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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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’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.
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.
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!).
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.
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.