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Lounging Around: A review of the best airport lounges

11th June 2019

Waiting around for your flight isn’t always fun. But with these world-class airport lounges, you’ll be keen to get to the airport early.


Qantas: International First Class Lounge, Sydney

Location: Airside, Level 4, past immigration.

Open: 5am until 10pm

Designed by renowned designer Marc Newson, Qantas’s First Class Lounge in Sydney is an exclusive pre-flight haven.


Comfort & Style

Inspired by the style and glamour of the early years of aviation and the colours of the Australian landscape, this spacious Qantas lounge overlooking the tarmac boasts plenty of comfy seating areas and lots of natural light—thanks to its floor-to-ceiling windows. The first class lounge is separated into bay-like sections by sculptural wooden dividers made from European oak.


Several private bathrooms with rain showers are located inside Qantas lounge to freshen up in-between flights. To revitalise the body and mind even further, guests can take advantage of a range of complimentary massages and facials at the on-site spa, which you can pre-book online before you fly. High-speed wi-fi is available throughout the lounge, and there are plenty of AC outlets to keep devices charged for the next flight.


With Neil Perry at the helm, the Qantas lounge’s airy five-star restaurant offers a seasonal menu using fresh, local ingredients, and is simply world-class. A premium range of local and international wines, champagnes, beers and spirits are available too, as is freshly brewed coffee. Table service brings meals directly to your seat, and there are also snack and drink stations located throughout the first class lounge.


An impressive vertical garden containing over 8,000 plants that injects fresh air into the space.


Emirates: Business Class Lounge, Dubai

Location: Terminal 3, Concourse B.

Open: 24 hours.

Emirates’ lavish Business Class Lounge is lavish, refined and totally luxe.


Comfort & Style

Lots of natural light filters through this enormous, contemporary-designed lounge, containing a huge range of seating options, including day beds and private sleeping quarters. The Emirates lounge can comfortably accommodate over 1,500 guests throughout its 900 square metres.


There are numerous bathrooms and showers to freshen up, complete with towels and toiletries. International-style AC outlets are scattered throughout the space, and there’s also a charging station for your devices while you wander through Dubai airport lounge. There’s a cigar bar for dad, a user-pays day spa for mum, and a children’s playroom for the little ones and if you need to catch up on work, there’s a large business zone complete with dedicated workspaces and printing facilities is on site.


Multiple buffet counters serving a variety of gourmet canapes, hot food and healthy snacks are located throughout the Business Class lounge. There’s a dedicated ‘health hub’ stocked with a variety of fresh fruit. Guests can also indulge in a range of premium beers, wines and spirits from the tended bars, or just help themselves at the self-serve beverage counters. There is also the option to recharge on fresh, barista-brewed coffee at the Costa Coffee counter located near the main entrance.


A Moet and Chandon champagne lounge, where guests can enjoy a glass or two of Grand Vintage 2008.


Etihad: First Class Lounge & Spa, Abu Dhabi

Location: Terminal 3, just past the security checkpoint.

Open: 24 hours

Taking the pre-flight experience to a whole new level, Etihad’s First Class Lounge & Spa in Abu Dhabi is an education in luxury and simply like no other.


Comfort & Style

This spacious airport lounge, with floor-to-ceiling windows, looks out onto the runway and flaunts 16 unique zones for guest to await their flight in luxury and style – and experience akin to what you’d expect in a 5-star hotel.


As well as a dining and bar area, Etihad’s modern first class lounge and spa features a gym with treadmills, bikes and showers, as well as a relaxation room with comfy, reclining seats and dimmed lighting. There’s also a cigar lounge and play area for children. A Six Sense Spa is on site (closed only from 2.30–5.30am) to help guests relax before their flight with a range of treatments (including massages and facials), and there are also large individual shower rooms with complimentary toiletries.


Meals are prepared in-house by a team of talented chefs at the exceptional a la carte restaurant, and can be enjoyed in three main dining areas. Premium wines, excellent champagne, beers and top-shelf spirits are available at the chic feature bar. Mixologists are also on standby, ready to whip up signature cocktails for travellers awaiting their flight.


Etihad first class guests receive complimentary 15-minute treatments at the Six Sense Spa. Treatment reservations can only be made at the spa reception.



Air New Zealand: International Lounge, Auckland

Location: Airside, past Loop Duty Free and up to Level 2

Open: 4:30am until the last departure of the day

Sleek and exceedingly spacious, Air New Zealand’s flagship International Lounge in Auckland is all class.


Comfort & Style

Designed with architectural flair, this modern lounge overlooking the tarmac houses a variety of seating zones capable of accommodating up to 375 guests throughout its 2,000-square-metres of open space.


High-speed wi-fi is available throughout Air New Zealand’s recently refurbished lounge. There’s a dedicated media lounge fitted with comfy chairs and a large flat-screen TV or , for an even more relaxing waiting period, there’s a chill-out zone with mood lighting and reclining chairs in the back corner of the lounge. The lounge’s numerous showers and bathrooms are modern and clean, and there are plenty of towels and hairdryers to freshen up if you’re in transit. There’s also a business zone with ample desk space, printing facilities and inbuilt AC and USB ports.


The self-service buffet is varied and well-stocked, with a selection of healthy, fresh and tasty foods, and there is plenty of seating space to accommodate hungry travellers. At the food theatre station, resident chefs prepare freshly made hot dishes. Guests can enjoy premium beer, local wine, fresh barista-made coffee (orderable via an app) and a selection of spirits and signature cocktails behind the fully-tended bar.


A covered outdoor terrace with a fireplace that overlooks the runway.


Plan your next flight with our experienced travel advisors to discuss your travel options on first class, business and premium economy class flights. Talk to our team today.