Edinburgh Airport: Aspire Lounge Review

As someone who used to live in Edinburgh, I’ve been to the Edinburgh Airport Aspire Lounge dozens of times. Today’s review is based on my most recent four-hour stay in Mid-May 2019.

The lounge is located just past Gate 5. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying

Located just past Gate 5 and next to the British Airways Lounge, the Aspire is a roughly a three to five minute walk after you pass security. After arriving airside, everyone funnels through the World Duty Free shop but once you’re through it’s 30-45 seconds away.

Aspire at EDI is one of two contract lounges. The other one is the No.1 Lounge. Both are available to Priority Pass holders but after once going to No.1, I decided that I liked the Aspire Lounge better.

The small reception area of the lounge. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying

As with almost all contract lounges, you are required to pull out your boarding pass and of course Priority Pass (or method of payment). At busier times this can take a little while, and the front reception area is quite small. The team of staff at Aspire don’t seem to be copious.

Seating

After being accepted, you’ll walk further in, past a few secluded workstation desks and through to an open area complete with various types of seating: restaurant booths, coffee tables, and bar tables.

In fact, go past the food station and the space opens up even more. Here you’ll find additional seating, with a few looking down on the vehicle pick-up/drop-off area of the airport (not quite as nice as looking out on the tarmac, but a view at least).

Workstation seating. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying
So much comfortable seating. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying
The words in the image say it all. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying
The window overlooking the passenger drop-off area. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying
Seating is quite plentiful at this lounge. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying
Tables and chairs at “bar height”. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying

Food

Food options are decent here, for a lounge and airport of its size. Unlike the Air France Salons Terminal 2F, this lounge serves hot food. At breakfast it’s always scrambled eggs, tomatoes and sausages. Lunch and dinner seem to often be pasta or a stew with rice. However, it’s nothing as elaborate as the Kuwait Airways Dasman lounge!

On this trip, the lounge had a delicious chicken and mushroom penne and a vegetarian chilli with rice. Shredded cheese was available as a topping (for either I guess?). Soup is just beside the main dishes. I think it’s most often a tomato soup with croutons available as a topping.

My favorite dish of the evening – the chicken-mushroom penne. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying
The vegetarian chilli, rice in the background. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying

Behind the hot food are bowls of fruit, breads, and pastries. Just around the corner you’ll find the salad bar and cold dishes. This is usually cold pasta, deli meats and cheeses, a couscous or quinoa salad, and some leafy greens. Again, selection is quite good for a lounge this small! The cheese included brie, cheddar, and a blue cheese.

Cold food options include salads, meats and cheeses. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying
Pastries and fruit opposite of the hot food. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying

Beverages

Beverage selection is great as well. In the self-serve fridge you’ll find juice, bottles of tonic water, and ginger ale. Above the fridge is a soda machine to dispense drinks like Pepsi or lemonade.

Just around the corner is my personal favorite: a sparkling and still water dispenser. I know it may not seem like a big deal to most people, but as someone who tries to limit consumption of single use plastics, it’s nice to just refill a glass with sparkling water at any time! The Air France lounge, on the other hand, serves small cans of Perrier and plastic bottles of Evian… too much unnecessary waste for my liking.

I love this sparkling water dispenser. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying
More bottled non-alcoholic drinks are located in a self-serve small fridge.

I’m not a big drinker but the alcoholic drink selection looked decent (see photos below). Guests have access to alcoholic drinks via a lounge bartender. Some premium drinks (including Prosecco) are only available at an additional cost.

Alcoholic drinks are available via a bartender. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying
The bar and selection of alcoholic beverages on display. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying

For hot beverages it’s the standard coffee machine and an average selection of tea; this lounge has multiple machines which is fantastic for accessibility.

Coffee, tea, and soft drinks are available here. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying
A second coffee/tea station located in another area of the lounge. Great for crowd control. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying

Overall vibe

I think this lounge hits the sweet spot in terms of lighting. There is decent amount of natural light coming in, but also some darker, more cosy corners. Nothing ever felt ‘too bright’ but there are areas that are properly lit to do some reading.

Staff clear away dishes and replenish food fairly regularly, and I’ve found them to be perfectly friendly. There are plenty of seating options, most of which are comfortable and have access to electricity (except for the seat next to the table in the image below!).

An unfortunate situation: A table with an incomplete/non-existent USB-charging apparatus. Next to it, an electrical outlet with that’s been jammed with some plastic rendering it non-functioning. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying

Conclusion

To wrap this up, I think the Aspire Lounge at EDI is great for its size! The Aspire at Heathrow’s T5 feels like an afterthought that was squeezed into some tiny, available space. The lounge is often overcrowded and making your way through fellow guests with a plate of food or some drinks is always risky. Thankfully, that doesn’t happen too much in Edinburgh.

For those without Priority Pass you can pay £26 to access the lounge. Online booking and payment is available. Photo: executivelounges.com

If you are a Priority Pass holder or want to treat yourself at a cost of £25.99, I would recommend this lounge. Have you been here? Let us know how your experience was and if it lines up with this review.

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