Amtrak operates 4 Club Acela Lounges in major cities up and down the Northeast Corridor – Washington DC, Philadelphia, New York City and Boston.
The lounge in Washington DC’s Union Station is the “flagship” lounge, and is located directly behind the ticketing counters, in the middle of the departure gates.
Once inside, you’ll be ask to show your ticket or elite credentials to the attendant behind the desk. You can also receive ticketing assistance here as well.
Behind the ticketing counter is a bag storage area.
Around the corner, you’ll find schedule brochures, the restrooms and some basic seating.
In the rear of the lounge, you’ll find the large open area with full seating including single seats, couches, tables and televisions tuned to major news stations. There’s also a few screens with departure/arrival information, and newspapers on hand for the taking.
Around the corner, there is a self serve drink machine, ice and coffee. In the several times I’ve used this lounge, I’ve always found the soft drinks flat, so I’m not sure why they don’t replace the machine. I always opt for juice, instead.
There’s also a table with some basic snacks on it – for this visit, it was Goldfish and pretzels.
You will also find a business center with computers, printers and a fax machine. On the opposite side, there’s a small conference room, which you can rent out for a fee.
Trains board directly from the lounge, which is an outstanding feature since you don’t have to wait in line with the crowds outside. Departures are announced and listed on an electronic board outside the door.
The lounge does not offer day-passes, other than to Amtrak Guest Rewards members as an award redemption item. That said, if your ticket allows you entry, or you have the proper elite credentials, it’s certainly better than waiting out in the general public boarding area. The lounge is not even near the standards of domestic airline lounges, so if you’re looking for a top-notch experience, this isn’t it. There’s no bar, and no full meal service. But, if it’s included with your ticket, it at least gives you a quiet area with free wifi.
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