From free wi-fi to spa treatments, to spray tans before take-off, we take a look at how the world’s leading airlines are taking care of their premium passengers.
For business travellers who spend most of their time at 50,000 feet jetting from one important meeting to another, airport lounges are the perfect place to escape the chaos of the terminal, catch up on some work or sleep or even have a spa treatment. We’ve selected some of the top airport lounges around the world.
Qantas’s stunning first class lounge at Sydney Airport gives travellers an idea of the extent to which airport lounges are being redefined. Winner of several design awards, the lounge feels more like a resort than an airport lounge. It was created by Marc Newson who was also responsible for the carrier’s A380 aircraft interiors, and offers an incredible 180-degree view of Sydney and Botany Bay, which guests can take in while sampling a menu designed by celebrated chef Neil Perry. Features include a day spa offering free treatments, an open kitchen, waiter service, an entertainment zone, free wi-fi, two private work suites and vertical gardens created by celebrated botanist Patrick Blanc.
Qatar Airways has developed the world’s first Premium Terminal at Doha International Airport, exclusively for First and Business Class passengers, where personalised service reaches a new level – a concierge is on hand to meet and greet passengers prior to check-in, and as you’d expect there are some excellent lounge facilities offering fine dining and trickling water features. The entire terminal building also has free wireless internet access and a business centre equipped for video and phone conferencing. And once business is fully taken care of, a visit to the massage room, Jacuzzi and sauna will ensure you’re fully relaxed for the long flight ahead.
Etihad Airway’s Pearl Business Class lounge in Abu Dhabi is the ideal place to relax and unwind before a flight thanks to its Six Senses Spa, which offers a range of 15-minute treatments, all designed to help you rejuvenate while travelling, including facial renewals or scalp massage. There’s also a ‘snooze room’ where you can catch up on some sleep, and someone on hand to iron your clothes and polish your shoes as you take a shower. For those with work to catch up on there’s a fully equipped meeting room with Mac computers and free wi-fi.
British Airways has a stunning US$93.8 million (£60 million) lounge complex designed by renowned interior designers Davis and Baron at its new London Heathrow Terminal 5 hub known as ‘The Galleries’. There are six lounges in total – the Concorde Room, the First Class Lounge, three Club Lounges and an Arrivals Lounge – offering customers all the creature comforts they would have at home or in the office. Lounge guests can indulge in complimentary treatments at the Elemis Travel Spa or enjoy one of the 94 individual power showers, whilst BA presses their suit for them, before tackling a full English breakfast in one of the extensive dining areas. There is also a dedicated concierge who can take care of everything from booking theatre tickets and taxis to changing flight details. The most luxurious lounge is the ‘Concorde Room.’ It can accommodate over 150 First Class customers and “specially invited guests” and features a fully serviced ‘Concorde Bar’, gourmet restaurant and boardroom with real Concorde aircraft seats.
The Virgin Clubhouse at Heathrow’s Terminal 3 is designed to feel like a private members club. Guests enter the clubhouse via a grand staircase and are welcomed at a concierge desk. The Cowshed at the Clubhouse offers a range of treatments from massage and facials to collagen eye treatments, and there’s even a St Tropez Tanning Booth where you can get a quick spray tan before jetting off on holiday. There’s also a Poolside Lounge where passengers can relax in an oasis of tranquility beside a floor to ceiling Japanese water wall; an observation deck for checking out the runway; daybeds in a hideaway mezzanine level; a 14-metre long cocktail bar and The Den which features a pool table and retro video games.
The flagship Emirates lounge is now at its Terminal 3 hub in Dubai International Airport. The lounge features Italian marble finishes, leather sofas, trickling water features and massage chairs. The First Class lounge is themed with Arabic, Mughal, Asian and European designs. Passengers have á la carte dining and a wine cellar, staffed by wine experts, with some rare vintages on offer. There’s also a Health Sanctuary where massages and hair styling is on offer free of charge. For those travelling Business Class the lounge is themed with earth, water, fire and air design concepts. Guests have access to an extensive international buffet, showers, juice bars, free wi-fi and business centre and spa treatments for a nominal fee.
The Hon Circle lounge in the Priority Terminal of Vienna Airport offers premium customers check-in, passport control, security and limousine transfers to the aircraft. Facilities include Bang and Olufsen TV and audio systems, gourmet cuisines and wi-fi access. There’s also a “unique art book collection” to keep you entertained before take off.
Not content with offering passengers just one lounge, Cathay has two premium lounges at its Hong Kong International Airport hub. Located on levels six and seven of Hong Kong’s North West Concourse, The Wing lounge offers two big screen plasma TVs, eight shower rooms as well as 34 unique ‘personal living spaces’ designed for privacy where you can tackle any overdue work or have a snooze. The Noodle Bar and the Long Bar offer delicious dining options. Meanwhile, The Pier lounge on level five has personal work zones for business travellers with desks and computers.
Singapore Airline’s newest lounges are in Terminal 3 of Singapore Changi Airport. The 4,000 square metre SilverKris lounge is decorated in rich marble and timber and is split into business and first class sections. There is free wi-fi, showers, a business centre and meeting rooms and an extensive food and drink selection. The KrisFlyer Gold lounge meanwhile, features an open verandah allowing in natural daylight overlooking a water feature and greenery.
The Crown lounge at Queen Alila International Airport in Amman has room for 340 guests, and offers a business centre, meeting room, mobile charging station, dining area with runway views, showers and bedrooms (from $50) as well as a quiet room, games area and a smoking section.
Oman Air is due to unveil its brand new First and Business Class lounges at Muscat International Airport later this year, replacing the old design (above). The lounges promise to maintain the same values used in developing the recent premium experience across Oman Air’s A330 fleet expansion featuring Arabian hospitality complimented by modern details. Service will be a top priority, with a concierge on hand to greet and assist every guest entering the lounge. There will also be a spa, and 24-hour food and beverage options. Great news for fans of the dazzling British Airways Galleries lounge complex at T5 London Heathrow is that later this year, BA’s lounge at Dubai International Airport is set to undergo a major restyle, modelled on the original in London.
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