Review: SkyTeam’s Stunning New Lounge in Vancouver
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To The Point
This might be the nicest Priority Pass lounge I’ve visited in North America. Pros: enough food for a meal, fresh and airy feel, ample power outlets and a self-serve wine bar with 13 choices. Cons: limited Western food options and not accessible for US-bound flights.
As someone who often travels in economy, Priority Pass lounges are sometimes my only option if I want to be a “lounge lizard.” On two recent trips from Vancouver (YVR) to Beijing (PEK) I visited a new Priority Pass lounge option at YVR that opened in November 2017: the SkyTeam Lounge.
This new SkyTeam Lounge — the first SkyTeam Lounge in the Americas — offers views of the terminal, runway and nearby mountains. It’s likely the best Priority Pass lounge I’ve been to in North America. As the name implies, it serves the airlines in the SkyTeam alliance, but it’s also open to Priority Pass members.
The SkyTeam Lounge is in YVR’s international terminal. However, since YVR is an US immigration preclearance facility, US-bound passengers depart from a separate area and don’t have access to this lounge.
After clearing security, you’ll see the SkyTeam Lounge on the left near Gate 53.
Check-in for this lounge is in the main terminal area. Two agents were manning the check-in desk during both of my visits, so check-in proceeded quickly.
I accessed the lounge for free using the Priority Pass membership that comes with my Chase Sapphire Reserve card, and you can even use your digital Priority Pass card. Although the Priority Pass Select membership that came with my Chase Sapphire Reserve doesn’t limit the number of guests, policies do vary for Priority Pass memberships. Some Priority Pass memberships charge per visit or per guest so make sure to understand the benefits of your membership before using it.
The lounge is also accessible to SkyTeam Elite Plus passengers, First and Business Class customers on SkyTeam airlines, and Lounge Club members. SkyTeam Elite Plus members can bring one complimentary guest.
The lounge is open 24 hours, daily.
The 5,600 square foot roofless and glass-walled lounge is located above terminal shops, and feels airy and open. It offers seating for 126 guests only, but it wasn’t too crowded on either of my visits.
After checking in on the terminal level, you take an elevator to the lounge level. The elevator opens to a hallway and a wall of magazine and newspaper offerings.
After the hallway there’s an office area with a computer and a few workstations on the right.
The next right leads to a wine bar and the following right leads into a seating area.
If you curve around to the right more you’ll find a secluded nook with two lounge chairs that would be good for napping.
From this area onward the lounge opens up into seating areas. There are many types of seating that range from comfortable lounge chairs to dining chairs and bar stools. Whether you want to sleep, relax, eat or work, there’s a place in the lounge for you.
At the far end of the lounge is the dining area.
A small hallway from the dining area leads to bathrooms and shower rooms.
The first amenities you’ll notice upon entering the lounge are newspapers and magazines. There were many options in English and other languages. The lounge serves many flights to Asia and hence has an Asian focus that’s noticeable in the reading choices, food options and clientele.
There are two single shower rooms, one of which is handicap accessible, across from the restrooms. Both shower rooms are open to either gender and don’t require a key — just lock the door to ensure your privacy. Each shower room also has a sink and toilet.
Although these shower rooms aren’t the type that necessarily get serviced between each guest, towels, shampoo, soap, razors, shower caps and a hair dryer are provided.
The lounge uses the @yvrairport wi-fi network. Surprisingly, I got a measly 3.25 Mbps download speed yet a fiery 86.28 Mbps upload speed.
Food and Beverage
The food buffet offers limited hot options: rice, orange chicken and congee with various toppings.
There are ample cold options including three types of smoked salmon, three types of cheese, three types of sandwiches, salads, fruits, dips, breads and desserts. All of the food was pretty good, but nothing in particular stood out.
There’s also a staffed window that serves shrimp or pork dumplings as well as noodle soup with wontons or fish balls. During one visit I verbally gave my order to a lady preparing the food while during my other visit I needed to fill out an order form. I ordered shrimp dumplings and noodle soup with wontons during my visits. Both were good, and better than the buffet food options.
There are six types of beer including three options from local microbreweries, various liquor choices, canned sodas, lime water and a self-serve coffee machine in the dining area.
The wine bar on the other side of the lounge is self-serve and includes 12 wines — six red, one rosé and five white — in taster machines. Most of the wines are from the Pacific Northwest. Although the machines theoretically allow small, medium and large pours, I found that they poured the same serving regardless of pour size chosen. A bottle of Gray Monk Odyssey sparkling wine from British Columbia is also on ice on the bar counter. Although the lounge never closes, the posted alcohol license says alcohol is only available from 9am to 4am.
Glasses and plates were cleared quickly and the food was replenished as needed. Based on my visits, it seems that the attendants work hard to keep this lounge clean.
During my first visit, I met the lounge manager by chance when I happened to sit across from her in the dining area. She said that although she has an office, she prefers to work in the dining area so she can meet customers and get a feel for their experience. This attitude from the manager makes me hopeful this lounge will continue to have good service.
This lounge is the nicest Priority Pass lounge I’ve visited in North America. Those flying in first-class on SkyTeam airlines might be disappointed that there aren’t more perks, but it certainly earns a spot among the best US Priority Pass lounges and can compete with the best Priority Pass lounges worldwide. The showers, adequate food for a meal, large selection of wines, comfortable airy seating areas and attentive management make this lounge a reason to arrive at YVR early before flying outside the US and Canada.
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