Hidden Gem: A Review of Heathrow Terminal 5’s Galleries B Gates Lounge
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To The Point
An alternative to the busy and slightly worn lounges in the main A Gates, the B Gates Lounge offers a lesser-known, more-relaxed environment perfect for a decent bit of food and drink before your flight. Pros: Great atmosphere, good selection of food and less busy than the other Galleries Lounges. Cons: Not great if you’re flying from the A Gates or if you’re looking for a comfy seat with a runway view. Also, the Wi-Fi was pretty bad.
If you’re flying out of Heathrow’s Terminal 5 and have lounge access, the likelihood is you will use the Galleries North or Galleries South lounges. Unless, of course, you’re flying in First Class or are a Concorde Room card holder. I recently discovered the Galleries Lounge at the B Gates, which offers a quieter, more relaxed alternative that many of you may not even know existed. Here’s how this space compares to the Galleries North and South lounges.
The Galleries B Gates Lounge is open from 5:30am to 10:30pm. Gaining access is exactly the same as the South and North Galleries Lounges: You must be flying in First, Club World or Club Europe, have Gold or Silver status with British Airways or have Oneworld Emerald or Sapphire status. It’s not possible to pay at the desk to get in.
If you’re flying from the A Gates or in a rush, this often-overlooked British Airway’s Galleries lounge should not be your lounge of choice, as it takes quite a while longer to reach it than the North and South Galleries. Once you have cleared security, follow the signs for the B and C gates transfer shuttle — or walk, if you don’t mind the exercise, though when I did this it seemed to take forever even with the help of the moving walkways.
At the B Gates, turn to the left and you’ll see the escalators leading up to the Galleries B Gate lounge.
A warning, though: If you’re flying from the A Gates and decide that the Galleries lounges in the main terminal are overcrowded or just decide to head over to the B Gates, make sure you go back via the subway. Do not take the shuttle, as doing so means you’ll have to clear security again.
My first impression was that this lounge felt a lot cosier and far less busy than its North and South counterparts. The lounge was separated into clearly defined sections, which again made the space feel quieter and less crowded than other lounges. To the left of the entrance was a small business centre, followed by a casual seating area complete with self-service bar, another soft seating area and the kids area.
To the right was the self-service food area, with communal benches. Farther down were the Elemis Spa and shower area.
The main section of the lounge was smaller than in the North and South lounges but still bright with plenty of comfortable seating, including large sofas and armchairs.
Probably only about half of the seats were close to a power outlet, but the lounge was relatively empty, so there were no issues finding a free socket.
Of the three Galleries lounges in Terminal 5, I would say that the decor in the B Gates lounge felt the freshest and most modern, and the Valentine’s Day-themed decorations really stepped it up a notch here, love it or hate it.
If, like me, you like to sit in a comfy armchair with your favourite tipple and look out onto the runway, then this lounge probably isn’t the best for you. Instead, you could leave the lounge and take a walk around the satellite terminal, where there were pretty good photo opportunities. The general area around the gates is usually pretty quiet, as it was on this visit, giving me free rein to be an AvGeek.
There seemed to be fewer staff on hand in comparison to the other Galleries Lounges. I first realised this when each of the three times I went to the Elemis Spa desk there was nobody present, which meant I didn’t get a chance to check out the shower facilities. A little while later, there was a man who seemed to be conducting an entire business meeting on his phone really loudly and was clearly annoying every other guest around him, including myself — the side-eye stares and angry comments were 10 a penny. I went over to the service desk to explain what was going on to the member of staff — who was busy with her phone and didn’t even realise I was there. Once she looked up from her phone and I explained what was happening, her giggly response to me was, “I’m not sure how I’m going to react to that.”
I briefly checked out the toilets, which were perfectly clean and tidy.
The Wi-Fi speed here was probably the worst I had seen all day (download speed of 1.72 mbps, upload speed of 0.61mbps), so if you’ve got work to do, this lounge probably isn’t the best for you.
Food and Beverage
By the time I got to the lounge, it was afternoon and the food had switched over to the lunch service. The hot foods were a Mexican bean-and-corn medley, chicken cassoulet, chili con carne, and pesto pasta, rice and mixed veg as accompaniments. I opted for my usual, meatballs and rice, and it was delicious, as always, despite not looking very appetising. I washed it down with a well-deserved gin and tonic after a long morning of lounge visits.
The two soups were mushroom and thyme or carrot and coriander.
The salad bar looked colorful, fresh and tasty, and there was also a selection of fruit chilling in one of the drinks fridges.
It might just be that I hadn’t noticed this before, but there was an extra I hadn’t seen in either of the other two Galleries lounges — a tray of pork pies with piccalilli!
There were several self-service bars and wine stations dotting the lounge, as well as the Union coffee bars I’m quite fond of.
There was a good selection of wines from around the world, as well as spirits, two types of beer, Champagne and a good variety of soft drinks.
Of the three British Airways Galleries lounges in Terminal 5, the B Gates lounge is without doubt my favourite. Don’t get me wrong, they’re all pretty much exactly the same in terms of their food and drink offerings, but the B Gates lounge just has a really nice, relaxed atmosphere that is perfect for a quiet bit of downtime (ignoring the man being loud on the phone) away from the hustle and bustle of the lounges in the main terminal.
The only issue I encountered during my time here during my Heathrow Lounge review project was the lack of helpful staff, which I have never actually experienced before, so it might have just been bad luck on the day. Not having staff present to book a shower or a spa appointment the three times I went to check is pretty poor by anyone’s standards, and avoiding the situation with the loud man didn’t help matters.
All photos by the author.
Featured photo of London by Tim Easley / Unsplash.
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