Greg Bruce checks into the Swedavia lounge at Stockholm-Arlanda airport.
So gentle and pleasant I can hardly remember it. Did it take place or was it just a beautiful dream?
First impression: I had low expectations, because I had been told to have low expectations. But as I entered, I felt a lifting clear of the drudgery of international transit. The space was flooded with light from the floor-to-high-ceiling windows and the quiet was overwhelming.
What's there: Not much. This is Swedish minimalism at its finest. The thing about Sweden in general and this lounge in particular: it doesn't overwhelm you with endless crap but it has everything you need. The lounge isn't big but has plenty of discrete spaces for your multitasking pleasure.
Who's there: As close as I've found to an empty international airport lounge. A handful of business or business casual travellers among a sea of empty seats and spaces. It was reasonably early in the morning, so the airport wasn't heaving, but this is one of the advantages of a lounge like this: A lack of bells and whistles equals a relative lack of demand.
Anything for the kids? A little corner with a few toys, some parental sofas, a beanbag, a little kids' table and some chairs. You wouldn't want more than about three kids in there at any one time — things could get tense.
Tech stuff: Free Wi-Fi, plenty of power outlets, plenty of space for getting out the laptop. A genial area in which to get online and do stuff.
Reading material: A handful of papers. Nothing to get excited about.
The view: The view itself is pretty generic airport infrastructure but the sheer quantity of glass in the room means you're so overwhelmed by the amount of light that it almost doesn't matter where it's coming from.
Eating and drinking: A decent breakfast selection. Cold cuts, cereals, that sort of thing. Plenty of drink options in the well-stocked fridge and push-button coffee machine.
Bathrooms: Good, clean, Swedish. Business casual.
Lounge atmosphere: Like a mindfulness meditation app brought to life.
Bottom line: A quiet wonderland in a world that's forgotten how to relax.