OR Tambo’s Shongololo Lounge named Africa’s number one

VIP lounge wins Priority Pass award for the 2012 Lounge of the Year in Africa and the Middle East.

With thousands of passengers passing through them every day and the associated hustle and bustle that goes with international travel, airports can be the most hectic of places.

Finding an area for a bit of peace and quiet while waiting for a flight therefore can be a very welcome prospect. The whole idea of airport lounges is to provide a comfortable and relaxing environment – and recently the VIP Shongololo Lounge at South Africa’sOR Tambo International Airport was named the best in the Middle East and Africa.

The lounge is available to selected business class passengers, as well as paying guests (access costs R250 per person).It has everything you’d need to unwind – whether it is TVs for entertainment, free Wi-Fi to send those urgent emails, Apple iMac workstations and shower suites to freshen up. There’s even a glass of chilled champagne to enjoy upon arrival.

Lounge owner Menzies Aviation, which is also responsible for ground handling at eight airports in South Africa, recently expanded its business in the country by creating the lounge after identifying the need for the provision of world-class luxury lounges in 2009.

The Shongololo Lounge scooped the prestigious Priority Pass award for the 2012 Lounge of the Year in Africa and the Middle East ahead of hundreds of others in the region. It picked up one of only 19 accolades awarded worldwide out of 40,000 rating submissions in the process of determining the Lounge of the Year, clinching top spot from last year’s winner from Bahrain.

The African-themed lounge, which also lays on drinks and a generous buffet, is based around a contemporary African look which creates a relaxed and stylish ambience for premium passengers awaiting their aircraft.

Forsyth Black, Menzies Senior Vice-President for Africa said that what really sets the lounge apart from the rest is its unequalled friendliness and service.

“We have built the entire Menzies business around the quality of our people, and in the luxury lounge sector, customer satisfaction is paramount. Our hospitality team has been hand-picked for their personable nature and customer focus, and dedication to the highest standards.”

Black says that the concept of the Shongololo Lounge was moulded on “prestige” – a quality that had previously been lacking in the South African airport lounge market.

“We designed a product to cater for this premium end of the lounge market, and it immediately became clear that our approach to improving the airport experience had filled a significant gap in the high-end passenger market.

“It raised the bar in a poorly served market at the time, and immediately attracted much of the premium passenger market, including airlines such as Cathay Pacific, Etihad, Qantas and Qatar Airways. We are delighted to have the quality of this product, of which we are very proud, recognised by seasoned, discerning travellers from across the globe.”

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