An airport lounge in Ecuador with panoramic views and a fine wine cellar has been named as the best in the world in a global awards.
The Sala VIP Internacional lounge at Quito International Airport claimed the top prize in the Global Airport Lounge of the Year Awards, which rates business facilities, comfort, service from lounge staff and food and drink.
Now in its 14th year, the awards are based on the ratings of 52,000 Priority Pass members, who reviewed the 1,200 airport lounges available to them. Scroll down to learn more about just why the Sala VIP lounge is such a hit and to discover the winners in Europe, North America, Africa and the Middle East and Asia.
Global winner – Sala VIP Internacional, Quito International Airport, Ecuador
The Sala VIP Internacional lounge inside Quito International Airport in Ecuador, pictured, has been named as the best in the world in the Global Airport Lounge of the Year Awards
The recently expanded lounge has panoramic views that look out across the city of Quito
The winning lounge has an outdoor terrace, where passengers can sit and soak up the sun before their flight
The Sala VIP Internacional lounge is operated by Corporación Quiport, and has recently been expanded.
One of the main highlights, passengers say, is the lounge’s outdoor terrace, with panoramic views of the vibrant city of Quito. It’s a space said to reflect the light and colour of Ecuador’s vibrant capital.
The lounge, which has been designed by Adriana Hoyos Design Studio, is fitted out with distinguished locally sourced furnishings, providing a luxurious and cultural feel, say passengers.
Its menu is designed by renowned local chef Andrés Miño and includes international and Ecuadorian cuisine, and guests can enjoy a variety of wines from the lounge’s private cellar.
The lounge is fitted out with ample seating and distinguished locally sourced furnishings that provide a luxurious feel
The food offering in the Quito lounge menu is designed by renowned local chef Andrés Miño and includes international and Ecuadorian cuisine
There is also a fully stocked bar and guests can drink wine that comes from the lounge’s very own private wine cellar
There are also private working spaces, dedicated sleeping areas, a massage room and showers for guests to refresh themselves in before a long flight or during a layover.
Andrew O’Brian, President and CEO at Quiport, operator of Sala VIP Internacional, said: ‘It’s an honour to be named as the global winner of this year’s Global Airport Lounge of the Year Awards.
‘We’re proud to offer a universal space where passengers can relax and unwind whilst still capturing the special Quito spirit.
‘Taking in our famous sunsets while surrounded by the jacaranda and jasmine that adorn our terrace is the perfect way to relax before a flight and we’re thrilled that this unique experience, coupled with our excellent customer service, has left a lasting impression on our guests.’
European winner – Primeclass Business Lounge at Riga International Airport, Latvia
The best lounge in Europe has been named as the Primeclass Business Lounge at Riga International Airport, pictured
Coming highly commended in Europe is the Northern Lights Executive Lounge in Aberdeen International Airport, pictured, which has a dedicated whisky wall
Located in the largest airport in the Baltic states, this spacious lounge has large glass windows that provide views of the runway.
To keep local tradition and culture, the lounge offers signature Latvian dishes and drinks including Balsam, and has recently collaborated with local artists, such as Arvils Linde, to exhibit different artworks throughout.
Other stand-out features include a conference room, a children’s play area and showers.
Runner-up in this category is the Northern Lights Executive Lounge in Aberdeen International Airport.
This lounge is known for its ‘excellent locally-inspired food and drinks offering’, endorsed by Craig Wilson, Aberdeenshire’s ‘Kilted Chef’, which includes Aberdeen Angus beef burgers and a dedicated whisky wall.
North America winner – Lounge 19, Terminal 1, Mexico City Benito Juarez International Airport
Lounge 19, pictured, at Mexico City International Airport, is named as the best airport lounge in North America
Lounge 19 in Mexico City International Airport has been open since 2011, but had a face-lift recently courtesy of renowned design firm Materia, well known for working with luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton and Burberry.
Travellers can experience ‘fine dishes’ created by executive chef Antonio Barreiro, who is skilled in creating a range of international flavours, as well as popular Mexican food – his specialty being cochinita pibil, a slow-roasted pork dish, and paella.
The lounge also has a sommelier, Dafne Traconis, who selects the fine wines served throughout the lounge, chosen by region, type and varieties. Many passengers say the wine list is the most unique you can experience at any airport lounge.
Coming highly commended in North America is The Club MCO at Orlando International Airport in Florida, pictured
Celebrating the rich history of Mexico, Lounge 19 also has a permanent art gallery, which has been devoted to the famous Mexican artist, Karla de Lara.
Coming highly commended in North America is The Club MCO at Orlando International Airport in Florida.
Africa and Middle East winner – Ahlan Lounge at B, Terminal 3, Concourse B, Dubai International Airport
The best lounge in Africa and the Middle East is the Ahlan Lounge at B in Terminal 3 at Dubai International Airport, pictured
Highly commended in Africa and the Middle East is the Marhaba Lounge, pictured, which is also inside Terminal 3 at Dubai International Airport
Ahlan Lounge at B has been in Dubai International’s Terminal 3 since 2013, with subtle Arabic displays designed by VisionTech Company and BW Interiors, who worked on the Shangri-La Hotel in Dubai.
Chefs Satish Raju and Rey Obordo Caboverde work on the menu, which includes a dash of Arabic food, alongside international plates.
Other highlights include massage chairs, personal table service and free WiFi.
Coming highly commended in this category is the Marhaba Lounge, which is also inside Terminal 3 at Dubai International Airport.
Asia Pacific winner – Miracle First Class Lounge, International Concourse D, Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport
In the Asia Pacific category the top lounge is named as the Miracle First Class Lounge on the international concourse at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport
Within the Bangkok lounge, food is prepared and served fresh for 24 hours. All the food is created using local produce and ingredients selected by the head chef
Operating in Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport since February 2017, the Miracle First Class Lounge (International Concourse D) was carefully designed by one of Thailand’s leading interior design companies, Imade.
Imade modelled the lounge around modern, contemporary concepts, with a hint of Thai patterns and drawings.
Within the lounge, food is prepared and served fresh for 24 hours, meaning travellers can experience the creative dishes put together by head chef Miss Pongphan Thipphomueang at any time of day.
Hot meals are served for lunch and dinner, with promotional menus created for special holidays. All the food is created with local produce and ingredients selected by the head chef, which are suitable for all ages and nationalities.
Coming highly commended in Asia is the Sats Premier Lounge at Terminal 3 in Changi International Airport in Singapore
The kitchen is an open station, meaning visitors are treated to a live showcase of the chef’s skills while they prepare the food.
And when you need to freshen up, there are shower rooms available, all equipped with fresh towels, luxury toiletries and hairdryers.
Highly commended in this category is the Sats Premier Lounge at Terminal 3, Changi International Airport in Singapore, which is equipped with dedicated private business workstations.
Andy Besant, director of travel experiences at Collinson, operator of Priority Pass, said: ‘Some less explored destinations have performed particularly well in this year’s rankings.
‘As intrepid travel continues to rise, we’re noticing increased traffic in lounges at airports that are off the traditional tourist trail and veer from expected flight paths, highlighting the outstanding experiences that are offered in lounges the world over.
‘Priority Pass is committed to offering its members access to the best airport lounges across the world, and our global network of lounge partners ensures travellers can relax before their flight, improving their journey before it’s even started.’
WINNERS IN THE GLOBAL AIRPORT LOUNGE OF THE YEAR AWARDS
The Sala VIP Internacional, Quito International Airport, Ecuador
Primeclass Riga Business Lounge, Terminal E, Riga International Airport, Latvia
Highly commended- Northern Lights Executive Lounge, Aberdeen International Airport
Africa and the Middle East
Ahlan Lounge at B, Terminal 3, Concourse B, Duabi International Airport
Highly commended- Marhaba Lounge, Terminal 3, Concourse A, Dubai International
Miracle First Class Lounge, International Concourse D, Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport
Highly commended- SATS Premier Lounge, Terminal 3, Singapore Changi International Airport
Lounge 19, Terminal 1, Mexico City Benito Juarez International Airport
Runner up – The Club MCO, Terminal B, Concourse 4, Orlando International Airport, Florida
Latin America and The Caribbean
Highly Commended – Eldorado Lounge, Terminal 1, Bogota El Dorada International Airport, Colombia
Source: Priority Pass’s Global Airport Lounge of the Year Awards. Note – the awards are based on ratings for lounges that Priority Pass members have access to, so not every lounge is in the running.