Araliya Lounge Colombo Bottom Line
Colombo Airport has a few lounges you can access, either via Priority Pass, airline elite status or flying in a premium cabin. I had a chance to try out the Araliya Lounge in Colombo and was both disappointed and amused. The lounge gets a solid PASS grade, but definitely a C, maybe C+.
The Good: Hot food available, and open 24 hours.
The Bad: They had two toilets for the whole lounge. They smelled like they hadn’t been cleaned the whole day. There ~was~ a shower, but it was closed.
The Noteworthy: There were two people in the lounge during the two hours I spent there.
Arrival in Colombo
After landing from my Sri Lankan flight from Abu Dhabi, I headed to the Serendib Lounge that the airline operates at the airport. I believed that since I was traveling on a OneWorld Airline, they would honor either my elite status with American or my business class ticket with Qatar.
When I got to the lounge, a long discussion ensued between the check-in agent, the supervisor and myself. They vehemently argued that I was not allowed to use the lounge as I was an arriving passenger, and I was departing on Qatar Airways which used another lounge in the airport. After arguing with them for 20 minutes, and showing them the access rules for the Serendib Lounge on the OneWorld Website (as well as OneWorld lounge access policies) I gave up. (OneWorld later confirmed the lounge agents were in the wrong, but by then it had been about 3 days). So I walked begrudgingly to the lounge Qatar used.
There are two Priority Pass lounges, and I knew QR used one of them. When I got to the first lounge, they told me that QR used the one further down. Finally, I was in the right lounge.
The lounge has two primary areas. The first one is to the left of the entrance. It consists of the same type of chair in groups of four facing each other. This seems like a good idea if you have many families traveling, but it seemed odd otherwise. (It didn’t really matter because hardly anyone used the lounge).
Behind the entrance, there were a few work carrels which remained empty throughout my stay. There was one PC that looked at least 8 years old and ran Windows Vista.
To the right of the entrance is a second lounging area that doubles as the dining area. It was quite plain but functional. The tables were glass and the chairs were fairly flimsy. It is worth noting that the tables were impeccably cleaned.
The food spread was unappealing but actually tasty. There were a variety of regional dishes (Sri Lankan, Indian and Middle Eastern) as well as some components of an English breakfast. The English breakfast options looked terrible, so I tried a bit of the regional dishes. They were good enough, flavorful, but not the highest quality. I found it really amusing that there were spoons evidently lifted from different airlines. How did a Delta spoon make it to Colombo I will never know!
Beyond the hot dishes, there was a small fridge for sandwiches and yogurt. There were a variety of other cold dishes around the lounge. Nothing wow, but enough to snack on before a flight. Drinks were located near the far walls, with a coffee machine, self serve counter and sodas in a large fridge.
The Araliya Lounge is nothing out of this world. It serves its purpose as space away from the hustle and bustle of the terminal and provides wifi, food and a place to rest. Would I get to the airport early to go to the lounge, absolutely not, but I would much rather have this lounge than no lounge at all.