I had some downtime while waiting for my flight to Oman. And so, I chose to look at the other lounges present at NAIA Terminal 1. Club Manila has been operating for a long time and I’ve heard some mixed opinions of the lounge, so I decided to take a look at it myself.
This lounge isn’t under any airline. You can consider it a pay lounge where anyone can enter as long as they pay an entrance fee of PHP 750. The only people who can enter for free are those with particular credit cards such as the following:
- BDO Diamond Rewards Credit Card
- Unionbank Platinum Credit Card
- American Express Platinum Card
The BDO and American Express cards will allow you to bring one guest with you into the lounge while the Unionbank card does not.
First thing’s first. This lounge is one of the smallest, tightest lounges I’ve ever stepped foot on. If you value your privacy and personal space, I suggest that you stay with the other, more spacious airline lounges.
Club Manila is located in Terminal 1 the stairs leading up to it is just in front of Starbucks, immediately after the security check.
As I entered, there was one receptionist that gingerly greeted me. I had to show her my credit card to redeem the free access. The process didn’t take that long.
Just a few steps away from the receptionist desk are a few chairs already. The seats looked decent enough, however, the way they’re laid out makes it feel too tight for me. Again, the lounge itself isn’t that big so the fact that the hall is filled tightly with tables and chairs makes it feel smaller than it seems.
The lounge also lacked any kind of life to it. The place felt bland and dull. The color scheme didn’t really do anything to become aesthetically pleasing. The black and red chairs against the primarily white walls and dark brown columns just made it look like a valentine’s day chocolate pack.
Probably the most interesting part of the lounge is their buffet table which was technically in the middle of the lounge. The placement put it in the very middle of things, but people who would want to try out the food placed on the other side will have to go all the way around because of how there are two large columns on both sides.
Food and Beverages
The lounge had a fairly underwhelming buffet table. Nothing really felt appetizing, and to be honest, the food felt really cheap. They had a bread basket with just pandesal and tasty bread, an unappetizing tart and a container filled with fried rice and a viand. There were also some seasonal fruits, crackers, and nachos on the other side, as well as some Arroz Caldo. Their rather small selection of beverages was hidden away to the side of the buffet table, in small refrigerators.
They also offered baby potatoes and another rice dish that wasn’t labeled.
I tried out some of their food as I sat down on their surprisingly comfy chairs. their Arroz Caldo was decent but was a far cry from the one served in the Mabuhay lounge. The other food I took which included just the rice dish, their garlic rice, and some chicken nuggets were good, but not great. For me, the food here isn’t really worth the visit.
Airline lounges are supposed to be places of rest and relaxation. They should be places where you can at least feel comfortable and have a bit of privacy for yourself. Club Manila, for me, didn’t really bring any of that. Yes, they had decent chairs, but they’re placed in a manner where you can very well hit someone if you just stretch out your arms a bit. The food wasn’t really great either and the place just felt dull and boring. Staying in the Mabuhay Lounge is probably better than this place.
It’s nice that it’s free for particular cardholders—it could serve as a place to sit down for thirty minutes with your friends and family. But if you’re a lone traveler, you’re better off roaming the airport’s other amenities. Ultimately, the lounge doesn’t deliver on their PHP750 entrance fee in any way possible. You might as well spend a bit more and just eat at a buffet in the nearest hotel.