Sala VIP Lounge – Rafael Núñez International Airport
Hours: 05:30 AM – 4:00 PM Monday & Wednesday. 05:30 AM – 6:30 PM Friday & Sunday. 05:30 AM – 6:00 PM & 8:00 PM- 12:00 AM Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday.
Cost: Complimentary for Priority Pass cardholders.
WiFi: Yes, free
Food: Yes, served buffet style. Alcohol available as part of buffet.
Table Service: No
Date of Visit: August 19, 2017
While Cartagena is a city visited by some two million tourists every year, though you’d never guess that from the size of their airport. There’s only one lounge in the international terminal, and just my luck it was a Priority Pass lounge.
The lounge is located past security, towards the back of the terminal, nearby the gates. The check-in counter sits outside of the lounge, with a large “Sala VIP” sign above it. When you enter with your whatever means of payment or membership (I used my Priority Pass card), it’s good for a four hour stay – anything longer than that and they’ll come by and have you swipe your card again.
The lounge is small for a lounge, though large enough given the size of the airport. The lounge opens up into the large room, which is divided into a few areas. The main area has several overstuffed chairs, and a lofty bench, with a flat screen TV that played a movie and another one that flashed flights details and status.
The rest of the space was divided into a few more nooks – another large area with some seats, a bar with stools and plenty of outlets, and a dining area.
Now, while the lounge was spacious, the one thing I will say is – it had room for more chairs. And we certainly could have used it. I’m sure this lounge doesn’t get a ton of foot traffic, but as the lounge filled up, people were struggling to find room to sit, meaning we got to get up close and personal with quite a few strangers due to an airport-wide flight delay thanks to a rain storm.
The dining options weren’t extensive, though appropriate given the size of the lounge. When we arrived at around 11 am, they had a spread of sandwiches, cheese, charcuterie, and bread rolls. As our stay at the lounge extended, past lunch, they brought out some chicken soup, which was surprisingly not terrible.
The beverage selection included your standard sodas, juice, sparkling water, plus red wine, Johnny Walker, and Absolut Vodka.
The alcohol sat next to a mostly untouched selection of fresh fruit, including grapes, apples, and oranges.
At the end of the buffet sat some desserts (tiramisu and muffins), cereal, crackers, and a coffee machine.
There were a couple of unisex bathrooms in the back. I lucked out and walked into the handicap bathroom, which meant the space was huge and empty (much like the rest of the lounge). No upgraded amenities here, just some hand lotion and a changing table (and hooks, which I always appreciate). The lounge didn’t have showers, though I suppose most people coming through here aren’t in between long haul flights and aren’t in dire need of one.
It’s not a terrible lounge. Lacking in amenities? Yes. But does it get the job done? Yes. Our flight was delayed several hours and my friends and I holed up here, using the free wifi, mixing ourselves some drinks, and helping ourselves to plenty of cheese. I ended up appreciating the space more than I probably would have had I only spent an hour in there.