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.
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
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
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
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.
On the far left side of the room, there’s a large sectional couch and a padded chair.
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.
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. 🙂
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Access Suite VIP Lounge has a conference room.
Pro-tip: South Coast Plaza stores use this room for meetings.
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.
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 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
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.
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.
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.
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 hotels. Rates start as low as $104 a night!
Pro-tip: Call before you make your reservation. Some of the budget hotels might not have the passport book.
Have an American Express Card
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 a The Platinum Card® from American Express, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, or Centurion card to get into the ACCESS Suite Lounge.
Update: As of November 2021, your American Express card no longer gives you entry to this lounge. You’ll need to shop or stay at one of these hotels: The Westin South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa Marriott, Avenue of the Arts, Hilton Orange County Costa Mesa, and Crowne Plaza Costa Mesa Orange County.
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 Card or Business Platinum 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
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 The Platinum Card® from American Express, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, or a Centurion card.
You have to spend a certain amount to get a pass from shopping. Hotel passes are single-use.
But with Amex Platinum Card or Business Platinum 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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