LAN and TAM Airlines have inaugurated their new VIP Lounge at Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport in Santiago, Chile.
I was invited down by LAN Airlines to check out the facility firsthand with many of the individuals responsible for the project in attendance. After spending two hours talking to the team behind LAN and TAM’s latest VIP experience, exploring every nook and cranny of the two-floor facility, it’s hard to argue that this lounge is anything short of impressive.
At 23,357 square feet with a capacity for 460 people, Chilean Mathias Klotz and architect Lillian Allen of the Paris-based Studio Putman have created the largest VIP Lounge in South America. This makes four new lounges over the last two years for the LATAM Airlines Group and their preferred passengers.
Speaking of preferred passengers, anyone spending a considerable amount of time here during a long layover will certainly feel the preferential treatment. Considering the square footage, there’s a hefty amount of space to fill. That’s why over the two-floor layout customers will find a variety of spaces to suit their needs. Relaxing spaces with dim lighting, an entertainment room colored in energetic and bright colors with personal Playstation Vitas armed and ready to play, a conference room, a sleeping room, and business center are just a selection of the offerings at the LAN and TAM VIP Lounge of Santiago. Customers can even get their shoes shined.
Perhaps most impressive is the care the designers took in incorporating South American cultural themes. More specifically, Chilean themes such as a stunning 750 square-foot copper structure alongside the stairway to the second floor, not to mention that thirsty guests can find a variety Chilean wines and the country’s award-winning Louis Roederer Brut Premier Champagne available at the lounge.
Regardless of where guests choose to spend their time, they will never feel cramped. Rather than cramming too much into the space, LAN and TAM have allowed for ample empty space to give guests the feeling of both luxury and relaxation that lacks in other lounges where chairs and tables are crammed together, leaving some guests feeling as if they never even left their gate. The Santiago lounge truly feels like you are a guest at a dinner party or simply coming home after a long flight.
Above all, the passion and care of the team behind this latest entry is evident in the finished product. Over the course of the project, Olivia Putman, of the aforementioned Studio Putman, found herself becoming so attached that she now says she is sad to have to let it go and move onto the next project. Still, she finds solace in the success of the project and early response from customers.
“I’m very happy to see people moving in and taking time to rest,” she noted during a group interview.
Moving ahead, Jerome Cadier, VP of Marketing at LATAM Airlines Group, hinted at a couple of upcoming projects: Lima and Miami.
“Miami is probably further along and Lima is a question of space at the airport.”
For the time being, Cadier and his team are focused primarily on the success of their four newest lounges — including the latest addition to the family with its mix of LANTAM designs and Chilean ties.
“If you go to Sao Paulo, you will realize that you’re in a lounge of LANTAM, but it’s got a Brazilian flavor,” Cadier explained. “Here you’ve got more of a Chilean flavor. So it’s a place that’s consistent with a slight twist, which is very relevant for us. That the base is there, but with a different flavor.”
Travelers can find the lounge on the 4th and 5th floors in SCL’s western wing, complete with direct access from the preferential check-in area of LAN and TAM.
Disclosure: This visit was sponsored by LATAM Airlines Group. As always, all opinions are my own.