The newest lounge at Liverpool airport; simply a stop off for the glitteratzy or a practical launch pad for the migrating masses? Well, that’s what I went to find out.
Tuesday 29th May 2012 saw the opening night of the Aspire Lounge at Liverpool John Lennon Airport, and I was there to sup the free Champagne and witness its unveiling.
But while the crowds of agents hobnobbed amid the sparkles of flash photography, I managed only to vaguely nod and smile my way through the evening, not really sure if I fitted the scene, or what I might gain from being there. After all, an airport lounge is surely not something I would be likely to use in the future, nor did I expect to be writing this blog about it.
However, perhaps all was not lost on my stiletto-clad self.
Some flutes of fizzy in, I got chatting with a couple of the big names behind the brand, and learnt that this stylish setting was the 2012 fledgling of the well established brand, Servisair, and replaced the dim and outdated airport lounge that preceded it.
This atmospheric yet airy space, with large, glass-fronted walls, has been designed to dazzle passing travellers and, as such, takes a central position in the airport at the bottom of the escalator after security. A prime position to lure you in.
Not only do the glass walls let you have a good old nosey in beforehand, kind of like a ‘try-before-you-buy’, but the self-serve policy inside makes you almost feel at home. There’s just probably more on offer here than in your own kitchen cupboards!
Free-for-all bar snacks, hot and cold food, jugs of juices and optics of alcohol, are all there for the taking. There’s also free wifi throughout – perfect for the average businessperson and online gamer alike. Simply find a table, open up your laptop and feel at home in the soft, comfy chairs.
The point about Aspire is that they want Joey Average to enjoy it here, and to bring the kids along too. Children of all ages are permitted, and you can no doubt keep a far better eye on them in here than if they were let loose in the main departure lounge!
The only prerequisite to enjoying it however, is good bladder control. Unfortunately there are no loos within the lounge so, unless you can hold it until your flight, you will have to put down your sarnie and use the public facilities in the main airport. But, saying that, they’re only around the corner so you’ll be back at your seat in no time.
The contemporary décor of muted greys and flashes of fuchsia are designed to reflect the vibrancy of the average traveller. Yet a far more exciting celebration of this venue’s accessibility awaited us. Little did we know that that it would be one of us who would officially open it!
Forget the elite culture of celebrity guests; this time, it was anyone’s chance to shine, and we all crossed our fingers and held our breath as Craig Richmond, CEO of Peel Airports, pulled a single name from a hat.
“Lesley Martin-Wright, Chief Executive of Knowsley Chamber of Commerce” was the lucky lady to have her name drawn, and, as the official opener, she will have her name engraved on the commemorative plaque.
So while the rest of us secretly sulked, we good-naturedly agreed that it was an apt way to promote the ‘everyman’ culture of the Aspire Lounge.
I have to say, the relaxed, open atmosphere of the lounge genuinely surprised me – it really shakes off the aloof stereotype and encourages you to interact with the space. It’s almost like you’re hosting your own pre-flight dinner party, but without the washing up!