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Lounge upgrade unveiled

01 Aug 2002

EUROSTAR opened its refurbished first class lounge at London Waterloo International station (right) on June 20. Branded as Le Salon, refurbishment of the eight-year-old lounge was overseen by French designer Philippe Starck as part of the company's £35m 'Welcome to the new Eurostar' project.

Starck said he based his 'unique and stylish, timeless and classic design' for the lounge on 'the elegance of human intelligence'. The lounge can accommodate 120 first and first premier class passengers. A second lounge for a further 60 passengers will open in September.

Newspapers and refreshments are available, and computer network connections are provided. The seats were specially designed, and translucent hanging screens carrying pictures of doors break up the long, narrow lounge area. In the bar area there is a marble table, illuminated from below, and metal stools.

A similarly refurbished lounge for 154 passengers opened at Paris Nord a week later, on June 24. The Brussels Midi facility will open in December. The first class areas at Ashford International and Lille Europe will be modernised, but not on the same scale as in the termini. Standard class waiting areas at the stations are to be redeveloped later.

Eurostar aims to double the number of premium passengers it carries, and increase its share of the business travel market by 10%. The Waterloo facility is designed to last until the opening of Section 2 of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link in 2007, by which time a decision on the future of international services to Waterloo will have been made.