Northern Lights Luxury at Aberdeen Airport

When does the holiday start? Is it when you land at a foreign destination, or only when you’re sitting poolside with a cocktail in your hand or, more realistically, chasing kids round the water’s edge demented? Family holidays are SO relaxing. But holidays can apparently start at the airport, before you’ve even left your home city, which sounds like a fantastic time to start to me. Time off is a precious commodity so let the holiday feeling begin as soon as feasibly possible.

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Northern Lights Lounge – a Room with a View

In June 2017 Aberdeen International Airport opened its new Northern Lights Lounge.  The basic premise is that anyone can enter, they pay a fixed fee and once you’re settled in the rather lovely surroundings you can eat and drink whatever you like. Simple. No loyalty card, or frequent flier points necessary. The lounge can be used as a one off treat, or as regularly as desired. The lack of outright elitism appealed to me: my kids are as welcome in this lounge as any ‘v important suited exec’ proffering a ‘Gold card’.

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Whisky Wall

The food and drink in the lounge is proudly local. An extensive whisky wall, craft beer from Aberdeen locals ‘Brewdog’, Gordon Castle gin, biscuits by Dean’s Shortbread and a range of local produce to create a mix of platters, savouries, sides and sweets. The pint-size mini pies and burgers were ideal for kids, and there were healthy options too, as well as slabs of carrot cake, Mackie’s ice-cream and a sweetie dispenser. Guests help themselves to soft drinks, quality coffee, wine and beer, and spirits are ordered at the bar. Even the toiletries in the washrooms are locally produced by a north east castle.

As we were welcomed at the lounge reception, with our three year old and two year in tow, we saw another mum with a five month old baby settling down for some R&R. There was a mix of passengers, both leisure and business travellers, and the lounge felt welcoming and inclusive. Our tots chose seats next to the panoramic views of the runway and merrily watched planes and helicopters taking off and landing to their hearts’ content, announcing loudly whenever a plane was in sight, just in case anyone else in the lounge hadn’t the observation skills to spot it. Such helpful little lads.

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The ambience of the Northern Lights Executive Lounge

We had lunch in the lounge, sipping, nibbling and slurping over the course of an hour. The Scotch beef pies, ale chutney, beetroot and pumpkin seed salad, with puy lentils and chickpeas was far better fare than I usually experience at an airport.  We continued to pop back and forth to the buffet until it was time for take-off. The flights aren’t announced but it’s easy enough to keep an eye on the screens blinking their ever-changing take-off information.

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Parking up our wheels at Aberdeen Airport

Dining in the Northern Lights lounge was as restful experience as it could be with two preschoolers in tow. The space is fresh and new, it looks and feels stylish without being stuffy, there’s ample seating, and modern decor in navy and geometrics. News was playing on the large screen television and people were chatting, basically there was a relaxed atmosphere and ambient noise. I hate taking children into venues where you can hear a pin drop, thankfully my kids’ shrieks of ‘Plane, Plane, Plane’ weren’t overly disturbing in the general chit chat. This simple but indulgent lunch set us up for our two flights, firstly to Heathrow, then transferring to Nice in the south of France, and got me in the holiday mood to boot.

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Nibbles – My first sitting

Admittedly the big question is, is it worth it? Especially with kids? Basically children under 3 years of age are permitted free access to the lounge, adult tickets are £25 and children 3+ are charged at £15. I never like assuming anyone’s budget but if you want to treat yourself then these are reasonable sums for a civilised and tasty kick-start to a special break. But often people like to feel they’re getting their money’s worth, and that simply depends on how much you eat and how much/the value of what you drink. Personally I had two servings of food, a dessert, a coffee, a soft drink and a rather generous large glass of wine in lovely surroundings. Considering what I’d spend onboard an aircraft, or at an airport cafe, I felt it was a fair price. Obviously you can buy a ‘packed lunch’ style lunch from Boots far cheaper but that’s not comparing like with like. My three year old didn’t consume £15 of food, but you could argue he did leap about to potentially £15 worth of aircraft, as you have to count the value of the experience. My two year old (free) was obviously laughing his tiny socks off.

As a local it’s rewarding to see Aberdeen Airport showcasing North East suppliers. The organisers behind the lounge could have chosen to stock any quality produce but instead they’re working with Aberdonian chefs and producers to put forward a  mixed Scottish menu.

This isn’t something I’d do for every trip but it is a treat, and I did find the experience welcoming for families. It would work well for a celebratory multi-generational family holiday with granny in tow. I also know it would be a great boost to a girly weekend away where (without sounding uncouth) you could make a little more of the bar – gin anyone? Naturally it would be a great perk on any work trip. Click here to find out more about tickets.

 

If you like what you read then don’t miss a post, enter your email address in the ‘Follow’ box then click ‘Follow’ or join the conversation on Facebook. Tots2Travel received complimentary access for review purposes, and the tots were very thorough at spotting the planes. This is a review of the new lounge only rather than the overall airport. For any queries or opportunities please email tots2travel@hotmail.com.

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16 Comments

  1. Reply

    joylovestravel

    September 21, 2017

    It definitely sounds worth the money, such a perfect way to start a holiday and escape from the frazzled mayhem that is the rest of the airport. I love that children are welcome too.

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      September 23, 2017

      Quite a restful start, well as restful as anything is with a 3 year old and 2 year old in tow.

  2. Reply

    Zen Babytravel

    September 21, 2017

    Fully agree the way you start a holiday is quite crucial, especially when embarking on 2 flights with 2 kiddies! Was in a similar place back in August and by myself with 2 under 4s and lunching and running around Ba lounge at Heathrow helped big time. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      September 23, 2017

      Sounds lovely. How did you get your wee ones into the BA lounge?

  3. Reply

    Shawna Holly

    September 22, 2017

    Sounds wonderful! I feel like the art of flying “with class and style” has long been lost. I would love to begin a trip this way! And BIG bonus points for being family friendly!

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      September 25, 2017

      Being able to take the boys with us was a bit of a game changer!

  4. Reply

    MummyTravels

    September 23, 2017

    I always feel like the holiday starts when we’re settled on the plane – but there’s no doubt a lounge helps that feeling begin earlier. We seem to have had a run if early morning flights and no time to enjoy one recently but for later flights, the food/drink and less stressful experience are usually worth every penny. This sounds a fab one with kids too.

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      September 25, 2017

      I know what you mean. Our flight was aroudn 2pm so ideal timing to kick back in the lounge over lunch and make the most of it.

      • Reply

        MummyTravels

        September 27, 2017

        Perfect!

      • Reply

        MummyTravels

        October 3, 2017

        And thanks for linking up with #citytripping – lovely to re-read this

        • Reply

          tots2travel

          October 4, 2017

          Might have a few more city posts coming up soon:-)

  5. Reply

    Herself

    October 3, 2017

    I think that’s very reasonable actually, especially if you take the cost of airport food into account. Plus, I am very prone to arriving rediculously early at airports, so this would be great.

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      October 4, 2017

      I compared it to the price and value of other airport food because at that time of day we would have eaten onsite somewhere. 🙂

  6. Reply

    Esther

    October 3, 2017

    This does sound good. Last year, before husband and I went to South-Africa, we treated ourselves to a night in a hotel the night prior to our flight. We don’t live that far from the airport, but the fact that we didn’t have to start our holiday with rushing to catch busses and trains in order to catch our flight made it so much more relax. To start your holiday all calm with a big smile is worth a lot of euros IMHO!
    #CityTripping

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      October 4, 2017

      I agree. Sometimes the relaxation and holiday can start on your own doorstep.

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      October 4, 2017

      p.s. which blog is yours? would love to take a look.

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