Call me a pessimist, but I don’t think that I will ever review a lounge better than the Executive Lounge at Antiua’s International Airport (ANU) – although, to be fair, the Concordia Lounge in Yogyakarta comes close. You’ve probably been visiting Antigua for vacation, and there’s a good chance that this lounge is actually nicer than any place you stayed at on the island. My greatest regret is that I did not check-in in the morning and spend my entire day relaxing here before my afternoon flight. This is not exaggeration – where else can you sip free beer while sunbathing in a deckchair overlooking both the Caribbean Sea and a tarmac? ANU’s airport code is totally inappropriate for such a beautiful place. For our full, gushing review of the Executive Lounge, read on!
The Facts – Executive Lounge Review – Antigua (ANU)
You can access the lounge using Priority Pass, Diners Club, a smattering of credit cards, business class tickets on certain airlines, or pay a fee. Once through immigration and security, take a hard left and walk to the end of the terminal (100 meters or so.) Turn to your right and you’ll find a non-descript entrance to paradise. You’ll be given a warm welcome and three drink tickets for wine and beer.
The Positives – Executive Lounge Review – Antigua (ANU)
This has to be some of the best staff working at any lounge, anywhere. After a warm welcome at reception, you’ll be directed to your bartender (mine was Ivy) who “will be looking after you.” Oh, and did she ever. She actually came out to the sundeck, where I was relaxing topless in a chair, to make sure I didn’t need more beer (I did.) A new beer was in my hands within a minute of my finishing the first.
The space is simply gorgeous. The chairs are tasteful, comfortable, and numerous. There isn’t a lot of superfluous art or design – what’s there is pleasing to the eye. This would be a very easy place to work, or to relax. There are very few customers around, even in the busy parts of the day, so you won’t be fighting for space or for tongs, either. Another blessing is that the ceilings are high, but even if you feel claustrophobic, you can flee to the deck. Which brings us to…
WOW. I feel like I’m at some sort of hyper-exclusive resort. There are chairs, couches, sunchairs, and even some sort of big couch thing whose name I don’t even know. The deck overlooks the tarmac and the ocean, and lets you take in a great swath of the island’s greenery as well. I decided that I would get just a bit more of a tan before my flight to Wisconsin, so I pulled off my shirt and splayed out. It was a -bold move – is shirtless-ness allowed in an airport? Turns out, it is. When Ivy came by to ask if I needed more drinks, she opened with “ya showin’ off ya chest, now?” and a big laugh. Turns out, no shirt, no shoes, no problem. Don’t want to sunbathe? Maybe its raining? There are plenty of covered seating options out there, too. If the deck has any downside, it seems to be that the wifi signal doesn’t quite reach, so you might have to sunbathe disconnected from the interwebs.
There are not full meals on offer here, but there’s more than enough to get you full. When we passed through, there were plenty of shish-kebabs, meaty hors d’oeuvres, some salads, pastas, and plenty of fruit and some cheese and cracker type things. You will not leave hungry.
Visitors are limited to three beers or wines. This is one downside to the lounge. With beers in the grocery store costing little more than $1US, it’s surprising that such a beautiful lounge would skimp on the beer. Still, three is a decent number. As for the harder stuff, the policy isn’t great here either: all liquors will run you $10 per drink. That’s not cheap. But then, you are in a resort. Ironically, the wifi password is a variation on the phrase “the drinks are on us.” For those who don’t tipple, there is coffee and all the usual drinks behind the bar – which you’ll need to visit, even if just for water.
The internet here is just fine. With the caveat that it may not work on the deck (they swear it usually does, and there is a router out there), inside its fast enough to get just about anything you need done. Up and down speeds are 25mb.
There are no showers (too bad, after an afternoon of sunbathing), but the bathrooms are spacious and have decent views of the sea.