Introduction: A Quick Jaunt On Saudia, Jet, And Tunisair
Review: Korean Air First Class Lounge New York JFK Airport
Review: Saudia First Class 777-300ER New York To Riyadh
Review: Saudia First Class Lounge Riyadh Airport
Review: Saudia First Class 777-300ER Riyadh To Dubai
Review: Hyatt Regency Dubai Creek Heights
Review: Marhaba Lounge Dubai Airport
Review: SkyTeam Lounge Dubai Airport
Review: Jet Airways Business Class 737 Dubai To Mumbai
Review: GVK Lounge Mumbai Airport
Review: Jet Airways First Class 777-300ER Mumbai To London
Review: Yotel London Heathrow Terminal 4
Review: SkyTeam Lounge London Heathrow Airport
Review: Tunisair A320 Business Class London To Tunis
Review: Sheraton Tunis
Review: Tunis Airport Lounge
Review: Tunisair Business Class A330 Tunis To Montreal
My flight from Dubai arrived shortly before 8PM, while my connecting flight to London was departing at 1:45AM. At the door of the plane I was met by two Jet Airways representatives, who would be escorting me to the departures area. This is an area where Air India also excelled, when I connected with them in first class at Delhi Airport.
A porter carried my bags, while another person escorted me. It was a long walk from the arrival gate to transit security, and even walking at a fast pace it took over 10 minutes. On the plus side, there was no queue at the security checkpoint. I suppose perhaps it would have been more interesting if there were, to see if they could offer a line cut.
Eventually I was through security (which was thorough), and found myself in the gorgeous Terminal 2 departures area.
At this point the escort said “you can use the GVK Lounge, but only four hours before departure. We will pick you up again when it is time to board for London” Okay, so on one hand I guess I can’t blame Jet Airways for that, since they’re using a contract lounge that presumably has rules they have to comply with. At the same time, being picked up planeside by two people and then being told you don’t have lounge access yet is a bit unusual.
So I briefly used a Priority Pass lounge to get caught up on work, and then at 9PM headed over to the GVK Lounge. Technically this was 4hr45min before departure, but ultimately I’d be in the lounge for less than four hours, so…
As I hinted at above, Mumbai Airport has an interesting lounge setup. Rather than having each airline operate their own first & business class lounge, they have a shared lounge for all passengers. Typically I find contract lounges to be underwhelming, since the lounge operator doesn’t have all that much of an incentive to provide a great experience. However, this was very different.
The lounge had a grand entrance, with the reception desk located immediately inside the entrance. The associate checking me in didn’t bat an eyelid at my arrival time, and as I was in first class, she walked me into the lounge, provided me a brief explanation of the services, etc.
She also stamped my boarding pass to indicate that I was in first class. In a bit I’ll talk more about what special privileges first class passengers get, but in the meantime everything I’ll share is open to both business and first class passengers.
The lounge had a lovely design for a variety of reasons:
- There were many different seating zones, depending on what you prefer
- The lounge had a bunch of partitions between zones to add a sense of privacy
- The decor was gorgeous and had a sense of place
Inside the entrance was the main room of the lounge.
There were several more seating areas. I’ll let the pictures mostly speak for themselves.
The lounge also had several massage chairs, which looked inviting, except for how disgusting the area was where you place your head, as it was discolored — you’d think they’d place disposable covers there, like they do on airplanes.
Then there was a small business center with some iMacs and a printer.
There was also a gorgeous bar, with alcoholic drinks, freshly made coffee drinks, etc.
The bathrooms in the lounge were very well maintained, probably thanks to the full time bathroom attendant stationed inside the bathroom. While I appreciate a clean bathroom, I always find it a bit awkward when there’s someone “stationed” in there.
I figured I’d get a shower in shortly after arriving in the lounge, and fortunately that was available.
The shower room was large and well designed, and the shower had good temperature control and water pressure.
There were individual bottles of shampoo and shower gel, as well as body lotion.
In terms of food, the lounge had a buffet that all passengers had access to, which looked solid.
You could either grab food at the buffet and go into the rest of the lounge, or else there was a dedicated dining area.
If you’re traveling in first class, you have access to a dedicated sit-down restaurant, located at the far end of the lounge. To get in you have to show your stamped boarding pass.
The dining area had about a dozen tables, along with about half a dozen seats for relaxing. This area was also quieter than the rest of the lounge, and for the entire time I was there, I was the only passenger.
I was quickly greeted by a very nice server who presented me with a menu. He asked if he could get me something to drink, and I ordered a glass of champagne. They serve Moet & Chandon, which is pretty nice for a contract lounge.
I was also asked if I wanted a fresh coconut. How cool is that?!
I was presented with the super extensive menu, which read as follows:
I asked the server for recommendations (stating my general preference for Indian food) about what to order, which may have been a mistake. I’m excited about Indian food when I’m in India, though I realize he may be more excited about Western food, given that he probably eats Indian food all the time.
So I figured I’d split the difference to really test the quality of the food, and ordered a Western starter and Indian main.
For my starter I ordered the pan fried sage and ricotta gnocchi. The dish was good, but it wasn’t amazing.
The same is true of the main course I ordered, which was the non-veg tandoori platter.
I had a side of garlic naan to go along with it.
For dessert I ordered the signature chocolate molten cake, per the server’s recommendation. It was pretty good, though I regretted not getting an Indian dessert instead.
The service in the restaurant was great. The guy serving me was so friendly, and clearly very proud of the service they provided, which was nice to see. However, he also said towards the end of the meal “if you want to give me something, that is fine too.” That’s not especially tactful, if you ask me…
He also asked if I could fill out a “feedback form,” which consisted of him handing me an iPad with a blank page in the “Notes” app.
His shift was over towards the end of the meal, and the lady replacing him was attentive as well. Three minutes later she asked if I could provide some feedback, and when I said I had already done so, service became a bit less attentive.
I know in India “feedback” in the service industry is important, but as a customer I found the whole thing a bit uncomfortable. Still, overall the service was great, and this is such a cool thing for them to offer in the first place.
One of the other cool features of this lounge is that it has a spa. Business class passengers get a complimentary 15 minute treatment, while first class passengers get a complimentary 30 minute treatment.
In addition to the complimentary treatments, you can pay for a longer treatment:
I asked about scheduling my 30 minute treatment, and the lady at reception tried quite aggressively to upsell me. “You still have time before flight, why don’t you get longer treatment?” “I still have work to do before the flight, I don’t have that much time.” “Oh c’mon you deserve to relax.”
Eventually she agreed to schedule me the 30 minute complimentary treatment. I asked for a foot massage, which was done in a shared area with several seats next to one another. Fortunately it was empty when I got my massage, because earlier I had seen people loudly talking on their phone while getting massages, which I would have found annoying.
The massage was great, though once again at the end of the treatment my therapist tried to upsell me again. “Do you want to extend?” “No that’s fine, thank you.” “Are you sure?”
After my massage I ordered an Americano and decided to work a bit longer.
At around 12:45AM the Jet Airways porter and escort came back to fetch me and bring me to my departure gate. My flight was departing from gate 72, located at the far end of the concourse.
It was about a 10 minute walk, and right as I arrived boarding began, at around 12:55AM.
GVK Lounge Mumbai bottom line
This is easily the nicest contract lounge I’ve ever been to. Mumbai Airport did an incredible job with this lounge, as it’s a treat for both business and first class passengers. The complimentary massage for all passengers, as well as sit down dining area for first class passengers, is awesome.
The lounge has a few areas for improvement — I found the service to be pushy, the food quality could have been a bit better, etc. — but all around this is an awesome lounge.
If you’ve visited the GVK Lounge Mumbai, what was your experience like?