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REVIEW: Admirals Club Rio Airport

REVIEW: Admirals Club Rio Airport
Series: Honeymoon - South America

This Admirals club at Rio de Janeiro Galeão International Airport, also known as Carlos Jobim International Airport, is one of the nicest lounges I have been in. The only thing that could have made it better was a few attendants.

Introduction

After a wonderful, if exhausting time in Rio and at Carnival, we were heading to Cuzco in Peru, via an overnight stop at an airport hotel (yuk!) in Lima, on our way to explore the magic of the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu.

It was a late departing flight leaving at 6:55 pm local time. We spent a leisurely morning at the hotel, packing, ready to store our bags and headed out to lunch at a branch of the chain cafe Gula Gula at Ipanema beach. We returned to the hotel to meet our driver and head to the airport, arriving at about 4:30pm.

Check-In Hall, Galeão International Airoprt, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

At the Airport

We progressed through passport control and check-in without incident and were directed to the American Airlines Admirals Club, which is on level 3 of the semi-circular Terminal 2.

It’s a bit of a hike, but there is some lovely wall art. I particularly like this outline of Rio’s skyline.

Location

The lounge is on the same level as the check-in area, and is grouped with other VIP lounges.

It’s clearly marked with American Airways and OneWorld branding.

Access

We gained access because of OneWorld Emerald status. The lounge is accessible to OneWorld Emerald and Sapphire status members, as well as qualifying AAdvantage Executive Platinum, Platinum Pro and Platinum members departing on international flights marketed and operated by American Airlines or OneWorld airlines.

View of main entrance from inside the Lounge

Design

The Lounge is divided into a series of ‘rooms’, running off the left hand side of the main corridor. Each is slightly different offering variety in seating and amenity.

Service such as bathrooms and food preparation run off the corridor to the right.

This is a bright, airy contemporary lounge full of single seats and paired seats around large ‘coffee’ tables. Each seating area is divided from its neighbour by a waist-high wall, and pierced white pale wood framed screen. This device both provides a sense of privacy while adding to the feeling of airiness. Each of the seating areas is slightly different. The central one is open, while some others are more intimate with separate groupings of lounges.

Single seats are bordered by occasional tables, and plinths with power outlets, suitable for the road warrior.

Along the opposite wall to the corridor, is a dramatic view of the tarmac, and the mountains beyond.

Along the window is a desk level bench with comfortable bucket seats. Some parts of the bench are punctuated by translucent privacy screens, while others are more open. Each section has power points, and a reminder of the WiFi access details.

At the far end, the room is set up as a bar and restaurant, with drinks, food, restaurant style and bar style seating.

The artworks are photo studies of the patterned pavements of Rio’s Copacabana Beach designed by landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx in the 1970’s.

At the opposite end of the lounge is a glass partitioned play area for kids.

The playroom is brightly coloured, and still provides views of the tarmac for those little devils, or undersized avgeeks.

The overall design is very good. Contemporary in look and feel, while providing everything you need in a lounge, from the practical provision of power points and work areas, through to food and beverage.

The alcohol selection was limited, but had all the essentials, especially to make a gin and tonic

Food & Drink

This is organised at one end of the lounge and provides a very good selection of cold and hot food, and a self serve selection of wines and spirits, and a fridge of beer and non-alcoholic beverages.

The images below are roughly in order, starting with a general view of the right hand side of the buffet.

First off cold items, sandwiches, cold meats and cheese.

Followed by non-alcoholic refreshments, flavoured water, orange juice and coffee.

Next up some sweat treats, cakes and tarts.

A warmer, keeping bread and other savoury items hot.

On the opposite wall, another automated coffee machine, with hot water, teas and garnishes.

Next up, on the other side is the hot food section. Everything from Hamburger patties to soups and stews, all on hotplates.

The final section is sandwiches, olives, cheese, fruit, deserts and other nibbles.

And finally some sweetmeats and trail-mix filled ramekins, plus fresh fruit – although plastic wrapped apples felt a little confronting.

Overall, the food offering was exceptional catering for a large variety of palettes and preferences. I was pretty impressed by the selection.

Bathrooms

A corridor off the main part of the lounge led to the bathrooms. I liked the bright digital artwork on the walls, taken from the carnival parade.

The bathrooms had a bit of a public urinal type of feel, probably because of those brickwork laid out wall tiles. It was clean, although, the white tiles and grout made the bathrooms look a little weathered.

The bathrooms came with shower facilities (not shown).

WiFi

Access details were dotted on signage around the lounge. Speed was OK, and I did a little work while we were in the lounge.

Comfort

This is an extremely comfortable lounge, although it is not large. We were the only people in the lounge for most of the hour and a half or so we spent there. I’m not sure what it would be like if it was full, or you had to spend longer there. You wouldn’t go hungry for one thing.

Departure

This was a good start to that netherworld of travel which is the stopover airport hotel on the way to your final destination. I usually try to avoid these kinds of transfers between destinations. I find them unnerving, not to mention time wasting, and tell me when you last stayed in an airport hotel you loved?

2PAXfly Takeout

The quality of this lounge came as a surprise. It was a pleasant way to spend an hour or so waiting for our flight. The design was contemporary, and the division of the space into several rooms made it more intimate.

The lounge area, where we spent most of our time was quite comfortable, but I think that was partly because we were the only people there for most of our stay.

The food selection was large and diverse, the best I have seen for a while in a modest sized lounge. The only slight letdown was the bathroom area. It looked like they got skipped over in the last refresh. They were a little white and stark, and the aged grout made them seem slightly seedy, even though they weren’t.

All round, a fairly impressive lounge, with great tarmac views.

Other Posts in the Series
<< Review: Sol Ipanema Hotel

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