I remember my first experience with an executive lounge, I entered by mistake in the hotel I was staying when I was a teenager. I got shocked and scared as I entered somewhere I shouldn’t be and pretty much left running.
Oh, the good old days!
Today I pretty much pick my hotels on whether they have an Executive Lounge or not. If I get access to it I will make sure I book it.
First, before we start on the benefits let’s re-track and see what are actually the executive lounges in hotels.
Executive lounges or club lounge are an invite-only area in hotels usually reserved for loyal guests or those who have booked club rooms or executive rooms. There you get free drinks, breakfast, snacks and free alcoholic drinks. It is very popular with executives on business trips especially when on company cash, hence the term. In many areas, people prefer booking such rooms because the alcohol is expensive in some parts of the world and it makes a great deal of financial sense. Saves you money in the long run.
Executive lounge access is also given to people with hotel membership status as part of their perks. Similar to what you can receive in an airport with airline status or an American Express card or any Priority pass.
Usually, executive lounges are tucked away on high floors and within the hotel floor area. some are definitely better than others and I will cover how to figure out if they are worth it.
Now, that we have established what Executive lounges are let me tell you why I love them so much.
Well, they save you money. Plus if you have to work they provide a nice environment outside your bedroom or reception area.
Many hotels started charging extra for breakfast and sometimes it can cost up to 20gbp person. There are other ways to save money on your hotel breakfast and I have written a post on this before, but essentially you can actually save money when booking Executive lounge hotel rooms because breakfast is included.
When eating or drinking in foreign cities it can get really expensive or even ordering a drink from the mini-bar.
Having executive lounge access gives you the option to enjoy free unlimited non-alcoholic or alcoholic drinks and as a Muslim, I don’t drink but sometimes when I travel with my mum who is not a Muslim she does have a drink ( haram police please keep away 😉 ).
Afternoon tea and snacks are also included which also saves you money on food and nibbles. Every hotel offers different options and some are better than others but overall even this saves you money.
For example, when we were staying in the Hilton Convention Makkah or the Hilton Vienna Plaza hotel their lounges had excellent choices for breakfast and dinner which really meant we didn’t go out to search for food after an exhausting day. The cost of the lounge is 20gpb extra than the standard room but for the amount of food and customer service, it was totally worth it. On the other hand, my experience with the Conrad Makkah Hotel or other lounges in the world were not worth the price at all.
A place to relax and work is also an added bonus. As I mentioned above the term came from hotels serving their business clientele. When I am travelling for an extended period of time I enjoy having lounge access because I can power my laptop and do some writing or video editing. I just enjoy the variety and not being in my room all the time. If travelling with your spouse it also helps if they want to sleep and you don’t.
Executive lounges in hotels are usually open from early morning 6 am to about 11 pm at night time, depending on the hotel and location. This makes it very convenient for travellers to relax before/after a business day.
Are they worth the price?
This really totally depends on your circumstances. I know for a fact that once you get used to them it is much harder to give them up.
Speaking from experience here!
There are a few options on how you can receive an Executive lounge room in hotels.
You can pay cash in time of booking or checking in. Sometimes they are worth the price because depending on your hotel and location Executive rooms start from 10 extra per day but this can cover 2-4 people in a room so in reality, it is worth it if you were to buy breakfasts or snacks for this many people. If you like snacking and variety it is definitely a good choice.
On the other hand, if you don’t have breakfast, don’t snack and don’t want to be tied to food or alcohol timings then it is probably not for you.
You can also get upgraded to an executive lounge hotel room when you have a membership with the property. For example, Hilton Gold, Marriott Gold and SPG Platinum give you access to their lounges when you are a member. You can read more about memberships here.
When the hotel is at full capacity or when there is an issue with your room you can also get upgraded. This, of course, followed the same principle with airlines, you definitely need to be lucky or travel for a special occasion. You also have more chances of an upgrade in hotels when you have booked directly via their website rather than third-party sites like Expedia or Booking.com.
Overall for me, the best way to use the lounge facilities if you don’t have a status with the hotel is to upgrade on your own. This way you know that you will get the room you want.
How to find out if the lounge is worth upgrading
Not every lounge is the same, some lounges offer a full buffet for dinner and others have crackers and snacks (not worth it). The best way for me to check this is to actually do a google search mentioning the hotel and the word “lounge”.
This way only posts or TripAdvisor reviews with the lounge word will show on google. You can read through them and decide if it is worth it for you.
If you are booking a hotel always try and check if the hotel has a lounge and if so what is the price of the lounge. If the difference is small and it is worth it to you then I highly recommend you upgrade. This can save you money on food, drinks and other snacks which if on holiday can add up to the overall budget. Saving £30 a day in a cheaper room is not always smart if it ends up costing you the same or more for things you will have to buy.
Lounges are a big plus for me and I use them all the time.I love the fact I have this private spot in the hotel where I can enjoy a coffee and read a magazine while relaxing on my holiday or after a long day exploring a new city.