FCO: Rome Alitalia Dolce Vita T1 checkin Lounge
NEWS: The Alitalia Dolce Vita Lounge at Rome has now opened. It includes a flight simulator, bar, and food from the New York catering firm Eataly.
The Rome Alitalia Dolce Vita lounge is found the other side of the check in desks, in the far wall, on the ground floor, through the sliding doors. This lounge is new – opened late in 2013 – and features a great bar – the Pilot bar – and a full aircraft simulator. Alas when it opened the old Alitalia Bernini Lounge in Terminal 1 Area B closed, so this is the only option if you are on a Schengen flight, unless you fancy a long walk to the Borromini Lounge in Terminal 1 Area D (the old Terminal 2) which is post-security – but it takes longer to walk here than it does to get through security.
Incidentally, this is the site of the old Rome Alitalia Bramante Lounge – alas, now no more. And for a good reason. It was really rubbish. The new Alitalia Dolce Vita Rome lounge is a very different beast, designed by Robilant, and implemented by Paolo Castelli (who are very significant Italian designers).
And the Alitalia Dolce Vita lounge is very designer, and very Italian.
To the left, past the Pilot bar there is a very small seating area in the middle of the room, with four white leather sofas and brown leather poufs, surrounded by tall black plastic lights. If four families come in, you are stuck, as there is nowhere else around this area to sit, apart from the white bucket seats opposite the bar, or the two very uncomfortable looking recliners by the floor to ceiling windows, with large white curtains. One other small area has two very large brown leather armchairs and a minute coffee table. It may all look amazing, but the lounge is woefully inadequate, and seems to have been designed to look best with no one in it, which it never is.
There is some more seating in the other half of the lounge, but this is just as impractical, with odd white half-chairs which swivel, next to small white coffee tables. And all of the chairs are singular, in an area paved with green astro-turf.
FoodThe Alitalia Dolce Vita lounge Rome is all about the food, and Alitalia and have teamed up with Eataly (curiously – a New York catering firm) to offer combined US and Italian food. It actually isn’t at all bad, but you have to know about it, as all the food and drink items have a number on the menu, which you have to ask for at the bar. The major problem is often getting hold a menu.
Food items on the menu include some classic pasta dishes; or if you are in a hurry you can go to the buffet part of the bar, to the right of the Pilot bar.
BarThe Alitalia Rome Lounge Pilotbar is pretty good, with a good beer selection, and excellent coffee, but only so-so wine, despite the vast array of bottles racked up behind the bar.
The bar does however do excellent coffee, and again there is a good coffee menu on the tables.
BathroomsIn lounge, behind the green wall at the far end.
Flight SimulatorThe Alitalia Rome Lounge in Terminal 1 has a unique facility not seen anywhere else - a flight simulator and instructor in the lounge!
There are usually two trainers on duty, who will give you a 10 minute briefing and then a 10 minute flight. They are not pilots – entertainment hosts, apparently – but they are very good, and speak some English, flying the plane for you and letting you have a go at gentle turns and landings.
Beside the flight simulator there is a small Alitalia merchandising store – so even if flying Alitalia is a last choice (which it seems to be for many customers) you can buy products under the brand name of the airline.
Business FacilitiesThere is free Wifi in the lounge, and two tablets for people to use, which is available to customers with a wireless printer.
There is also a wacky multitouch screen used simultaneously by multiple users around the world.
There is a vast rack of newspapers on the bookshelfs at the far end of the lounge.
AccessIf you aren't flying Business Class, or a Skyteam Elite member (which gives free entry) you can buy entry for 30 euro, or a stupendous 600 euro for a full year's access.
The lounge is before security, however there is a separate Business Class (and SkyPriority) security point right beside the lounge, and as all flights are Schengen flights there isn’t a passport control to delay you either.
You can even access the lounge if you flying Interncontinental, but there is no air-side connection to T3 or T5, and the walk to T5 takes a very long time, so you should only do this if you are brave.
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