Ever wondered what it is like inside the Eurostar Lounge at St. Pancras International? Or Gare du Nord for that matter? Well, as I mentioned recently, I have now reached Carte Blanche on Eurostar. Meaning I am finally eligible to enter the Eurostar Business Lounges at St. Pancras and Gare du Nord when travelling on the Eurostar between London and Paris. Not a stranger to airport lounges, I was quite curious to see what it was like inside a Eurostar Lounge. Are you as well? Well, let me tell you, what you can expect.
I was really looking forward to the day, when I finally reached the 1800 points required for Carte Blanche and therefore would have access to the Eurostar lounges. I was also eager to complete these 1800 points before the end of October, as from November the threshold will be raised to 2400 points for Carte Blanche status.
Two weeks ago, my trip from London to Paris on the Monday was the final journey needed to reach Carte Blanche. Meaning my first experience inside the Eurostar Lounge would be in Paris. And gosh was I disappointed. Somehow it seems I picked a very popular travel time and the lounge was packed. I eventually managed to grab a seat, but this clearly wasn’t the calm and relaxing lounge I expected (or at least hoped for).
But hey, surely this can’t be all? Everyone told me how amazing the Eurostar lounges were. So, I decided to keep an open mind and give it another try during the next trip.
What’s it like inside the Eurostar Lounge in St. Pancras?
After my disappointment in Gare du Nord, I was curious to see if the Eurostar Lounge in St. Pancras was any better. And I didn’t have to wait long for the answer, as I was due to travel out to Paris the next Monday. As usual, on the first train in the morning.
To avoid hitting traffic (and to get a better deal on the cab fare by travelling off peak), I usually arrive at St. Pancras with plenty of time for my 7.01am Eurostar to Paris. And this time was no exception.
Once I made it through security and passport control (priority line obviously, another perk of Carte Blanche), I turned right and straight into the lounge. Which was almost deserted at that time of day… It did eventually fill up, the nearer we got to boarding time.
The Eurostar Lounge at St. Pancras is split on two levels. With different seating arrangements, as well as work desks and refreshments on both levels.
As this was my first time inside the Eurostar Lounge, I just grabbed myself a comfy looking seat on the ground floor, dumped my bags and went straight for the coffee machine. I mean, after all it was barely 6am on a Monday morning, so no messing around.
To accompany the coffee, there were mountains of croissants, pain au chocolat and pain au raisin. Which must have gone down a storm with everyone, given how often staff went past with more baskets filled to the brim with pastries.
In addition, the breakfast selection included toast, butter and jam, muesli and yoghurt. I would assume that the food selection would change throughout the day. But so far, I’ve only been inside the Eurostar Lounge in the morning, so I can’t say for sure.
With breakfast sorted, I decided to go and explore the lounge a little. I was especially curious to see the upstairs. As I saw many people enter the lounge and head straight upstairs, rather than grabbing a seat downstairs.
Turns out upstairs are more seats (ok, no surprise), but also a second refreshment unit and a bar. Obviously, at 6 in the morning, I did not really check the drinks selection at the bar. Instead I just got one of the smoothies they offered. But there were others enjoying a glass of bubbly with their breakfast.
If you have some time to kill in the lounge, the Eurostar Lounge at St. Pancras offers free Wi-Fi and a selection of newspapers and magazines.
What’s it like inside the Eurostar Lounge in Gare du Nord?
The Eurostar Lounge at Gare du Nord is located on the upper level. So, once I was through passport control and security, I headed straight up the stairs for the lounge (no worries, there is also a lift available, so you don’t have to drag your luggage up those stairs).
As I already mentioned, the first time I went inside the Eurostar Lounge in Gare du Nord, I didn’t really enjoy the experience. It was so crowded and busy.
However, I am pleased to say, the second time was a lot better. I travelled on a different day and slightly earlier and the lounge was a lot calmer.
Yes, there were quite a few seats taken as I arrived. But boarding for the earlier train commenced minutes later, essentially wiping the lounge clean within 5 minutes of me arriving. Perfect.
So, I decided to make the most of it and actually explore the Eurostar lounge a little more. And I must say, the setting is quite pretty. Lots of little nooks with sofas and large windows overlooking Gare du Nord. Plus, comfy armchairs, work desks, different table and chairs settings. Something for everyone, really.
I sat down in one of the armchairs, got myself a coffee and some nibbles. Only to then discover the circular bar in the middle of the room. How could I have missed that last time? Well I know how. I didn’t even go that far into the lounge last time.
Making up for past mistakes, I decided it was late enough in the afternoon to check out the cocktail selection. I mean, free cocktails… It would be rude not to.
And they did have some rather tasty sounding cocktails on offer. I opted for one called ‘Rhubarb & Custard’. But ‘Cherry Bonbon’ also sounded rather tempting. And if you don’t want alcohol, there are also non-alcoholic cocktails on offer.
Talking of food and drinks in the lounge, let me tell you, what was on offer that day. A selection of coffees and teas (obviously), as well as various cold drinks, including some local beers and ciders. Food on offer that afternoon were various nibbles (like nuts, crackers and some little sausages) as well as some cakes and biscuits. And fresh fruit.
As I only ever visited the Paris Eurostar Lounge in the afternoon, I cannot tell you what they offer for breakfast. But I would be very surprised if it didn’t include mountains of croissants. I mean, you are in Paris after all.
Same as in London, the lounge in Gare du Nord offers free Wi-Fi plus a selection of magazines and newspaper (obviously mostly in French, but they did have a few in English as well).
Few more questions about the Eurostar Lounge
Can I buy a Eurostar Lounge Priority Pass?
Who can use the Eurostar Lounge?
No, you can’t buy a priority pass just for the lounge. However, you will have access to the Eurostar lounge, if you buy yourself a business class ticket for your Eurostar journey. Or if (like me) you are a frequent traveller on Eurostar and therefore have reached Carte Blanche status.
Can I bring a guest inside the Eurostar Lounge?
Yes. If you are eligible to access the Eurostar Lounge (so if you either have a business class ticket or have Carte Blanche status), you can bring one guest with you if you are travelling during the week.
On weekends, you can even bring a whopping four guests with you.
There you have it. My experience of what it’s like inside the Eurostar lounge in Paris and London. What do you think? Have you been in either of the lounges yet?