Matina Lounge ICN entrance

Travel Tuesday: Matina Lounge ICN Review

In the time that I’ve had my American Express Platinum Card, I had only ever visited one lounge via the Priority Pass that the card comes with — and even that wasn’t a real lounge (it was a Minute Suites where my pass got me one hour for free and a discount on the second). There are a couple of reasons for this. First, in most of the places I travel, there’s a Delta SkyClub or Centurion Lounge available to me, so I opt to go there instead. Second, in the instances where I have tried to get into a Priority Pass lounge, I’ve either been told there was a long wait or, even worse, encountered a sign outside saying they weren’t currently admitting Priority Pass members.

Nevertheless, my recent trip to Hong Kong included a layover at Incheon International Airport (ICN) in South Korea. With no Centurion or SkyClub lounge to speak of, it seemed high time to finally try my luck at a Priority Pass Lounge. And while there were plenty of options, we selected the Matina Lounge because, well, we happened to be around the corner from it when I happened to look at the Amex app.

With that, let’s take a look at my experience at the Matina Lounge at ICN.

Matina Lounge ICN Review

Location

Since location played a big role in my choice to visit Matina Lounge, let’s start there. This particular lounge can be found in Terminal 2 near gate 252, but is up on the 4th floor.

Of note, there are two other Matina Lounges (Matina Lounge East and Matina Lounge West) in Terminal 1. However, this review will specifically be about the Terminal 2 location.

Matina Lounge ICN Terminal 2 lounge chairs

Entry

When we arrived at the lounge just a few minutes after 7 a.m., I was initially a bit worried to see a fairly lengthy line outside the entrance (especially given my past experiences with Priority Pass lounges). But, as soon as we joined the queue, it was clear that there was plenty of room inside and the line was simply due to the fact that the location had just opened for the day.

As for the check-in process, it really couldn’t have been easier. I presented my Priority Pass card, signed a receipt, and was admitted without any issue! Talk about a refreshing change of pace.

Food

It seemed as though the flow of people migrated immediately from check-in to the buffet. Seeing as it was breakfast time, they were serving some Western staples such as eggs, cereal, pastries, fruit, etc. But, on top of that, there were some Eastern options that might sound more like lunch to us Americans. These included cold noodles, kimchi, ramen, and more. As far as drinks go, there were soda fountains, coffee machines, self-serve bottled wines, beers, and plenty of juices.

Overall, we thought there was a pretty good selection and what we sampled was tasty. Of course, it’s hard to say how their later meals match up, but I’d suspect that they’d be satisfactory yet not amazing. That feels like par for the course with Priority Pass lounges, so I don’t think many will be too disappointed.

Seating

Like many lounges, Matina features a variety of seating options. Whether you wanted a big plushy chair, a table, or a barstool-style seat, there was an area for you. We opted for the stools, which faced out into the terminal. The seats themselves were comfortable and the bar was a nice height. I also didn’t feel as though the seats were too close together, giving me plenty of room to work, drink my beverage, and relax.

My only complaint is that there isn’t much sectioning to the lounge. Instead, it’s basically just one large room. As a result, when the lounge started to fill (although it never reached anything close to capacity while we were there), it seemed as though it could get a bit noisy. During my visit, it wasn’t a problem — but I could see it being a different story at other times of the day.

robots in Matina Lounge ICN

Other amenities

Since we were planning to do a bit of work before our long flight back to the States, we made sure to take advantage of the WiFi and outlets in the lounge. For the latter, we had plenty of options to choose from, including USB chargers. Even though there were outlets on our flight, who can resist topping up their cell phone?

Something else I want to note is that there was a children’s area available. Admittedly, I didn’t do much investigating, but it seemed like a fun area for families to enjoy before heading off to their next destination.

Finally, I want to mention something fun: robot bussers. That’s right — some robots roamed the lounge, requesting that patrons place dirty dishes on their trays. No, this wasn’t some advanced animatronic (it was probably closer to a Roomba), but it was a fun touch that also served a purpose.

Restrooms

One surprising aspect of the Matina Lounge that I discovered is that there aren’t any restrooms inside the lounge itself. Instead, you’ll need to exit and walk across the way to the nearest location in the terminal. I will note that these restrooms do include bidet-equipped toilets, so there’s that.

Because the restrooms are pretty close to the lounge, this isn’t a huge deal — but it’s not very convenient either. Plus, I wasn’t exactly clear on what the policy is for reentering the club after you exit to use the restroom. I opted for the “just walk in and don’t talk to anybody” approach, which happened to work this time.

With there not being any restrooms, it probably won’t surprise you to learn that there are also no showers at Matina — at least the one at Terminal 2. Although I do love having the option to shower before or after a long-haul flight, I realize that it’s not a feature that every lounge is going to have. Thus, I won’t dock any points here, but it’s something to be aware of. Also, while I didn’t check them out, it seemed as though ICN itself had complimentary showers available, so perhaps that’s a solution for you.

Final Thoughts on Matina Lounge at ICN

Having experienced the likes of Centurion and Delta SkyClub locations, the Matina Lounge wasn’t the most exciting airport lounge I’ve ever been to. Still, we enjoyed the time we got to spend there and were thankful to have access to it. With decent food, plenty of seating, and a dang robot dish carrier, I think Matina is a great place to drop in for a bit should your travels take you through Incheon.

Author

Kyle Burbank

Kyle is a freelance writer and author whose first book, "The E-Ticket Life" is now available on Amazon. In addition to his weekly "Money at 30" column on Dyer News, he is also the editorial director and a writer for the Disney fan site LaughingPlace.com and the founder of Money@30.com.

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