Review – Aspire Lounge – Calgary

Review – Aspire Lounge – Calgary
This entry is part 10 of 12 in the series Lounge Reviews

I recently got to visit the new International Terminal of the Calgary International Airport (YYC) and since it opened on October 31st, I’ve been dying to see what the new lounge is like.  For those of you that aren’t as nerdy as I am, you won’t know that there is no Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge in the new terminal but rather, there is a new Swissport Lounge that is branded as the Aspire Lounge.

You can gain access to the lounge through Priority Pass, which is a free benefit of the American Express Platinum Card.

The lounge is located directly after you clear security.

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General Impressions

The first impression that I had when I entered the lounge was WOW.  This lounge is very modern as you would expect with a brand new lounge.  In my opinion, it is the nicest lounge that is on offer at YYC.

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As you can see, there is very comfortable seating all along the left hand side of the lounge as well as a nice bar that helps transition the space into a high top dining area.  There are a couple of large TVs that adorn the walls as well as some nice artwork that shows off some of the highlights of the Calgary area.

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The lounge is quite large and there is ample space which is reinforced with the very high ceilings throughout.  It really does feel less like a lounge and more like a open air private space.

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From the comfortable seats I mentioned earlier, you have a view into the terminal through a wall of glass, which again adds to the open feeling of the lounge.

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The lounge even features 3 daybeds for those that need to get a bit of shuteye before their flight.  You can see from the picture above that there is a small storage area with a light and a plugin to get your electronics charged up before the flight.  Speaking of outlets, there were plenty throughout the lounge so you don’t have to worry about having to hunt for one while in the lounge.

Finally a Shower at YYC

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This lounge features a washroom that is equipped with a shower, something that even the Maple Leaf Lounge at YYC cannot claim.

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The bathroom is very clean and very modern but also quite functional.  The only thing that is a bit different is that the shower does not have a curtain or other means of keeping the water in the same area, which can be offputting for some.

Food and Drink

The only thing that was a little disappointing about this lounge was the food.

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I should clarify and say that the food was certainly edible but the presentation left a lot to be desired.  I, like many people, eat with their eyes first, meaning that if the food doesn’t look appealing, there is a good chance you won’t want to eat it.

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The main hot dish at the lounge during my visit was rice with green beans and beef stew.  I will admit that the food did taste good, it was certainly not appealing to look at.

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The bar section was sufficient and because I don’t drink a lot, this really isn’t a big selling point for me.  I will say that I was disappointed to find that they did not stock Club Soda at the lounge but they did feature Stella Artois as the beer on tap.  From the picture above, you can see that there really is a limited selection of non-alcoholic drinks available.  Hopefully that will improve with time.

One other small complaint about the lounge was that many of the discarded plates and glasses were piled up on one table, presumably to have them all taken away at once but that table of dirty dishes did seem very out place in the lounge.  I will say that they seemed to be quite understaffed at the lounge as there was initially nobody at the front desk to check us in when we entered.

 

Overall

I am actually quite impressed with the lounge and would give it a 4 out of 4 especially when compared to the other lounges in the Calgary Airport.

I have been to the Maple Leaf Lounge in Calgary as well as Servisair Chinook Lounge and the newly rebranded Aspire Transborder Lounge, and I can say that it is hands down the best lounge at the YYC airport.  The only thing lacking at this lounge is a clear view of the tarmac but that would only really bother AV Geeks.

I’m looking forward to returning to the lounge in January to see how things have changed.

 

 

Series Navigation<< Review – Alaska Airlines Boardroom Lounge – SeattleReview – Centurion Lounge – Houston >>

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10 Comments
  1. I agree with the review. The food choices here are TERRIBLE! I was happy that the staff just put in a fresh tray of omelettes into the food area as I was standing there. The only problem is they were stone cold. When I mentioned it to the staff I was told if they left them in the oven any longer, that they burn. I was told that they would warm up in the warming tray. Sounds appealing! Brown bananas, a couple oranges and an apple. Red wine offered can be purchased locally for $8.00 Canadian, and it tastes about as good as an $8.00 bottle of wine.

    I got free access with my Platinum Amex card. I would be pretty put off if I paid the $27.00 access fee.

    1. Hey Barry,

      I hear what you’re saying but I will give them the benefit of the doubt and say they are still growing into their space. I was at the lounge a week ago and like they promised to me via Twitter, they put in a sparkling water option.

      I would hope their food options get better as well but for the time being it’s the best option we have for a lounge in YYC. I believe the lounge has the potential to be great. They just need to address the food.

  2. Going through Calgary to London in June and likely staying at this lounge, hope they have better found by then!

  3. I am travelling and connecting in Calgary. There is a group of 4 adults and children. What would be the estimated cost to relax here while we wait for our connecting flight.

  4. Hey Jayce , I will be travelling to the US early next year and so hope to access this lounge. I am traveling with my wife and two small kids . It seems like to access the lounge with the priority pass (I got it through Amex platinum card) I could only bring one guest for free. In that case would it be better to just show my Amex platinum card to gain access for all of us for free ? Thanks !

    1. Hi Harley,

      You should be able to access the lounge for free using your Platinum Card. The lounge accepts both the Priority Pass and the AMEX Platinum cards but I’ve always just used the Platinum card when traveling with my family and I’ve been able to get in no problem. Cheers

      Jayce

  5. I really dislike this lounge a great deal. It is open air (no ceiling) to the rest of the airport, so as i sit here, I am listening to a screaming child in the food fair just outside the lounge, and they are hanging some banners of some variety, and I can hear incessant back up alarms from the machine are going off every minute or so.

    Also, although the lounge is “theoretically” immediately after US Customs, they have installed a security door that is for employees only. so, despite actually seeing the lounge entrance just metres away, paying customers have to wind their way through the Duty Free shop and back around again to get to the lounge.

    I could go on for a long time about the garbage airport that is YYC – but this isn’t the forum.

  6. Not sure you visited the same lounge I did. This place is a joke particularly for an international lounge. Food is awful, service is non existent, and no amenities at all, even the drink selection is seriously limited. And it is conveniently located a mile from the nearest gate. Like everything with this new terminal from security to convenience, this is awful.

  7. If you are flying to Cancun over Xmas (via WestJet), will this lounge be available to use or will it be the other lounges in YYC?

    Let me know.

    Thanks in advance.

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