OF LOUNGES AND LOUNGES
As a frequent traveler I use airport lounges where available and hotel lounges where on offer for guests staying on Executive or Club Floors or using suites.
For those in the know, the lounges in the Gulf region are legend, in particular of course the First Class and Business Class lounges of such carriers as Emirates, Qatar Airways, Etihad or Gulf Air in their home airports, and much else then is a bit of a letdown, being both spoiled and able to compare quality and how PR talk matches up to reality.
In Kigali the Pearl Lounge is a recent addition, spacious enough for most times except when Brussels Airlines, KLM, Kenya Airways and RwandAir all have outgoing flights at once. Still, the atmosphere there is calmer and with snacks and drinks on offer, free internet and reading material, plus a direct view on to the apron from the window seats, it is well worth even paying a nominal fee if not travelling in the front cabin with the accompanying entitlement for a lounge pass.
Entebbe, well is Entebbe, functional, probably three times the size of the Pearl Lounge in Kigali, also offering free internet access, hot and cold drinks and even toasted sandwiches, made to order, a relief for those who dread the wrapped species kept in fridges or in transparent containers.
The Kenya Airways lounges at JKIA are bursting at the seams, again, as a result of more flights, more premium class passengers and more SkyTeam partners now coming to Nairobi, but an extension of the upstairs lounge is soon to be opened, again doubling the available space to give some peace and quiet even during peak connection times. During my last transit enroute to the Seychelles, I found the available spread of snacks at 7 a.m. a little frugal, and certainly of lesser variety than I recall from previous visits, perhaps something which needs looking into, especially considering the rather appealing menus available when flying with Kenya Airways in business class.
Seychelles another world, even at their airport lounge which as during previous visits presented itself as smart, clean and calm, the double glazing of the windows overlooking the runway and apron keeping all the noises out.
A centre piece business centre offers 4 desktop screens for internet access, which for users of laptops or handheld devices also comes via wireless connection, and a little buffet set up has a variety of snacks, sandwiches, finger food and even a cheese board available, plus a decent wine selection, savoir vivre on the ground before taking to the skies. Compliments to them for keeping that little gem in good shape and their friendly staff ever ready to rush to ones side the moment a head turns more than once or twice .
Hotel lounges are quite different in their function and for access. Some of Nairobis leading hotels have residents lounges where all residents can enter, read papers, have a cup of tea in some cases chargeable and move away from the public areas which tend to become busy in particular if the hotel restaurants and bars are popular with the locals. From experience I know that few hotels have a better set up than the InterContinental Hotel, where on the 6th floor, also the hotels Executive Floor a separate lounge is accessible for guests staying on the 06th, have the hotels loyalty card or else occupy one of the suites.
Wireless internet, coffee, tea and soft drinks plus juices all day and snacks, both hot and cold during meal times, i.e. breakfast, lunch and dinner are available and a happy hour from 6 to 8 p.m. goes a step further and rewards guest loyalty with free beers, wine and a selection of spirits. The Executive Club Lounge also features a meeting room which can be booked through the staff at the lounge, who also do check ins, check outs, sort out airport transfers and generally act like a personal concierge.
Such facilities definitely contribute to making a business visit to Nairobi a success and many chance meetings with fellow travelers have subsequently yielded results, simply by having opted for the right hotel with the right facilities.
Time to end this story, happy hour time coming up and next time, see you right here, on the 6th floor of the Nairobi InterContinental Hotel.