After disembarking the Emerald Princess at the port of Civitavecchia northwest of Rome, we planned to first fly to London on British Airways in Club Europe, for an overnight stay before heading home Sunday morning. Princess insisted that we leave the ship at 6:45 to catch our transfer to the airport for our 11:45 flight. That was far too early given the lack of traffic on a Saturday morning. Though I hated getting up that early, guess it’s better to be safe than sorry. BA doesn’t open its check-in counters at Rome until 3 hours before departure, so we had to sit around on the floor for about 40 minutes until an agent showed up.
No problem, I thought, we’ll still have plenty of time to relax in the lounge. Except I discovered that BA provided no lounge access to its Club Europe customers in Rome at the time. Ugh. (I later discovered that the BA lounge was damaged by a major fire in T3 on May 7th, and BA just hadn’t made alternative arrangements until its lounge could be reopened.) Ultimately, however, Citi Prestige bailed us out; one of the perks of the hefty annual fee is a Priority Pass membership for the cardholder plus 2 guests, and PP members can access to the Le Anfore lounge in T3.
Lounge Club operates the Le Anfore Lounge the same company that runs The Club at ATL and The Club at DFW, among others. Unlike its U.S.-based lounges, though, Le Anfore does not sell day passes. Diners Club and Priority Pass cardholders, and various Business Class passengers, can access the lounge. Based on my experience at The Club at ATL earlier on this trip, and Rocky’s shortly after that lounge opened, I had fairly high expectations of this lounge.
The Le Anfore is located between the G and H gates of Terminal 3 on the lower level. It is next door to Alitalia’s Giotto Lounge. I’d describe the lounge as mid-sized, though it wasn’t very busy while we were there, perhaps 1/3 or so full. When entering from the front desk, there is one large set of seats from one end to another. Couches and love seats fill the left side, with tables and chairs on the right. In the second photo, you can also make out a second section in the very back; this area contains several lounge-style chairs with views of a TV (more on why I don’t have photos of this area in a second).
On the side of the lounge closest to the front desk, there is a small cubicle area to the right of the desk. The lounge does not provide computers, but you can plug in a laptop and get a little work done. The lounge offers free, reasonably fast WiFi. Certainly better than the almost unusable WiFi in the main terminal area.
In the center of the lounge is a bar and a small table set up with food items. The early morning selection included a breakfast spread.
Overall, I found the spread mediocre, with an odd canister full of pasta spilling out onto the table, surrounded by assorted pastries, one or two hot items (I believe baked beans was one item), breads, and a meat and cheese plate. The lounge does not offer a la care items. If you’re a cheese addict, the cheeses are pretty good, as you’d expect in Italy, but there is one item available in the pastry dish that is definitely worth coming here for – homemade donuts.
Lucky me – I grabbed the last one. And it was 100% awesomeness. Alas, the bartender, a rather intimidating fellow, saw me taking photos, and apparently wasn’t too happy about it. He informed me that the lounge doesn’t permit photos, and proceeded to follow me back to my seat. And then kept an eye on me for what seemed like several minutes afterwards. Creepy. Anyway, that’s why you won’t find any more photos of the lounge in this review. (Interestingly, Lucky from One Mile At at a Time had a similar experience of being yelled at by a bartender for taking photos in the Alitalia lounge. What is it with these guys, anyway?) At least he did make a good, strong cappuccino. The bar appeared well stocked, with a large collection of wines and spirits. But considering it was barely 9:30 in the morning, I didn’t try the alcohol.
The decor is pretty blah and rather kitschy, but the chairs are comfortable. Plus, given the lack of guests, it felt more quiet and spacious than it actually was. The creepy bartender aside, I found the lounge personnel, particularly the woman manning the front desk, pleasant enough. And it beats the rather dumpy terminal itself, which suffers from an acute lack of seating in the gate areas.
Overall, the Le Anfore is a far, far better alternative than sitting out in FCO’s terminal area. It’s an acceptable spot to spend an hour or two, and looks superior to both the Alitalia and BA lounges. Just don’t let the bartender see you taking photos…
Note: this post is part of my multi-part trip report series about my wife and I’s trip to Europe in June/July, 2015. Read the trip report introduction for an index and background about our trip.