I recently spent slightly over a week in Auckland for work and on my way back, I stopped over at the Strata Lounge at Auckland Airport for a quick look and see. I had initially wanted to do a proper lounge review but I always feel out of place with my camera so I ended up just snapping a few photos with my iPhone X - they do not look too bad in my opinion but there is only so much I can do to salvage them.
The Strata Lounge is located in the International Terminal (after security) of the Auckland Airport and it is open from 5:00AM to 1:00AM daily. Finding the Strata Lounge is fairly easy and if you have one of those credit cards that offer you access to Priority Pass lounges, you will be able to use it here - if you have the Standard Chartered Visa Infinite Credit Card, you will be able to access any Priority Pass lounges in the world six times a year. Accessing the lounge was easy since I already have my digital card with me in the Priority Pass app. All I had to do was to flash the digital card, have the QR code scanned and then sign for admission.
I was booked on flight QF158 from Auckland to Melbourne and since it was scheduled to depart at 12:00PM, I actually got to the Strata Lounge at approximately 10:00AM and there was almost no one in sight. The Qantas ground staff at the airport seemed rather unwilling for me to check my bags through even though I was connecting to EK since I had different PNR numbers. Not sure what the policy is but interline agreements show that it is indeed possible to do so - oh well.
The Strata Lounge here at Auckland Airport is quite large and even though it is technically not an airline lounge (which typically have a better reputation for being more superior), it is probably one of the better independent lounges that I have ever been to. There is plenty of seating space and it was not at all busy in the morning - I remember the Air New Zealand Lounge in Auckland Airport to be a lot busier in comparison. There are different pockets of spaces but if you are planning on working, the corner seats by the wall are probably the best ones as you will be able to access the power sockets nearby. Unfortunately the power sockets are not universal so you will need some kind of adapter if you are an international traveller - there were also no USB charging ports that I could find but I might be wrong.
The only time I felt comfortable enough to use my DSLR is to actually take a photo of my breakfast - there is a small selection of hot food which included pastries, scrambled eggs, hashbrowns (which were actually really good!) and a number of continental favourites that you can expect to find. The food selection actually changed (to lunch) as I was exiting the lounge and they actually looked quite good. A selection of alcohol (including sparkling wine) is also available in the lounge but I actually managed to stay away (well done, me).
There is also a meeting room located to the side of the Strata Lounge which is great if you are traveling with colleagues and for some reason, you need to have a discussion right before a flight - not too sure what the uptake is with this room but hey, if you need it, it is right there. It also seems possible to connect your laptop to the TV screen which once again is a nice touch if you are travelling for business but it is highly unlikely for all your colleagues to have access to the Priority Pass lounge (and besides, you should all be traveling on Business Class anyway).
If you are one of those people that do not travel with a laptop (who are you?!) and do not think a smartphone is good enough to surf the web, there are computers here in the Strata Lounge that you can use for free as well. Honestly, I was there for close to 90 minutes and no one actually bothered stepping into this room at all - once again, great facilities if you need it but I am just not certain about the rate in which these are being utilised.
Traveling with children? There is a playroom located at the back of the lounge and you will find a TV that is constantly screening cartoons, some beanbags as well as some toys located inside to keep them entertained before the flight - definitely a nice touch since most airport lounges that I have been to typically do not cater to families (as a result of that, you get noisy kids running around where alcohol is served - not great).
There is no real view from the Strata Lounge in Auckland Airport since it looks out to the airport terminal so if that is not a deal breaker for you, the lounge itself actually isn't too bad.
Showers are available in the Strata Lounge (towels and refreshment packs are also provided) and complimentary WiFi is offered to all guests - the username and password are placed on the tables. For an independent lounge, the Strata Lounge is certainly one of the better and nicer ones that I have been to - it may not compare to the Air New Zealand Lounge in Auckland Airport but hey, you do not need to be flying Business or First Class in order to access this one. Most of us will have at least a couple of Priority Pass memberships to use each year (and if you do not, you should be ashamed of yourself) - if you are planning to spend a couple of hours in the airport, do yourself a favour and check out the Strata Lounge instead.