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Club Mobay a new Jamaican airport respite

Posted by Paul Kandarian  September 16, 2011 08:31 AM

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I travel a lot, but don't belong to any airline club because it costs too much and luckily most of my layover time in airports isn't that long. But in Jamaica recently, I heard about Club Mobay (Mobay is local colloquial for Montego Bay), at Sangster International Airport, a VIP lounge for all passengers that opened up in April, with another, Club Kingston, which opened in August at Manley Airport in Kingston.

I had a couple hours to kill and for $30, Mobay was the place to do it (it's free if you're a member of Priority Pass, Airport Angels orclub mobay.jpgDiner's Club, or a first-class or business-class ticket holder on several partner airlines). The clubs, under the umbrella of VIP Attractions, are the brainchild of former Digicel CEO David Hall, who founded them with business partner Carlos Moleon, the duo investing $170 million to carve out unused space into really spectacular airport lounges.

For your money you get a myriad of things, besides super-comfortable surroundings in four lounge areas at Mobay that have cozy rattan furnishings. You get food snacks, fruit, sandwiches), coffee, tea, soda and booze, and there's a mini-spa on site (costs extra) and a shower to freshen up.

Beyond that, If you buy entry at your hotel or in the airport, you
get fast-track passage through security and immigration, which from
experience, I know can be a nightmare at Sangster. You also get a
shopping concierge, if you wish. You want fabled Jamaican Blue Mountain
Coffee? They'll take you where to get it so you don't wander around
aimlessly.

The lounge also has a business center - with secretarial services -  but
if you're all comfy and too lazy to leave your chair in the lounge,
they'll loan you a Digicel PDA to use. The middle lounge at Mobay is
dubbed Blue Mahoe, and is the most spacious, with ample seating, a
couple flat-screen TVs, and Pickney Place, a children's play area that
is mercifully sound proofed. You sit around here, and staff constantly
comes by to ask if you want anything. And like most lounges, there are
no flight announcements, but they note your departure and individually
notify you when it's time to board.

All around on the walls are nods to all-things Jamaica (they call the
place "a cultural lounge") such as info about the Jamaican ecosystem,
framed newspaper posters about big moments in the country's history, and
posters of notable Jamaican politicians, musicians and sports figures.
When I was there, deputy general manager Tameka Bryce told me that local
art would soon grace the walls and be sold to benefit charities.

These days, $30 really doesn't get you much at airports, but at Club
Mobay, it's well worth the investment for a few hours of blissfully
quiet relaxation.

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