Ultra Lounges

New JFK ClubhouseRevealing the most luxurious First Class lounges around the world, whether for sheer size, wellness or even the most luxurious boarding experience.

First Class airline lounges increasingly share the same characteristics to really pamper their passengers – bountiful buffet spreads, complimentary spa treatments, shower facilities, private nooks and crannies for travellers to get some shut-eye. We travel around the world to find the truly outstandingly luxurious airport lounges.

Best for Wellness

2014-06-30_143737Our vote for the most indulgent has to be Virgin Atlantic JFK Clubhouse in New York. While other airport lounge spas typically feature a menu of 15min complimentary treatments, this spa offers the widest variety of hairstyling and beauty services as well as longer, 30min massages. The Clubhouse Spa is the first outside of London and it teams up with iconic New York hairstylist Bumble & Bumble and skincare specialist Dr. Hauschka. Female travellers will love the 30min Bumble & Bumble treatment consisting of a shampoo, nourishing hair treatment, head massage and conditioner that will help counter the stresses of flying. Other treatments include a 30min back, neck and shoulder treatment (US$40), and Dr. Hauschka Revive You treatment (US$35 for 30min) that promises to make skin radiant in spite of the airplane’s drying conditions.
Exemplary Service: Aside from their revitalising treatments, the Clubhouse also offers passengers a veritable feast, including the Clubhouse British breakfast, seared salmon, an exhaustive list of wines, cocktails and champagne and a trove of desserts like artisan cheeses and chocolate mousse cake. Travellers wishing to seek some shut-eye before their next flight can retreat to the person-sized round cavities created in the walls and lined with wool.
Most Notably: The airline has won the British Travel Awards in 2010 for the Best Scheduled Airline – Long Haul, Best Airline of the Year and Best Business/First Class. It has celebrated significant milestones with celebrities like Dita Von Teese, Alexandra Burke and Keith Lemon.

Best Concierge Service

2014-06-30_143815British Airways has taken stellar concierge service one step further as evidenced by its collaboration with Quintessentially Lifestyle. This service is available to all First Class passengers on the airline for a two-week trial. With this, it’s possible to not only reserve a private Cabana room equipped with daybed, television, desk and phone, but also to get reservations at the best restaurants at your destination, as well as any essential information you need. All this can be arranged smoothly and efficiently while you’re lounging in the super luxurious Concorde Room at Heathrow’s Terminal Five.
Exemplary Service: The Concorde Room contains a separate private dining area where travellers can avail of on-demand waiter service to enjoy a wide selection of refreshments and meals throughout the day. A bar, replete with Swarovski crystal chandeliers, stocks wines and spirits from all around the world, specially selected by the airline’s dedicated wine buyer. If not pressed for time, a cheese and wine tasting can even be arranged. Combat the dehydrating effects of flying with Elemis Travel Spas’ treatments, including a Customised Flying Facial, the Royal Rose or the King of Facials.
Most Notably: The airport lounge was awarded the title of the World’s Leading Airline Lounge –First Class in the 2011 World Travel Awards. Its airline has teamed up with several celebrities including Jerry Hall, Sir Mick Jagger, Rufus Wainwright and Kristin Davis.

Most Luxurious Boarding Experience

2014-06-30_143855What sets Air France apart from the other airlines offering a similar experience, that of a chauffeured ride onto the tarmac and right to the plane, is the level of thoughtful, personal service that begins once you arrive at the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. It offers travellers one of the most blissful boarding experiences, where instead of clamouring with other passengers at the boarding lounges, one can blissfully ride to the aircraft in a prestigious vehicle chauffeured by the airline’s partners – either a BMW, Citroën or Peugeot – and accompanied by the La Première staff. Once you’ve entered the plane, introductions to the crew will be personally made.
Exemplary Service: Aside from the stylish arrival to the airplane, you’ll be escorted from Terminal 2E to the check-in lounge by an attendant who will also be taking care of your baggage. A La Première staff will check you in and personally accompany you to the lounge via the dedicated security check lanes. The cuisine, wine and cocktail menu have been specially devised for the discerning traveller. If you have the luxury of time, recharge with a range of facials, body treatments and massages that are targeted specifically for travellers.
Most Notably: Famed restaurateur Alain Ducasse selected the wines and created the menu at this First Class lounge.

Best for Filling Up

2014-06-30_143927First Class passengers might be confused upon reaching the fourth floor of the Dubai International Airport after checking in – it seems the airport lounge is nowhere in sight. Rather, the entire floor is the Emirates Airlines  First Class Lounge, which is as large as six Airbus A380s, for a total of about 12,428sq ft and it includes duty free shops and the departure gate area. Each of the gates has plush leather chairs to sink into, with 42in televisions and a buffet at each gate. Purchase some of the best vintages and limited release wines at the Le Clos wine cellar, and if you need assistance, the world-class sommeliers will be more than happy to make some recommendations. An even more extensive buffet awaits at the ‘fine dining’ area, as well as an à la carte menu that features dishes like a fresh figs and green apple salad, a tranche of salmon, vegetable makhanwala and an array of desserts.
Exemplary Service: The buffet tables at each gate are well stocked with drinks like Moët and Chandon champagne and a wide spread of dishes. Emirates prides itself on its return chauffeur service for First Class passengers travelling to anywhere in the United Arab Emirates. Guests can also rest in the dedicated relaxation rooms with chaise lounges, blankets and pillows or freshen up in the spacious shower spas.
Most Notably: The airline has won the coveted title of the 2013 World’s Leading Airline Lounge – First Class in the World Travel Awards. Celebrity passengers include Kings of Leon.

Best for Layovers

2014-06-30_144011Lufthansa First Class Terminal at Frankfurt International Airport wins the accolade of having the largest First Class lounge space, a title it seized with 13,000sq ft of space, just 500 plus sq ft more than Emirates Airlines’ lounge in Dubai. The experience starts upon arriving at the terminal, where bags are taken by porters and First Class passengers are swiftly checked in together with a personal assistant. Here the lounges feature their own individual quiet rooms with daybeds for napping, adequate to get a good night’s sleep before their flight. The staff will also personally ensure that the sleeping passengers are awakened in time for their flight. Shower and tubs are available for travellers to freshen up and even include a cute signature amenity – Lufthansa’s rubber duckies.
Exemplary Service: The food in this lounge will be served by Vienna’s DO & CO, which is renowned for catering for Formula 1 races. As is a norm with most lounges in this list, guests can also avail of the in-lounge spa, which uses products from Babor. What’s more interesting is the inclusion of not one but two Jacuzzis. Nintendo Wii game systems are also available for gaming aficionados, making the entire layover experience painless, and even enjoyable.
Most Notably: Lufthansa Airlines won the World Travel Awards’ 2013 Europe’s Leading Airline and the Best Airline in Western Europe at the 2012 World Airline Awards.

Coolest Airport Amenities

Delta Airlines’ SkyTeam lounge in London’s Heathrow Airport features an oxygen bar and a vertical garden while the Turkish Airlines’Departure Lounge at Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport has a cinema, billiards room and a golf simulator. All Nippon Airways’ First Class Lounge at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport has a darker room tucked away in a corner of the lounge, filled with widescreen TVs and club seating to broadcast major sporting events.