Americans almost can’t help but think of ourselves at the center of the universe, privy to the best of the best. But a new report from Hipmunk on the best airport lounges across the world doesn’t even see an American entry in the top 20. Instead, Asian, Middle Eastern, and above all, British airports dominate the luxe lounge list. Here’s a quick look at the top 10:
Qantas First Class Lounge, Sydney | The top ranked airport lounge in the world has more amenities and features than anyone could possibly take advantage of during a single layover. Standard staples like coffee & tea service, an open bar and plenty of local periodicals are accessible to loungers, along with a spa, private restaurant, showers, a suite of offices outfitted with Apple computers and products, and a 24/7 barista. On second thought, why just stay for a layover when you can move on in?
Malaysia Airlines Business Class Golden, London Heathrow | Sure, guests can graze on the continental breakfast selection spread out before them, but they’d be wise to instead indulge on made-to-order pancakes, Paratha breads, kaya or eggs — then freshen up in one of the lounge’s luxe private bathrooms, complete with glass shower and bidet. Those who still have some time to kill before catching their flight can plunk down for a spell in a leather massage chair and drift away.
Thai Airways Royal First Class, Bangkok Suvarnabhumi | Thai Airways Royal lounge has features so far outside of our realm of experience that we don’t even know what they mean. VIP rooms, “private corners”, slumber rooms, and shower suites make this lounge No. 3 in the world.
Qatar Airways Premium, London Heathrow | Qatar promises that its best-ranked lounge is more of a boutique hotel or private club. A palm-tree-lined welcome area, soothing Arabian fountains, and discreet team of iPad-clad assistants definitely make the place feel lightyears beyond the usual mini-muffin basket and magazine rack. Guests can hand select ingredients at the delicatessen area for chefs to prepare a meal suited perfectly for their individual tastes.
Oman Air Business Class, Muscat Seeb | Just walking in will score travelers a complimentary massage in the lounge’s spa area. We’d recommend ditching the kids in play room (there’s a library of PSP games, so they’ll be fine for hours), rinsing off in the private showers, and then hopping aboard the massage table. We all know we’re supposed to drink plenty of water after a massage, but a glass or two of champagne from the lounge’s fully stocked bar won’t hurt, will it?
Qatar Airways “al Mourjan” Business Class, Doha | No expense was spared in the construction of this sprawling spa-like lounge. “The world’s most exclusive marbles, designer furniture and intricate embellishments” adorn the space, designed to incorporate plenty of sunlight, water and nature. Four unique dining experiences make up the second floor; a continental or oriental brasserie, a delicatessen and a patisserie.
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, London Heathrow | Hardly an afterthought, the bar at Virgin’s highest-ranked lounge functions as the central hub of the entire space, serving up both classic and creative cocktails. Vintage arcade games, pool tables and a big-screen television round out the clubhouse’s den. And, of course, classic English tea service is executed perfectly for those in need of a soothing sipper.
Icelandair Saga Business Class, Keflavik | Iceland’s culture and natural wonder are reflected in the design of this space, and the demeanor of those tasked with operating it. A basalt fireplace and famed photographer Sigurgeir Sigurjónsson’s shots of Icelandic waterfalls (and citizens!) give the space a feel distinctly its own when compared to the rest of the contenders here.
British Airways First Class Concorde Room, London Heathrow | Guests enter the lounge through “the millionaire’s door,” which pretty much says it all right there. A central bar area is the hub from which most of the service occurs, but the real killer feature in the Concorde Room is the “outside” terrace. Natural light and ambient airplane sound pours in through the terrace’s glass walls, allowing travelers to gently take in some last-minute rays before climbing aboard their flight.
Qantas Business Class, Hong Kong | Qantas clocks another lounge onto the top-ten list with its shared first- and business-class lounge in Hong Kong. The most massive lounge on this list, the enormous open-air space overlooks the airport’s various boarding gates below. Help yourself to entire bottles of wine, or ask a server to fetch a cocktail for you. Freshen up in a private shower suite, or feed the beast within at the lounge’s impressively sprawling gourmet buffet. Again, this lounge is enormous, so consider pushing back that second flight to have time to explore the whole space.
Correct, Qantas First in Sydney (and Melb) is outstanding however Cathay Pacific, The Pier (First) in HK and Singapore Airlines, The Private Room for First Suites passengers leave most of the recommendations above for dead.