I had about two and half hours of layover time in Taipei before catching my EVA Air flight back to Toronto, so of course I decided to head for the lounges. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to through-check my bags from Shenyang, so I had to clear customs and immigration first, pick up my bag and re-check it, and then go through security all over again.
Once past security, the EVA Air lounges are pretty easy to find, and all of their lounges are clustered together in one area on the upper level.
EVA Air's premium class lounges are sorted out a bit confusingly. The only lounge with clear-cut eligibility rules is The Garden, which is reserved for highest-level elite status members within EVA Air's Infinity MileageLands frequent flyer program.
Meanwhile, The Infinity and The Star are two separate lounges located opposite each other, both of which are available to business class passengers and Star Alliance Gold members. I spent most of my time in The Infinity, but also went over to The Star for a few minutes just to check it out.
Lastly, there's The Club, which is another business class lounge located a bit further away from the other three. I didn't get to see what this lounge was like, though it looked a lot more like an open-air restaurant than a lounge. I'll be sure to check it out on my next visit to Taipei Taoyuan Airport.
You can do a Google Street View walkthrough of all four lounges on the EVA Air website.
A gleaming purple entrance welcomes you to The Star and The Infinity lounges, located on your left and right, respectively, from the front desk.
Apparently, The Infinity is designated the business class lounge, while The Star is meant to serve Star Alliance Gold members and other elite customers. However, in practice there's little to distinguish the two, and both sets of customers are able to access either lounge freely. Almost by chance, I decided to turn right and spend most of my time in The Infinity.
The decor of the lounge is ... eye-catching, to say the least. Have a look at the main hallway:
Personally I thought the decor looked quite snazzy, but it's definitely pushing the boundaries a little, and I wouldn't begrudge anyone who thinks it's way over-the-top.
There's plenty of comfortable seating to the left of the hallway, as well as seats along the wall overlooking the airport concourse. Having said that, boy does this lounge get crowded! Almost every seat in the house was occupied, and it took me a while before I found a spot along the wall to settle down in.
Towards the back of the lounge, there's a large rotunda with quite a few more "questionable" design elements. The seating here, while plentiful, was also packed to the brim.
Along the main hallway, you'll find several little nooks, including one housing a few computer workstations...
...an area for lockers and a baby pampering room...
...and the restrooms and showers. There are four showers available for guests of both The Infinity and The Star, and you must register with the front desk if you wish to use one. It's a bit strange that EVA Air has given names to their lounge showers, and the names themselves are even stranger: Metro Forest, Smile Zone, Fantasy Flow, and Star Drops.
Sadly I didn't get the time to try one of the showers, since there was a long waiting list at the time. I would've loved to find out what sets apart showering in Star Drops, say, from Metro Forest...
Let's get to a big part of any airport lounge: the food spread. The buffet area is found next to the rotunda near the back.
EVA Air did not disappoint in this regard, setting out quite a variety of hot dishes for the dinner selection. There were both Chinese-style items as well as Western dishes (it's pretty funny to me how airport lounges in Asia will almost always serve pasta as the "token" Western dish).
Best of all, the lounge did not scrimp on the local Taiwanese specialties, like beef noodle soup. Yum!
There was even a self-serve hot dog roller, which I thought was pretty awesome.
In terms of drinks, The Infinity offered a good-quality Illy coffee machine and the usual soda and juice selection.
There was also an impressive assortment of premium wines and spirits.
And to boot, there was some incredible Mövenpick ice cream to top off your meal. Ice cream is something that many lounges gloss over, but personally there's nothing better to snack on while kicking back and waiting for your flight, and EVA Air gets this right.
I relaxed in The Infinity for a while, downloading some TV shows onto my iPad for the long flight back to Toronto. Eventually my appetite for beef noodle soup and ice cream had subsided, so I went over to The Star to check out that lounge.
Upon walking past the illuminated sign on the ground near the front desk, there's a long hallway that leads you to the lounge proper. Note the Star Alliance 20th-year anniversary banners, which were also found in the LOT Business Lounge back in Warsaw.
The Star was decorated much more like a "traditional" lounge, with lots of partitions separating out the seating area. No blossoming neon light fixtures here; instead, the wooden tones and brighter lighting contributed to a much more serene feel.
The main seating space of The Star features plush upholstered seats, while the neighbouring area houses "dining table" seating. Like its neighbour, The Star was quite crowded at this time of day and most seats were taken.
Near the entrance you'll find a stand with reading material, as well as the doorways to the buffet.
The food that was on offer in The Star was nearly identical to The Infinity – even down to the hot dog roller – which again made me wonder what exactly are the differentiating factors between these two lounges.
Well, it turns out that one of those factors is the ice cream! Whereas The Infinity serves Mövenpick, The Star spoils you with Häagen-Dazs. I really wished I had saved some room!
One more thing about The Star that I wanted to point out is the door marked "VIP" in the hallway. On this occasion it was propped open, so I went inside to have a look. It's little more than a room with about a dozen seats and a singular TV up front. You'd think that a VIP would just head to The Garden, EVA Air's top-tier elite lounge.
About 15 minutes before boarding I grabbed my stuff and headed for the gate. It was time for the final and arguably most exciting part of my round-the-world journey, at least in terms of the flights: EVA Air business class!
The Infinity Lounge here at Taipei Taoyuan Airport is more than serviceable for waiting for your flight or killing time during a long layover. It has comfortable seating (albeit kind of crowded at times), excellent food, and convenient amenities such as lockers and showers. If you're not a fan of The Infinity's in-your-face lighting and decor, you can always head over to The Star on the opposite side, where you'll have access to the same lounge facilities in a calmer environment.