After countless times passing by the domestic terminal’s Plaza Premium lounge Vancouver Cafe, I finally stopped in to check it out. Is it worth the cover charge? Let’s find out.
Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver Cafe Location
There are three Plaza Premium lounges at YVR – one for international departures and two for domestic. For my full review of the international lounge offering, check out this post. As mentioned, this review is for the domestic terminal’s cafe.
The Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver cafe is located directly past the domestic screening C near gate 29. It is kitty-corner to the baggage claim area exit and tucked behind a large totem pole. It’s also just around the corner from the domestic Maple Leaf lounge. That all said, it’s hard to miss with its patio-style seating along the high-traffic area.
I’ve been curious about the Plaza Premium cafe for some time but have bypassed it for Air Canada’s offering. On my trip to Winnipeg, there was a queue down the concourse to get into the Maple Leaf lounge. With that, I finally made my way into the Plaza Premium cafe. With my recent visit to the Air Canada Café at YYZ (which I loved!), I was curious to see how it compares.
Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver Cafe Access
Like all Plaza Premium Lounges, the Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver Cafe is open to any passenger at a cost. You can book your visit online at a rate of $52.20 for two hours, $62.10 for three hours, and a whopping $82.84 for 6 hours.*
Better yet, Plaza Premium lounges are a part of the Dragon Pass program. Depending on the type of credit card you hold, you are entitled to a set number of visits each year. For full details on which Visa and Mastercards offer access, see details here.
For even better value, AMEX Aeroplan and Business Platinum cardholders can enjoy unlimited complimentary access.Sign up for an AMEX Business Platinum Card and Get 90,000 Welcome Bonus Points!
If credit card access isn’t confusing enough, getting into the lounge is a bit cumbersome. Durring my visit there was only two staff on duty, which is likely normal. One looked like they were there to check in guests and the other was a cook. In reality, they both tag-teamed roles for the busy lounge. Since there is no separation between the check-in desk and the kitchen/bar, checking people in was pretty comical.
While I waited in line, the clerk fielded numerous questions about access and credit card access programs, all while serving buns as to guests already in the lounge. This could certainly be separated better but it’s likely only an issue during peak times.
*I believe it is actually cheaper at the counter as I heard the attendant tell another passenger it was $31.50 for 2 hours. If anyone can validate this let me know in the comments below!
Food and Drinks
Once past the check-in chaos I immediately qued up for food. I intended to eat at the Maple Leafe lounge so I skipped breakfast that day. Security check-in took a long time so I was starving.
Meals at the Plaza Premium Vancouver Lounge cafe are very much high-school cafeteria-like. It really just seems like filler versus food. On my visit, hot meals consisted of buns, maple ham, tortellini, and mashed potatoes. Speaking of high school, I also spied PB&J sandwiches in the display case which I’m not mad at.
Next to the “cafeteria”, there is a self-serve soft drink and juice area. For any coffee, tea, or alcoholic drink you have to flag down one of the staff.
Although local craft beer (which I appreciate), the included beer is limited to just Steamworks Lager and a Bomber Pale Ale. Anything else is considered premium and comes at an extra cost. $9.20 for a Guinness is pretty steep when it is free at the Maple Leaf lounge. Drinks are also limited vs. “unlimited.”
Seats and Amenities
Seating in the Plaza Premium Vancouver lounge cafe is a mix of bar seats, tables, and cosy chairs similar to what you would find in the Maple Leaf lounge. There is a nice wood table that doubles as a business centre of sorts. Most seats have access to a power outlet or USB charging.
There are no amenities or other services at the Plaza Premium Vancouver lounge cafe beyond Wi-Fi and a TV. Notable, there are no washrooms in the small open space. This means you have to leave and come back to use the facilities so keep that in mind if trying to decide between lounges.
So, Is Plaza Premium Vancouver Lounge Cafe Worth it?
Although I was happy to have access on this particular day, I definitely wouldn’t pick the Plaza premium lounge cafe over the Maple Leaf lounge at YVR. That said, it’s a nice option to have as crowded lounges seem to be a trend these days. As for paying for lounge access, It’s a bit tough to make up that value without having several drinks and mediocre food. I would not recommend paying for access.
YVR Plaza Premium Cafe Review – Good to Know
Includes: Hot and cold food, drinks, and comfy seats.
Don’t Miss: Local craft beer!
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Thoughts on this Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver Cafe Review?
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