Review: Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver Airport

Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver Airport
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Hello from Sicily! This past week I flew from Vancouver to Frankfurt in Lufthansa first class (flight review to follow). I flew up from Seattle to Vancouver earlier in the day on Alaska, and had a roughly four hour layover before my flight to Frankfurt.

I flew Lufthansa first class from Vancouver to Munich last year, and knew they use the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge for their first and business class passengers in Vancouver. While it’s an okay lounge, it’s hardly anything special.

So this time upon landing I decided to check out the newly renovated Plaza Premium Lounge located at Vancouver Airport. I followed signs for international connections, and after clearing immigration found myself in the international departures terminal.

The Plaza Premium Lounge is located in Pier D, and is about a five minute walk from the Lufthansa gate.

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Vancouver Airport terminal

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Vancouver Airport terminal

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Vancouver Airport terminal

The lounge had its grand re-opening just a couple of months ago, so I was curious to check it out. The Plaza Premium Lounge is an independent lounge (the largest in all of Canada), so there are a few ways to access it:

  • You can get in using a Priority Pass membership (which is how I got in, since I’m a member through my American Express Platinum Card)
  • Several airlines use this as their contract lounge, including most of the Asian carriers flying to Vancouver
  • You can purchase access to the lounge at the cost of 40CAD for two hours, 50CAD for three hours, or 70CAD for six hours

The lounge had a sleek exterior, including a quasi-outdoor “patio.”

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Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver Airport exterior

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Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver Airport entrance

At the reception desk my Priority Pass card was swiped, and after a quick signature I was invited in.

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Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver Airport entrance

So for a contract lounge this was really nice, I thought. As you’d expect for a newly re-opened lounge, the furniture was in immaculate condition, and it was actually nicely decorated. There was tons of seating, though towards the beginning of my stay in the lounge it was pretty crowded, given that several of the Asian airlines had flights leaving in the early afternoon.

There were three large general seating areas with “lounge” style seating.

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Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver Airport seating

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Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver Airport seating

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Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver Airport seating

The one on the far left of the lounge had a sign indicating it was for “Sky Priority” passengers, so I guess was reserved for passengers departing on China Southern, China Eastern, and KLM, all of which had flights around that time.

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Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver Airport seating

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Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver Airport seating

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Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver Airport seating

Then on the opposite end of the lounge were some communal tables.

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Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver Airport seating

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Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver Airport seating

There was also a business center there, which seemed pretty basic for a new lounge, with just three PCs and no privacy.

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Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver Airport business center

Then at the far end of the lounge was a dining area.

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Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver Airport dining area

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Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver Airport dining area

There was a buffet set up there with coffee and juice machines, along with snacks, including muffins, pastries, samosas, etc.

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Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver Airport snacks

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Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver Airport snacks

There were more substantial food offerings next to it, including made to order fish ball soup and noodles.

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Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver Airport made to order food

Then there were a couple of types of soup, as well as a few hot and cold dishes, including salad, fruit, noodles, etc.

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Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver Airport buffet

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Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver Airport buffet

Soft drinks were self serve.

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Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver Airport drinks

Back near the entrance of the lounge was some “patio” seating, which I found rather unique. It was a bit awkward because everyone walking through the terminal walked right past you, but I still liked the change of scenery. Besides, it meant I could watch every international crew that walked by to board their flights.

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Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver Airport exterior seating

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Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver Airport exterior seating

Back near the entrance was a “cafe” area, with a similar buffet to what was found in the dining area.

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Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver Airport cafe

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Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver Airport buffet

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Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver Airport buffet

What made it rather unique was that there was a “case” with sweets, so if you wanted anything to eat they’d serve it to you. On one hand I thought that was a really nice touch, though on the other hand the snacks didn’t seem any higher quality than what you’d get in any other lounge. I appreciated the idea behind it, though.

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Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver Airport cafe

There was also an espresso machine, where you could order lattes, cappuccinos, etc.

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Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver Airport cafe

Alcoholic drinks were also available in the cafe area. The alcoholic beverage selection read as follows:

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Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver Airport cafe drink menu

In terms of the views, the lounge overlooked the tarmac. Not amazing views, but not half bad views either.

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Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver Airport view

Bottom line

For a Plaza Premium contract lounge I thought this was especially impressive.

The lounge was nicely decorated and practical. I do wish they had more outlets around the seating, and also wish they had a real business center with cubicles, but all things considered I thought they did a great job.

While the food wasn’t gourmet, it was extensive for a contract lounge, especially since they had made to order noodles and soup, as well as a “cafe” area.

I was originally going to spend the first half of my layover at the Plaza Premium Lounge and the second half at the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge, but in the end I decided just to stick around this one since the internet connection was fairly fast and seating comfortable.

Kudos to Plaza Premium for this one…

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About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

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Comments

  1. Thanks for posting this. We’ve walked by it a number of times and will again next week on our way to SYD. The YVR MLLs will do quite nicely for us, thank you.

  2. The International departure area is inaccessible from the American one, isn’t it? I.e. no access when returning to the States… šŸ™

  3. Interested to hear about your boarding experience with Lufthansa First.
    In Denver 2 weeks ago, it was Horrible. Incompetent.

  4. Agree. We had a flight a few weeks ago – Vancouver – FRA and we went into the maple leaf and this lounge. Maple Leaf was good compared to US lounges but we thought this lounge was great. Made to order sandwiches and coffee drinks were especially nice.

  5. That lounge looks nicer than a lot of airline lounges, and the spread better than a lot of hotels I’ve stayed.

    I have always wondered though about that “timed” entry thing – do they make you wear a blaze orange sticker saying “Hello, My name is Ben and My access to the lounge expires at 14:32” ? šŸ™‚

  6. As an aside, since you also did this awhile ago. We were on the LH 747 in First Class. The crew were terrible. Flight was still good of course, just not great.
    One funny moment a few hours into the flight – the FA walks by and takes my empty water glass. What? I had to push the call button to ask for more water. Flight back to SEA was terrific crew.

  7. Nice report, nice lounge. The AC MLL at YVRInt’l is a zoo since too many flights leave at the same midday hour, good to know there’s now an alternative if flying STAR or SKYTEAM (CX lounge is my alternate for OW flying, which is only BA or CX). Reminds me of the new Plaza Premium lounge at HKG I used when flying MH a while back. That one was not a upscale as the CX Pier but had a fine selection of food and quiet corners.

    BTW while PP do run a group of lounges at major Canadian airports (in association with Amex), it’s a Hong Kong based company. They also operate an Arrivals Lounge at HKG on the lower level which is great if you arrive too early for your airline’s check-in to have opened and you must check bags (and couldn’t do it at the city centre departure points).

    AC MLLs often get too crowded so these are handy alternatives at YYZ T1 (Domestic, Transborder and International), YYZ T3 (Domestic and Int’l) and YEG (Domestic/International). With Amex and Priority Pass out of their AA lounge contracts, it would be nice for PP to open a Transborder lounge at YYZ T3.

    GARRETT: Correct, at YVR you can’t get to the Int’l departure area from the Transborder (US) departure area. Once you enter the gates for US flights at most all Canadian airports you’re technically in the USA having pre cleared US immigration/customs. Up until recently there was just a STAR lounge, the AC MLL, but another new PP has opened to serve this area. (And there’s one in the Domestic wing.)

  8. Out of curiosity, how do they enforce the time limit you’re given when you pay to enter? Do they actually send lounge agents around to kick people out?

  9. There is a different plaza lounge in YVR for US departures. We were there this past Saturday. The food & drink selection was the same. The club itself is smaller.

  10. Should have seen it when it was under renovation. The temporary lounge they had set-up was a complete disaster. Guested my friends in and they laughed at what was essentially a fenced off part of the terminal with some cookies and softdrinks.

    Glad the new one was worth the wait.

  11. @ Kevin — Hah, wondered that as well. No one seemed to be enforcing anything, though I suppose it’s possible there weren’t any “hourly” guests in the lounge when I was there.

  12. Much nicer than the MLL in the US departures area!

    MLL has worthless internet. YVR free internet was much better.

  13. I hope you tease us with some pics of Sicily in addition to the coverage of the air and hotel aspects of your journey. Bring it on! šŸ˜‰

  14. Looks pretty good for a contract lounge. Nice that we can get in with Priority Pass Select (what you get with Amex Plat).

  15. But I love the AC US lounge so much…. staff talking on their cell phones, yelling from the kitchen, using the computer terminals, collecting the glasses and dishes in the loudest way possible. Such a den of relaxation! Plus it’s so clean… not.

  16. Just an addendum…
    This lounge features shower facilities and nap rooms. The showers come at no extra cost with the Priority Pass; however, the nap rooms incur a surcharge as posted on the reception desk.

  17. Hi Lucky (Ben)

    I’m visiting the international side of Vancouver Airport later this year, and I’m wondering on your thoughts if it’s worth paying the $40 CAD (or more) of lounge access?
    I understand Vancouver Airport offers free-wifi and some other perks, some I’m wondering if its still worth it.

    Thanks for your help!

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