As frequent flyers, on a short hop to Europe or exploring the far East and West of the Globe, we’re always in search of a bargain to travel in style! The joy of travelling should start from getting to the airport, and we got hooked on the trappings of business class travel and everything that comes with it; lounges, lie-flat beds, food & wine, and free-flowing champagne! We’ve come to realise that traveling in style doesn’t have to break the bank.

Neither of us are millionaires and we’re continually looking to achieve our flying dreams by spending as little cash as we can. Be it a seat sale or miles redemption for reward flights, we tend to let our wallets tell us where we’re going next rather than having a fixed agenda...

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VIP Lounge Gran Canaria

The VIP Lounge (Sala Vip Galdos) in Gran Canaria is the only departure lounge at Las Palmas airport.

Tourists visit the island all year round and we visited during the dark, cold winter in the Northern hemisphere. Due to its close proximity to the UK and Northern Europe and the (almost) guaranteed sunshine, Gran Canaria makes for a very popular destination. In fact, 13 million passengers came in and out of the airport in 2018, and it’s expected to grow!

Using the VIP Lounge at Gran Canaria Airport costs €30 per person. It’s also open to Priority Pass cardholders (among other programmes). If you’re doing some research and figuring out if €30 is worth it, then read on! In this blog, we review the food & beverage on offer, and whether it’s a comfortable lounge to spend some time in.

In this review:

Locating the lounge

The lounge is located on the second floor of Area C. At the time of writing, the airport was undergoing renovations, so the entrance looked a bit like a building site. Rest assured, it is open! If you get lost, just follow the signs with VIP on them and it will direct you there.

Reception

VIP Lounge entrance at Gran Canaria airport
The entrance to the VIP Lounge at Gran Canaria Airport

There was a small queue when we got to the lounge entrance, and two receptionists were checking guests in. As each passenger’s documents were validated, the receptionists would signal for the next person in the queue to come forward by yelling “Next”! When it was our turn, we were summoned to the front of the reception desk and she was holding out her hand waiting to receive whatever document we gave her. It wasn’t the best welcome we’ve experienced. It felt like we were being called to use one of those self check-outs machines in a supermarket! No casual greetings of “hello” or “welcome”, just an arm waiting to receive our documents.

After checking our documents, the next thing the reception asked was; “Do you smoke?” We replied “No”, to which they replied that the Outisde Terrace was closed. We asked why, but she chose to ignore our question by looking away and yelling “next!”

The closed Terrace

It was a real shame, as it would’ve been cool to sit outside watching the planes takeoff and land on the runway. The closure was probably due to the airport renovations, but there was no indication of when it might be completed. We managed to take a picture of the closed area which actually looked like a great space to hang out. Next time, perhaps!

Score: 50%

Comfort

For the size of the airport, we thought the lounge was a decent size. Sofas made up most of the seating areas, while high tables and work desks, made up the rest. These were dotted around the lounge. We found an empty table behind a pillar, but we had to walk quickly towards it to make sure we secured it, as the lounge looked like it was going to fill up.

It was tidy and clean, which was down to the amazing staff. At any one point, there were three or four staff members patrolling the lounge. They made sure that empty plates, glasses and other rubbish left by departing passengers were quickly tidied up, making it pleasant for other passengers. We thought the staff were amazing and worked really hard to keep it clean. However, it doesn’t cover up the fact that the lounge was in dire need of a refresh.

Score: 60%

People traffic

As the only lounge serving the whole airport, we were expecting it to be really busy, however, it was manageable. We managed to get a seat. We saw people come and go, so the crowdedness fluctuated but it never got unbearably busy. At one point, it was hard to get a seat and there were travellers using the business work desk as a dining table. It was made worse by other passengers spreading themselves and blocking the sofas to other people. However, we thought that the lounge was actually a nice space to get away from the hustle and bustle of the busy main terminal.

Score: 60%

Food Options

There was an OK range of food options which included a hot and cold self-service buffet. Meatballs, fried rice and a Spanish omelette were available on the hot buffet while cheese, crisps, ham, and cured meats made up the cold buffet. Pre-made sandwiches and salad bowls were also available in the fridges. Vegetarian options were available on request, but you had to ask one of the staff to bring this to you.

The number of restaurants and fast food options at Gran Canaria airport has grown over the years, that include an O’Leary’s pub, Starbucks, Leon and Burger King. As the buffet options in the VIP Lounge at Gran Canaria airport was more like a snack rather than a meal, several passengers brought food from outside. There were a number of Burger King takeaway bags in the lounge and we thought it was good that passengers were allowed to bring outside food in.

Bottom line – it’s not a bad place to have a snack but don’t expect a full dinner. As most of the flights flying to and from the airport are low-cost carriers, meals are generally not provided, the VIP Lounge in Gran Canaria is an OK Pitt stop to snack-up before your flight.

Score: 65%

Beverage Options

The VIP Lounge in Gran Canaria had all the basics when it came to beverages. A good selection of soft, alcoholic and hot beverages were available. In terms of wine, there were, reds, rose, whites and cava available. Self-service standard alcoholic spirits of vodka, gin, whiskey, Bacardi, Martini and Irish cream were on display to help yourselves with. Just be wary of the penalties of boarding a plane drunk!

Although none of the spirits or wines were premium brands there were definitely enough to have a party with. We managed to have two Bloody Mary’s (yes! it had all the ingredients to make one) and two glasses of wine before our flight – the total probably would have come to more than €30 – if we had it in the bar in the main terminal.

Bottom line – if you’re looking to knock a few drinks back to celebrate the end of your holiday, then it might be worth paying to use the lounge. Drinks in the main terminal can be pricey, and if you add on something to eat, then it might just be worth paying to use the lounge.

Score: 70%

Toilets and Showers

If you’re hoping to have a shower before you fly, then you’re out of luck as there are no showers in the lounge (or in the airport). However, the lounge has its own toilets which included a disabled toilet. The toilets were clean and functional.

Score: 60%

The male toilets

WiFi, Power & Productivity

VIP Lounge Gran Canaria
Work areas in the VIP Lounge Gran Canaria

The WiFi speed was surprisingly very good and it was faster than most lounges (including British Airways first class lounges) that we have been to (↓ 42.5 Mpbs ↑ 27.5 Mpbs). Access to the internet was free. With such high internet speeds it was more than what’s necessary for work. In fact, the speed was so good, it allowed for streaming videos and music. We used the WiFi to download the latest boxsets from Netflix which kept us entertained on our 3.5 hour flight home.

Charge points were reserved for light fixtures

For those needing to work, there were three work stations with charge points. However, charge points were lacking in throughout the lounge – those available were actually used for light fixtures. To use one, we needed to unplug the stand up light. As it was daytime, it didn’t affect the lighting, and we were wondering what would’ve happen when it was during the evening.

Score: 60%

Little Extras

One thing that stood out for us in the lounge was how hardworking the staff were. They were constantly sweeping the space, cleaning tables and topping up the food. It was a shame that we had a poor welcome as the receptionist somewhat undermined their colleague’s hard work.

Score: 50%

BG1 Verdict

It’s not a luxurious 5* lounge, but the food & beverage on offer was pretty respectable. Gran Canaria Airport is also a very busy, so having a space away from the hustle and bustle of the main terminal can only be a bonus.

For €30 per person, we thought it was a reasonable amount, especially if you are planning on having a couple of drinks to celebrate the end of your holiday. We certainly enjoyed more than a couple of drinks and also managed to have some food before our flight home. Just don’t get too drunk and forget to board your flight!

Total: 68%

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