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VIP & SMOKING LOUNGE Clark International Airport
Finnoy Travel had a flight departure from Clark International Airport and recently visited the VIP Lounge at this airport. My flight bound to Hong Kong was scheduled to depart at 15:10 in March 2019. Due to infrequent direct bus connections from my hometown Baguio City to Clark International Airport, I opted to take the first direct bus trip (4 hrs, 17 mins) of Genesis which departed Baguio City at 3:55 AM. This resulted to a much early arrival to Clark International Airport at exactly 8:20 AM. Once check-in of Cathay Airlines opened at 12 noon, I had check-in quickly at Cathay Airline's counter and then passed through immigration and security checks.
The Location of VIP & SMOKING LOUNGE
Initially, there was not any plan to visit the lounge at that time. But it is because of the close proximity of VIP lounge to my departure gate that prompted me a quick decision to have a relaxing break at the lounge before flights. My connection flight to Hong Kong International Airport was leaving from Gate 5 located at the second floor of Terminal 1 of Clark International Airport in which VIP and smoking Lounge is located (note: the closest gate to VIP Lounge is Gate 6). After passing the final security check at the first floor, just walk straight a little and an escalator will lead you to the second floor. Once you reached the second level, you will easily find VIP Lounge at your right, about 7 feet away. The reception is located just in front of the two- glass doors of the lounge. You may also access the lounge through an elevator. Once you exit the elevator, proceed to your right and you will notice immediately the lounge premises, the smoking lounge is at the right side-door.
VIP & SMOKING LOUNGE
For clarity reasons, the lounge has an official name of VIP Lounge as listed in Loungebuddy's site. We can not find information about VIP Lounge from Clark Airport's website at the time of writing of this review. However, if you will visit the lounge, you will notice signage that the management are using which reads, CAD VIP & SMOKING LOUNGE. The lounge has two separate rooms, at the left side is labeled as VIP 2 LOUNGE, a non-smoking area, while at the right side is the VIP 1 LOUNGE, or the smoking lounge. There are different rates for entry to each lounge.
Operating Hours of VIP LOUNGE
VIP Lounge is open only from 8:00 AM – 2:00 AM daily.
How to Get into VIP LOUNGE
VIP Lounge is a pay-in lounge that admits customers who are clients of Priority Pass, Asiana Airlines, Asiana Lounge, Lounge key and Collinson Group. For walk-in guests, this lounge admits guests at the door for a rate of PHP 800.00 (US$18.00) per person with payments acceptable only by credit cards issued by Visa and Mastercard. For admission to the smoking room, the rate is PHP 300.00 (US$7.00).
Unfortunately, VIP Lounge does not accept Diners Club or DragonPass membership cards.
The Easiness to Find the Lounge
We give 5 stars for this category. It maybe a good benefit for the lounge to be easily located as Clark Airport is just a small airport. To repeat, the VIP Lounge is located in Terminal 1, International departures after Immigration and Security Check, walk a little and take the escalator to the 2nd Floor, VIP Lounge is located on the right side near Gate 6.
At the time of visit around 12:37 PM, I was obviously the first customer to come in at VIP 1 Lounge since the foods at the catering table remained sealed and untouched. However, a few customers came in already at the neighboring smoking lounge. It was literally so peaceful inside VIP 1 Lounge as what would you expect being the only customer in a large room. Two other customers came in later before I exited the lounge premises. When asked the staff why the lounge is so empty, she gave a wise response, ¨It is not busy hours yet, more customers are coming later¨.
The lounge has all brown leather single chairs spread along the corners of the lounge which were clean and comfortable. Also, brown wooden chairs are positioned in between each two chairs. On the left wing of the lounge, all 8 rows of single chairs are arranged in the same way facing all upfront towards the entrance door of the lounge. Additional same furniture are arranged in the same manner at the right wing of the lounge. Upon entry, the staff ushered me to sit on the back side whereas accordingly it is well-ventilated. To attest this, I went right through as directed and it was indeed true that its cold in that side because the air conditioner is placed at the back,left side of the lounge. I chose to sit on the 3rd row, window side not to be too closed to the air conditioner. Additionally, two electric fans were working well which are attached to the ceiling lamps. At first, a male staff asked me if its OK to let it like that that lamps are off and I said I do not mind because there is much daylight anyway penetrating though the big glass windows. Later on, I noticed that the supposed owner of the lounge, came to instruct his staffs and the lights were switched on same time creating a more pleasant atmosphere.
VIP Lounge has separate toilets for each gender. They were spacious and well-maintained. At least three maintenance staffs were spotted trying to maintain the order and cleanliness of the lounge despite VIP 1 Lounge was almost empty.
On the walls of the lounge, there is NO SMOKING sign repeated a few times. However, because just beside VIP 2 Lounge is the VIP 1 Lounge or smoking lounge and the rooms is separated by a glass door, it is inevitable that smoke leaks to this lounge at times. For example at some point, it was quite uncomfortable to breathe in cigarette smokes while fetching food from the catering table as the glass doors to the smoking lounge was kept opened that cigarette smokes get in easily to VIP 1 Lounge room.
Another problem is the lack of power outlets. I noticed only few of them at the walls but not any closed to the chairs or tables. For comfort and security reasons, it is not a good idea to plug any device away from your eyesight. The lounge should add availability of charging sockets to enhance comfyness of customers. After all, a traveller's number one need is to charge handheld devices before flights. They have WiFi networks, one is working poorly and the other one is working well. Password is written in a small paper which you can pick one from a glass jar at the snack table.
A view to the tarmac is one good thing of visiting this lounge. You can have plane spotting of planes taking off and landing. Though it is not the best area for plane spotting because the window view is not totally clear, some structures, a part of a ceiling is somehow blocking the tarmac view from the windows.
There is a flight monitor and airport announcements are also clearly audible inside the lounge.
Food and Drinks
Fresh fruit salad were served on the time of visit. These included thin sliced carrots, cucumbers, pineapple slices, mixed fruit salad and corn. Also sweet bananas were served. Warm soup which is freshly prepared. They had 3 types of loaf breads that can be enjoyed with any of their 4 different flavours of marmalade. Warm meals including two among the traditional Filipino dishes Pork Menudo and Chicken Adobo were served with fried rice. Desserts included cookies, cupcakes and choco bars of different flavours. Snack options included chips, nuts and cup noodles.
Though the lounge claims to be offering unlimited food and drinks, they have limited option for drinks. For example at the time of visit, the fridge had only bottled regular coke and can of beers limited for maximum of 2 cans per guest. Additionally, a water dispenser is in use where you can take warm and cold water. Three types of juices are also served. For hot drinks, Lipton tea and instant coffee are the available options. Unlike other lounges, VIP Lounge has very limited options for alcoholic drinks. They only had canned beers on the time of visit wherein each customer can consume a maximum of two cans only.
Friendliness of the Customer Service
Filipino hospitality was felt during the visit to VIP Lounge. The staffs were friendly and accommodating. There is nothing to explain.
VIP Lounge at Clark International Airport is the one of the simplest lounges we had visited. Overall, for a rate of US$18.00 it is worth the money with the good services it offers. Definitely it is worth paying a little more than airport restaurants will charge because of the good quality of food and varieties of options to select from. The tranquility of the lounge, easy location and comfortable chairs to relax at before flights. It is, however, not to be forgotten that the lounge will invite more people to visit if improvements shall be implemented. To summarize, the lounge should improve their selection of alcoholic drinks, to add up power outlets, to ensure cigarette smokes are not leaking to VIP 2 Lounge. After all, VIP 2 Lounge is called a non-smoking lounge.
We recommend buying an inexpensive lounge access on Lounge Pass.
Clark International Airport is a small airport but is undergoing constant development. Being located in a small airport, VIP Lounge Clark is worth the visit taking into consideration its proximity to the departure gates and the amenities you can enjoy. It is definitely worth it to pay a little more than what those expensive restaurants are asking for - in exchange of a peaceful atmosphere before your flights.
Would you like to have more information about airport lounges. We have also written the Ultimate Guide to Airport Lounges. Check it to learn the best ways to get in.
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