It’s a world that’s far away from the eyes of ordinary travellers like you and I. Often, all the rest of us will see is a discrete sign to the VIP lounge and what’s behind the door is so secret that most of the time they don’t even have a window onto the terminal so those cossetted inside can have complete isolation and exclusivity. You may be surprised to hear it’s not completely out of reach though for the company, Priority Pass, will sell you access to the airport version of heaven for a very reasonable €99 a year and €24 a visit. You can also buy ten visits and avoid the annual fee for €249. You’ll get access to over 700 VIP lounges worldwide. But what are the best airport lounges? Here we take a look at the 10 best airport lounges
Virgin Atlantic JFK Clubhouse, JFK Airport New York - read more.
Forget what many call the ‘Austin Powers look’ to this lounge and just think about what it offers. For a start you can leave the clamour of the main terminal behind you and as soon as the electric doors whoosh closed, you’re in another world (even if it does feel like a film set. Massages, foot treatments and facials await you so you’ll look and feel your best on boarding the plane. Get your hair stylishly coiffed in the salon then settle in at your private table for an exquisite meal served by attentive waiting staff, eager to pour you another glass of champagne. Afterwards, if you want to burn off the calories, shoot some pool or score some hoops in the games area.
Lufthansa First Class Terminal, Frankfurt Airport
Very Germanic, stark and functional, this is merely a place to get away from it all. Dedicated passport control and security means you won’t have to mix with the hoi polloi until you land and, depending where that is, maybe not even then!
British Airways Concorde Room, Heathrow Airport
This is ‘shabby chic’ at its best. No fancy modern lounge here, in fact it could be a throwback to the seventies with the style of the upholstery and the teak panelling. Thought of as more of a gentleman’s club, you’ll get very attentive service from the waiting staff who seem to have a chilled champagne bottle permanently attached to their arms. Concierge service is available and they can book all manner of extra services for you around London if you’re staying, including theatre and concert tickets, dinner reservations and more. If you need a nap, try one of the cabanas with their super comfy beds and en-suite bathrooms. Sheer luxury.
Etihad Diamond First Class Lounge, Abu Dhabi Airport
Trust the Middle East to do it well with a slice of extravagance on top. With a focus on food, relaxation and comfort, Abu Dhabi allows you to leave the kids at the door as you enter- a nanny will entertain them for as long as is required. You’ll have access to the most delicious food you’ll find in any airport, often presented by the chef himself who will happily explain the recipe. The regulation (top quality) champagne is available on tap and those who appreciate a fine cigar after their meal can visit the self-contained cigar lounge with complementary brandy.
Finnair Lounge, Helsinki Airport
Surprisingly, what we think is the best lounge in the world is in one of the least likely places – Helsinki Airport. None of the extravagance here, just style and Scandinavian simplicity. It works and works well though. Pod seats that you can curl up in, sound deadening walls, sumptuous buffets, especially the renowned ‘midnight feast’ and the Finnair Spa with saunas and steam rooms mean you’ll want every flight to connect via Helsinki
Qantas First Lounge, Sydney Airport
Simplicity and a return to nature here with a huge wall of native plants that naturally clean the air as you head to the luxury pampering of the spa. Come out of that refreshed and ready for a meal prepared by Australia’s top chef before being dragged away to your plane.
Swiss Lounge, EuroAirport Basel
Surprisingly, this has been voted best VIP lounge on more than one occasion. Surprising, because it’s very simple. It’s like relaxing in the Palm House at Kew Gardens with a glass dome over you and surrounded by greenery. Food is beautiful and buffet style whilst with Swiss efficiency, the staff are helpful and attentive and you’ll leave for your flight feeling very relaxed but maybe not sure why!
Qatar Airways Al Mourjan Lounge Hamad International
The newest and the biggest VIP lounge in the world, it’s luxurious with a capital L. Enjoy fine dining, pampering, top quality champagne and wines as well as a fully equipped games room with its own F1 racing car simulator. Quiet rooms enable you to catch up on rest once you’ve tried out all the facilities - Read more here.
Singapore Airlines SilverKris Lounges, Singapore Changi Airport
One of the most attentive VIP lounge outfits, you’re met on arrival by a SilverKris representative who will take your bags and lead you to luxury. They’re on hand to help with whatever you need from business to pleasure and leisure. You can even stretch out and doze on comfortable sleeper chairs and the representative will gently wake you with a hot drink in time for your flight.
Cathay Pacific The Pier, Hong Kong Airport
Perhaps with not as many amenities as other VIP lounges, you’ll get business facilities for those last minute details as well as the world famous Haven restaurant and a noodle bar which makes its own noodles. Champagne in abundance and the sense inspired pebble showers will relax you into travelling mode.