In pictures: most luxurious airport lounges
More like private members' clubs than airport waiting rooms, there's a new breed of airline lounge that makes waiting a pleasure, not a chore. Designed by celebrity architects - with food catered by some of the biggest chefs in the world – and amenities including BLANK BLANK and private spas, it's enough to make passengers push the limits of 'Final Call'. Here are four of the finest airline lounges that are destinations all their own.
QANTAS FIRST LOUNGE: SYDNEY
\nFamous designer - and close friend of Apple's design guru Jony Ive – Marc Newson is the man behind the striking Qantas first-class lounge in Sydney. Designed in tandem with the interiors of Qantas new A380 aircraft, the concept was to reintroduce some of the style and glamour of the early years of aviation. It doesn't disappoint.
The menu is designed by Neil Perry, with a full-on bar service that sees vintage bubbly poured alongside your favourite cocktails. Even the staff are up to luxury standards – all have been trained by the Sofitel hotel group. Facilities include a spa, private suites, and even a zone where you can try out virtual reality headsets. In a further nod to aviation's lavish heritage, guests must also adhere to a strict dress code. Professional cricketer Kevin Pietersen has famously turned away from the first class lounge for wearing flip flops. CATHAY PACIFIC'S THE PIER: HONG KONG
\nCathay Pacific's newly refurbished The Pier is exceptionally well-equipped and only accessible to first-class passengers.
Designed by London-based Studioilse, the idea was to create a lounge that guests would feel at home in – which is why it looks like a contemporary apartment. Everything about it screams comfort, with warm wooden furniture and plush sofas, all tastefully finished in green onyx, walnut and bronze. As you might expect any good house to have, there's a dining room (that cooks a la carte dishes to order), a bar area, pantry, library and bedrooms (day suites come with beds, reading lights, and heavy curtains), along with a complementary foot massage zone. BRITISH AIRWAYS CONCORDE BAR: DUBAI
\nWhile frequent fliers who regularly fly economy class have many ways of getting into business class lounges, a small number of rooms around the world are reserved solely for those flying first. They remain the most exclusive places to reside in before taking to the air, and the newly refurbished British Airways lounge has a space all its own.
You can't simply walk into the Concorde Bar. Instead, first class passengers are handed a blank key card upon entering the lounge. The card gets them through a nondescript wooden door towards the back of the regular business class area, where the Concorde Bar awaits. The minimalist design is finished with black Nero marble and European-oak flooring, and it's decorated with artworks by Iraqi-born artist Dia Al Azzawi. Inside expect gourmet food and a fully-stocked bar. ETIHAD AIRWAYS FIRST CLASS LOUNGE & SPA: ABU DHABI
\nThe new first class lounge is Etihad's most significant attempt to woo the world's discerning travellers since it unveiled The Residence cabin onboard its A380 aircraft.
Staying true to the company's motto to 'reimagine' the flying experience, the lounge has a battalion of staff, including a maitre d', concierge, sous chef and mixologist. There are 16 different zones in the lounge, including dining area, members' club-style facility with 24-hour a la carte restaurant, cake buffet, cigar bar, barbers, nail salon, fitness room, and advanced relaxation zone. The menu is put together in collaboration with Mezlai restaurant, in Abu Dhabi's Emirates Palace hotel. The most enticing area of all is still inaccessible to most. The VIP area is reserved for dignitaries, celebrities and those flying in The Residence. It's permanently staffed by a butler trained at London's Savoy hotel, and comes with a large living area, prayer room, library and marble-clad bathroom and dining area, with an entirely bespoke menu.