Six of the best: Airport lounges


Virgin Atlantic London Clubhouse, Heathrow

The airline's flagship lounge offers a complete rock star experience. There's a fantastic menu (try the Clubhouse burger and Bloody Mary), salon and spa offering treatments from express facials, shellac pedicures and blow drys in the Bumble and Bumble hair salon (the hairdresser told me he'd cut Nick Rhodes' hair once). There's also a 14-metre cocktail bar, viewing deck with apres-ski vibe and the Grey Goose Loft Bar where you can watch through full-width sloping windows as the planes take off. For the ultimate VIP experience, a Virgin Atlantic chauffeur driven limo will deliver you to your door to the Upper Class Wing for check in and Virgin's private security channel. Rock stars never had it so good. See virgin-atlantic.com

Qantas First Lounge, Sydney International Airport

The fabulous Mark Newson-designed First Lounge is a decadent pre-flight experience with Neil Perry designed menu, concierge service, Aurora Spa and excellent wine list. Enjoy a glass of Tattinger with your a la carte breakfast while the Qantas Concierge team secures restaurant bookings in London or tickets to the latest Broadway shows. The 2000-square-metre Sofitel-managed space features a vertical garden, library, 48-seat open air kitchen, Italian Poltrona Frau custom made furniture, retro departures board and luxurious marble lined shower suites stocked with Kevin Murphy toiletries. Be sure and book a 20-minute complimentary spa treatment ahead of time (sadly I missed out). My flight was delayed but I couldn't have cared less. See qantas.com.au

Qatar Airways Al Mourjan Business Lounge, Doha

The exceptional new Qatar Airways Al Mourjan Business Lounge rivals any five-star hotel with 10,000-square-metres of curated design space exclusively for the carrier's (and Oneworld's) premium passengers. The two-level Skytrax award-winning business lounge boasts cutting-edge lighting paired with natural sunlight. Dining options range from an international buffet to a la carte dining and a shimmering water feature under an opulent staircase overhung by a four-tiered chandelier. There are family rooms, a nursery, private workstations, luxurious shower rooms, and quiet rooms. It can accommodate up to 1000 passengers. The lounge has no PA system so whenever a flight is due for departure; a staff member walks through and announces it softly. See qatarairways.com 

The Wing, Hong Kong 

Cathay Pacific's flagship lounge is a firm favourite with travellers for its funky minimalist design, famous Noodle Bar, 23-metre marble bar and luxurious Travertine stone and bamboo-lined shower suites. Covering almost 3000-square-metres, an extensive redesign was completed in 2013 by London based Foster and Partners. Highlights include 35 handcrafted Italian Solus Chairs designed for solo travellers, with nifty pod shape, built-in desk, AC power and coat hooks. Grab a bowl of steaming noodles and char siu bao or head to the Coffee Loft for a latte and catch up on the papers. See cathaypacific.com

Star Alliance business lounge, Los Angeles

This modernist LA-inspired lounge features an open-air terrace with fire pits and water wall offering views over the northern runway to the Hollywood Hills. Developed and managed by member carrier Air New Zealand, the sprawling 18,000-square-foot space is part of the $1.5 billion expansion of LAX's Tom Bradley International Terminal and is open to business and gold-class frequent flyers travelling on Star Alliance airlines. As well as the rooftop lounge, there's an indoor terrace, library space, den, study, media room, eight shower rooms and black and white LA-inspired photography by renowned photographer Peter Lik. See staralliance.com

Finnair's Premium Lounge, Helsinki

Finnair's new Premium Lounge is the epitome of Nordic style with clever furniture, designer ware and even a Finnish sauna. The new Premium Lounge opened in August next to the award-winning Finnair Lounge in the non-Schengen area of Helsinki Airport. Meals are plated on Marimekko tableware, drinks are served in Iittala Ultima Thule glasses – first designed for Finnair in 1968 by Tapio Wirkkala – while furniture includes legendary Tulip and Womb chairs by Eero Saarinen. Customers of both lounges have access to new private shower suites and a heavenly Finnish sauna (perfect for post long haul flights) with Sea Buckthorn berry cosmetics. See finnair.com

The writer was a guest of Qantas First Class Lounge and Virgin Atlantic's London Clubhouse.

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