I recently had the pleasure of visiting the Plaza Premium Lounge in in the international departures area in Terminal 1 of Toronto Pearson International Airport, prior to a flight to Brazil.
I had visited the lounge before as well, during the bad old days of COVID in the summer of 2021. I’m glad to state that while this lounge won’t win any prizes for aristocratic service, I do think it’s come to hit the “sweet spot” of comfort and convenience, which I felt I got to experience in spades during my hour-long stay.
Plaza Premium Lounge Toronto (Terminal 1 International) – Access
The Plaza Premium Lounge is located fairly deep into Toronto Pearson, and is situated above a series of luxury duty-free shops.
The lounge is actually located next to Air Canada’s recently reopened swanky Signature Suite. However, as my Air Canada boarding pass had been purchased in Business Class (Lowest) with Aeroplan points instead of cash, I wasn’t eligible for entry.
Instead, I made my way to the Signature Suite’s more pedestrian neighbour. The gentleman at the front desk asked me for my boarding pass, and I also handed him my American Express Platinum Card for a quick swipe.
Complimentary to Plaza Premium lounges in Canada is available to holders of the Platinum Card, Business Platinum Card (unlimited visits), and Gold Rewards Card (four visits per year) by American Express, as well as Visa Infinite Privilege and select Visa Infinite cardholders (4–6 visits per year).
The lounge is open from 5:30am–10pm every day. Still, I wish at least one lounge at this airport would stay open late when there are still airlines departing late at night or very early in the morning.
Plaza Premium Lounge Toronto (Terminal 1 International) – Seating
This lounge is split into two parts. If you look to your right immediately after entering, you’ll notice the bar and self-serve buffet area, along some more communal cafeteria-style tables. Unlike a mall cafeteria, these seats were actually nice and comfy.
While the furniture was plush, I felt the area to be a little busy for my taste. The tables weren’t far from the food stations, so anyone wanting to get another beverage or bite to eat would shuffle through quite regularly.
I wanted to sit down and relax a little bit, so decided to instead make my way over to the other side of the lounge, which had a dedicated seating area. This place was more to my taste because it gave a bit more of a relaxed vibe, and was away from the hustle and bustle of the kitchen.
Staff made their way through intermittently to clean up, though I didn’t order any drinks or food from them personally.
What was lovely in this seating area was how quiet it was. Despite the fact that this is a semi open-concept lounge (you can see over top the walls into the rest of the terminal), people maintained a respectful silence and it was far enough away from the gates to not get muddled with noise.
The multiple TVs were set to the news, but had their sound dialled down to allow for easy napping.
There was also a convenient flight tracker on the approach to the bathroom, which displays upcoming departure times and flight statuses.
As for the restrooms, they’re down the hallway on the left when re-entering the dining area. They were clean and adequate, though a little small – someone was inside every time I visited.
Plaza Premium Lounge Toronto (Terminal 1 International) – Dining
During my previous visit in 2021, the menu was quite limited and there was no self service. Instead, you’d point at any items you desired and the lounge staff would serve them to you.
I’m glad to report that during my recent stay, the quality has sharply improved. This Plaza Premium Lounge is offering several more dishes, as well as snacks and pastries on the side.
In accordance with relaxed COVID mandates, it’s also self-serve, though of course the staff maintain sanitization and cleanliness standards.
Self-service is also more convenient for us customers: no more going hungry while you wait for a staffer to stop what they’re doing just to serve you.
As for the food, I doubt it will be winning any Michelin stars any time soon. I sampled a few items, such as the chicken curry, and found them to be satisfactory.
If you’re hungry and on the go, they’ll tickle the spot. And if airport restaurants are the same quality as I remember from my pre-Miles & Points life, then this lounge isn’t a cut below many of them.
Of course, if you have a credit card that offers Priority Pass restaurant access, then Toronto Pearson’s Terminal 1 has several options to choose from, should the offerings I’ve pictured here seem less desirable.
Plaza Premium Lounge Toronto (Terminal 1 International) – Bar
I’ll break the good news first: the bar at this Plaza Premium Lounge is decent. They don’t have fancy cocktails, but they do offer a series of complimentary alcoholic beverages, or soda if you don’t wish to partake.
Of course, if you want something a little more upscale, then you’ll have to pay for it out of pocket, which is a pet peeve of mine.
I understand that lounges are a business, but in the era of constant devaluation of rewards programs, it’s really annoying to be dinged a fee for a something as basic and quintessentially Canadian as a Caesar.
Still, bar rail, house wine, and Molson Canadian were all free, so I had a beer in the dining area before making my way out.
The experience at the Plaza Premium Lounge in Toronto Pearson’s Terminal 1 international wing is what it looks like from the moment you make your way through the doors: a comfortable, albeit no-frills locale to recover before the next leg of your journey.
If you need somewhere to rest your head, check your notifications with the free Wi-Fi, or have a quick bite or drink, then you’ll have no issues with this lounge. It vastly beats out the experience of sitting in the airport at large, and is quite close to many of the boarding gates, as well.
While it’s not the Signature Suite next door, I definitely recommend this lounge to anyone eligible for free entry passing through Toronto.