Wine and Peace at Stansted's New Escape Lounge

by Nadia Alkahzrajie - Monday October 5, 2015 2:10 pm

After approximately forty minutes of witnessing a small child (not mine) karate chopping the air in front of my face before kicking up a royal stink when his demands for sweeties were denied I'm ready to administer the Ritalin myself. Thankfully the Escape Lounge offeres a timely getaway.

Staff are supremely civilized beings who greet you at reception like you’ve just survived a nuclear blowout. From the welcome spiel my brain isolates two salient words: free bar. Here, cocooned from the thunderdome and the unfortunates playing musical chairs outside, I lay waste to two glasses of decent Shiraz in puce green surroundings.

Less loungey and more like a modern city café, its quite a spacious affair with a centralized food station, a bar and various areas in which to chill, work, eat etc. Overcrowding is avoided by a three-hour entitlement, during which time you can avail yourself of the complimentary facilities, which are all self-service, except for that free bar. Oh well.

There are a few meal options available at a supplement- spag bol and the like, but most people graze from the buffet. There are fresh pies and pasties; bowls of salads, hand cut sandwiches and a soup of the day. There’s also a basic but decent cheeseboard with some charcuterie, fruit and good chutneys. Yes, the food is pretty basic, but its plentiful and fresh with regular replenishments. Things could be improved by moistening things up as the couscous and mini cakes on offer were on the dry side, but that’s not easy with food that has to be laid out under bright lights.

Its also very good value when you add up the individual cost of coffee, food and alcohol from other airport outlets that are all charging a premium. As a comparison on the way back we tried the itsu noodle bar and cakes from the James Martin Kitchen, both were distinctly underwhelming, plus I had to contend with someone’s iPod wires dangling into my coconut chicken as they plugged themselves into the docking station to avail themselves of the one hour free Wi-Fi entitlement, which I suspect was the main reason people were buying these exotisized pot noodles.

In the Escape Lounge I was able to eat, drink and browse the Internet in peace - I even managed a little snooze before take off. You can aslo find Escape Lounges at Manchestr airport's various terminals, and while the food might not be exactly gourmet, these pleasant little oases of peace and quiet are worth the modest cost if you have over two hours to kill.

Nadia Alkahzrajie was a guest of Holiday Extras. Other products they have include airport hotels, car hire, holiday insurance, airport transfers, currency cards and theatre breaks.

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