Plaza Premium Priority Pass Lounge Rio:
We were very excited when the new Terminal 2 finally re-opened at Rio’s Galeao International Airport (GIG), after a lengthy refurbishment. Along with an annoying large duty-free shop, new restaurants and shops, there are some new lounges as well.
On our previous trip out of Rio, we visited the new American Airlines Admirals Club – which we loved. We didn’t have time to visit the Plaza Premium Priority Pass Lounge next door as well, but on our trip to Disney, we made sure we would be able to give it a proper review.
After being so impressed with the Admirals Club (and previously disappointed with the old Priority Pass lounge), we thought we would only need to stop in to take pictures and then move on. However, the new Plaza Premium lounge was so nice we almost spent our entire time there. We would have, had it not been for one major fault…more on that later.
How To Get Access
Thanks to Caline’s Citi Prestige card, we have a Priority Pass Select membership. She is allowed to bring two guests with her into over 1,000 lounges around the world, including the new Plaza Premium Lounge in Rio.
Plaza Premium is an independent network of lounges that grants access to Priority Pass members. If you don’t have a membership, current rates are $65 for two hours or $92 for five hours. A bit steep in my opinion.
Airport Lounge Options
As I mentioned in my review of the new Admirals Club, there were two lounges that were available in the international departures section of Terminal 2. However, since our trip, it appears that Star Alliance has finally opened their lounge as well.
All lounges are next to each other on the third floor after you pass through immigrations, duty free, and Ben & Jerry’s (!).
If you are traveling with a stroller, you should take the elevators located behind the escalators up to level three. When the elevator doors open, you will be directly in front of Plaza Premium Priority Pass Lounge.
If you keep walking down the hall you will pass the Admirals Club and the new Star Alliance lounge.
After a quick swipe of Caline’s Priority Pass card, we walked into the 14,000 square foot lounge and tried to decide on the best place to sit.
There are plenty of excellent choices to get comfortable while enjoying this lounge. There is everything from barstools to restaurant style booths, to mini business center pods, sofas, and even fully reclined lounge chairs overlooking the runway.
We settled into some comfy armchairs with access to outlets, small tables and room for Emily to burn some energy.
The atmosphere is a bit more luxurious that the Admirals Club. The darker tones and dimmed lighting made for a more relaxing time compared to the almost sterile, hospital-style lights next door.
There also appeared to be an outdoor deck overlooking the runway, however, the door was locked – hopefully only because it was raining.
If you are looking to take a shower before your flight, there did appear to be some available, however, I forgot to snap some pics. There are also some smaller rooms that you can reserve if you need to have a meeting.
This is where the Plaza Premium Priority Pass Lounge really separates itself from the Admirals Club, the food.
While we were impressed at the jump in quality of the Admirals Club, we quickly realized that if we wanted something substantial to eat before a flight, it would be at the Plaza Premium Priority Pass Lounge.
With multiple food stations (with cooks behind the lines) spread across the lounge, there is a little something for everyone.
For main plates, there was a nice selection including pasta, rice pilaf, chicken fajitas, roasted potatoes, and more. All were surprisingly good.
On the other side of the lounge was a salad and dessert bar loaded up with cakes and fruits there were also delicious.
One of the things I like about the Admirals Club is the self-service bar. It is just quicker, and the selection is a tad better. However, the Plaza Premium did do a very nice job with their bar. It is a gorgeous centerpiece of the lounge, and everything on the limited menu is complimentary.
While a lot of money was invested in the lounge (specifically, the bar), the drinks themselves were all low to mid-shelf at best.
To play it safe, I ordered a chopp (which almost always means a Brahma draft beer), which was actually really good. A chopp Brahma is a staple when getting drinks in Brazil but goods ones are often hard to find. I was skeptical about getting a decent pour at an airport lounge, but I was pleasantly surprised.
Caline was not as lucky, as her choice of the only red wine was not as tasty.
No Kids Room!
This was the killer part for us. There was no kids room! This lounge had it all going for us, great staff, good food, good beer, great seating, and great atmosphere. But there was nowhere for Emily to play without (potentially) bothering anyone.
We were so impressed with the kid’s room next door, that all we could think about was how much more Emily would enjoy her time there.
TIP: Having a happy toddler before an overnight flight is essential to a smooth evening!
So after about an hour of munching and taking photos, we ended up moving next door.
Overall the Plaza Premium Priority Pass Lounge is an excellent spot to relax before a flight. If you have Priority Pass, it is a no brainer and worth a visit since it is hardly out of the way.
For anyone traveling without kids, it is hard to argue there is a better lounge available at GIG. Perhaps the new Star Alliance is nicer, but this lounge checked off almost all of the boxes.
For those of us traveling with little ones in tow, it is still an excellent choice – especially for the food options. However, not having a kids room was a bit of a disappointment – especially knowing how nice the one is just a few steps down the hall.
Next time we are flying out of Rio we will most certainly start at the Plaza Premium Priority Pass Lounge and then move down to the Admirals Club for a drink and some time in the kid’s room!
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