Review: LATAM VIP Lounge Sao Paulo Airport (GRU)

LATAM Lounge Sao Paulo entrance

Read more from this trip – Christmas in Argentina:

Introduction

Lounge Visit Details:

  • Date visited: December 31, 2019
  • Where: GRU, Guarulhos International Airport – Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • Class: Business Class Lounge

My New Years Eve in Sao Paulo, Brazil was turning out exactly as I had envisioned. After spending some time at the American Airlines Admirals Club I headed over the LATAM VIP Lounge, which is conveniently located directly to the left of the Admirals Club on the mezzanine level of Terminal 3. The lounge is open from 5am to midnight.

Access

Customers traveling in Business Class on Oneworld carriers including American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia and LATAM can use the LATAM VIP Lounge. Oneworld Emerald and Sapphire members can also access the lounge irrespective of class of travel and may invite one guest to join them; however, the guest must also be traveling on a flight operated and marketed by a Oneworld carrier. Day passes can be purchased for $60 USD.

Seating

The LATAM VIP Lounge was designed by world renowned Chilean architects, Mathias Klotz and Lillian Allen. It’s the one of the largest airport lounges in South America coming in at over 19,000 square feet. As a point of comparison the lounge is twice the size of the American Airlines Admirals Club and has seating capacity for over 450 people.

When you first enter the lounge you’ll find four ebony wood chairs upholstered in royal purple fabric. I was immediately drawn to these beautiful chairs. I knew my handkerchief would contrast well with the fabric so asked my friend to take a photo. Grab one of these seats while you wait for your giraffe friends to check-in.

First Class Giraffe loves purple chairs!
First Class Giraffe loves purple chairs!

The lounge is cavernous, but is separated into different zones so you don’t feel like you’re sitting in a giant waiting room. LATAM publishes rules for the use of their lounges, which state it’s prohibited “to lie down and put your feet on sofas or tables.” Based on the photo evidence below you can see that the rules aren’t strictly enforced.

Some people break all the rules
Some people break all the rules

The seating areas near the entrance are incredibly crowded and should be avoided during peak hours. One of these areas can be seen in the photo below. The high back chairs lack privacy. If you don’t know the people sitting directly across from you this is an awkward configuration.

LATAM VIP Lounge seating
LATAM VIP Lounge seating

The TV lounge is a great place to catch-up on some Portuguese language cable news. However, if you need to charge your phone you’ll have to find seating elsewhere since there aren’t any power ports in this area.

TV lounge
TV lounge

I recommend heading to the back of the lounge. It’s less crowded, the seating is spaced further apart, facilitating enhanced privacy, and most of the seating has direct access to power ports.

LATAM VIP Lounge seating
LATAM VIP Lounge seating

There’s a small business center with four workstations and a printer. It’s not a bad place to setup your laptop and get some work done if privacy isn’t an issue for you.

Business center
Business center

Food and Beverage

If you come to the LATAM VIP Lounge expecting a nice meal you’ll be disappointed so come in with lowered expectations. My recommendation is to grab food in the terminal and then come here for drinks. The dining area is separated from the rest of the lounge by a wall of wine.

Wall of wine
Wall of wine

The buffet starts out with a nice looking salad bar. I tend to avoid salads in airport lounges as there’s a high risk of mishandling and contamination. Food poisoning before a long haul flight should be avoided.

Salad bar
Salad bar

Next up they had some oily, soggy pizza that looked like it had been sitting out awhile. Seeing the oil pool at the sides of the serving plate was gag worthy.

Pizza
Pizza

Moving on they had pots of cauliflower au gratin, pasta, cheese sauce and meat sauce.

Assorted hot dishes
Assorted hot dishes

The last hot dish was oriental minced meat. The meat looked fatty and the sauce was oily so this was a hard pass.

Hot dishes continued
Hot dishes continued

My favorite food item in the lounge was the cheesy bread. They had traditional cheese bread, spinach and ricotta cheese bread and guava cheese bread. It definitely wasn’t the healthiest thing to eat, but the options were limited so I may have indulged in a few.

Some lighter options were also available including Verrine de Tomate and fresh papaya.

Cold food options

Dessert options were rather limited and included some chocolate pudding and melon. They also had grape and orange juice.

If you take my advice and skip over the food maybe grabbing a few balls of cheesy bread you’ll want to move on to the beverages. There were two reds available during my visit including a 2017 Bodega Colome Estate Malbec ($20 per bottle) and a 2018 Torres Santa Digna Gran Reserva Carmenere ($11 per bottle).

Red wine selection

The Chandon sparkling wine ($17 per bottle) from Argentina was a very popular option during my New Years Eve lounge visit. I heard bottles popping every few minutes as the attentive lounge staff worked to keep up with the thirsty lounge guests. They also had a La Joya Gran Reserva Sauvignon Blanc ($15 per bottle) available.

Chilled sparkling and white wine
Chilled sparkling and white wine

There’s what looks to be a staffed bar in the lounge, but during my visit there wasn’t a bartender so people were helping themselves. The lounge has a fairly respectable liquor selection. They had Bailey’s, Drambuie, Beefeater Gin, Cointreau, Bacardi Rum and Campari.

Coffee liquor, gin and rum
Coffee liquor, gin and rum

They also had Chivas Regal Scotch Whisky, Jack Daniels Whisky and Martini Vermouth.

Vermouth and whisky
Vermouth and whisky

To round out their offering they had Absolut Vodka, Absolut Citron, Absolut Berri Acai and Cachaça Armazém Vieira Safira.

Cachaça and vodka
Cachaça and vodka

Around the corner from the bar is a beverage station, which has a Suplicy coffee machine. Like my recommendation on the food I’d say skip this and grab a coffee from the Starbucks in the terminal.

Suplicy coffee machine
Suplicy coffee machine

Overall Verdict

First Class Giraffe Not Impressed

The LATAM VIP Lounge at GRU was overcrowded during my visit. A lot of the seating that was available didn’t have direct access to power ports and few seating options offered any privacy. The food options–other than the delicious cheesy balls–were abysmal. Oneworld flyers have several lounge options at the Sao Paulo Airport and I recommend spending your time in the American Airlines Admirals Club instead. Note that LATAM is leaving the Oneworld Alliance as of May 1, 2020.

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