When it comes to airport lounges, the idea of luxury is usually overrated and oversold. Almost every airport on the planet can lay claim to a ‘premium’ lounge experience, but unless it makes visitors jaws drop and have them snapping selfies and praying for a flight delay, they haven't experienced the true feeling of a VIP lounge.
These are the seven most luxurious first class airport lounges around the world.
Emirates has a number of first class lounges at Dubai Airport, but none of them are as impressive as the found on Concourse A. The biggest first class lounge on the planet can seat almost 600 people. Spread across an entire floor, first class travelers are treated to complimentary spa treatments and direct access to the aircraft’s boarding gates.
Undoubtedly, the lounge is impressive, but nothing more pleasing on the eye than the incredible restaurant beneath the giant ceiling space, which offers a wide selection of international cuisines and drinks. Day beds, including pillows and blankets mean travelers can fit in those crucial naps, whilst a ‘kids-only’ buffet keeps the little monkeys happy.
The Emirates first class lounge has impeccable service, full spa facilities, a business center, wine cellar, as well as a dedicated duty free shopping area, a children’s club, quiet areas, showers, and a private cigar lounge. In fact, one would be forgiven for arriving to the airport six hours early just to spend some here.
British Airways Concorde Rooms are the peak of elegant design design and can be found in New York’s JFK Airport, and Terminal 5 in London Heathrow. The London Heathrow lounge has recently undergone a complete transformation and is inspired by contemporary British design. The lounge’s craftsmanship with its elegant and practical lighting, cosy soft furnishings and striking tables adding to the overall wow factor of the lounge.
The real jewel in the crown comes in the form of private cabanas, featuring day beds and en suite bathrooms, giving guests privacy before a long flight and for those wanting to really unwind, free 15 minute treatments are provided by the Elemis SPA directly across from the lounge.
Private dining booths with full waiter service, wine and champagne pairings and à la carte menu delivered by Executive Head Chefs Frank Coughlin and Errol Figueroa mean that your pre flight meal will be something to savour and for those guests wanting to simply catch up on the news or some office work, a dedicated business centre, desktop computers and complimentary phone chargers await.
SWISS Air operates an impressive nine lounges inside Zurich Airport, but none are more astounding than the First Class Lounge in Terminal E. With its oak parquet floor, limestone walls and elegant furnishings by Swiss designers such as Vitra and de Sede, the lounge oozes refined exclusivity.
Guests are treated to personalised cuisine in the fine dining restaurant, or classic dishes from the American Diner. The Senator Lounge provides guests with a selection of over 120 whiskies from around the world, whilst the comprehensive bar caries over 1,000 bottles of wine and champagne. This entire experience is heightened in the summer months when one can enjoy pre flight food and drinks from the outdoor terrace space and take in the alpine views.
The First Class Lounge also features sumptuous leather sofas, suites for work and conferences, a relaxation room and a smokers lounge serving a large selection of whiskies. Two standout features really set this Lounge apart - one being the two hotel rooms with real beds, private bathrooms, and panoramic views of the Alps. The other an extensive barista bar, where guests can sample various speciality coffees and choose from over 100 Swiss grappas and fruit brandies.
Air France have certainly got the right idea when it comes to a real First Class experience. The lounge at Charles De Gaulle Airport offers guests a dedicated check in lounge, allowing one to enter the pre security waiting area, then head straight through to the stunning La Premiere Lounge. Here visitors are greeted by numerous elegant and comfortable seating areas where one can flip through complimentary magazines, newspapers and even art books, watch TV or catch up on some work.
The highlight of the lounge is the restaurant, where lucky visitors can choose from a list of wines and food menu items selected by renowned chef Alain Ducasse, and enjoy a fine dining experience with full table service. In the Biologique Recherche center, guests are invited to recharge for 30 minutes with a complimentary spa treatment, including special facials and body treatments designed to meet the needs of frequent flyers.
The entire experience is elegantly capped off once it’s time to board the aeroplane, as lounge guests are whisked away to their respective gates by a private car, ensuring a smooth and hassle free transition, allowing guests to retain their relaxed state before a long journey.
Qatar Airways call there First Class lounge at Doha Airport 'an oasis of luxury' and one would find it very difficult to disagree. Cavernous, open plan design has ensured the space is bathed in natural light, clad in sandstone and impeccable detailing, the open spaces are luxuriously decorated to inspire guests and provide a sense of tranquillity. The team behind the lounge have been clearly influenced by the renowned Museum of Islamic Art in the Megapolis Entertainment Centre in Doha.
The lounge features a 250 seater restaurant serving international and Arabic a la carte cuisine and a selection of premium drinks, all freshly prepared and made with local ingredients. The Vitality Spa with nine private rooms, jacuzzi and relaxation room offers visitors muscle treatment packages guaranteed to put one in the best possible state before a long flight.
An impressive list of features plus a full business centre, cinema room and exclusive family area complimented by Emirates world class hospitality and service all combine to offer guests an experience like no other.
Designed by Mark Newson, The Qantas First Lounge at Sydney International Airport is consistently ranked amongst the best in the world. Sculpted wooden dividers made from oak separate the lounge in Sydney into open, bay-like sections, shaped like an airplane's wing. These open frames play to the shape of the ceiling and massive sloping window wall dividing the space and adding to a sense of intimacy and privacy for visitors.
The furniture throughout the lounge – including reclining chairs, sofas, dining tables and chairs – feature a colour palette of dark red, ochre, and subdued warm tones, inspired by the Australian landscape and aiming to give an overall biophilic effect on guests. The lounge houses not only spaces for work, rest, and relaxation, but features a full spa and five star restaurant run by chef Neil Perry, who is also responsible for overseeing Qantas’ in-flight meals.
Quantas have long been renowned for an extremely high standard of dining available in their First Class Lounges and the Sydney Lounge does not disappoint. It’s not uncommon for regular lounge users to arrive hours before a flight just to sample the food offerings as the menus ebb and flow with seasonal produce and feature a number of rotating dishes along with the ‘Market Inspirations’ selections hand picked by the chefs.
The largest of all Cathay Pacific’ lounges, The Pier has been inspired and modelled around the sites, sounds and overall look of Hong Kong. Designed by Studioilse, the London-based design studio led by Ilse Crawford, Cathay Pacific’s First Class lounge, features warm, tactile and timeless materials, creating an ambience similar to that found in one’s own home. Contemporary Asian touches can be seen in the lounge’s green onyx walls, as well as the walnut and bronze screens littered throughout the lounge space.
Guests will enjoy home comforts at their own pace including the lounge’s signature Teahouse offering a huge selection of fresh leaf teas from around the globe, a Noodle Bar, and a quiet Relaxation Room. The onsite SPA facility offers visitors soothing massages and a variety of treatments designed for regular travellers and a host of additional services.
Asian and international influences are showcased in the lounge’s 100-seat restaurant with multiple rooms offering seasonal à la carte cuisine featuring classic dishes, signature noodles, and specialty desserts whilst at the well stocked Bar visitors will be treated to a fine selection of alcoholic and soft drinks as well as exquisite cocktails completely unique to the Cathay Pacific First Class Lounge.