I left the Ritz-Carlton Tokyo around 11 am, even though my flight home didn’t depart until 4:20 pm. After a little souvenir shopping, I headed over to enjoy plenty of time in ANA’s First Class lounge. The ANA Suite Lounge receives decidedly “meh” reviews; so, I was curious how it would measure up. Note: I plan to discuss the check-in experience during my flight review; thus, I won’t address it here.
Note: this post is part of my trip report series about my long weekend to Japan in July. Click here for the introduction and trip report index.
ANA Suite Lounge Tokyo Narita Satellite 5
ANA actually operates two First Class (Suite) lounges at Tokyo Narita, one each in Satellites 4 and 5. I visited the one in Satellite 5, near Gate 51; however, from what I can tell, it’s basically identical to the one in Satellite 4, near Gate 41. After passing immigration, follow the signs through the duty free area to Gates 51-59. As you approach Gate 51, you’ll see signage for the airport lounges. Simply head up the escalators to the ANA lounges.
ANA provides Suite Lounge access to the following passengers on international flights departing Japan:
- First Class passengers (ANA and Star Alliance) plus up to four guests
- ANA Diamond elite members plus one guest, regardless of class flown
- ANA Million Miler cardholders plus one guest, regardless of class flown
- Passengers holding ANA Suite Lounge vouchers
Upon entering, an agent welcomed me to the lounge and checked me in. With that out of the way, another agent escorted me inside, and invited me to have a seat anywhere. She then took my drink order, and I asked for a shochu; she brought it promptly, along with a hot towel.
The lounge was still pretty empty at the time, so I decided to look around and take my photos. (The lounge did fill up after about an hour; it was perhaps 2/3 full when I left around 4, and did get a bit noisy.) The ANA Suite Lounge basically consists of one large space divided by seating type. The very front of the space features a few single seats with long desks. VERY long desks, in fact, which seemed disproportionately large with a single chair.
The lounge then opens up into a large central seating area with traditional lounge seating. Groups of perhaps 6-10 seats are separated by banister-like partitions. Helpfully, ANA provides coat racks throughout the area.
Just to the side of the main seating area, down the hall from the buffet area (discussed later), is a single, long communal table, with seats for 8 guests.
At the back of the lounge, another room extends out to the left. This area consists of single seats along the wall, with groups of 4 in the center.
Meanwhile, along the windows are a long line of purple relaxing chairs.
Hidden in a corner are several work cubicles, along with a “quiet area” with a massage chair and reclining lounger. It’s no substitute for a real sleeping room, but dark enough for a quick nap if you need one.
Finally, the corridor back to the entrance had a few more seats along one wall. Honestly, though, these didn’t look all that comfortable.
I found plentiful power outlets throughout the lounge; WiFi was quite fast. The lounge does have shower rooms, but I didn’t have the chance to take a look at one.
As far as the overall design goes, the lounge felt spacious and airy, thanks to the abundant natural light. And those huge windows that bring in that light mean exceptional plane spotting. This is just a sampling of what I enjoyed, with both typical and exotic liveries passing by constantly. (I did catch a glimpse of the “Honu” A380, but a portion of the terminal building obstructed my view.)
On the other hand, the decor seemed – kind of bland? When I compare it to other First Class lounges like the Air France La Première Lounge or the Lufthansa First Class Terminal, it doesn’t look or feel all that special. I think that has to do with its sheer size. That makes it feel more like a Business Class lounge, rather than a more intimate First Class one.
ANA Suite Lounge Tokyo Narita Satellite 5 Food & Beverage
The ANA Suite Lounge provides two main dining options. The first is a buffet near the front of the lounge. It’s an OK selection of salad, finger foods, sushi rolls, soups, and a few hot items. Sources elsewhere suggest the lounge brings in a fresh sushi station around 4 pm.
A lounge attendant brings you your first drink, but after that, drinks are self-serve, with the selection next to the buffet. I found the selection a bit underwhelming for a First Class lounge; they do a nice job stocking Japanese specialties like plum wine, sake, and shochu, though. Other reviews I found suggest that they do stock Japanese whisky, though you have to ask an attendant. For those keeping score of the champagne, the offering was a non-vintage Champagne Collet Brut.
And of course, no visit to Japan is complete without seeing a self-pouring beer machine.
Look just down the hall, though, for a much better food option. The ANA Suite Lounge offers a walk-up noodle bar window.
The menu contains several noodle options, as well as one or two Western items like pasta. Just place your order with the chef, and take a buzzer. It alerts you when your order is ready.
I began with an order of pork broth ramen noodles to enjoy with my shochu. Of course, you can find better out in the city. But for an airport lounge, it’s a solid offering. Portions are small, but you can go back for as many seconds as you wish.
Later, still feeling hungry, I ordered the vegetable udon noodles. I slightly preferred these to the ramen, actually. I found the vegetable fritter particularly addictive.
To drink, this time I tried a plum wine.
If you’ve never tried umeshu, it almost feels like a sweet whisky. You do get a hint of woody flavor since it’s matured in aged casks. But make no mistake, it is quite sweet, with a distinct flavor of stewed fruit. I liked it as a sipping wine, personally.
Overall, I enjoyed all of the food and drink I sampled here. But, where’s the a la carte dining? Or even a separate dining area to enjoy your noodles? As for food & beverage service, well, consider it nonexistent. After the attendant brought my shochu, I literally saw nobody for the next two hours. This as empty plates and glasses piled up on my table. It didn’t appear as though they were servicing any other tables, either. I’m not sure if this was just a bad day, or if it’s always like this.
Final Thoughts – ANA Suite Lounge Tokyo Narita Satellite 5
I think I see why this lounge receives so many critical reviews, at least as a First Class lounge. Many of the amenities you expect – sit-down dining, an intimate space, high-end liquors, spa treatments – just don’t exist here. It does feel more like a very good Business Class lounge, I admit. So no, it doesn’t match the products offered by Air France, Lufthansa, or even Qantas. (Though I do find the blog love for the LAX lounge a little unjustified.)
But I’m also not sure I get the borderline hate for this lounge in the blogosphere. You can enjoy freshly cooked noodles, excellent plane spotting, and a large space with plenty of seating and power outlets. That seems like a perfectly decent setup to me, even if it isn’t world beating.