It’s the super-secret exclusive lounge, hidden away in the depths of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane’s international airports is the new Virgin Australia Beyond lounge.
But your business or first-class ticket won’t buy you a spot. To compete with Qantas’ exclusive invite-only Chairman’s Lounge, Virgin’s VIP lounge will only be available to influential members of government, A-listers, high-ranking business leaders, business owners and loyal frequent flyers.
The airline is tight-lipped about who it will offer the invitation to, but it’s understood that those chosen by Virgin will get a 12-month membership with an option to nominate a plus-one, and memberships are reviewed every year.
Qantas will not reveal its Chairman Lounge members, but it’s understood that Prime Minister Scott Morrison is part of the super-secret club, as is Labor leader Anthony Albanese.
You’ll also find Tanya Plibersek and Linda Burney and former Labor leader Bill Shorten.
Here is what you’re find in some of the most exclusive airport lounges around the world.
Virgin Beyond Lounge, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane
Travellers follow an unmarked corridor to a set of electronic glass doors with the word Private stamped across the front. Only those with a personal card can open these doors. And once inside, the warm and woody lounge feels elegant and contemporary.
The lounge has special privacy pods with built-in charging stations. The bathrooms have private shower facilities, towel service and high-end local amenities by Appelles Apothecary Lab.
The food in the lounge is centred around Australian ingredients – a pistachio pavlova is on the menu and you’ll find an Australian cheese platter with Milawa brie.
But what are the perks if you’re part of this super secret club? Members can access a dedicated phone concierge service to assist with booking updates, four complimentary business class upgrades per year, and one complimentary Velocity Gold membership for the primary member’s executive assistant.
British Airways Concorde Room, Heathrow Airport
Adorned with chandeliers and freshly cut flowers, the British Airways Concorde Room has had a spruce up since it reopened to travellers last year.
As you walk through the plush new seating area, British Airways has given a nod to the Concorde and visitors will find the nose of the plane on the terrace.
The lounge is only available to First and Business class travellers or if you’re a Silver or Gold Member of the British Airways Executive Club.
While British Airways has removed the cabanas, they have been replaced with a new Forty Winks nap lounge equipped with special CCR pods.
The lounge has introduced a new range of cocktails designed by Mr Lyan, a world-renowned mixologist that created Dandelyan in London’s Mondrian Hotel. The new signature cocktail, the Barton, is created using Tanqueray gin, Elderflower cordial, Dandelion & Burdock bitters, soda and rosemary – an ode to classic British flavours.
The menu includes lighter offerings like ham and pea terrine or hot-smoked salmon salad. For something heavier, guests can indulge in a classic Coney Island hotdog or a mushroom and red wine pie.
Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge, Doha
The entrance to the Al Safwa Lounge almost looks like a museum. The high ceilings, intricate water features and minimalist aesthetic is calming and soothing for first and business class travellers.
The walls are adorned with modern art and the hallways lined with sculptures from local and international artists.
The dining area can accommodate 200 diners where travellers can choose from an a la carte menu. The restaurant serves Arabic dishes such as chicken machboos, a dish of chicken with rice and spices, alongside herb-crusted lamb chops.
Designed to mimic a resort experience you can make use of the shower and restroom facilities which are in their own spacious area with luxury amenities and fine linen.
At 10,000 square metres the lounge is 10 times the size of an Olympic-sized swimming pool. You can have a drink in the garden resort area or relax in one of the quiet rooms.
The lounge is also equipped with a games room and a children’s nursery.
The lounge is open to Qatar Airways First and Business Class and One World First and Business Class passengers. Travellers can also purchase lounge access.
Swiss Air First Class Lounge, Zurich
As travellers enter the double sliding doors into the Swiss Air First Class Lounge they see the wall-to-wall wine humidor, which holds 1000 bottles of wine and champagne.
And straight ahead, you’ll find the specialty champagne bar which serves vintages such as Piper-Heidsieck Cuvée Brut, Piper-Heidsieck Rosé Sauvage, Claude Baron Cuvée Saphir Brut and Claude Baron Perle Rosé Brut, R&L Le Gras Brut.
The Swiss First Class Lounge is decorated with clean pine tabletops and wall fittings and there are plenty of lounge areas which look out onto the airport’s tarmac so you can watch the planes take off.
The a la carte menu in the dining room include dishes such as beef tartare and roasted lamb chops served with chimichurri, potato spirals and artichokes. The dining room also has a special menu with specialty items from the Canton of Vaud.
But what makes the lounge so sumptuous are the day rooms inspired by the luxury lodges of St Moritz. Each come with a double bed, an ensuite bathroom and fitted with Hastens bedding ranges from $25,000 to $150,000
Emirates First Class Lounge, Dubai International Airport
It’s the first stop before stepping into your Emirates first or business class suite. Guests who fly in the pointy end of the plane will be escorted to the coveted Emirates First Class Lounge. Since the lounge has reopened, menus are available via QR codes and the staff will bring you meals like a full English breakfast, or a glass of bubbles from the impressive Moet & Chandon wall.
The lounge is equipped with shower spas that include towels, luxury toiletries and hairdryers. There is ample seating – whether guests are looking to dine in the restaurant area, or find a private nook in the Quiet Room, designed for travellers looking to catch some shut-eye.
The First Class Lounge also offers 15 minutes of free entry into the day spa and a free shoeshine service. And if you don’t wish to head down to the concourse to shop, guests can also get their duty-free shopping done.