They are in every airport: exclusive lounges, often hidden behind frosted doors, reserved for access by only the airline’s most frequent or elite passengers. A veritable haven for weary travelers who want to get away from the ambiguous smells of a commercial airport terminal or the loud noises such as announcements, televisions, noisy passengers and crying children, these lounges offer elite flyers a chance to relax, unwind and enjoy snacks and beverages before embarking upon the rest of their journey.
Lounges usually offer complimentary access to flyers with frequent flyer status that is mid-level tier and above, or for passengers who are traveling on a business or first class ticket. Depending on the airline, passengers may be able to buy a membership or a day pass to the lounges. While most airport lounges certainly strive to appeal to their most exclusive passengers, some truly go the extra mile to attract and impress their most loyal flyers. Many of these lounges have been designed by famous architects or interior designers and compete to offer the most luxurious settings, trendy food and drinks and relaxed, sophisticated vibes.
Let’s take a look at the world’s best airport frequent flyer lounges; the ones that might be worth spending thousands of miles in the air each year or splurging on that first class ticket just to gain access to.
9. The Concorde Room in London’s Heathrow
The Concorde Room – a remnant of the era of supersonic travel – is still a bastion for luxury in London’s Heathrow airport. British Airways first class passengers can enjoy wine sampling and finish up their tasks for the day in luxurious work areas. The lounge also boasts private cabanas that have beds, bathrooms and full waiter service. There’s even a clothes-pressing service lest any clothing got rumpled on the flight.
8. Virgin Clubhouse in London’s Heathrow
Virgin Atlantic pulled out all of the stops for its flagship lounge. In contrast to most lounges that take on a subdued, businesslike vibe, the Virgin Clubhouse has a trendy, colorful and sleek atmosphere. It goes way beyond featuring a well-stocked cocktail bar, televisions and sleek lounge chairs. Passengers who are experiencing a bad hair day can have a hairdresser fix it up in the lounge’s exclusive Bumble & Bumble salon. There’s also a spa for flyers to enjoy a complementary facial or massage as well as tanning beds. Passengers can then top off the experience with a wide selection of food. When visitors finally have to leave to catch their flight, they can return to the terminal through a private security line.
7. Virgin Clubhouse in JFK airport, New York
Virgin Atlantic passengers across the pond do not have to miss out on all of the fun. Echoing the stylish, designer vibes of its counterpart in Heathrow, the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse in JFK also has attentive staff and features upscale dining, champagne, complementary massages and of course a hair salon. If passengers feel like being productive there are dedicated work areas, although the lounge definitely gives off a vibe that promotes more play than work.
6. Etihad Airlines Diamond Lounge in Abu Dhabi
First class passengers will feel like royalty in Etihad Airline’s lounge in Abu Dhabi. In this sophisticated area, they can enjoy luxurious amenities such as spa treatments, a champagne bar, cigar lounge and of course fine dining. Passengers traveling with children will still have the opportunity to relax because nannies watch over children in their own special area while parents unwind.
5. Finnair lounge in Helsinki
Scandinavia has long been known as a center for sleek and sophisticated design, and no airport lounge shows this off better than the Finnair lounge in Helsinki airport. With relaxed, smooth vibes, in this lounge, filled with white furniture and muted accent colors, travelers can easily forget they are even in an airport. A business area offers passengers Mac computers for work and stations to recharge devices wirelessly. To complete the Scandinavian experience, there is also a spa area with several saunas and a swimming pool.
4. Lufthansa Lounge in the First Class Terminal, Frankfurt
The Lufthansa lounge in Frankfurt’s first class terminal (yes, that’s right, there’s an entire terminal dedicated to first class passengers in this airport) offers classic design, professional vibes and personalized service from staff. Visitors can enjoy a full bar, gourmet restaurant and a cigar lounge. To complete the exclusive experience, when it’s time to board passengers are chauffeured in a luxury vehicle to their aircraft’s first class boarding door.
3. Qantas First Class Lounge in Sydney
The Qantas lounge in Sydney quite literally offers travelers a breath of fresh air, with a stunning vertical garden that brings a rare spot of green into the airport. The lounge was designed by architect Marc Newson and features large windows and wood details. There is also gourmet restaurant featuring seasonal ingredients and wine. A Payot day spa offers complementary treatments, and private work areas ensure that passengers can get work done if they are so inclined.
2. Thai Airways Royal First Lounge in Bangkok
First class passengers can enjoy a luxurious experience when transiting through the Bangkok airport when they visit this lounge. Guests can enjoy a private room and are invited to order a made-to order gourmet meal. Cocktails are also made to order. Widescreen televisions in comfortable lounges complete the experience in this airport oasis.
1. Cathay Pacific lounges in Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific has several exclusive lounges in the Hong Kong airport, several of which are split into two: one for First Class guests and another for Business Class guests. In their “The Wing” First class lounge, guests can enjoy hotel-style bathrooms and showers and have a meal at a sit-down restaurant. Business class guests can also be treated well in a separate lounge, which includes showers and a noodle, food and drink bar. Another lounge, the recently opened “The Bridge,” sets the tone upon entering with an Italian marble reception desk. Once inside, passengers can feel at home with interior spaces that mimic a cozy living room with comfortable couches and softer lighting. Several dining options including “The Bakery” offer fresh foods such as freshly baked pizza and bread. There is also an extensive bar that offers tapas. Television lounges and workspaces with computers complete the lounge’s amenities.