Travel

The Consummate Traveler: Hotel Executive Lounges…Are They Worth It?

BY Michele Goncalves TIMEOctober 10, 2012 PRINT
A view of the sixth-floor executive lounge looks out on a panorama view at the newly opened first five-star Moevenpick hotel in the West Bank Palestinian city of Ramallah, on October 30, 2010. (Abbas Momani/AFP/Getty Images)
A view of the sixth-floor executive lounge looks out on a panorama view at the newly opened first five-star Moevenpick hotel in the West Bank Palestinian city of Ramallah, on October 30, 2010. (Abbas Momani/AFP/Getty Images)

I recently booked a hotel room in New York City for a personal weekend getaway, and I paid $30 more per night for the executive lounge access. Some of you may think this is a big price tag and may be unsure whether or not it is truly worth the cost of admission. In my opinion, I believe the access was well worth it, and I’d love to share with you why.

Coffee, tea, and snacks: 

This lounge was recently renovated and was equipped with a fancy coffee machine that churned out cappuccinos, lattes, flavored coffees, and hot chocolate. Over a two-day stay, my two friends and I must have consumed over twelve cups. This would have easily cost $72 at any local cafe. Not to mention, we immensely enjoyed snacking on several fresh cookies (the chocolate chip were my favorite) with our drink, which again saved us at least $1 per cookie consumed. If you are a heavy coffee or tea drinker, access to a hotel lounge can be a significant cost savings in itself.

Home Base: 

This hotel lounge (like most) offered a quiet, comfortable, and safe place to “hang out” while waiting for friends or transportation to arrive. I have frequently found that hotel lobbies are very busy and generally have limited seating. It is also open to the public and can pose higher security vulnerability these days, in comparison with a lounge that requires a special code or key access. So, if your trip will involve several periods of down time or waiting for others in your party to get ready, hotel lounges offer the best spots to perch.

WI-FI:

Our lounge included free WI-FI access. If you do not have a data plan on your smart phone or computer device, this cost can accumulate $15–$30 per day, if you pay for connectivity from your room. My gal pals and I estimate that we saved a bundle by taking advantage of this.

Hors d’oeuvres

This hotel had excellent late afternoon hors d’oeuvres. The tasty treats included hot chicken wings, mini Chinese dumplings, raw vegetables, fresh fruit, and even brownies. We really enjoyed the delicious food, which helped banish our hunger pangs just as we were heading out for the night. 

Practically all executive lounges I have visited offer hot finger foods after work hours from about 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. While the quality of the food among hotels can differ, it is often very suitable pre-dinner snacks to tide you over until you sit down to dine. Of course, if you are a light eater, it can be your dinner! 

Food, beverages, and Internet charges can add up quickly during your stay. These are the biggest perks gained in executive lounges, and I feel they easily outweigh the cost of entry. Before making your decision about paying extra for this access at a particular hotel, consider calling the concierge to inquire about all the amenities, or scan reviews on popular sites such as Tripadvisor.com to see what others have to say.

As always, I wish you all happy travels!

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