Savvy business travelers know the importance of a high-quality airport lounge. They’re great places to rest and unwind between flights, catch a few winks or host a meeting with colleagues. There’s a lot of competition between airlines for business and first-class flyers, so the best lounges try to outdo each other with amenities including five-star dining, massages and even limo service to your flight. But where to go for the best lounge experience? I’ve been to the best business and first-class lounges worldwide. Here are my recommendations:
1. The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at London Heathrow Airport
Virgin Atlantic lives it up with everything they do, and the Clubhouse at the Heathrow Airport is no exception. The Clubhouse offers all the services you need to soothe your muscles and relax after a long cross-Atlantic flight. A highlight of the Clubhouse is its Cowshed spa which includes steam-shower rooms, a tanning booth, spa and a sauna. After your indulging yourself, why not get a facial, massage or manicure? (Wet shaves are even offered for men) After your pampering, head to the Den and Multiscreen room where you can collapse into a velvet-covered chaises-lounge or extra-deep sofa for the latest movies, sporting events and news programs on the room’s multiple gigantic screens. But after the massage and sauna, I cannot guarantee that you’ll be able to pull yourself out of that extra-deep sofa!
2. The Cathay Pacific Pier at the Hong Kong International Airport
Cathay Pacific went out of its way in its Pier lounge to provide for personal comforts. The Pier’s private Day-Break Rooms include showers, wake-up calls and waiter service with food and drinks. Or you can sink into each room’s Balzac armchair and flip on the TV. To catch up on your work, head to the Personal Living Spaces. They feature spacious work areas with wired PCs or high-speed wireless Internet connections for your laptop. Hungry? The Pier includes a wide variety of dining options, including the Haven for fancy dining; the Short Bar, which includes a full selection of beverages; the Long Bar which features widescreen TVs and the Noodle Bar, with many hot items on the menu. The Pier also features a juice bar and coffee bar.
3.The Air France l’Espace Premiere lounge at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport
The l’Espace lounge was designed with typical French design flair and service. The lounge’s décor matches Air France’s l’Espace first-class cabins and features plush red carpets and oversized leather armchairs. Travelers are treated to a private, dedicated check-in area in the lounge. While waiting for your flight, you can dine on meals from some of France’s top chefs and sample a wide selection of wines and champagne from premiere French wineries. Then treat yourself to a full-body massage or visit the relaxation area with its reclining chaise lounges, Internet access and showers. The French service continues onto your flight. At departure time a dedicated agent will accompany you to your boarding gate. Then board a private Mercedes sedan for a short drive to your plane.
4. Lufthansa First Class Lounge in Frankfurt Airport
If you’re a Lufthansa first-class passengers or HON Circle Member, stop by one of the airline’s four lounges in Frankfurt. They offer everything for busy travelers to keep going while on the road. One you land in Frankfurt from an international flight, you’ll be picked up by the Lufthansa First Class Bus. If you’re arriving on a continental flight, you’ll be brought by limousine or people carrier. To keep you working, the lounge’s private Office Units each include a telephone, PC, laptop connections and stationery. In the Service Centre, printers, photocopiers and fax machines are all available, and the entire lounge includes high-speed wireless connectivity.
To relax, the lounge includes multiple televisions as well as a wide selection of newspapers and magazines. If you want to close your eyes during your layover between flights, head to the private bedrooms to stretch out on their inviting day beds, or step into the showers and bath tubs. The rooms are decorated with white marble contrasts and dark natural stone. And of course don’t forget your massage or beauty treatment, or an hour in one of the lounge’s two Jacuzzis. The Cigar Lounge also offers a perfect place to have a drink or relax and the lounge’s main bar is amply stocked, including 75 types of whiskey.
5. British Airways Concorde Room at London Heathrow Airport
The Concorde Room is the master of British efficiency and travel. It offers a wide range of amenities in a classy style. The lounge’s bar includes floor-to-ceiling glass walls which offer gorgeous views of the airport and planes, a throwback to the early days of aviation when airports were tourist destinations in and of themselves and not mere transit points. Throughout the day the restaurant offers delicious meals with a variety of European styles. The lounge’s private cabana rooms include beds and luxury amenities. The adjacent Elemis travel spa features massage and health services. Staff in the lounge’s large concierge desk will help you with your travel plans, doing everything from booking theatre tickets, calling a cab or changing flight reservations (if you’re enjoying the lounge so much and want to stay longer).
6. Qantas Club Lounge at Sydney International Airport
Qantas has won design awards for its Club Lounge in Sydney, and it’s no surprise. The lounge is beautiful and is stylishly designed to meet your desires with a variety of amenities. If you need to meet clients or co-workers on the road, why not stop by one of the lounge’s Meeting Rooms? They’re open during business hours during the week and on weekends by request. The rooms are full equipped for meetings and include technology systems and catering services. Discounted rates are available for Qantas Club Members or frequent flyers. In the lounge a complimentary bar service operates around the clock, and snacks and self-serve hot coffee, tea and juices are always available. And to stay current, the lounges include the latest newspapers and fashion magazines as well as several TVs in dedicated viewing areas. There are also luxury bath facilities.