LHR: London Heathrow British Airways Great British Club Lounge Terminal 1 - neé bmi Lounge
► Airline Lounges › Europe › United Kingdon › London Heathrow T1 › British Airways International Lounge (ex bmi Great British Lounge)
NEWS: Conversion of the ex-bmi Great British Lounge (Formerly the bmi No1 Lounge) into the British Airways Great British Club Lounge is complete following the near collapse of bmi and takeover by BA. The major change is a new sign at the door, but all other facilities are unchanged. Star Alliance passengers are no longer admitted, but bmi Gold Card members are still permitted access.
It was originally the bmi Lounge at Heathrow, before the takeover by Lufthansa and then BA. It narrowly escaped being turned into the Lufthansa Senator Lounge Heathrow, but was 'saved' by BA in their hurried takeover - and now is a distinct odditym and well worth while seeking out.
The British Airways Great British Lounge is ideally designed to get you in the mood for long haul flights, which makes it all the more odd that this lounge is just for shorthaul, which partly explains why it is such a tortuous process getting to the Great British Lounge Heathrow.
To get to what was called the No1 Lounge Heathrow you turn left out of security, walk past Duty Free, down the small slope that seems to lead nowhere, back on yourself up the escalator, and along the small corridor. The lounge is to the left of the corridor, on what was the top floor of the old BA domestic lounge.
However, what a difference. It really is a very good lounge indeed, almost the personification of what you want for a couple of hours while waiting for your flight, with separate zones depending on your mood, from The Local for a few beers, to a sitting room with fire, and a loungy inner area with contemporary black wallpaper. It's slick and cosy, with a capacity for only 260, and it always seems fairly empty.
As you walk in there is a circular lounge area with deep padded armchairs and blue mood lighting. To the left are the bathrooms, while beyond the circle are the showers. As you go further in there is the dining room area with plain white chairs, then another circle with the food, office space is on the left, sitting room at the right with a sofas and a large fake fire, and then the Local: the large curved bar & padded seats.
Facing the floor to ceiling windows are three rows of armchairs surrounded by a cube shape designed privacy dividers. In the divider there are power sockets, with both a UK and European design (no US or Australian). Sitting in the chairs there is an excellent view of runway 27R beyond the taxi way - while on the right is a magazine corner leading to the sleeping area, where there are three daybeds, separated by gauze curtains. Here is one of the few mistakes by the designers: the beds are very light and bright, and not good for sleeping.
FoodFood is pretty good, served up in the well styled The Café where there are two black Agas inset into the wall: these don't work, but look good, and on the top are a couple of containers of soup plus warming trays of crusty rolls. Other food is served in the centre of the circle. At breakfast there are croissants and cereals, while daytime there are trays of sandwiches in one fridge and salad in the other.
In the evening there is hot food designed by British chef Mark Hix who designed the onboard menu, and in the fridge there are small pots of Hix's designer caramel & honeycomb ice cream called Credit Crunch. You can take your food to the large dining room table (it seats 12) but most people sit on the smaller white chairs.
BarHowever it is the bar area that is most of note, called The Local. It has a large horseshoe shaped bar which looks as if there should be a barman in the middle: it is in fact strictly self service, but enough people have made the mistake that there is now a large sign saying that you should go behind the bar yourself and take down a wineglass from the hanging collection.
There is Stella on draft (with proper Stella handles) or London Pride, Guinness and Tetley's in the fridge behind the bar, where there are also the mixers. On the bar top are two whites and two reds in a bucket, plus six spirits. Alas, champagne is normally notable by its absence.
BathroomsToilets in Lounge. Showers are in the rear shower room, beyond the circular room.
Business FacilitiesThe lounge is slightly let down by computers in the Study. This has three areas, a small meeting room type place, six workstations (UK and Continental power sockets, plus network ports), and four computers on a bench. These are the dreadful AG Neovo type. The keyboard is in a square metal box, and typing is a huge pain; even worse the computers are slow and erratic.
The magazine area in the furthest corner is very good, with plenty of travel magazines. There are also three showers, however you need to book a slot on arrival.
AccessNote that the Great British Lounge is not a oneworld lounge - it is a distinct oddity on the network. Emerald-grade status with oneworld used to have no access, although of late the staff on the door have relented.
Conversion of the ex-bmi Great British Lounge (Formerly the bmi No1 Lounge) into the British Airways Great British Club Lounge is complete following the near collapse of bmi and takeover by BA. The major change is a new sign at the door, but all other facilities are unchanged. Star Alliance passengers are no longer admitted, but bmi Gold Card members are still permitted access
Incidentally, there are still a lot of bmi Logos in the lounge, and some logos relating to the original name of the lounge, and indeed you may still find staff calling it the name it was launched as: The no 1 lounge Heathrow. Alas this name was already used by an operator that runs pretty neat lounges in Gatwick, Stansted, and now Terminal 3, so bmi had to rapidly change the name of the lounge.
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