I had a late night flight out of Rome’s Fiumicino airport, and after spending an entire week in the city I was pretty happy to head to the airport early for a leisurely check-in, and then check out the lounges.
As I was travelling with friends, it was not possible for me to use the airline’s lounge, given that I could only guest one other person. That would have been rather anti-social (and I don’t really want to have to choose my favourite friend). So instead, we all went to the Plaza Premium lounge, since most of us had a Priority Pass card.
Plaza Premium is a very familiar name to many seasoned travellers. With a network of over 100 lounges across 44 airports, you will be bound to find one everywhere.
A little more about the Rome Plaza Premium lounge. This is a relatively new lounge, having opened back in April 2018. With a capacity to hold over 300 people, the 100 square metres lounge is also a pay-per-use lounge that any travelling passenger can use for a fee.
I got access to the lounge with my Priority Pass membership, which came complimentary with the Citi Prestige Mastercard. Unlike many other Singapore-issued credit cards that comes with a Priority Pass membership offering 2 to 4 complimentary visits a year, Citi Prestige’s card comes with unlimited entries for the member plus two guests.
If you don’t have Priority Pass, you can also purchase lounge access at the door at the following rates:
- 2 hours for EUR 40 (SGD60)
- 5 hours for EUR 75 (SGD112)
- 10 hours for EUR 120 (SGD180)
Also, the lounge offers a shower package at EUR 18 (SGD27), which can be pretty precious if you are going on a long-haul flight.
These are pretty hefty fees for lounge access, and as with many other reviews it’s really quite hard to tell how they enforce the time limits. Also, for EUR40, you can get a really decent meal at any other restaurants rather than the lounge (more on that later).
If you really want to check out the lounge and is willing to pay for it, you can also get a cheaper rate by purchasing them online on the airport’s website. You can also book it via Plaza Premium’s but it’s actually more expensive than the door rates, so please don’t.
The Plaza Premium Lounge is located at Terminal 3 at the E gates, which serves the international (non-Schengen) destinations. Located on the upper floor, the lounge is next to the British Airways lounge.
To find it, simply take the first escalator you find after walking through the first Aelia duty free section. At the top of the escalator, do a u-turn and you will see it.
Note that the lounge is located quite a distance from the gates, so be sure to cater sufficient time to walk to your gate. In particular, gates E30+ to 40+ require a monorail ride, so you will need at least 15 to 20 minutes.
When you first walk into the lounge after checking in, the first impression of Plaza Premium Lounge was pretty good: the lounge has a really beautiful space. Encased with a high ceiling, the lounge overlooks part of the tarmac which I presume will give it ample natural light during daytime.
The first area to greet you is a central dining area, with dining tables set up in either pairs or fours.
In case those are full, you can always seat yourself at the bar, which features ample space for dining as well.
If you prefer a more comfortable seat such as an armchair, there are plenty further in. These are perfect for groups, and each pair comes with a side table for your drink or a small plate of bites.
There are also suite-like armchairs at both corners of the lounge, which I think are perfect for solo travellers.
For those who need to get some last minute work done, there are several options. There are the individual cubicles that provide some level of privacy if you need to work on something confidential.
Alternatively, you can also perch on the communal tables with power sockets and USB charging ports at every seat.
While the lounge doesn’t offer nap rooms, you can always rest at some of these seats below nearer to the windows. They come with an ottoman, and I’ve seen people resting their legs on them and taking a nap. I would presume these are not great for naps during the daytime, though.
Food & beverages
Unlike some of the other Plaza Premium lounges I’ve visited, this particular lounge only offers a self-service buffet, and no cooked-to-order options. There is a pretty big range of cold foods, including an assortment of salads and pastries.
In terms hot food, there are some pasta dishes available, meatballs, lentils and a soup. There’s also some mini-pizzas available.
I tried the meatballs and lasagne, both of them were nowhere near great. The food looked like it has been put out for a while. The meatballs were a little too hard, and the lasagne was a little cold despite being under a warmer and somewhat mushy. I certainly didn’t return for seconds.
As for drinks, Plaza Premium Lounge offers a range of self dispensed soft drinks (they serve Pepsi Co products), as well as still and sparkling water. Complimentary alcohol is limited to beer and house wines (red, white and prosecco), which can be requested at the bar.
Unfortunately spirits and better wines are only available for purchase, starting from EUR 5 for an aperol spritz, to EUR 45 and upwards for a bottle of premium wine.
There are a couple of shower rooms available for use in the lounge, which you can request access for at the reception desk. When I visited at 7pm, there were no lines at all for showers.
A meeting room is also available at the lounge, although this was closed up when I was there. I cannot imagine why you will want to hold a meeting at the airport lounge, but just in case you are travelling on a company trip and you need an emergency private working space, why not?
Unfortunately the lounge doesn’t offer any nap rooms or sleeping pods, so if you are looking to take a nap or use the lounge overnight for an early morning start, you are left with the recliners.
Plaza Premium has really upped the game in the area of pay-per-use lounges, with more of more new lounges popping up not just in Asia, but across the world.
The lounge is beautifully furnished and is indeed a comfortable place for passengers to rest in, with one of the widest assortment of seating types for every kind of lounge user. The attention to detail when the lounge was built was also there, with power sockets available virtually everywhere.
However, what makes a perfect lounge experience is also the quality of the soft offerings.
Service standards are acceptable, but what I found lacking was in terms of the catering. While I don’t think it’s necessary to have cooked-to-order items, what I would have loved is for the lounge to have a better understanding of how some food items, particularly pasta, don’t stay very well if they are put out for too long. They would have done better offering cold foods, such as panini sandwiches that is pretty much ubiquitous in Italy. This is particularly true if customers are paying or lounge access, given that they can possibly spend their EUR 40 somewhere else and get a very decent meal.
Nonetheless, Plaza Premium Rome lounge is still a pretty solid offering for an independent lounge. I really like the space, and having a full bar is also a plus for me.
one of the vast expansion Plaza Premium has done in the last two years and the momentum is only going up. Most recently it has announced that it will invest US$100m in the coming years to enter new markets, including the US and a brand new 1260 square metres lounge in Dubai Terminal 3.