South Coast Plaza Access Suite Lounge: Everything You Need to Know

December 12, 2019 in Miles and Points, Travel, Travel Tips - 10 Comments
happy woman at entrance to acess suite lounge at south coast plaza

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Did you know South Coast Plaza has a VIP lounge? Here’s everything you need to know and how to get into the Access Suite Lounge.

I’m not a huge shopper but Santa’s at the mall and needs my Christmas list. I’m pretty sure he’s bringing me a DJI Mavic Mini drone this year.

Although, the elves tell me he’ll use Amazon to deliver it. Even Santa’s reindeers need a day off.

But I love browsing and window shopping at malls like South Coast Plaza (SCP). It’s one of the best things to do in Costa Mesa.

As the largest mall on the West Coast, going to SCP is an event in itself. Their stores are to die for!

Prada, Furla, Hermes, Armani, Patek Philippe, and more. When I win the lotto, I’m hitting up South Coast Plaza for some #scpstyle.

Maybe if I spend enough I’ll get an invite to the Louis Vuitton invitation-only VIP Salon.

Window displays and mall decor are stunning especially during the holidays.

But shopping during the holidays can be stressful even at a gorgeous mall like South Coast Plaza.

Relieve your stress with a little rest, relaxation plus free snacks and beverages in the Access Suite Lounge.

Nope, you don’t have to be an A-lister, celebrity, a millionaire, ultra rich, or even an influencer (gasp) to get into the lounge.

The Access Suite Lounge is open to everyone, even regular people like you and me. But you need an invitation.

You know how much I love figuring out the secrets and hacks to get into lounges. Like how to get into every airport lounge and which credit cards give you free lounge access.

So of course, I had to figure out how to get into the South Coast Plaza Access Suite Lounge.

Keep reading to learn our favorite tricks, hacks to get an invite for free entry into the Access Suite Lounge.

Who knows, while you’re there you might even see a celebrity or two.

South Coast Plaza Access Suite Lounge: Everything You Need to Know

Designed as a relaxing retreat while shopping at South Coast Plaza the ACCESS Suite Lounge provides a VIP lounge for customers.

South Coast Plaza is a luxury mall in Orange County offering designer fashion and merchandise.

I’ll let you in on a little secret.

The mall has stores for those of us who don’t drive Bentleys and are more cash conscious.

South Coast Plaza

blue Porsche at Porsche store at South Coast Plaza shopping mall
Yes, that’s a real Porsche in the store

Located in Costa Mesa, South Coast Plaza is an easy drive from Newport Beach, Irvine, and Anaheim. Los Angeles and San Diego are a little further away but the drive is worth it.

With over 275 shops and restaurants (half that of the Mall of America), it’s easy to make spend the day at the mall, shopping, dining, or riding the carousel.

Unlike the Mall of America, all the stores don’t fit in the same building. SCP is two large malls connected by The Bridge of Gardens where each section offers customers a completely different experience.

South Coast Plaza offers valet parking, concierge service, personal stylists, package check, foreign currency exchange, and the Access VIP Suite.

I’ve been to South Coast Plaza many times but never visited the lounge until I spent a weekend in Costa Mesa.

How to Find the Access Suite Lounge

happy woman at entrance to acess suite lounge at south coast plaza
The Access VIP Lounge is open year-round and exclusively for SCP customers. Customers typically mean those who spend money shopping.

Pro-tip: You don’t have to spend any money to use South Coast Plaza’s Access lounge.

Scroll down if you want to skip the lounges hours and amenities and find out how to get into the lounge for free.

The Access Suite is on the second floor in suite 2600 next to Dolce & Gabbana and outside of Saks Fifth Avenue

Pro-tip: The quickest way to reach the lounge is to park by Saks, go to the second floor, and walk out the door into the mall. The lounge is on your right behind those elaborate gold-toned doors.

The closest valet parking to the lounge is between Macy’s and Macy’s Men’s.

Access Suite Lounge Hours

The Access VIP Suite Lounge at South Coast Plaza is open from 11 am to 7 pm Monday through Saturday and from 11 am to 6:30 pm on Sunday.

Lounge hours differ from the mall hours. It opens later and closes earlier so plan accordingly.

Weekends and holidays are busy and the lounge gets crowded.

There isn’t a posted rule on how long you can use the lounge but the expectation is that guests’ visits are two hours or less.

Pro-tip: During the holidays the Access Lounge is open daily from 10 am to 7 pm.

Inside the Access Suite

two plush neutral colored loveseats with decorative pillows, two padded chairs, a wood coffee, and wall-mounted TV
A cozy place to relax and recharge

The Access Suite is larger than it appears. The decor is casually elegant, inviting and feels like you’re relaxing in someone’s home.

When you enter the lounge there are two plush neutral colored loveseats with decorative pillows, two padded chairs, a wood coffee, and wall-mounted TV.

To the left are the concierge host counter/desk and a bar that seats three people.

desk at access suite lounge

On the far left side of the room, there’s a large sectional couch and a padded chair.

large soft purple sectional couch and chair at access suite lounge

Down the hall are several private rooms. South Coast Plaza has put considerable effort to make sure these rooms met the needs of their guests.

Pro-tip: Children are welcome in the lounge. But except for the baby room there isn’t any place for them to play or run around.

Sports Room

three leather chairs, a table, a sideboard, and a TV
Husbands can watch the game while their wives shop

The sports room is the first room after the “lobby” area.

More masculine in design, there are three leather chairs, a table, a sideboard, and a TV.

Pro-tip: This room is almost always occupied. Whether the husbands are seeking an escape or because it’s the first private room. But maybe because it has a TV. 🙂

Baby Room

room in the south coast plaza access lounge with white changing table, two white leather chairs, a small white childrens desk and chairs
The Access Suite Lounge offers a quiet spot to change your baby’s diapers

There’s a baby room for parents of babies and young children.

A changing table with baby wipes, powder, and ointment is on the left side of the room immediately after you enter the room.

Two white leather chairs, a small table and lamp are at the back of the room. A small child sized table and two chairs is to the right. There are even a few toys.

Pro-tip: I don’t recall seeing diapers or a baby genie. With South Coast Plaza operating the lounge I’d expect they were there and I missed them.

Stylist Rooms

blue velour love seat with faux sheepskin pillows in access suite lounge stylist room a
Not your ordinary dressing room

South Coast Plaza’s ACCESS Suite VIP lounge offers two stylist rooms: Suite A and Suite B.

Suite B is the larger of the two rooms and has three white leather chairs, a black cloth loveseat, and two clothes rods mounted on the walls.

access suite lounge stylist room with three white leather chairs and clothes rod on wall
Got an entourage and need more space? Choose stylist room Suite B

You can arrange for shops to bring outfits to the lounge for you to try on. Think high end designer fashion vs Abercrombie and Fitch.

This is a godsend if you’re like me and have a hard time choosing the right outfits. I have to drag Jeff to the mall with me. Or buy a ton of outfits and have a fashion show at home. As you can imagine, neither is fun.

But with a stylist room, Jeff could hang out enjoy a few drinks, watch TV and provide commentary on my outfits. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Neither room was used when we visited. 

Pro-tip: All rooms are first-come, first-serve. You can reserve a stylist room in advance by calling the lounge.

Prayer Room

empty tiled room with beige walls and a carpet with different shades of brown blocks
Simple room to pray or meditate

The multi-faith prayer room is in Suite C.

Unlike the other private rooms, this room is devoid of furniture or any adornments. There’s only a single large carpet with various sized blocks on a tile floor.

The room was empty when we arrived in the early afternoon. But later in the evening, a couple of people went in to pray.

Pro-tip: You can also use the room to meditate or stretch.

Conference Room

The Access Suite VIP Lounge has a conference room.

Pro-tip: South Coast Plaza stores use this room for meetings.

Business Center

room in access suite lounge with desk with computer and chair
Check in for your flight or print your boarding pass

There’s a small business center in the Access Suite Lounge.

It is basically a room with a desk and computer.

Pro-tip: Save time and print your boarding pass at the lounge. 

Bathrooms

white sink, mirror, and table in access suite lounge bathroom

The lounge has two bathrooms.

A private bathroom is a nice perk. You can set your toddler on the floor and not worry about them crawling under the door stall like they could in the public restroom. Not to mention the lounge bathroom floor is much cleaner!

Pro-tip: One of the bathrooms is much larger than the other.

Amenities at Access Suite Lounge

Unlike airline lounges, most guests aren’t spending several hours in the lounge. Except for those using one of the personal shoppers.

Most guests use the Access Suite VIP lounge as a break or brief respite between shopping.

Concierge

Concierge hosts staff the lounge and provide help for guests. From serving snacks and drinks to services like arranging personal stylists.

Pro-tip: While not required, tipping the concierge is always nice.

Free Drinks and Snacks

Clear jar of water with orange slices and blueberrys and crystal drinking glasses at access suite lounge
Fancy water

Lounge access includes free drinks and snacks. Each guest gets two drinks per person per day and a snack.

Snacks are a bowl of pretzels, mixed nuts, cashews, or chips.

Guests have a choice of champagne, beer, coffee, soda, tea, juice, and fruit-infused water. Drinks are served in thick crystal goblets.

Lattes, cappuccinos, and espressos are also available and include a biscotti. 🙂

During our visit the beer selection included Sapporo, Amstel, Heineken, and Corona Light. 

Concierge hosts serve the drinks and snacks so it’s very civilized and not a free for all.

Pro-tip: Last Call for drinks and snacks is 30 minutes before closing. Some of the concierges are pretty strict with the rules so be sure to get there with time to spare.

How to Get Into the Access Suite Lounge

The Access Suite VIP Lounge is an exclusive lounge for South Coast Plaza guests. Unlike airline lounges that sell inexpensive day passes for access, SCP doesn’t sell one-day lounge access.

There are three ways to get into the lounge.

Shop

You can get into the South Coast Plaza Access Suite Lounge if you shop.

A single purchase at Sugrafina won’t cut it. But a single purchase at Patek Philippe might.

Some stores will give you a day pass once you meet their minimum spending. With others, you might have to ask.

This is the hard way. Each day you want a pass to this special concierge lounge means you have to spend big money.

There are two easier ways to get into the lounge.

Pro-tip: When shopping at South Coast Plaza use your Visa Signature like the

You’ll get a free gift and admission to the Access Suite when you spend $500 or more in a single day visit. Multiple receipts totaling $500 or more qualify.

Each person who spends $500 or more gets a free gift. So if you’re spending $1,000, consider splitting purchases among two of your credit cards.

Stay at a Costa Mesa Hotel

You can bypass the shopping spending requirement when you stay at a Costa Mesa hotel.

Guests at hotels like The Westin South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa Marriott, Avenue of the Arts, Hilton Orange County Costa Mesa, and Crowne Plaza Costa Mesa Orange County can get an SCP Passport Book from the concierge.

The Passport Book includes special offers, one ACCESS VIP Suite pass, and a free valet parking pass. No shopping required.

south coast plaza access suite lounge and valet pass
Stay at a Costa Mesa hotel and get a free pass to the Access Suite Lounge

Most hotels give one book per stay. But if you ask nicely you may be able to get a second book = another free pass to the lounge.

Staying a night at a Costa Mesa hotel won’t cost you as much as shopping at one of the boutique stores at South Coast Plaza.

Currently, you can book a room at the Westin South Coast Plaza from $123 a night. The hotel is across the street from the mall. Nope, you don’t have to renact Frogger. There’s an overpass bridge so you can cross safely.

Save even more by staying at Avenue of the Arts, one Marriott’s Tribute Portfolio hotel’s. Rates start as low as $104 a night!

Use points from your travel rewards and/or hotel rewards card to pay for your hotel and stay for free!

Pro-tip: Call before you make your reservation. Some of the budget hotels might not have the passport book.

Read my review of the Avenue of the Arts hotel.

Have an American Express Card

OR

Another way to get into the Access VIP lounge is to have an American Express card.

But not just any American Express card.

You need an American Express Platinum, Business American Express, or Centurion card to get into the ACCESS Suite Lounge.

Most people know they can use their Amex Platinum card to get into the Centurion Lounges and Priority Pass lounges at airports.

Few know they can also use it for free admission to the lounge at SCP. It’s not talked about much. Now you’re in on the secret.

This is the easy way to get into the ACCESS Suite Lounge. It doesn’t cost you anything and you get unlimited visits.

Pro-tip: Each Amex Platinum (personal or business) and Centurion cardholder can bring up to 3 guests into the lounge.

Access Suite Lounge
South Coast Plaza, level 2, adjacent to Saks Fifth Avenue
714-435-2033

Conclusion

The Access Suite Lounge at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa is a secret exclusive VIP lounge. The lounge offers a private retreat to relax before, during, or after shopping.

Few people know the lounge exists let alone the entrance requirements.

There are three ways to get into the lounge: shop, stay at a Costa Mesa hotel, or have an American Express Platinum, Business Platinum American Express card, or a Centurion card.

You have to spend a certain amount to get a pass from shopping. Hotel passes are single-use.

But with an Amex card (personal or business) you can visit as often as you like. There’s no limit on the number of times you can use the lounge.

I liked having a comfy private spot to relax while shopping. The free drinks and snacks were a plus!

Have you visited the Access Suite Lounge at South Coast Plaza?

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Debra Schroeder

Debra is a former 12-year travel industry executive and has traveled the world using airline miles and credit card points since 1994. She'll teach you the secrets of traveling well for less.

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10 Comments

  • The below responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.
  • Danik December 13, 2019 at 7:20 am

    I am up for the idea of a lounge in a shopping mall, that sounds like a fantastic idea and if it’s like an airport lounge then I am up for it. But I am thinking maybe they should charge a fee to let clients in like airports do. Wouldn’t this be more money raised for the owners of the lounge? If I was there (and as I would be a tourist from another country not living in the states), doing some shopping to take items back over the pond, I wouldn’t be able to use these facilities in less I spent $$$. So that bit maybe the bummer. Otherwise I like this idea and the facilites look great.

  • Linda (LD Holland) December 14, 2019 at 1:35 pm

    I generally hate the whole shopping process. Although I do love the variety we find when we shop in the U.S. The South Coast Plaza Suite Lounge would be a great option to rest between shopping spurts. It looks like it might be a tranquil escape. But not a cheap spot to get into. Unless you have a lot of shopping to do.

  • Ami Bhat December 15, 2019 at 9:30 pm

    The lounge looks quite cool. Love the various comfort and luxury angles of the lounge – the relaxing sofas, the food options and the entertainment for bored husbands (ha ha ). The exclusivity is what makes it attractive too and at the same time, a little deterrent. However, your tips will definitely gets one closer to the lounge.

  • Indrani December 15, 2019 at 10:44 pm

    Lounge in a shopping mall is such a great idea. Various facilities provided look great. I am sure this would be a great place to rest when you are tired shopping. The comfort and luxury angles of the lounge are so thoughtfully provided. And indeed very thoughtful escape for the bored husbands while wives are splurging.

  • Yukti Agrawal December 16, 2019 at 6:15 am

    I never knew that shopping malls too have VIP lounges but it would be great to have as shopping in malls is really a very hectic affair. I would surely go for this South Coast Plaza which has a VIP lounge and thanks for sharing how to access this Suite Lounge. Good to know that it is an easy drive from Newport Beach, Irvine, and Anaheim. It is good that you tipped us with very useful information about parking to the nearest location of Lounge. I would also reach this lounges by quickest and park by Saks. Thanks for sharing all useful details.

  • Clarice December 16, 2019 at 7:52 am

    Wow! It is certainly a treat for loyal customers to be able to have access to their VIP lounge. Personally, I appreciate the additional services that they offer especially valet parking. It also helps if there are personal stylists who can help.

    I have never been to South Coast Plaza but will definitely visit when I have the chance. Thank you for sharing this information.

  • Umiko December 16, 2019 at 11:10 am

    The lounge looks really nice. I think it’s a good spot for a relax before continuing shopping for hours again. And for sure, the best place to take a nap for the males, or for me, if I take my sister here. Haha… However, I found it pricey for using the facility.

  • Medha Verma December 16, 2019 at 10:52 pm

    The lounge looks quite exquisite and a great way to get out of the hustle and bustle of the mall into a quiet relaxing place, maybe when your spouse, partner or parent is busy shopping and you do not wish to! I was really curious to read about how to get access to the lounge without having to shop at the mall and it seems staying at the South Coast Plaza Hotel or having an American Express Platinum Card is the best way to do it! I am quite amazed with all the facilities they offer.

  • daniel December 18, 2019 at 7:03 am

    Great post!! The suite looks really amazing and really fancy, I love the fancy water it looks really refreshing. The lounge with the mall is so convenient I guess it will be a great spot to hangout. Thanks for sharing all the valuable tip & tricks, so next time I know exactly what to do.

    • Debra Schroeder December 24, 2019 at 6:13 pm

      Hi Daniel,

      Glad you found the post helpful. Hope you get a chance to check out the lounge.

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