Review: Aspire Lounge Terminal 2 Manchester Airport

Every time we have flown from Manchester’s Terminal 2 we have always gone to the Escape Lounge. Even though we were flying much later and didn’t have as much time as we would have liked we really wanted to try out the Aspire Lounge.

Location

The lounge is located on the upper level of the terminal, the main lift and staircase to the lounges are located just after JD sports (as if you were walking from the security area).

Upstairs is a long corridor with Escape Plus at one end and Aspire at the other. Further forward and to the left is the Escape Lounge. To the left, you will see the Aspire Lounge through a doorway and sign above.

Access

The Aspire lounge Manchester Terminal 2 does accept Priority Pass but they may not always accept it. Depending on how busy the lounge is and peak hours may mean that only bookings are accepted. 

If like us, you travel and fly quite often a Priority Pass is a great way to get into lounges all over the world. You can also take in a second person with each Priority Pass card.

Our visit was around 6.15 pm and so there were very few flights going out (I think 4 in total including ours). Many of the lounges will close around 7-9 depending on the flights and schedule. 

We were checked into the lounge and kindly reminded to keep an eye on the board and time. 

You can access the lounge by turning up on the day or making a booking in advance.

Layout

The lounge was due to close at 7.30 but we didn’t mind. The operating hours are from 4 am to 7.30 pm everyday. The lounge is smaller than the Escape Lounge but still generous in seating.

The overall appearance of the lounge was quite nice and very up to date. I feel it could have been a recent update as the furniture and fittings were very clean and in great condition.

There are a number of areas in which you can sit with a number of different seating styles. With the main food area and Deli bar located to the right of the entrance, it has left the rest of the lounge for seating. 

There was a clear walkway around the lounge which is handy for anyone with a wheelchair or pushchair. Alternatively, the deli area may be a little tight to get around and the height is not appropriate for wheelchairs or scooters.

Due to the position of the lounge, it doesn’t have a desirable view. The view of the lounge from the limited windows is of the WH Smiths located in arrivals. 

Though the lounge is nice enough that you don’t need to look out the window.
There is a range of seating options within the Aspire Lounge Manchester Airport including;

Tall stools
Standard Chairs
Relaxing armchairs.

Along with soft seating, if you want to be high up or have a plug close by you can sit on one of the high stool areas. The bonus of these are if you are looking to work and be clsoe to the food these are perfect.

Catering / Bar

We were lucky enough to get to sample the evening meal at Aspire Lounge Manchester Terminal 2. 

There were both hot meals available and a cold deli bar.

 I was most impressed with the deli bar as it had chicken tikka wraps, salads and couscous. There were a number of other side dishes and salad staples to make a lovely fresh plate of food.

 The hot meals available were curry based dishes which were also suitable for vegetarians. There was the option to have small poppodums and pita breads to accompany the dishes available.

The attention to detail with the food was good as there was plenty of choice. I would have like to have seen a few more regular snacks such as biscuits, crisps and crackers. Though the food was good quality and very nice, I feel they could add in a few extras.

Personally, I want to go back to Aspire Lounge for breakfast as there is a pancake maker machine which I would love to try.

No matter what you like to drink there were plenty of choices. While they didn’t have bottles or even cans of soft drinks like we have experienced at many other lounges, they did have a dispenser.

The only let down was that the dispenser of soft drinks only had 4 choices. Pepsi Max, Pepsi, Tango and White Lemonade.

There was a full self serve coffee with clean mugs on a shelf at the side. The machine is a popular choice within lounges and is easy to use.

On the same counter was a place to get tea. With up to 7 choices of tea all from Twinnings, including Breakfast tea, earl grey, and green tea.

There is also a full-service bar for guests to get an alcoholic beverage. You can get a number of drinks such as wine, beer and spirits. You can order at the bar and have one of the lovely staff make you a drink.

Champagne and Prosecco are, unfortunately, not included in the lounge and are an added cost.

Facilities

The bathrooms for the lounges in Manchester Terminal 2 are shared are located on the min corridor. The men’s toilets are located just outside Aspire Lounge whereas the women’s are just on the next right walking away from the lounge.

This was the area that was the biggest let down for all the lounges. As they were shared and with only 4 cubicles to share between guests it can get very busy and cramped. I feel that this could be easily adjusted to make bigger or have separate toilet facilities for each lounge.

There is a large range of magazines and newspapers to read within the lounge. They are located to the left of the check-in desk. There were magazines on money and finance, travel and fashion/home.

There is complimentary wifi which you can access by the password given to you at check-in. We have never struggled with wifi at any of the Manchester Terminal 2 lounges and the Aspire Lounge was no different.

I feel that the lounge is aimed towards business travellers as there was a certain high end feel. In this case, I feel the lack of plugs and USB chargers in and around the lounge were a shame.

I noticed that there were plug sockets on the perimeter of the room and so you would need to sit at one of those tables to access a charging point. While there was still access, I feel it is something many people like to have access to for work or personal purposes.

Conclusion

In our time at the lounge, I saw that the staff were very keen on keeping the food fresh and restocked and tidy. I often saw them clearing the area, cleaning down the sides and replacing dishes. It was easy to see the care that went into the food and cleanliness which was great.

I was overall impressed with the Aspire lounge Manchester Terminal 2 and would definitely recommend going. I feel if you are traveling as a couple, solo or for business this lounge is a great fit as it is very calm and relaxing.

Aspire lounge Manchester Terminal 2

Layout
Food & Drink
Facilities

Summary

A great lounge, open to everyone and all travellers. The food is a leap above offering more options and both vegan and vegetarian options.

Though upgrades on the toilet facilities and plug sockets would make this lounge a 5 star.

4.3

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