Arrivals Lounges are a pretty new concept to me. I used the Virgin ‘Revivals’ Lounge at Heathrow late last year and thought it was a great idea.
With my shiny new Priority Pass in hand, I noticed there was an arrivals lounge at JNB Johannesburg, called the ‘ses’fikile lounge’. Even though I’d slept on board my 10.5 hour flight from London Heathrow, I had hours to kill before my hotel would let me check in and I knew the chance to freshen up would be very welcome.
I just loved the ‘welcome’ floor in JNB, which runs past the luggage carousels!
To be honest, finding the lounge is the challenge. I did ask at the Information Desk after customs but the woman there had never heard of it. Luckily, she called over a colleague and she knew it was near the Virgin Mobile ladies! And there was a sign, down a side alley. If you don’t keep your eyes WIDE open for it, you’ll be out through the sliding doors into arrivals and unable to get back in!
The receptionist was waiting to welcome me at the door – I assume they have a camera in the lift up to the Arrivals Lounge floor (SAS is in the same location). She assumed right away (correctly!) that I’d want a shower and she checked me in quickly. With Priority Pass, it’s easy because there is an electronic card that the receptionist simply swipes.
The receptionist showed me to the shower rooms and allocated me a space. It was clean and had fresh towels. I noticed the shower gel colour didn’t match the stated ‘flavour’! However, it was just fine!
There is a large sink, toilet, female hygiene unit, hair dryer and washing products. There’s also a chair and hooks for your clothes. Unlike the Virgin Revivals, there is no ironing service! But who ever had that anywhere else?!
The shower was just perfect and there was lots of pressure and warm water.
Refreshed and freshly changed, it was back into the lounge to explore what was on offer. There was a good coffee machine with lots of options, both espresso/machiatto style drinks or latte/cappucino options.
There are ample cold drinks in small cans. Can’t complain – it had everything I like and lots of options I’d never seen before.
As this was early morning, I wasn’t interested in alcohol, but you can see all the spirit bottles and wine. There’s beer in the fridge. There were quite a few bowls of nachos/Doritos and crisps, as well as sandwiches, salads, biscuits and cakes.
Some warm breakfast options were on offer like these warm potatoes with a sauce. There was no ‘tag’ stating what it was, but it kind of looked like a sweet chilli sauce.
All in all, a pretty good arrivals lounge. Free wifi (code not offered at check-in, so make sure to ask) was reasonably fast – good enough for email and mild browsing. The seating was comfortable and other clients seemed to be both international visitors and South African visitors.
Overall verdict: 8 out of 10