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The shiny, brand-new Admiral’s Club in Sao Paulo (GRU)

Brazil is a big market for American Airlines, and with their partnership in OneWorld with LAN and Tam, it's an important airport for feeding flights to the USA.  Back on October 6, American Airlines inaugurated their newest Admiral's club in Sao Paulo, Brazil, a club that will serve their 5 flights daily (two from Miami, and one each from New York, Los Angeles, and Dallas).

Jon, together with his husband Ben, travel the world, in first class of course, at least once a month for pennies on the dollar.  You can read more about Jon and Ben's travels at their website, www.NoMasCoach.com 

It was actually a surprise for us when we checked in to the airport, being that before the trip I had done some research and noticed that there was a new LATAM lounge that opened, and according to the reviews, it wasn’t half bad for a short stay.  When we started chatting with the checkin agent, she said “No, you have to go to the new Admiral’s Club, it just opened today.  Trust me, you’ll really enjoy it.”

Now, who am I to give up an opportunity to see a newly remodeled club on opening day and also blog about it for all you readers out there?

Following the signs to the VIP lounges was simple enough, ride the escalator to the second floor and you can’t miss the huge glass doors… The new club is over 6600 sq ft and can seat more than 220 passengers!

Entry to Admirals Club

Entry to Admirals Club

Once you enter, off to the right there is a small waiting area, presumably a place to either wait while the checkins are being processed, or to find free wifi for a few minutes and hope that no one bothers you 🙂

 

Checkin Waiting area

Checkin Waiting area

 

The checkin staff (at least three languages were spoken at the desk) were beyond friendly and you could tell that they were happy to be there on opening night.

But first... Lemme take a selfie!

But first… Lemme take a selfie!

Seating Areas

The club is very spacious.  Much like Brazilian’s swimwear, they’ve managed to get a lot into a pretty compact space, but it doesn’t ever seem TOO crowded.  There’s space for food/drink/seats/computers/people/etc and lots of separate areas spread throughout the club.  As soon as you walk in and turn left, you’re heading down a long hallway with seating on the right and food/drinks on your left.

Spacious seating

Spacious seating

Middle area seating

Middle area seating

Along the back wall are all the stalls for business use, or in the case of trashy flyers, a place to put up your stinky feet (didn’t take long for the club to get broken in I suppose), and no I didn’t take pics of the lady with her smelly feet (but I will say that I tried!)

Business center desks

Business center desks

Business Center wall stations

Business Center wall stations

Turning back and walking back towards the entrance there is a small room for spreading influenza and other airborne illnesses  kids to play…

Kids seating area

Kids seating area

And just to the right of that, a news room…

News Room seating

News Room seating

I tried the seats in each of the rooms, and I have to say they were all quite comfortable.  Even though the seating areas had a lot of people, it didn’t seem too crowded and actually had a bit of an orderly feel to it.

Food and Drinks

Now, onto the free food and drinks, which for most of you, is the reason that you go to the clubs in the first place, right? 🙂

There is of course the standard self service automated coffee/tea machine…

Coffee and Tea

Coffee and Tea

And a wide selection of self service alcoholic beverages as well

Ample liquor selection

Ample liquor selection

There was someone helping to pour the drinks for a while, but I couldn’t make out if he was an employee or just an overeager passenger.

The food section was split into two rooms, with each room offering some of the same selections, so make sure to see BOTH rooms!

The first room offered a mostly cold selection.  Sandwiches, salads, and some desserts.

Plenty of sandwich options

Plenty of sandwich options

Desserts? What was left of them...

Desserts? What was left of them…

Pre made sandwiches

Pre made sandwiches

While the second room offered a larger selection of warmed dishes, soups, and small hors d’oeuvres.  I do have to say that I wish someone would have worked on the translations a little bit better.  While I do understand that, literally, caldo verde translates to “green broth”, calling something a green broth makes me think of something Shrek’s mom would give him if he got sick, not something I’d want to have in a club before a 10 hour flight home…

Four hot options

Four hot options – Rice w/ Almonds, Tomato Sauce, Gluten Free Pasta and Chicken stuffed with Ricotta

Soup #2

Soup #1 – Tomato Soup

Soup #1

Soup #2 – Green Broth

Speaking of bathrooms, they were very modern and smartly designed, with with water sensor being on the right side of the sink.  Just wave your hand and voila!  Water!

Individual Stalls

Individual Stalls

Modern Facilities

Modern Facilities

Opportunities and Concerns

Brazil is hot.  No doubt about it, and air conditioning for me isn’t just a luxury it’s a necessity.  Parts of this lounge is open air to the rest of the airport, meaning there really isn’t a roof.  It’s all open and that gives it a wonderful feeling it spaciousness, and if you’ll notice in the pictures of the seating areas there is a sort of drop ceiling which looks to have A/C vents.  Problem is, the farther back you go in the lounge, the less the A/C reaches you.  For me, I was enjoying a wonderful glass of wine with sandwiches, and sweat 🙁

I did bring this to the attention of the manager on duty, and she mentioned that it was all controlled by the airport (and being open air was subject to their A/C) but I did also point out to her that in the back seating areas there seemed to be air vents, although she couldn’t figure out where the controls were.  Growing pains, nonetheless, but she was very welcoming of my suggestions for improvement.

Summary

Congratulations American Airlines, you’ve really put together a well balanced club.  It has everything that I’m looking for in a lounge when we travel internationally.  1)  Good Wifi.  2)  Clean bathrooms.  3)  Wide selection of food and drinks and 4)  Helpful Staff.

Remember that there are lots of ways to access the Admiral’s club including credit card membership, Alaska Board room membership, flying in first/business class internationally, or being Oneworld Sapphire or Emerald.

Have you visited the lounge in GRU?  What’s important to you when you visit a lounge?  Let us know in the comments below!