Early this morning I flew from Mumbai to London in Jet Airways first class. I was curious to see how the Jet Airways first class ground experience in Mumbai compared to the Air India first class ground experience in Delhi.
One thing that makes Mumbai Airport interesting is that airlines have a shared lounge for first and business class passengers. So regardless of whether you’re flying Air France, Air India, Jet Airways, Lufthansa, etc., all first & business class passengers have access to the same lounge.
In general an airline using a contract lounge is a recipe for disappointment. Contract lounges (those not run by the airlines themselves) are typically paid a fixed fee by the airline for their services, so they don’t have much of an incentive to create a great experience. After all, the lounge doesn’t represent the airline as such, so the lounge is trying to maximize revenue while keeping costs as low as possible.
I don’t remember ever being all that impressed by an airport lounge not being operated by an airline — sure, some are better than others, but none rank anywhere near the top 20 lounges in the world… except the GVK Lounge Mumbai Airport.
WOW! This lounge is legitimately gorgeous. While it won’t be everyone’s decor preference, the furnishings feel high end, and the lounge has tons of different zones so that there’s a sense of privacy.
The lounge has a beautiful bar with cocktails and an espresso machine.
Then there’s a dining area with a buffet that had food that actually looked good.
The lounge even has a spa, where business class passengers get a free 15 minute foot massage, while first class passengers get a free 30 minute foot massage. The treatment was excellent.
On top of that, the lounge has a roped off, a la carte dining area for first class passengers. The service in this section was fantastic, and I was the only person using it.
They had Moet champagne to drink. I was asked if I wanted some fresh coconut juice to go along with it, which I agreed to. Moments later there was an actual coconut on my table.
The lounge had a large selection of Asian (Indian, Thai, etc.) and Western dishes. I wanted to try different styles of food to get a better sense of the quality, so I ordered the pan fried sage and ricotta gnocchi to start.
Then for the main course I ordered the non-veg tandoori platter.
Lastly for dessert I ordered the molten chocolate cake, per the server’s recommendation (I would have ordered the ras malai, but he insisted this was better).
To be honest the food was decent/good(ish), but not incredible. It certainly wasn’t anywhere close to the quality you’d get in the Air France First Class Lounge Paris, not that I’d expect it to be. The fact that the lounge has a la carte dining and Moet champagne to begin with is great, so I can hardly complain.
The GVK Lounge Mumbai hugely exceeded my expectations. I had heard good things about it, but it was even better than that. I’d say it’s probably one of the top 20 lounges in the world. It’s great to see that even a contract lounge can be exceptional once in a while. It’s also nice the added features they have for first class passengers, including a la carte dining and an extended massage.
If you’ve visited the GVK Lounge Mumbai, what was your experience like?