The No1 Lounge at Gatwick South Terminal is one of a small cluster of contract lounges used by several airlines as their contract lounge for business class passengers.
Alternatively you can buy access to this lounge for around £25-£32 or lounge memberships such as Priority Pass and Lounge Club, which come as a benefit of American Express Platinum and Gold cards respectively.
I visited this lounge at approximately 7pm on a weekday for a 9pm flight. The flight got further delayed until 10.30pm so in the end I got to sit around for quite some time.
The entrance is at level 2 of the terminal, the same level as the security checks for departing passengers.
Most passengers will head down the escalator towards the duty free shopping area, but the easiest and quickest route is via a side entrance to the left before the escalators. This will feed into the upper level of the shopping area, which you need to traverse before getting to the arrival area.
You will enter via the same corridor as the British Airways lounges (I also reviewed the First Class lounge here if you are interested.)
There are actually 2 different lounges which share the same check-in desk. The No1 Lounge, the focus of this article, Club Rooms which is a slightly higher end lounge, both run by the No1 Lounge company.
Upon checking in I was given a food menu which allows you to order one main course per person. The food varies between the times of day so feel free to click on the picture below to expand the text.
After checking in you will turn right and walk up a few steps towards the main lounge.
This is a small-medium sized lounge with enough space for around 80-100 persons. It is roughly rectangular in shape, around 40m x 17m.
This is a wide-angle view from the near-side of the lounge…
And here's from the opposite shooting towards the same corner as above.
There is a dining area with a bar at one side where you can order whatever alcoholic drinks you want. I am not sure if there is a limit on the number you're allowed but I had three, all from the same bartender, and was still offered more.
As you can probably tell by now there is lots of natural light from the East and South facing windows and great views over the apron and sole runway, which makes plane spotting a joy.
Snacks and Beverages
Self-service tea, coffee, soft drinks, juices and some dry snacks and cakes are available at the near side of the lounge
The order is taken at the bar area who will ask where you are sitting. I was sat in the main dining area as this was not so populated at the time. ￼
The variety in the salad bar was surprisingly small with just one selection of green leaves, a carrot and beetroot dish and a tomato and cucumber dish.
I also had their pea, broccoli and spinach soup which was a tiny bit on the salty side for my preference although the flavour was pretty good. I did consider adding some hot water to dilute it a bit but decided to get more drink instead and eat salad with my soup.
As I was coming here straight from work, this meal at the lounge would be my dinner, so naturally I was looking for something substantial so I could rest on my flight.
I ordered the smoky chicken and chorizo stew, described as “chicken and chorizo in a rich tomato sauce, served with sautéed potatoes, slicked black olives and alioli”. I enjoyed this dish, and all the flavours were well-balanced, especially with the Malbec wine that I had.
Bonus points if anyone can tell me what musical piece is on the bottle. I'd genuinely love to know!
On first sight I did think the main course was quite small, but in the end after having soup, salad, the main course and some cakes for dessert it was definitely a satisfactory quantity.
There is a quiet room where many people were working and concentrating. I tried my best to get some photos without being too awkward to the rest but in the end I could not get a full picture. Hopefully the below gives you some idea.
There is a large television with seating for around 10-15 people. It is situated but behind the bar counter area, on the right hand side as you walk from the entrance and through the lounge.
Throughout my stay there were quite a lot of people watching cricket, but presumably the staff will allow you to change to whatever channel is of interest at that moment in time.
My overall thoughts
The lounge was around 80% full for the normal seating areas, but nearly empty in the dining area which created an interesting imbalance. Given the summer holiday timing this may have shifted the proportion of business vs leisure travellers (there isn't a definitive way to tell, but a family group or adults wearing flip flops were my clues), although this obviously makes no difference to the capacity of the lounge.
Despite the amount of people I was surprised that it was not that noisy. Most people were either reading or quietly chatting away. I doubt there is a noise control but if every visit could be at this level then it would definitely be a great place to escape the noise of the main terminal.
The internet speed was pretty respectable too, and I was able to get some work done without any noticeable hold ups.
I can't remember if boarding announcements were made at the lounge, sorry. Maybe a reader can leave a comment to let me know if they do, otherwise just wait until the next visit!
If you are buying a visit to the lounge, typically £25-32, then I definitely think this is money well spent. For comparison, just a single main course at Wagamama or Wetherspoons in the same terminal would set you back £10-15 before any drinks!
Despite not being a large lounge, and despite not a big food selection, the food itself is actually fine. There is a wide drinks selection at a service bar.
Ultimately, I think the No1 Lounge at Gatwick South Terminal is worthy of spending the money for a couple of hours. Some websites do ask for a bit more, but I would cap it at £25-30 value for leisure, and maybe £35 if travelling on business and can do some work inside.