LAN is one of my favorite airlines. Given the large amount of work I do in South America, I’m onboard a number of LAN flights. Often, I’m passing through Lima which is never any good since, well, the lounges in Lima leave something to do. But on this recent trip to Argentina, I not only had the chance to fly the LAN Dreamliner, I had a chance to stop through Santiago and visit the brand new LAN VIP lounge. Is it one of their best? Does it put Santiago on the map as far as one of the best lounges in the region?
The Previous Lounges
You can’t understand this new lounge if you don’t first understand the previous lounge situation. As lounges in Latin America go, SCL had a pretty good lounge scene.The LAN Naruda and Mistral lounges. It was nothing comparable to Asia or parts of Europe, but certainly compared to the meager options in places like Lima or parts of Central America, it was really damn good! They were small but intimate. They had great showers, comfortable seats, and best of all, you could get a Pisco Sour if you asked for one!
And so I went into the new LATAM VIP Lounge in SCL with some skepticism. I mean, I loved the old lounges? Could this really be better? In a word: Yes.
Finding the Lounge
But no experience is perfect, and my initial experience in the lounge fed into my initial skepticism. First, the lounge was hard as hell to find. I went to the gate I was told it was near and to my surprise found, nothing.
I doubled back, went to the old lounge area and confirmed indeed it wasn’t there but instead found this sign tucked into a corner:
And so at last after a couple of questions to folks in the Duty Free area, I found the elevators to take me up to the lounge.
One you get past the awkward positioning of the elevators, the entrance is indeed nice.
Staff, as is almost always the case for me with LAN once you’re at the airport, were friendly and efficient. A friend and I who fly LAN A LOT joke that LAN is one of the worst airlines for customer service outside the airport, one of the best once you’re safely through the airport and airplane doors! I’d just arrived from a long redeye from JFK so wanted nothing more than a shower, and they quickly took me to the shower area.
Showers and Bathrooms
While the tile decor was great, the showers themselves were only alright.
I mean, I loved the old shower situation from Neruda and Mistral. The rooms were decent sized, the shower head strong, and they always gave you the same amenity kit they provide at the seats in business class, so that was a huge bonus. This time, no amenity kit, only the basic soap, shampoo, body lotion.
The hot water took FOREVER and then went between hot and burn your skin scalding hot. The bathroom was so small and awkward the trash bin they provided could barely open without hitting the sink but it had to be positioned there because there was no other place it could be placed. Also nowhere else to sit down but the toilet itself. No bench for shoes, etc… And the drain was funky, and so my shower was quicker than I would have liked.
But on the bright side, the tiles in the shower are beautiful. The shampoo products they provided were good and so all in all, a shower is a shower after a long flight.
Note: They’ve got showers on both floors of this massive complex. So if floor one is busy, ask about floor two.
I also thought the bathrooms were great. Similar to the Galleries Club Lounges in London Heathrow and other lounges I’ve come to love, each toilet was its own individual room and sink, a nice touch.
Lounge breakfast is never that amazing. I mean, on one hand a free espresso is a free espresso, and I’m always grateful for that. But the food in the morning is nothing like what a lounge puts out in the afternoon and evening. And so the breakfast selections are just OK, and I will be curious to try out the lunch and dinner offerings on a future trip.
But the space and layout of the kitchens as well as corresponding seating were wonderfully inviting.
I really enjoyed the kitchen nook area on the second floor with the tower of wines from the region. Beautiful!
And the wine selection was also great, though I decided not to sample it at 8 am in the morning! I did have a Pisco Sour in Lima at 9 am on my way back to the USA though.
If you’ve flown both LAN and TAM, you know that even though they’re combined, they’re still distinct airlines. And this lounge is so massive, it managed to bring the style and feel of both and incorporate it into one lounge.
The seating areas were great.
Important in our tech happy world, every seat I encountered had outlets at them! What’s more, the wifi was strong when I visited. I streamed Netflix without any problems, always a plus on a long layover! The airline had a healthy selection of English and Spanish newspapers, a TV room which had futbol on when I passed by, and so much more.
The dining areas had beautiful individual and communal table space.
There was a boardroom set up if you needed to meet with the team or you just need a quite place to tuck away.
There’s even an entertainment and video game room, but that hadn’t been fully setup by the time of my visit. But should be cool for kids and video game nerds alike!
Again, in a LAN lounge in a city like Santiago, great wine is a must. I am always a fan of great runway views and this lounge provides that. The variety of seating space is also wonderful. It’s most certainly one of my favorite OneWorld lounges, and the thing I loved most was this: They have a sleeping room, complete with real beds!
Aside from this, one of the employees boasted that they also will have shoe shine service and laundry, though I am not entirely sure how laundry will work. Add Haagen Dazs ice cream and the fact that this lounge has to be the largest in South America, and I’d say the LATAM VIP Lounge in Santiago is a great addition to SCL! And just in case you doubt it, I went to a few of the other lounges, and as you’ll see below, they’re stuck in the past!
So after reading this LATAM VIP Lounge Santiago Review, you’ve probably got only one more question: How do you access the LATAM VIP Lounge in Santiago?
There are a few ways:
1. If you’re OneWorld Sapphire or Emerald.
2. Fly premium class on a OneWorld airline as well as Premium Economy on LAN.
3. Santander Bank’s World Member clients also get access.
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