Earlier this week, Priority Pass announced the winners of its 14th annual Global Airport Lounge of the Year Awards. This year’s global winner is the Sala VIP Internacional lounge at Quito International Airport (UIO) (formerly known as the Salón Mitad del Mundo).
Not only did the UIO Sala VIP lounge win the overall Global Airport Lounge of the Year Award, it also took the top global spot in each individual category – business facilities, comfort, service from lounge staff, and food and drink. That’s quite an impressive array of awards, especially for a lounge far removed from the major international hubs of commerce and travel!
Middle Age Miles had the opportunity to visit the UIO Sala VIP lounge a few months ago, and we were quite impressed – almost to the point where we’d say “blown away.” We hadn’t done any preliminary research on the lounge beyond knowing that it existed and accepted Priority Pass guests. Given that we were in Ecuador, our expectations weren’t high. But once we were inside – wow. The UIO Sala VIP lounge is wonderful. In our book, it’s certainly deserving of the high honor that it’s just won.
Our Review of the UIO Sala VIP Lounge
We arrived at the UIO Sala VIP lounge a few minutes after 11:00 pm, ahead of our 12:55 am AA departure to DFW. Even at that late hour, the lounge was fully operational (save for some of the food being a bit picked-over) and ready to service passengers on our flight and a couple of others with similarly late departures.
The UIO Sala VIP lounge is airside, so we had already checked our bags and cleared security. We were able to spend about an hour in the lounge before we needed to leave for boarding. We were fortunate that the lounge was not crowded at all during our visit.
The main area of the lounge consisted of one extremely large rectangular-shaped room. The space is broken up into several distinct sitting and dining areas, though. Most of the partitions between the different areas had a TV viewable from that area. There were also a couple of monitors displaying departure times and flight status information.
One of the “partitions” was the main bar. And each “partition” left a walkway on either side so that traffic flow from one area to the next was easy and unimpeded. Carpet and fixtures were also updated and tasteful, and the lighting in the room was white and plenty bright without being blinding. In daytime hours, the lounge would also receive a lot of natural light given the floor-to-ceiling windows surrounding 3 sides of the main room. All of this combined to make a very attractive and functional space.
Off from the main room were several private conference rooms. We didn’t get pictures, but we gathered that these could be reserved at the lounge front desk. In addition, it appears from the pictures on its Priority Pass page that the lounge has an outdoor patio. We actually didn’t notice this during our nighttime visit.
The lounge had an extensive selection of food, set out in various stations. Most of the food stations were located fairly close together near the entry. But as we walked deeper into the lounge, we noticed an additional station beyond the bar with breakfast cereal and some dessert treats. One of the stations near the entry contained a full assortment of non-alcoholic drinks, including a coffee machine, juices, soft drinks and water.
The food selection included several hot items. But the crown jewel of the food stations was the made-to-order sandwich station. A gentleman at the station would take each person’s order and then slice the meat for each sandwich individually, then pile it atop their bread of choice. What a nice touch.
We had just eaten a big meal before we headed to the airport, knowing that we faced a strong possibility of not getting much anything to eat for the next 12 hours or so. Thus, we only had a few bites of snacks in the lounge. Likewise, we didn’t need much service, but what we had was good. The bartender was very kind to give me milk for my breakfast cereal snack, and the lady at the front desk was pleasant and welcoming when we entered.
As far as we’re concerned the Sala VIP Internacional lounge at UIO airport is quite deserving of its Global Airport Lounge of the Year Award. It’s a true gem in the Priority Pass network. Don’t miss it if you happen to be flying out of Quito, and by all means, save room for a made-to-order sandwich on your visit!
Have you been to the UIO Sala VIP Internacional lounge? What did you think? Please share with us and other Middle Age Miles readers in the Comments!
At Middle Age Miles, we love to bring you travel, credit card and points-and-miles information that you can use to help make your travel dreams come true. To see all of our tips and insights, please Like and follow us on social media at:
Please share and re-tweet our posts and tell all of your friends about Middle Age Miles! Thank you!