WiFi is available throughout and screens show news channels. There are single seats with high surrounds offering privacy along with booths for couples or larger groups and high bar stools in breakout areas.
A shower room is also available but that comes at an additional charge of £20, which is the only drawback.
Plaza Premium Group now has over 70 lounges in more than 30 international airports and has repeatedly picked up awards for its service and facilities.
The latest saw Plaza Premium Group named Best Airport Lounge Operator at the TTG Travel Awards and clinch the Best Independent Airport Lounge title at the Business Traveller Asia Pacific Awards.
As airport lounges go, there's a pristine, sophisticated feel to the Plaza Premium Lounge at Heathrow that is supported by good service. It works across the board for various types of travellers, giving a haven of calm and privacy away from the bustling departure lounge.