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Middle Age Miles

Review of the Priority Pass Global Airport Lounge of the Year – Sala VIP Internacional at UIO (Quito) Airport

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Bar at the Sala VIP Internacional Lounge, UIO airport

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.

UIO Sala VIP Internacional Lounge – large sitting and dining area, with a monitor displaying flight information
UIO Sala VIP Internacional Lounge – another dining area; note also the great lighting fixtures
UIO Sala VIP Internacional Lounge – seating area with TV; note also that the seats each have readily-accessible power plugs
UIO Sala VIP Internacional Lounge – yet another seating area with TV
UIO Sala VIP Internacional Lounge – closer look at one of the “partitions” used to break up the large room into different seating areas; note the TV and the tasteful decorations
UIO Sala VIP Internacional Lounge – the main bar is one of the “partitions” breaking up the space into different seating areas
UIO Sala VIP Internacional Lounge – selection of reading materials

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.

UIO Sala VIP Internacional Lounge – station with hot food items
UIO Sala VIP Internacional Lounge – the made-to-order sandwich station, during a brief moment when it the sandwich-maker/meat-carver took a break
UIO Sala VIP Internacional Lounge – food station with salad items plus fruit, granola & yogurt
UIO Sala VIP Internacional Lounge – food station with soup
UIO Sala VIP Internacional Lounge – food station with whole fruit and dessert treats
UIO Sala VIP Internacional Lounge – more dessert treats
UIO Sala VIP Internacional Lounge – breakfast cereal station – Trix may be for kids, but that’s what I chose for my pre-departure snack!
UIO Sala VIP Internacional Lounge – drink station with coffee machine, juices, and a cooler full of soft drinks and bottled water

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.

Conclusion

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!


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5 thoughts on “Review of the Priority Pass Global Airport Lounge of the Year – Sala VIP Internacional at UIO (Quito) Airport

    1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Middle Age Miles daughter Maria did a study abroad program in Quito last year, so we went down to visit for a few days. It was a very cool trip – someplace we wouldn’t have chosen on our own but enjoyed. 4 days was just the right amount of time. The Sheraton there was a nice place to stay and in a really good location. I have the framework set up for a full trip report. But you know how those things go – the trip report articles take the longest to write, and fewer people read them, so I find it challenging to get through them. I’ve been slowly working my way through the articles about our Dubrovnik trip for over a month now!

      We’d love to do Galapagos sometime – just have to make it fit into the travel plans! Did you review it? If so, I need to check it out.

      1. Grant

        I’ve been blogging for almost 6 years, so I’m about 6 years behind on my trip reports too. I didn’t write a trip report but I got a sale fair for under $400 RT from MIA GYE GPS on AA / LAN. I loved it and would definitely go back 🙂

        1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

          You’re making me feel better about the trip reports – thanks! That’s an awesome fare and would definitely make it a lot more enticing to go. I don’t recall seeing a good sale fare from DFW to GPS any time in the last 3 years.

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