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Extravagant Airport Lounges and How to Get Into Them

TripBlog
TripBlog
Dec 11, 2019

Catalogue

  • Al Safwa Lounge, Hamad International Airport, Doha, Qatar
  • Star Alliance Lounge, Los Angeles International Airport, Los Angeles, USA
  • Lufthansa First Class Lounge, Frankfurt am Main Airport, Frankfurt, Germany
  • Qantas International First Lounge, Sydney Airport, Sydney, Australia
  • The Private Room, Changi Airport, Singapore
  • The Wing First, Hong Kong International Airport, Hong Kong
  • Getting Into Extravagant Airport Lounges
  • Show More

Air travel was once the preserve of an elite few. Images of spacious cabins staffed by elegant stewardesses ricochet around the web, periodically going viral in connection with some modern travel horror story. The most iconic photo though, the one featuring a late-1960s Pan-Am 747 with seemingly endless legroom and creature comforts? It’s a notorious fake. True, air travel was moderately more comfortable during the golden years. However, flying was expensive, available only to a select few, and painfully slow. Over time, mass-market air travel has largely democratized flying. Unfortunately, airlines have responded by cramming in ever more seats while simultaneously reducing benefits and services. There is one place though where luxury and comfort reign supreme. We are, of course, talking about those mini-palaces airlines reserve for their most exclusive customers. The fabled airport lounge. Often tucked away out of view from those of us with mere economy tickets, lounges have trended towards increased amenities as carriers seek to outdo each other in the quest for customer loyalty. So how does one gain access to these pit stops of luxury? In this article we’ll cover that and more. These are the most extravagant airport lounges and how to access them.

Perched off Saudi Arabia in the Persian Gulf, Qatar, like the other Gulf Monarchies, has spent lavishly on infrastructure and development. Flush with revenue from oil and natural gas deposits, the state-owned national air carrier Qatar Airways operates from its base at Hamad International Airport in the capital Doha. In 2015, it opened the Al Safwa Lounge, a fabulously luxurious space aimed at the airline’s first class passengers. Using design inspiration borrowed from Qatar’s new Museum of Islamic Art, Al Safwa is a grand space with soaring atriums, interior fountains, and plenty of natural lighting. Guests can enjoy delicious international and Middle Eastern cuisine prepared by skilled chefs using locally sourced ingredients. Private areas for business are available, as are a luxurious spa, family room, and media center. Getting in here is not cheap, but it’s definitely one reason to fly Qatar Airways. If you’re fortunate to have a long layover or depart out of Doha, you will want to arrive with plenty of time to enjoy all Al Safwa has to offer. Jetlagged? No problem, book one of Al Safwa’s private rooms with a twin bed. Once you’ve recovered your senses, order up a chicken kabab and lovely glass of wine. Al Safwa is full of special touches that help make it among the most extravagant airport lounges.

Located in the Tom Bradley International Terminal, the Star Alliance Lounge at LAX features stylish amenities that include an outdoor terrace with views across the airfield towards the Hollywood Hills. The lounge’s full-service bar offers guests a refreshing array of inspired cocktails, which they can enjoy while they relax, dine, or work in the spacious facilities. Shower suits are available for those who want to clean up a bit before departure. What many people don’t realize, however, is the LAX Star Alliance Lounge also features even more restricted access areas. Beyond the outer business-class lounge is a special first-class area. Passengers holding first-class tickets can access and bring along one guest. Once inside, take a rest knowing you’re part of a truly exclusive club. Grab some snacks from the well-stocked buffet and settle in before your flight. This isn’t all, however. Given this is LA, airlines know there’s decent odds a celebrity will pass through at any given time. To accommodate the desire for ultimate luxury and exclusivity, the Star Alliance Lounge boasts two ultra-hard-to-access VIP rooms. Getting in here is neigh impossible. Airlines are tight-lipped about who they designate as VIPs. Presuming you make the grade, you can boast to your friends and entourage that you rank in a truly select group and have visited one of the most extravagant airport lounges in the world.

Extravagant Airport Lounges and How to Get Into Them

Germany’s flagship air carrier naturally has a massive presence at the country’s busiest airport. In fact, Frankfurt features quite a few Lufthansa-designed lounge areas. Standing out as ones you really want to access, however, are the company’s Senator and First Class Lounges. The Senator Lounge is located off the main airport concourse and available for Lufthansa and Star Alliance passengers holding same day first class tickets. Once you enter you’re greeted with a sleek, modern design featuring white walls and large windows. Enjoy something to eat before retiring to the quiet room for some rest prior to departure. Working tables easily accommodate your laptop or tablet if you feel compelled to keep polishing that presentation or meeting plan. Or you could take in the view across the airfield from the lounge’s “comfort zones.” Passengers holding first class tickets on a Lufthansa flight have access to the company’s premiere first class lounge. Located in a dedicated building, you’re treated to a security screening and terminal experience exclusively reserved for first class passengers. Bathrooms featuring showers and a tub are available for you to freshen up. Once you’re looking your best, head over to the bar where you can sample from over 100 top-shelf whiskies and other spirits. The first class lounge will occasionally sponsor tastings so make sure to attend if you happen to be passing through. Feel free to work in one of the private office spaces or head over to the restaurant area for a delicious meal. You won’t catch random people wandering in by mistake, which helps make the Lufthansa First Class Lounge one of the most extravagant airport lounges around.

Extravagant Airport Lounges and How to Get Into Them

If you’re facing the daunting prospect of 20 hours in the air on your way from Sydney to New York City, you might as well enjoy yourself on the ground beforehand. Qantas Airlines’ International First Lounge is consistently ranked among the best airport lounges in the world. With plenty of space, classic design, delicious food, and great views, the International First Lounge is where you can stretch out, work, or just enjoy yourself before you take to the skies. Pull up a chair and order something al la carte, indulge some bottomless Champaign, then retire to the in-house spa for a massage or relaxing facial treatment. The interior spaces feature a classic marble design, giving the place a slightly renaissance look. Wood accents and furniture soften the appearance and make the seating areas more welcoming. Large floor-to-ceiling windows provide expansive views out across the tarmac and let you observe the comings and goings at Australia’s busiest airport. Private work areas equipped with desktop computers and large TV displays are there for you to keep working on that presentation or strategy document. To get in you must hold a Qantas first class ticket or first class ticket with a Oneworld partner airline. Qantas Platinum or those with higher membership status can also access the International First Lounge as can Oneworld Emerald members and Emirates Platinum Skywards members. Do yourself a favor and don’t pass up the chance to visit one of the most extravagant airport lounges.

Extravagant Airport Lounges and How to Get Into Them

Photo: Instagram@pooinie

Changi Airport is widely regarded as one of the best airports in the world. With cutting-edge visual displays, gorgeous layouts, premiere shopping, and some architectural masterpieces, Changi is basically one big lounge onto itself. Make sure you snap some pictures of the HSBC Rain Vortex in the new Jewel building. The light show there is spectacular and attracts quite the crowd. When you’re ready for a more exclusive experience, make your way to the Private Room. The special Singapore Airlines lounge located in Terminal 3 offers fine dining featuring a range of Eastern and Western cuisine, private work areas, comfortable seating, showers and private wash facilities, and views out to the tarmac. Visitors to the Private Room often note the attentive service staff, who come around regularly to make sure guests’ needs are take care of. They will refill your drinks or help direct you to the other services as you require. The Private Room’s convenient location makes it easy and fast to get from the lounge to the gate areas if you’re departing from Terminal 3. Changi is designed with long concourses so make sure to note your gate location so you can plan accordingly. Passengers holding outbound first class tickets will have access to the Private Room. Those arriving to or connecting via Singapore will have to content themselves to a separate first class lounge. As one of the most exclusive lounge areas in one of the world’s best airport, it’s no surprise the Private Room would make our list of the most extravagant airport lounges.

Extravagant Airport Lounges and How to Get Into Them

Photo: Instagram@shelley_sullivan

Hong Kong has long been a gateway into China and other parts of Asia. It is a fabulous destination that offers visitors a wealth of options. From luxury shopping and fine dining to pristine natural parks, Hong Kong remains Asia’s premier gateway city. The territory’s main air carrier Cathay Pacific enjoys a reputation for quality and service. Naturally they maintain several plush lounges at Hong Kong International Airport. Among the most exclusive is The Wing, First. Cathay’s primary first class lounge prides itself on offering passengers privacy and comfort where they can relax and unwind before their flight. Set in the south departures hall, you can take some time for yourself in one of their stylish Cabanas offering a large bath with a rain shower, a day bed, and ample connectivity options so you can keep working in private. If you’re just looking to freshen up a bit there are also several shower suits with amenities such as a concierge service that will happily press your wardrobe while you shower. Afterwards, head over for a tasty meal at The Haven restaurant. Western and Asian dishes are on offer and include a range of options made with locally sourced ingredients. Naturally an array of beverages is available for you to enjoy. To get in you will need a first class booking or a selected Marco Polo Club membership. Next time you’re flying into Hong Kong do yourself a favor and stop at The Wing, First.

Extravagant Airport Lounges and How to Get Into Them

Photo: Instagram@theflewbug

Having looked at some extravagant airport lounges around the world it’s natural to wonder how to get in. Aside from the surefire way of booking a first class ticket on a relevant airline, there are a number of other strategies you can pursue. Lounges sometimes offer annual memberships. If you regularly fly the same route, this can be an attractive option to make sure you can take advantage of what’s on offer. To help defray costs, look for periodic sales or mileage discounts. Certain airlines allow frequent flyer miles to be used when purchasing lounge services. Second, much like how airlines created alliance associations, there are lounge programs offering access to different airport facilities. Look into these as a way of getting yourself in the door even if you don’t have a relationship with a particular airline. Third, whenever possible try to upgrade your seat on international flights. Business or first class tickets on international flights almost always come with complementary lounge access. Fourth, look for credit cards that feature great deals on frequent flyer miles or offer additional perks like lounge access. Card promotions are ubiquitous and often come with sizable discounts or benefits. A fifth options is to purchase a day pass. Check to see if the lounge you’re interested in offers them and whether it makes financial sense to grab a day pass. You can also check online resale markets where you will find day passes on sale from time to time. Finally, look for alternative spots offering comfortable places to rest and relax. If you happen to be in a particularly nice airport, chances are you can find lounge alternatives well worth checking out.

Once you’ve been to a good airport lounge, you instantly recognize what a great benefit they are. Simple comforts like small snacks, drinks, and a place to enjoy a bit of quiet time make all the difference in a modern travel environment. There are, of course, those lounges that go above and beyond. Places where luxury refinement and personal service turn a decent place to relax into something truly spectacular. These exclusive establishments keep the sense of style and elegance alive. Once you’ve had a chance to visit these incredible places we know you will want to keep coming back for more. That’s why we searched around and brought you only the best. These are indeed the world’s most extravagant airport lounges.

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