Back in January I booked an Alitalia business class error fare that originated in Barcelona, with a destination of Los Angeles. It was an excellent deal, and I expected to earn a bunch of Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs) and Dollars (MQDs) for the trip. This didn’t materialize as expected, due to the nature of the fare class and how the error fare was handled.
But what I did have was an enjoyable trip where I spent 48 hours in Helsinki before heading to Barcelona in Finnair A321 economy and then off for home. Kicking off the return trip was a stop by the Pau Casals VIP Lounge Barcelona.
Accessing the Pau Casals VIP Lounge Barcelona
Barcelona El Prat Airport has a few different Priority Pass Lounges in Terminal 1, and an additional lounge in Terminal 2. Access to the Terminal 1 each can be tricky, as they essentially serve three different areas. The Pau Casals VIP Lounge Barcelona is for domestic flights and flights within the Schengen Area. The Sala VIP Miro serves non-Schengen T1 flights, and the Sala VIP Colomer is strictly for Barcelona-Madrid shuttle flights.
The Pau Casals VIP Lounge Barcelona is also the contract business class lounge for several airlines, including Alitalia. As I was flying Alitalia business class, I simply showed my ticket instead of bothering with my Priority Pass card.
The Pau Casals VIP Lounge is open daily between 6:00 AM and 11:00 PM. It is located on the mezzanine level. After clearing security and heading down the stairs to the terminal center, proceed right. You’ll see the signs and escalator up to the lounge.
I actually tried to access the Pau Casals VIP Lounge the evening before using my Priority Pass card. However, I was turned away. The agent at the front desk made it clear that none of the lounges at Barcelona El Prat Airport accept Priority Pass entry on arrival.
The lounge limits Priority Pass members to a single guest, and you may only access the lounge three hours or less prior to scheduled flight departure. This may be different than what your membership normally allows.
There was quite the line to enter when I arrived in the morning. Check-in and security had gone faster than anticipated, so I arrived a few minutes before the opening time.
I was immediately impressed with how large the Pau Casals VIP Lounge is. There are several different areas and plenty of seating. The seating variety is significant as well. From the typical sofas and armchairs, to shielded “pods” for small groups, to the large work tables, the Pau Casals lounge really covers the bases when it comes to seating options. There are even some kids tables in the area near the window seating.
The only section that seemed awkwardly placed were these pods near one of the halls. With many other area to choose from, this would be my last choice.
You would think that all the USB charging ports and power outlets would work, as they feature prominently on the side tables next to the sofas and armchairs. But that would be a wrong assumption. It took me a while to find a spot where I could charge my phone. It made me wonder whether the handy ones on the tables worked either.
In the area to the left of the front desk is a rack with several different newspapers and other publications.
Overall, the seating and general space of the Pau Casals VIP Lounge Barcelona is very nice. My only gripe is the power situation. It was nice to see outlets at so many of the seats, but quite a bummer when the first half dozen USB plugs I tried didn’t provide power.
Food and Beverage
The Pau Casals VIP Lounge food selection is reasonable, but leaves a bit to be desired. The drink selection is good, as there are plenty of soft drink choices, juice, water, coffee, and other non-alcoholic beverages. The food options are more limited.
The breakfast options consisted of cold cuts, yogurt, pastries, and small pre-packaged sandwiches. The Pau Casals Lounge doesn’t offer any hot items.
There are also several snack options, both in the main food area and a smaller selection near the front seating area.
Both food and beverage areas contain a large selection of bottled soft drinks. The aesthetic is definitely nicer than simply offering a soda machine.
The wine and spirits selection in the main food area is fairly extensive for a self-serve bar. There were three different red wines, and a few other whites and rosés. The typical lounge in the U.S. seems to have one red and one white.
I was a bit surprised that all the alcohol was out at at 5:00 AM. But I guess neither Spain nor Catalonia have any laws against serving it this early.
There is also a dining area adjacent to the main food area. You can also sit at the bar seating, which is another option if you need to keep your devices charged.
The Pau Casals VIP Lounge features a meeting room that you can reserve. I’m not sure if there is a surcharge, or if it is simply first-come, first-serve.
The bathrooms at the Pau Casals VIP Lounge Barcelona are modern, clean, and very well attended. Even in lounges, the bathrooms can get a bit grimy if the traffic is high, and these were especially nice. It may have helped that my stay in the lounge was from roughly 5:00 to 6:00 AM, the very beginning of the day.
The Pau Casals Lounge also features showers. I’d just showered at the hostel I’d stayed at (after a horrible night of non-sleep), so there was no need at the lounge. I typically like to shower before a long-haul flight when I can, especially if it is going to be overnight.
The lounge WiFi was adequate for general use, web surfing, and social media. I didn’t perform a speed test, something I try to do. I’m gonna blame it on starting the day exhausted.
I headed out from the lounge just before the published boarding time, just to find that my flight had already boarded all its passengers. Apparently, they had even called my name. Not a great first impression of Alitalia. Luckily, there were still some people backed up in the jet bridge, and I was fine. I would have been livid had I waited another 5-10 minutes and missed my flight.
Overall Thoughts on the Pau Casals VIP Lounge Barcelona
The Pau Casals VIP Lounge Barcelona offers a clean, spacious place away from the terminal to relax before your flight. The drink options are good, and the lounge is well attended. The two areas that could be better are the food options and the lack of working power outlets. Still, it met my expectations for an international Priority Pass lounge. It’s not the nicest lounge I’ve visited, but it certainly not the worst, and it is a great choice if you’re passing through Barcelona.