Review: National Bank Lounge Montreal

Location
YUL, International
Date
September 2022
Rating

On my way to Europe, I spent some time in the National Bank Lounge at Montreal’s Trudeau International Airport.

I had a brief moment to pop in for a bite to eat, and to tick another lounge off my list.

In This Post

National Bank Lounge Montreal – Access

The National Bank Lounge is located in the international departures wing at Montreal–Trudeau Airport. You’ll need a boarding pass for Gate 52 or higher; passengers departing on domestic or US flights are unable to visit.

The entrance is located near Gate 53.

National Bank Lounge Montreal – Entrance

The front desk and the lounge are up one level from the concourse. The waiting area is small and was overflowing in the late afternoon, and I was lucky not to arrive any later than I did.

National Bank Lounge Montreal – Entrance

This lounge is the only co-branded lounge under the banner of National Bank, a large Canadian financial institution whose presence is mostly limited to Quebec. Cardholders with the National Bank World Elite Mastercard get unlimited access for themselves, one adult guest, and two children under the age of 12.

The lounge is partnered with DragonPass, meaning that Canadians with many Visas or Mastercards can visit using the membership and lounge passes offered by eligible credit cards. I passed through shortly after these Canadian credit cards dropped Priority Pass and LoungeKey in favour of DragonPass, and the staff at the front desk were very helpful in ensuring that everyone waiting in line had their new DragonPass membership set up properly.

Instead, I simply gained access through my unlimited Priority Pass membership, one of the benefits of my Business Platinum Card from American Express.

Otherwise, admission is $56 plus tax per person. National Bank clients who don’t have the World Elite Mastercard can pay discounted rates: $37 for adults or $26 for children, plus tax.

National Bank Lounge Montreal – Seating

Seating throughout the lounge is mostly uniform from left to right. There are different sections you can sit in, each filled predominantly with what I call the “standard issue airport lounge chair” in charcoal and cream tones.

To the right alongside the buffet, there’s a single high-top table. This is the only seating in the lounge with a forward-facing surface for eating or working.

National Bank Lounge Montreal – Dining & workspace seating

Towards the back left, there’s a small section of comfortable swivel chairs.

National Bank Lounge Montreal – Additional seating

Near the entrance, there’s also a few L-shaped banquettes and hard swivel chairs for seating larger groups.

National Bank Lounge Montreal – Group seating

By far the most noticeable virtue of the lounge is the ambiance. The extra-high floor-to-ceiling windows brought a sense of spaciousness which more than counteracted the effects of the crowded room.

The lounge offers a sweeping view of the tarmac. Facing north, it would be a pleasant space free from the heat of the sun at any time of day or year.

National Bank Lounge Montreal – Tarmac view

National Bank Lounge Montreal – Dining

Visiting in the afternoon, the buffet offered a modest mix of hot and cold meals to choose from.

I had a small plate of butter chicken and rice, which I thought was rather tasty relative to my expectations.

National Bank Lounge Montreal – Butter chicken
National Bank Lounge Montreal – Rice

There was also a hot pasta dish with pork, and a cold salad bar.

National Bank Lounge Montreal – Pasta with pork
National Bank Lounge Montreal – Salad bar

I also tried a cold pizza square, which was a bit disappointing.

National Bank Lounge Montreal – Pizza squares

Among the baked goods, the banana bread was a nice treat to wash down my snack-sized meal.

National Bank Lounge Montreal – Baked goods

National Bank Lounge Montreal – Bar

I didn’t have a chance to try the bar, which appeared quite utilitarian and often had a long line reflective of the crowded lounge. Non-alcoholic juice and hot drinks are available for self-service, while the lounge staff will prepare alcoholic beverages.

National Bank Lounge Montreal – Bar

There’s wine, Quebec beer, and cocktails available. Judging by the bottles on display, they seemed to be featuring Negroni ingredients almost exclusively, though I can’t speak for the selection behind the bar.

Conclusion

The National Bank Lounge in the international departures terminal in Montreal is a fine space to relax and escape the chaos at the gate, though not exactly a destination per se.

During my brief time there, I was pleased with the food, which I found to be a slight step up from the Maple Leaf Lounges I’ve visited. I also appreciated the ambiance that the bright windows brought to the space, even though it was quite crowded while I was there.

If nothing else, the National Bank Lounge’s extensive hours of operation should make it an acceptable no-frills back-up plan if your preferred international lounge is closed or full before your flight.

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