The fabled Concorde Room at Londons Heathrow Terminal 5, the home of British Airways. Frequented regularly by celebrities and those in the upper echelons of society on their jaunts for either business or pleasure, there’s certainly an allure to the place. Perhaps it’s the exclusivity, perhaps it’s the food and service. Have a read on and make your own mind up.
|OneWorld First Class ticket holders, British Airways Premier, Concorde Room and American Airlines Concierge Key holders
|Head to the Fortnum and Masons bar, up the escalator 1 level and it is on your right. Alternatively, as soon as you’re through security, make an immediate right and its the silver door.
This is the inconspicuous door you’re looking for should you be connecting or not checking in through The First Wing. Rumour has it British Airways pays Heathrow £1 Million a year to use this door as that’s how much Heathrow misses out on duty-free sales by passengers totally avoiding having to walk past the high-end boutique stores.
To quote Tinie Tempah “Leave your baggage at the stairs and your worries at the door, you don’t have to think about problems anymore”. That almost rings true, except there are no stairs. On entrance, the first thing you come across is the luggage room. You can leave as many bags as you like and are handed a ticket. Whenever you need access to your bags or want to leave, just present your ticket.
The whole point of a lounge isn’t baths, champagne and caviar, fundamentally it is somewhere comfortable and quiet to sit whilst you wait for your flight. Now what you’ll find is that lounges, where you pay £30 to enter, are quite crowded and will have you sitting right next to someone else in a seat that’s comfortable for about 30 minutes.
This then is the polar opposite end of the spectrum. Limited numbers due to the exclusivity of the lounge keep the noise down and make for a tranquil environment. Comfort is provided in the way of furniture most would struggle to afford to put in their own pad. Don’t worry though, unlike the £30 lounges, you won’t be rubbing elbows here.
Consider the lounge set out in very spacious seating zones. Some may be enclosed with partitions, some may be positioned around a fire, and all offer a feeling of luxury and comfort with an ambience to match.
If you want even more space, there’s the Concorde terrace. To say the ceiling is vaulted is a gross understatement. The ceilings are that of the airport terminal and the walls are glass which is the only thing separating you from the tarmac and planes. You’ll do well to find a less claustrophobic environment in any lounge.
Name a cocktail, any cocktail… The bar staff have you covered. They’re very knowledgeable, good at their jobs and can hold interest in a conversation for hours, should you be on your own and your flight gets pushed back. Generally, a nice place to kill an hour or 2 without realising, just be careful as it’s stocked with all the good stuff and it doesn’t take much to miss a flight.
Here’s where BA start to offer clear differentiation between their lower-tier lounges and the Concorde Room. A dedicated intimate sit-down restaurant consisting of roughly 15 tables all served by waiters. I was about to type attentive waiters, but that isn’t the case. My go-to test is to start counting the seconds between me taking the last sip of my drink, placing the empty glass down on the table, to how long it takes for someone to notice and ask if I would like a refill. I’d still be there now…
Poor attentiveness and some mix-ups aside, the food is pretty good. There’s a broad array of food being offered:
- A selection of sandwiches, consisting of ham & mustard, smoked salmon & cream, free-range egg mayonnaise & cress, Tyrrells crisps.
- Chocolate brownie
- Black rice, quinoa & edamame beans with soya dressing & focaccia croutons
- Rainbow salad consisting of giant couscous, bulgur wheat, lentils, butternut squash, red pepper, sweet chilli & croutons
- Garden salad consisting of sliced radish, sun blushed tomatoes, fennel & red onion
- Soup of the day served with freshly baked warm bread
- John Ross smoked salmon with celeriac, remoulade & dill
- Air dried Dorset pork served with Cauliflower, Apple puree, fennel & radish salad
- Pumpkin ravioli with stilton, toasted pumpkin seeds & roquette
- Pan-fried seabass with pickled vegetables & parsley yoghurt
- Slow roasted chicken with glazed carrot, red chard & tarragon sauce
- Concorde Burger consisting of a beef burger in a brioche bun with gherkin, shredded gem lettuce, red onion, Concorde burger sauce & chunky chips. English mature cheddar cheese is available on request.
- Forest berry Eton Mess served with cream & yoghurt, Grand Siecle poached berries, meringue & toasted flaked almonds
- Sorbet (either mango or raspberry)
- Fruit salad comprising of Melon, orange, grapes, pineapple, kiwi & mango
- British cheese plate made up of Cornish Yarg, Somerset Brie & Stilton with spiced pear chutney, grapes, celery & a selection of biscuits.
Let’s be honest here if you fly East coast (New York, Washington DC, Miami, etc) to London you simply don’t get enough sleep due to the flights not being long enough. Yes, they’re booked in at 6-7 hours but by the time you’ve taxied, taken off, got up to altitude, at least 1 hour has gone by before you can recline your seat and transform it into a bed. Then the same on the other end when you get woken up to put your bed into the seat position. Another hour wasted so of the 6-7 hours of flying time the very maximum you’re sleeping in a bed is 5 Hours.
The 5 Fourty Winks sleeping pods are available to book for up to 2 hours at a time. You can Either set your alarm or have a member of staff come to wake you at a certain time and they’ll even bring you a drink and things when they wake you.
If you’re looking to be deep in the spreadsheets or rattle off a whole load of work, The Concorde Room probably isn’t for you. There’s no actual office space or even something you can transform into a makeshift desk. The whole point of the lounge is for a tranquil environment where one is supposed to relax.
If like me, you get the creative drive to get some work done when you’re supposed to be relaxing, you could just grab a sofa and burst the laptop out.
This sort of reinforces the above, pretty poor wifi makes for a difficult time to do work. It also makes for a pretty poor time when you’re trying to scroll social or watch some on-demand content.
No dice on this front per se. Unlike the dedicated first-class lounges in most other airline hubs, British Airways Concorde Room doesn’t have any dedicated showers. Instead, you get priority access to showers shared by the First Class lounge (which is for OneWorld Saphire members). You can also use the bath’s but they are in the arrivals lounge, this means you have to leave airside, go downstairs, get a bath, and then go through security again just to get back in the lounge. Somewhat of a massive hindrance, I think you will agree?
Weighed, measured and found wanting. A very poor show would be my analysis if I was comparing it to any other lounge that was dedicated to First Class passengers. BUT… for the vast majority of BA’s clientele, it’s exactly what they want. They get their Addison Lee or Chauffer to drop them kerbside at the end of the terminal, walk through The First Wing private security line, have a quick bite to eat and a few bubbles then leave to board the plane last.
Like I say, if you aren’t the majority of BA’s clientele and you want all the bells and whistles like spa treatments, etc, BA got rid of them a while ago in cost-cutting measures (though they blamed the pandemic). Hey, maybe you end up sitting at the bar and have a conversation with a celeb’ you always wanted to meet, you never know.