Hilton Nairobi
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Have You Ever Been the Only Patron in a Lounge — All Night Long?

Have you ever been the only patron in a lounge — whether it is in a hotel property or at an airport?

Chances are that of course you have. I would surmise that having not ever been the only patron of a lounge at one time or another would actually be unusual; but I had not been more succinct with my question:

Have you ever been the only patron in a lounge — all night long?!?

Have You Ever Been the Only Patron in a Lounge — All Night Long?

One place where this happened to me was at the Hilton Nairobi hotel property. Taking a break from writing an article for The Gate while in my suite, I decided to head down the hall to the executive lounge and see what fare was being offered.

Hilton Nairobi
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

There was a variety of hot and cold items, to which I explained in more detail in the aforementioned review of the hotel. I helped myself to those items and ordered a glass of orange juice, which was served to me with a napkin on a tray, as you cannot serve beverages yourself during the afternoon and evening hours for some reason. I graciously thanked the person in charge of the executive lounge and ate…

Hilton Nairobi
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.


All right — no big deal. This has happened to me before; but now there was a second employee in the lounge — and both of them wanted to tend to my every need.

I like to be served as much as anyone else; but I am more of an “IGI”. I really do not like to put anyone out of their way; and I start to get shy when it seems as though there is too much attention paid to me. One irrational reason is that I feel like that I am creating extra work for them because they were going out of their way for me. I must admit, however, that conversing with them was rather easy. They could not have been any nicer.

The sun was setting in Nairobi; and I wanted to catch a photograph of that — which was not easy through windows which were dirty on the outside. Still, I said I would return to the executive lounge.

Hilton Nairobi
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.
Hilton Nairobi
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

I returned to the executive lounge perhaps 45 minutes later. There was no one in there other than the two employees of the executive lounge. Without me doing anything, one of them greeted me by name; while the other brought out a huge glass of freshly-squeezed orange juice.

Stunned and after what felt like picking up the bottom of my jaw off of the floor, I asked if anyone else had been in the executive lounge all night.

“No — you have been the only one,” one of them replied. “But we might get some last-minute stragglers.”

“I know how you can get more people to come in,” I responded. “Just start putting everything away. Someone always comes in when you are putting everything away.”

They laughed. Apparently, that has been true in the past.

All right — so I filled up my plate several more times. I finally said that I could not eat any more.

“But this is all for you!” one of them said with a smile. “Have as much as you want!”

I was almost surprised that they did not give me a “doggie bag” to take food back to the suite — though that might have been possible had I requested it.

They even suggested I invite a person or two. In an attempt to retain an environment with an aura of exclusivity, lounges usually try to keep attendance to a minimum, not increase it.

What bizarro world have I fallen into, anyway?!?

Hilton Nairobi
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

At breakfast the next day, the lounge was still rather quiet — but at least a few other guests came in and out of the lounge while I was there.


I was quite grateful for the personalized service I received at this lounge — as well as other lounges where I had the place to myself; but I do tend to feel somewhat uncomfortable when I am the center of attention.

One side benefit was that I did not feel inhibited to photograph the lounge with my camera in front of other guests; but then that same intimidation was exacerbated by me being there alone so as not to appear strange to the attendants of the lounge — and I must admit that they helped to ensure that my experience was pleasant and memorable. I could not have asked for better and more attentive service.

Having at least a few other fellow guests in the lounge the next morning just felt a little more comfortable to me…

…and in case you were wondering, yes — I have also been the only passenger in the first class cabin aboard an airplane with three classes of service. That was a great experience as well; but it also felt somewhat uncomfortable to have three members of the flight crew attending to my every want and need.

This is one reason why as much as I would like to experience the premium services offered by airlines such as Etihad Airways and hotels with butler service, I have mixed thoughts about actually doing so. I would probably prefer to be with a travel companion.

Anyway, I cannot wait to read your comments pertaining to similar situations which I know you have experienced. I am sure you have a great story with which to amaze fellow readers…

All photographs ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

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