As a small outstation, Air France does not operate its own lounge at Barcelona airport. Rather, it contracts with Sala VIP Pau Casals, also open to Priority Pass members. While hardly a “first class” lounge if flying La Première, I found it a decent contract lounge.
Note: this post is part of my trip report series about my recent First Class experience to Barcelona. Click here for the trip report index and introduction.
Sala VIP Pau Casals Barcelona
Terminal 1, on the second level above the concourse. After clearing security, turn right, then follow the “VIP” signs and head up the escalators or elevators.
The lounge provides access to first and business class and elite status passengers on Schengen flights only. Most major airlines provide access from what I could tell. Other options include Priority Pass, or any passenger can pay €29.60 for access. Note that the lounge claims to limit PP cardholders to one guest. I don’t know how strictly this is enforced. The lounge also allows access only 3 hours prior to your flight’s departure time. Practically speaking, unless you have a seriously long connection, that really isn’t a limitation. Most airlines open check-in only 2-3 hours prior to departure for Schengen flights anyway.
Hours of operation are 5 am to 10:30 pm daily.
Check-in was quick and efficient. An agent quickly helped me, and also asked if I would like an Air France employee to walk me to my gate for boarding.
The lounge is a bit unusual in that the business center is right by the entrance and check-in desk. It seems like this area might become noisy at times. However, it does at least provide proper cubicles, albeit only three. Note that plugs are standard European issue; bring an adapter should you need to work.
Straight ahead is a large seating area with loungers in a 2×2 configuration. This is a theme that repeats frequently throughout the lounge.
Also in this section is a small kids play area.
If you fancy looking out over the concourse, several seats overlook the large windows here.
The view of the concourse actually is quite nice, and makes for some nice people watching below.
At the end of this section is a small collection of dining tables. While these may seem out of place, the food & beverage area actually isn’t that far away (more on that later).
From here, the lounge takes a hard right turn, leading to a large, open room. More 2×2 seating populates this area. This section was also noticeably more crowded than the first.
Also here, basically in the center of the lounge to the right, is the food and beverage area.
Breakfast consists of pretty standard cold cuts, cheeses, and fruits, along with assorted breads. Not pictured: a small fridge with yogurt and smoothies.
At the end of the kitchen area are some packaged sandwiches. These didn’t look particularly good, so I didn’t try one. I suppose these might be alright to grab if you’re in a hurry, though.
I found the selection and quality just OK. No hot options is a letdown, though the baguettes are fresh, at least. Oddly, I did see what looked like space for hot food stations. Perhaps they offer hot options for lunch or dinner.
There are four Nespresso coffee machines behind the buffet line. Though not quite the same as a barista-made coffee, the cafe con leche I made myself was pretty good.
Meanwhile, on the opposite side is a refrigerator with a large selection of soft drinks, and a few juices to the side.
Also on display on the other side of the buffet is a surprisingly large selection of Spanish wines. At 9 am, I didn’t try any, but the choices looked pretty good.
The liquor selection looked rather sparse, though it’s probable it just hadn’t been replenished for the day yet.
A long row of dining tables lines the other side of the kitchen area. If I had a complaint, it’s the lack of seating options, with only tables for two. No, it’s not that big a deal for a larger party to take food back to the seating area. But the option to sit and enjoy a meal at a table would be nice. (Pardon the poor photo quality.)
This corridor leads all the way back to the entrance, and there is a selection of newspapers on the left side. Most of the newspapers are Spanish language.
If you continue past the dining area, you’ll find a small, enclosed “quiet area” in the back. Notice the same theme here, with black chairs in a 2×2 configuration. This is where I decided to set up shop during my visit.
The windows here do have views of the outside, though a rather nondescript one of airport buildings. (You’ll also notice that the rotten weather I expected the day before finally arrived.)
The Priority Pass information page indicates the lounge has showers. However, I didn’t have time to take a look at them.
My main complaint about the lounge is the lack of power ports. Maybe I just didn’t look hard enough, but I had trouble finding them anywhere. That’s a major limitation for lounges these days. Luckily, my upcoming Joon flight had working USB ports, so no harm, no foul. On the other hand, WiFi was fairly fast and free.
The Sala VIP Pau Casals certainly isn’t a “first class” lounge, nor is it the best lounge out there. But for a contract lounge and Priority Pass option, it’s not bad. I also do have concerns about crowding at peak times. The lounge already seemed a little busy during my visit, though there were still plenty of open seats.