You! Everyday people!
(if you’re old enough, you’d be breaking out into a song right now!)
What do you imagine when you think of airport lounges? Yes, that elusive luxury haven reserved for the Business and First Class elite, filled with large, plush chairs and all the food you can eat.
Hot showers, unlimited power outlets, hi-speed Wi-Fi, free booze, attendants smiling at you all the time… those extra few thousand bucks (or air miles) really pulled their weight, eh?
And what do you, #ForeverEconomy get? Stuck with unavoidable long layovers? Hah, good luck!
… no seriously, good luck. Hard, uncomfortable terminal chairs, spotty slow free Wi-Fi, no privacy, no comfortable working space, adults and non-adults crying and behaving badly, illogically expensive food…
Once in an airport in China, I nearly paid RM90 (US$25) for a bowl of simple noodles. But that’s another story for another time.
Back in the 90s, one Malaysian had quit his job to start his own business. Boohoo, no more flying Business on corporate account! And that was how this guy – Mr. Song saw an opportunity for pay-per-use premium airport lounges!
In 1998, he launched the first Plaza Premium Lounge in Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur international airports. Today, there are over 120 Plaza Premium Lounges in 35 international airports in 14 countries.
We were invited to experience the Plaza Premium Lounge transit lounge at gateway@KLIA2. Perfect, for we were flying out to Siem Reap at some ungodly 6+ next morning.
Plaza Premium Lounge at Gateway, KLIA 2 is on Level 2, next to Thai Odyssey. It is fairly easy to spot – a big sign, a reception area and a visible dining room on the side, where hot food is served 24-hours and rotated frequently for freshness.
There are various room sizes to fit different travelers. Going solo? A single costs US$54 for 3 hours, with options to add on more hours. A room for 2 starts from US$86 (5 hours). A larger room for 4 costs US$138 for 5 hours. All rooms are air-conditioned and come with attached bathrooms.
Legit hourly-based rates for much needed R&R before a flight? Yes please!
Guests get to enjoy the TV in the dining room, newspapers and magazines, unlimited food and beverages (even beer with chilled glasses!), high speed Wi-Fi, and even a private meeting room if required.
Plaza Premium Lounge has many promotions and collaborations with airlines, hotels and credit cards. Got priority passes and credit card points? Go find out what promos and discounts that you’re entitled to!
Right, off to dinner!
The Green Market at KLIA2’s Public Concourse is part of the PPL network. THey They serve modern, casual Japanese and Korean cuisine, operating daily from 4am to midnight.
As if an emphasis on good quality food, The Green Market offers slow-juiced drinks for just RM12 each. It takes a while to arrive though, because…
There’s Sweet Tooth, juiced from guava, honeydew and red apple. There’s Fatigue Away, juiced from red apple, beetroot and carrot.
My absolute favourite was The Cooling Juice, a refreshing blend of celery, green apple, cucumber and lemon. Try it!
Don’t know what to eat? Start with the Salmon Salad (RM20) – fresh salmon slices with greens from Cameron Highlands, drizzled with roasted sesame dressing. A crowd pleaser!
Go for their signature Rotisserie Chicken – birds slow-roasted for hours resulting in tender, juicy and delicious meat. A quarter portion (RM28) is served with rice, potatoes, radish, carrots, broccoli and sweet corn.
On the Korean menu, there are options of Kimchi soup, Bibimbap and Ramyeon (noodles). Each order is served with rice (except for the noodles), appetisers and fruits.
My seafood kimchi soup (RM30) was fragrant and spicy enough for a lasting impression.
Going Japanese? Choose from Bento sets (comes with appetiser, miso soup, rice and fruits), Donburi and Udon.
After a satisfying (and very filling!) meal, we proceeded to enter the departure halls of KLIA2.
… but wait! Passes need to be applied! You can’t simply enter the area unless you’re travelling or working there!
We learned that non-travellers aren’t allowed entry if they wear slippers, or anything above the knee. Some of us had to go back to the transit hotel for a quick change!
But it was WORTH it. What an EXPERIENCE to be traipsing around KLIA2 in the middle of the night, not in a hurry to go anywhere, looking at customs, people and shops in a new light!
First stop: the Plaza Premium Lounge located at the KLIA2 departure hall. A cosy private space with comfortable chairs, reading material, TV and a mini food station. I can see why it’s so tempting to sit here while waiting for your plane.
Checked out The Wellness Spa, also owned by the PPL network. Lots of people there so no photos, sorry. You an enjoy relaxing massages here before your flight. And as part of your experience, you get to partake in their mini buffet.
I’ve learned that anything involving PPL involves A.LOT.OF.FOOD.
We ended our evening on a high note at The Bar, a…, uhm, mini bar just a short walk from the international departure gates. It operates from 5AM to midnight and offers travellers liquid respite before their flights.
Got a thirst for juices? Grab one for RM12, and maybe fried chicken wings to go with it.
Draught (Tiger and Heineken) and bottled (Asahi, Carlsberg, Guinness) beer are available from RM25. Liquor shots start from RM20 and cocktails from RM28. House pouring red and white start from RM20, very respectable labels!
Couldn’t stay up too late as we:
1) .. had an early morning flight to catch; and
2) .. not young anymore.
The next morning, we woke up and took our sweet time to freshen up before checking out. We even managed to grab a bite at the 24-hour dining room before leisurely walking the few steps to KLIA2’s departure hall.
It felt GREAT not to rush around for a (way) early morning flight. The getting ready in the middle of the night, calling for a taxi, waiting for the taxi, hoping the bugger is on time… all these while trying to suppress yawns…
Instead, we arrived in Siem Reap bright and early, fresh and eager to take on the city! And the Cambodian heat…
So Plaza Premium Lounge? 10/10 would recommend!