Sydney – Kingsford Smith
- Open daily from 6 a.m.
- Free admission for certain American Express cardholders
- Uninspiring breakfast selection
- Sydney Airport‘s only arrivals lounge
Have you ever left an overnight international flight to Sydney wishing you could freshen up with a shower, have some breakfast and even settle in with your laptop to catch up on the news and all those emails?
Sydney Airport International Terminal T1 ultimately has a place for it: the Plaza Premium Arrivals Lounge.
Arrivals lounges aren’t just for travelers in a hurry. They’re a convenient stop when your hotel doesn’t allow check-in until later, or when you want to recharge your batteries before heading to the office or your first meeting. daytime.
Location and Impressions
The Sydney Plaza Premium Arrivals Lounge is part of the Aerotel short-term transit hotel, although you do not need to be staying at the Aerotel to use the lounge.
The Aerotel, in turn, is tucked away at one end of the arrivals level of Terminal 1, just a few minutes walk from the arrivals gates.
The arrivals lounge is a compact open-plan space that can accommodate 30 weary passengers. These seats range from cafe-style tables to cushioned banquettes and high benches.
The design is functional if a little austere, despite the abundant use of wood and planters, although tall windows overlooking the taxi rank outside help funnel in the morning sun (when this writer has visited, it was before dawn and so the blinds were drawn).
Guests are entitled to an initial two-hour stay, plus 30 minutes spent in one of three shopping suites, with the option to purchase a five-hour stay – and if you arrived early in the morning, this will definitely help you bridge the gap until your hotel check-in time.
The Plaza Premium Sydney Arrivals Lounge is open daily from 6:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., making it suitable for the first wave of international flights to Sydney as well as mid-morning arrivals.
As with all Plaza Premium lounges, the Sydney Arrivals Lounge is largely chargeable, although the following American Express cards offer complimentary access to the cardholder and two guests:
- American Express Centurion
- American Express Platinum
- American Express Platinum Business
- American Express Platinum Business
For everyone else (and this includes American Express “partner” cards such as those from airlines, banks and retailers), the rates are as follows:
- up to two hours, $40
- two to five hours, $45
Guests staying at the Aérotel, which offers single rooms from $71 and double from $88, pay reduced rates for using the arrivals lounge:
- up to two hours, $25
- two to five hours, $30
Reservations for the arrivals lounge can be done online or you can pay as a “walk-in” at the Aerotel reception.
Most visitors to the Plaza Premium Arrivals Lounge will be in the mood – and in the time zone – for breakfast.
offered the day Executive Traveler visited was a relatively standard fare of bacon, scrambled eggs, pork chipolatas and baked beans.
Lighter options include breakfast cereal, fruit salad and yogurt, a small selection of cheeses and boxed sandwiches (eggs and chives, chicken with basil pesto and chicken cutlets with sweet chili mayonnaise ).
Although the overall mix covers most bases of what travelers might want, it felt safer and even pedestrian to me – but then the lounge operators of course work on a tight budget so you can’t wait on the same menu as your favorite weekend cafe.
One of the first things any visitor to an arrival hall is likely to do – above all if they’re on a business trip, fire up their laptop, smartphone or tablet to catch up with the world.
The two essential ingredients for this are power outlets and fast WiFi. Sensibly, the Plaza Premium arrivals lounge combines the two.
Combo AC/USB outlets are dotted around the lounge, notably on the high benches — though a few also line the walls behind the cafe-style seating.
And with WiFi downloads tested at nearly 70 Mbps and 50 Mbps uploads, there’s plenty of speed for what you need.
Entry to the Plaza Premium Arrivals Lounge includes access to one of three private, well-appointed shower rooms.
These can also be booked on their own – without access to the arrivals lounge – without an appointment, but since the shower alone is charged at $30 while the full lounge package is $40, there is no reason not to spend the extra $10 and relax before or after your shower.
Don’t expect frills like the laundry service offered in the arrivals lounges of British Airways and Swiss, for example: this Plaza Premium facility is a much lighter operation with an emphasis on meeting needs essentials of a weary traveler.
The Plaza Premium International Arrivals Lounge at Sydney Airport is a good post-flight companion for the ‘airside’ Plaza Premium Lounge – it won’t be for everyone, as not all travelers Needs an arrivals lounge, but for those who do, it’s a welcome addition to Sydney’s lounge landscape.