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Do you have a favorite 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 in each hotel chain there are usually a few standouts. Before I tell you my favorite great one, it makes sense to define the qualities that make for greatness. 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.
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 need in a lounge, but many of the lounges seem old and in need of tech upgrades.
9. Bathroom facilities inside the lounge. Recently, a friend pointed out that in some lounges there are no bathrooms, and when I thought about this, she was right.
10. A separate room for the business center. One of my favorite lounges has a small room where the computers and printers are, and this makes total sense. 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. While my experience has been that most lounge staff is female, from time to time, I’ve also had men working in the lounges. I like that mix. I’m generally a friendly person and enjoy talking with the concierges 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, is there a lounge that meets my expectations? YES, in all three hotel chains I frequent! Let’s look at SPG lounges, and we’ll get to Hyatt and Hilton in another post.
There are many SPG lounges that I like and are quite good. But the one at the Sheraton Tel Aviv is great! I’ve stayed there a few times now and it never disappoints. Besides the wonderful location of this hotel, the lounge totally gets it. It has 12 of the 13 criteria! It’s on a high floor and even has an outdoor eating area with amazing views of the sea. I’ve only seen a few lounges with outdoor seating and in a beautiful setting, it’s perfect. The food, well don’t get me started. For those of you who have never had an Israeli breakfast, you’ll absolutely love it. Food, real food, is available at this lounge all day long. Plenty of drink choices and alcoholic beverages are complimentary, as well. And evening hours are late enough, so there’s no rush. (Full screen video)
So that’s my pick for my favorite SPG lounge. Lots of good ones, but this one raises the bar! I’m looking forward to hearing about your favorite SPG lounge! Have you been to the lounge at the Sheraton Tel Aviv? Did it rank as high on your list? Which SPG lounges rank high for you, and why? Did I miss any of your lounge criteria? Let me know!