Air travel is usually associated with long lines, overpriced bottled water and painfully uncomfortable seating areas. This, however, is in stark contrast to those that are fortunate enough to travel in first or business class. We know about the luxury on board, but what’s behind the curtain in the airport lounges? Here’s a peek at some of the most extravagant airport lounges that might convince you to upgrade on your next ticket.
1. British Airways “The Concorde Room”, London Heathrow and New York JFK
For starters, passengers go through the “First Wing”, an exclusive check-in experience and expedited security clearance. Once inside, First Wing passengers are treated to a la carte menus from top chefs perfectly paired with fine wine and champagne, complementary snacks and beverages.
Winning feature: the private cabanas: a comfortable bed, room service and even a wake-up call. There is a flight to catch, after all.
2. Cathay Pacific “The Pier”, Hong Kong International Airport
Your high-class trip to China starts and ends with the lounge, which features a unique tea house with a variety of artisanal and traditional Chinese teas served by specialists. Dining options include a deli-style restaurant for those on the go, a coffee cart offering freshly brewed speciality coffee made by expert baristas, as well as a noodle bar, serving fresh regional specials.
Winning feature: relaxation rooms and workstations are offered for those looking to catch up on some rest or a quiet place to work. Don’t worry about waking up groggy, you can freshen up before or after take-off with a nice, long private shower.
3. Turkish Airlines “Lounge Istanbul”, Atatürk Airport
Measuring over 32,000 square feet, Lounge Istanbul has been labelled as one of the world’s best lounges for numerous reasons; captivating architecture and tasteful design make it more than a stop, but truly an experience.
Hotel-like suites, private showers, children’s play area and massage therapy. You’ll want a long layover with video games, snooker tables, and golf simulators. For restaurants, you have your choice of both Turkish and world cuisines, and bars with the top-of-the-line librations.
Winning feature: a cinema to watch all the latest and greatest to shut off before business begins.
4. Virgin Airlines “New York Club House”: New York JFK Airport
Self-described as “a space that oozes uptown style”, this clubhouse promises that “the moment you walk in, you’ll be transported into a world of graceful elegance, with soothing lighting and luxurious furnishings”. Luggage storage, showers, an entertainment zone, relaxation pods, and a clubhouse spa, all open for use.
Winning feature: a complementary a la carte menu, five-star dining that features tapas-style dishes, alongside a bar with signature cocktails and complementary beverages.
5. Etihad Airways “Etihad First Class Lounge & Spa”, Abu Dhabi International Airport
The first choice for many long-distance travellers, this lounge is open 24/7, which is a major plus for stopovers during odd hours.
It has a full fitness room, a children’s play area, a spa offering complimentary treatments including massages and facials, VIP rooms for more privacy, TV rooms, showers and even a clothes-pressing service. Guests experience worldly cuisine, tastefully inspired by Abu Dhabi and complimented by exquisite wine pairings. If spirits are more to your liking visit the bar to be tempted one of their signature cocktails.
Winning feature: The complimentary cigar lounge, featuring high-class cigars specially made for Etihad, paired with a large selection of single malt whiskies and Cognac.
6. Qatar Airways “Al Mourjan Business Lounge”: Hamad International Airport
Spread over 10,000 square metres, the design is a mixture of modern and classic style – exclusive marbles, designer furniture and intricate embellishments. With world-class facilities and awards winning hospitality, Al Mourjan earns a spot as one of the top lounges in the world.
Multiple dining options include anything and everything in between a light snack to gourmet meals, and fine beverages.
Amenities include quiet rooms for a quick nap, family rooms and shower and restroom facilities.
Winning Feature: Formula 1 simulator and children’s nursery –– because they know that behind every good person in business, is a great family.
This article was featured in the September 2018 edition of the RG Business Magazine.