America has a hilarious tradition…
Loves and kisses on Thanksgiving. Death and chaos on Black Friday!
The one day of the year has come. Retailers throughout the country promote insane deals to attract customers for the holidays. Shoppers tramples others for sale. No mercy!
In fact, I always feel like poor childhood Simba (from Lion King) this time of year. I pretend to be tough doing a cute roar… but no matter what… I get smashed by the stampede of ruthless animals 😦
South Coast Plaza, an upscale shopping mall in Orange County grossing over $1.5 billion annually in sales, is by far one of the most chaotic places on this D-day.
Lines out the door. Shoulders bumping shoulders. Please humans! A bear is trying to shop around here! Luckily, hidden by Saks Fifth Avenue lies a small enclave to get away from it all… Access Lounge.
There’s a hard way and an easy way to have access in this “VIP concierge lounge”.
The hard way: Shop regularly or spend an undisclosed $$$$ of luxury items at one of their boutique shops (ex. Chopard, Cartier, Hermes, etc.) and the managers will gift you a day pass to relax here.
The easy way: Have an Amex Platinum Card.
That being said, it’s not a big deal if you never step foot into this lounge. So please, get the AMEX Platinum for the travel benefits (Centurion lounges, Global Entry, AMEX fine hotels & resorts, etc.), and not for this supplementary mall concierge lounge.
With the exception of Black Friday, this place is generally impractical since there are so many nice places to relax at South Coast Plaza. Nevertheless, I guess it’s nice to have today to escape the merciless stampede…
On special holidays such as Chinese New Year, South Coast will change up the Access Pass and turn its design into a red envelope. Each day pass gives you complimentary coffee, tea, light snacks, and champagne (up to 2 glasses).
Separate to the lounge, the mall once in awhile offer its members invites to their private events such as fashion shows to promote certain boutique brands.
It’s hard to say no to meeting the designers, gorgeous models, luxe complimentary goodies, & of course… an open bar 😉
In the end though, regardless of these perks and gimmicks, it’s all about the fundamental quality & services of the Access Lounge. Compared to others in the concierge industry, this place just doesn’t deliver.
To be fair, mall shopping lounges are quite rare to begin with. Thus, you have to give them proper credit in trying to cater to people that loves to shop and travel. Until they improve, 364 days out of the 365, I still rather be chilling outside in the public areas enjoying South Coast Plaza.
Time to go back out to the stampede… Black Friday, here we go!