LIM’s VIP Club – the grenadilla is back but elusive

Airport club lounges are practical and a guilty pleasure. Many are rather generic, while some fabled ones are extravagant. Then there those with local touches that embody a place, eliciting memories from past visits even when only in transit.

The neighbor lounges at Lima Airport (LIM), Sumaq and VIP, under the same management, have all the amenities of high-end lounges, from showers to sleeping chairs, yet for The Rapid Traveler, memories of Peru are as much about the succulent fruits as the majestic scenery and sights. Even when he had several too many fruit shakes in the same morning, he could not help himself but to keep sampling new flavors.

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Transiting LIM on a tight connection last night there was no debate about making a stop and he headed for VIP. (Sumaq is primarily open to premium cabin passengers while the less elegant VIP is for miscellaneous visitors such as holders of Diner’s Club. Priority Pass members have access to both.)

Mirroring his fall visit to Sumaq, first stop the orange juicer, depositing 3 oranges per glass of fresh squeezed goodness. Number of glasses consumed within 20 minutes withheld to minimize embarrassment.

Then the search for grenadillas.

Alas only one was to be found. A helpful employee (camera shy and name shy) checked the kitchen. Then she radioed to Sumaq. The last grenadilla of the day, bitter to be so limited, but so sweet to savor at leisure on the plane.

The friendly care of the staff and the sweet fruit were are close as possible to a visit to Peru without leaving the airport.

That kind of subtle local flair is what makes a lounge truly memorable.

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  • Before our flight to Easter Island, we got to use the VIP lounge (LAN biz class invitation did not allow access to Sumaq). Then during our transit (from Santiago to LAX), we got into Sumaq using a recently matched AA Platinum/Sapphire status for two and then the LoungeClub membership (it came free with Chase Ink) for one.

    The two lounges seem to be very similar in what they offer (VIP does not have shower rooms or sleeping chairs).

    I was impressed with the orange juicer. The first time I had a grenadilla at the Sheraton Lima, I was not sure whether I could eat the seeds or not. But during the lounge visit, we chewed the seeds.

  • Tell me about it….we were in Sumaq about two weeks ago and I decided to treat myself to another grenadilla before our flight back to LAX when I was cut off at the counter by a faster moving lady. You can probably guess what happened – she took the last grenadilla on the tray! Foiled by 10 seconds! 😛

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