- The New Star Alliance Lounge at LAX
- Turkish Airlines Business Class, LAX-IST on TK10
- Doubletree by Hilton Istanbul – Old Town
- Some of My Activities in Istanbul
- The Turkish Airlines Business Class Lounge in Istanbul
I live in Southern California, so I’ve been through LAX tons of times in my lifetime. If you’ve been there before you’ll probably agree when I say a renovation was long, long overdue (note I reviewed the old Star Alliance Lounge last year). LAX had a bit of a preview/soft opening a few months ago and I was able to stop by for a while to check it out. It was amazing at the time…and that was without even seeing any of the lounges, which were unfinished at the time. This time I got to see the new Tom Bradley International Terminal and the completed Star Alliance Lounge, and it was just as great as I was hoping.
I got to the airport early to make sure I had plenty of time to check out the lounge. My flight departed at 6:45PM, and when I got to the lounge around 4:30PM it was pretty empty (along with the rest of the terminal). I took the elevator up to the third floor inside the terminal and checked in to the lounge, where they gave me the WiFi password. Then the self-guided tour began!
I’ll start with the blurry pictures first. I know I know…I’ll figure it out one day.
My favorite part of the lounge, at least so far, is the terrace area that overlooks the terminal’s Great Hall, which is officially named Antonio Villaraigosa Pavilion. I’ll show a couple of pics first and then explain why I like it so much.
I think the pictures say it all, but not only is the area beautifully decorated, but the view of the space below and the giant TV screens make it so much better. If you had a chance to see the old lounge, you’ll know that the only windows in the place were of the check-in area below. The new terrace obviously feels very roomy with no ceiling, plus there’s plenty of natural light coming in from the many windows in the terminal.
The seats are comfortable and all have power outlets as you’d expect from a new lounge. The WiFi signal was very strong out there so internet wasn’t an issue. And those TV screens – I really think those are the most attractive part of the new terminal. They’re crystal clear and are always playing short videos of some sort, many of which are travel related. The one shown in the picture above was an old-school black and white comedy skit. The elevator shaft (which I didn’t take a picture of and can’t find the old pics I took) is also a giant TV and was part of the video. Oh, and there’s actually some nice stores to shop at down there too!
Now let’s take a look at the food options.
There’s not a ton of options here, but there doesn’t really need to be in my opinion. The appetizers were good – there were turkey, roast beef, and roasted red pepper and hummus wraps along with a Caesar salad option. The wraps weren’t particularly fresh but I’m being very nit-picky as they were still good.
The main course options were a tomato bisque soup, vegetarian pasta, and chicken Parmesan with marinara sauce. I didn’t try the soup, but I did try the other options. To put it simply, they were both bland. If you’re hungry it definitely gets the job done, but don’t starve yourself all day in hopes of pigging out at the lounge. The food is adequate but not spectacular. As you’ll see later in this trip report, the Turkish Airlines Lounge in Istanbul will put this lounge to shame when it comes to food.
The desserts were simple – double chocolate chip cookies, mixed fruit, fresh whipped cream, and brownie bites. The cookies were definitely not fresh and were well on their way to being stale, but the brownies were better. The whipped cream and fruit was very good though.
I also visited the lounge a second time on a separate trip when there were completely different (mostly Asian) options:
There was also a Coca-Cola fountain for soda (but unfortunately no Coke Zero) and some Asian food options tucked away on the side that didn’t look particularly appetizing. I don’t drink coffee, tea, or alcohol but there were options for each there.
There are a couple of other cool areas in this lounge too. And no, I’m not talking about the restrooms.
The outdoor terrace was highly anticipated and many expected it to be the coolest part of the lounge. There aren’t many places where it makes sense to have an outdoor space like this, but Los Angeles is as great a place as any to put one. Unfortunately for me it was a bit rainy the day before and morning of my flight, so the outdoor area was not being used. All the seat cushions had been collected and stacked up and the bar area was covered and not staffed. It might have been closed actually, but the door was unlocked so I couldn’t resist walking out there to look around :).
The media/movie room was empty at the time but a cool area to have. I’m not sure if there’s any flexibility to change channels or pick what TV show or movie, but it would be great if you could.
The new Tom Bradley International Terminal is beautiful and very modern, and the Star Alliance Lounge is one of my favorite in the country. It’s a huge, huge step up from the old lounge. It probably helped that there weren’t many people around at the time, but the lounge is still large with plenty of seating.
LAX suddenly isn’t such a terrible airport!