ESCAPE LOUNGE (UK | Essex | Stansted | Airport Lounge)

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A successful airport lounge at Stansted has to be able to balance offering a peaceful environment for those wanting a quiet area for those wanting to work before a flight, as well as having an enticing alcohol offer for excitable groups before their holiday.

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Guests from most lounge pass schemes are welcome, as well as walk-up visitors to the lounge. For those who just walk-up to the lounge there is now a charge of £27.50, or £22.50 for those who have pre-booked, as the prices went up on 1 April 2017.

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The large lounge is colourful, clean and spacious which makes it a welcome break from the busy main terminal just a short walk away. The toilet situation isn’t though ideal, as there are just three individual cubicles and these are situated near to the lounge entrance. These are usually reserved for those with disabilities or changing children, but customers often use them to save themselves the walk to the public facilities upstairs.

There are sufficient staff available, and they’re professional in their appearance and seem well-trained. Staff seem to frequently walk through the lounge to ensure that it remains clean and tidy, whilst it’s easy to get their attention. There is free wi-fi throughout the lounge, although it’s necessary to ask the staff for the password, and this is fast and easy to connect to. There are power points around the lounge, including by the larger tables, but when the lounge is busy then it’s usually necessary to ask the staff for assistance.

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Some items from the free breakfast menu, which are all serve yourself. These are restocked on a regular basis and there are coffee machines in two locations in the lounge, and there is rarely a queue to use them. Alcoholic drinks are served from the bar by a staff member, and most beers, wines and spirits are free, but there is a surcharge for some premium options.

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The breakfast menu which shows the free items on the left, and the chargeable items on the right. The staff confirmed that individuals should order one item at a time, but that they could go back later and order another free item if they wished. The bacon and sausage baps were served quickly, within around five minutes, at the appropriate hot temperature. The bap was fresh and the bacon and sausage were both of a very reasonable quality.

For those arriving after 11am, there is the day-time and evening menu. Basic items remain free of charge, and there is a varied and interesting selection of sandwiches and salads. The chargeable items are perhaps though a little expensive, given that they’re on top of the cost of entering the lounge. The process for ordering food is also a little clunky, as the lounge doesn’t use table numbers, so staff can be seen trying to work out who has ordered which dish when it’s brought over.

For those wanting to take a bottle of water or snacks out of the lounge, then this isn’t permitted and there are signs warning against it. The lounge uses glass bottles, even for water, so it would be difficult to easily take them away. There is though chilled water available for those who want to pour it into their own bottles.

Overall, this is a professionally managed lounge and is accessible with most lounge cards. For those without limited lounge access then there is often a charge of around £15, and for the free food and drinks, wi-fi and power then this is a comfortable place to be. The walk-up charge of £27.50 is though expensive, and probably too expensive for many, especially given that more substantial food items are chargeable. For those who value the peace, the lounge is certainly though worth considering, but pre-booking is recommended to get better value.