In case you were looking for the post on the next port of call on our Mediterranean cruise, our visit to Naples and Herculaneum – don’t fret, it will be up on Saturday. Those posts take a lot of time to put together, and I unfortunately wasn’t able to get it done before going on vacation.
After disembarking the Emerald Princess at the port of Civitavecchia northwest of Rome, we were set 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 ship-arranged transfer to the airport for our 11:45 flight, which turned out to be unnecessarily early given the dearth of traffic on a Saturday morning. Though slightly annoying to be jarred awake so 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 – only to discover that BA didn’t provide 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 have access to the Le Anfore lounge in T3.
The Le Anfore Lounge is operated by Lounge Club, 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 permit the general public to purchase day passes, so you must be flying with a participating airline in a participating class of service/elite status, or a Diners Club, Priority Pass, or Lounge Club card holder to 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, and 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. As you enter the lounge from the front desk, there is basically one large set of seats from one end to another, with couches and love seats on the left side, and 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, a small cubicle area is hidden away to the right of the desk. No computers are provided, but if you have a laptop, you can plug it in and get a little work done while you wait for your flight. WiFi is free in the lounge, and was reasonably fast. 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. Being early morning, a breakfast spread had been set out.
Overall, the spread was pretty mediocre, with an odd canister in the center 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. No made-to-order items are offered or are available. 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 scary looking fellow, had seen me taking photos, and apparently wasn’t too happy about it. He informed me that photos weren’t allowed, and proceeded to follow me back to my seat and keep 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 capuccino. The bar looked like it was well stocked, with a large collection of wines and spirits, but with it being barely 9:30 in the morning, I wasn’t in the mood for alcohol and didn’t try any.
The decor is pretty blah and rather kitschy, but the chairs are comfortable, and given the lack of guests, it was quiet and felt more spacious than it actually was. The creepy bartender that didn’t like photographers aside, the lounge personnel, particularly the woman manning the front desk, were pleasant and personable enough. And it’s far, far better than the rather dumpy terminal itself, which, as seems to be the problem at so many European airports, suffers from an acute lack of seating in the gate areas.
Overall, given the positive experience I had at the Club at ATL, I was somewhat disappointed with the Le Anfore, though it’s still 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 appears to be superior to both the Alitalia and (soon to be reopened?) British Airways lounges based on reviews of both found on the internet. 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.