Although it was the only Priority Pass lounge I visited in JNB, the Bidvest Lounge was quite pleasant for a stay before a flight. It offers both warm and cold food options, self serve bar, and comfortable seating. It is worth noting the lounge was very crowded, and some of the European flights were still a few hours away from departure.
The Good: Good selection and variety of food.
The Bad: Very crowded during my short visit.
The Noteworthy: The lounge does not have good views of the tarmac, and is fairly far from the gates used by European flights.
Arrival at JNB:
I arrived at Johannesburg Airport about two and a half hours before my flight. There was already a queue at the check-in desk, and there was no one in the First Class line. As soon as I lined up, however, the Club World agent called me over and got me my boarding passes. Within about 10 minutes, I had my boarding pass, and was going through security. Security was a bit of a mess, but it took less than 15 minutes.
After security, I passed the duty free shops area, and proceeded to the second level, where most lounges are. The Bidvest Premier Lounge is located by the end closest to the security checkpoint.
You can access the lounge if you are traveling in Business or higher on a variety of carriers. It is also open to elite members of some airlines. Finally, you can access the lounge if you hold a Priority Pass card.
Once you get your card scanned at the entrance, you walk to an area that lines the main buffet, with seating across to both sides.
There is a dining area that partly doubles as a lounging area. I was a bit confused as to the design.
There is, off to the side, a conference table with chairs. I don’t really know what purpose it serves, since its completely exposed, but maybe it was a conference room at some point and they kept the furniture.
Around the lounge there were some interesting fixtures, such as a febreeze in plain sight (lol) and some candle holders without candles. The shelves were empty, and seemed like no one took care to decorate.
There was a wide variety of food. Although I didn’t have anything except the chocolate cake, which was very sweet, but dry, the food spread looked very comprehensive.
There was a hot buffet, with meat options, some vegetable curry and very few potatoes left.
The cold buffet included fruits, yogurt, cold soups (similar to gazpacho), and some salads.
Finally, there was a pastry table, with cake, cold sandwiches and some whole fruit.
As far as drinks go, there was a self serve bar with middle brand liquors and wine. Next to it was a fridge that had beer, soda and wine.
Against the wall behind the check-in counter, there was a coffee machine, one of those Nespresso coffee. It was terrible coffee (I made the mistake of trying it).
The lounge in decor and arrangement was a bit underwhelming. I found the variety of food to have been above that which was available in the BA Galleries Club Lounge. There was a lot of seating, and besides the conference table, most of it was taken. When I arrived there, most people departing on the flights to Europe were still to come. I think that, although it is a solid option, it is always very crowded and makes for a bit of a messy lounge. Would I go again? Yes, if I had nowhere else to go. I think the best lounge in the airport is probably the South African Airways Lounge.
What do you think? Have you visited the Bidvest Premier Lounge in Johannesburg? What was your experience like? Let us know!
Here is a list of all my flight reviews: The Millennial Traveler Flight Reviews
Here is a list of all my lounge reviews: The Millennial Traveler Lounge Reviews
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