I’ve visited the Prima Vista Lounge (formerly the “Passenger Lounge”) in Rome FCO’s Terminal 3 at least four times, and three times in the last nine months, but I’ve never written a review on it. So, here we are! In short, Prima Vista is a good lounge that has adapted well to Covid, but it’s FAAAAR from checkin. Don’t plan to spend too much time here for that reason alone (you’ll board by the time you arrive!). Entrance is free with Priority Pass, so there’s a plus!
THE PRIMA VISTA LOUNGE LOCATION & ACCESS
There are two Prima Vista Lounges in Rome’s FCO – one in the Schengen area and one in the non-Schengen area. This is a review of the non-Schengen area Prima Vista Lounge, or the one you will visit if flying from Rome to the US or otherwise departing from the E gates. This Prima Vista Lounge is located really, really far from everything else in FCO. I mean you will not believe how far, past security, Customs, a huge duty free gift shop, and a short tram ride from the main terminal – woof – in the Satellite E area holding Gates E31 – E44 (the very last gates in FCO!). These gates are generally reserved for long haul flights, such as to the US. And let me tell you, it’s a HIKE. In any case, once you enter this Satellite E area (i.e., E area + the air train), the Prima Vista Lounge is located across from Gate E41, with the entrance down one level, either via elevator or stairs. This sounds like a lot, but it’s actually quite easy to find, and this area of Satellite E holding Gates E31 – E44 is quite small so you won’t have far to go to your gate. One note, if you are departing from one of the other “E” gates (i.e. not E31 – 44, such as E01 – E21 or E51 – E61), you need to leave a lot of time to get to your gate, as you will need to take the air train back and re-clear security, and honestly, you probably will not have time to visit this lounge.
As mentioned, entrance to the Prima Vista Lounge is free to Priority Pass members, and the Prima Vista lounges are the only two lounges currently open to Priority Pass members at FCO. Non-priority pass members can purchase access starting at €25 here. Given the time it takes to reach this lounge, I would not purchase admission in advance.
CHECK IN TO THE PRIMA VISTA LOUNGE
Check-in to the Prima Vista Lounge is easy. Take the elevator down one level and show the attendant your Priority Pass (or other entrance ticket) and airline ticket. There was a small line when we recently arrived, but it moved very fast.
THE SET UP OF THE PRIMA VISTA LOUNGE
The Prima Vista Lounge is an open concept with lots of comfortable seating scatted throughout, now more spread out due to Covid. There are small tables near most of these chairs to hold food and drink. There is also some bar seating for those wanting a more proper eating area. While not huge, I’ve never felt crowded in the Prima Vista Lounge.
The back of the lounge is home to a buffet (now replaced by a la carte food due to Covid) and a bar. In non-pandemic times, this buffet is full with grab and go food and a mini self-serve bar. Currently, it holds water and a sample of the food on offer covered in plastic.
Restrooms are also available in the lounge.
THE FOOD AT THE PRIMA VISTA LOUNGE
As mentioned, there is a bar in the back of the lounge, which during normal times offers a decent sized buffet. Definitely enough for a meal. Since Covid, the buffet has been replaced by a la carte options. Guests can order as many a la carte options as desired. I found the a la carte plates to be large and a fair replacement for the buffet.
On my recent breakfast visit, the a la carte menu was English breakfasts with bacon or sausage, cereal, yogurt, and a selection of pastries. As you can see, the “menu” is a sampling of whats on offer covered in plastic on the buffet. The offerings change between breakfast and lunch.
On my lunch visit, there was a pretty broad menu, with samples of the food to order being displayed on the buffet. I’m talking pizza, pasta, salad, potato chips, chicken wings, a turkey sandwich with chips, and more. To order, you simply flag a staff member down and place your order. Most things came out pretty quick, but I would order food as soon as your arrive to ensure it comes timely. I have had the pizza and the pesto pasta and both were surprisingly large and delicious for an airport lounge! We also received a basket of potato chips!
Here’s some photos of the breakfast buffet pre-pandemic. It looks like similar food, but with a broader selection. I’m a fan of a buffet, so I’m hoping it comes back soon.
THE DRINKS AT THE PRIMA VISTA LOUNGE
The Prima Vista Lounge also has a pretty complete bar. As with the food, it was previously serve yourself, but it’s now made to order by lounge staff. On offer is Prosecco, red and white wine, beer, standard liquors and mixers, and Aperol Spritzes! The Spritzes are great! There’s no limit on how many drinks you can order. When we were there in November with 8 people, we just kept ordering since there were so many of us. No one said anything, although we did tip the waiter (a great way to say thanks and get better service in a crowded lounge).
On the non alcohol front, the Prima Vista Lounge has espresso machines, which are now only to be used by the staff, and an entire cooler full of sodas, juices, and still and sparkling water. Like food and alcohol, this is also unlimited. We definitely stocked up on water for the plane ride. And no, there is no additional security after you leave the lounge.
OTHER AMENITIES AT THE PRIMA VISTA LOUNGE
Other amenities include a TV showing the news or a sporting event, good wifi, outlets in the floors, and, during non Covid times, newspapers. Prima Vista’s website also advertises a shower, but I did not see it. That being said, it may have just been closed due to Covid.
STEAL OUR TRIP
Prima Vista Lounge (Non-Schengen Area): Airside – Satellite Non-Schengen Area (T3 flights only). Opposite Gate E41. Access only for passengers departing from Gates E31 – E44, E51 – E61, & E01 – E24. Passengers departing from Gates E51 – E61 and E01 – E24 must allow sufficient time to reach the departure gates. Priority Pass members gain free entrance. Currently open 7:15 – 19:00, except Wednesday, when the lounge is only open until 17:00. Confirm the latest hours, as these are constantly changing due to Covid. As a general rule, if international flights are departing, this lounge is open.
ON A BUDGET
Given that this lounge is far and you likely won’t have too much time to spend here, I would not pay to enter. I would instead put that money toward a drink or something in the terminal. If you happen to find yourself in the area for a long period of time, however, it is probably worth the entrance fee. The food is unlimited and portions are large. The drinks are also quite good, and its really easy to spend 25 euro in an airport terminal.