Airport terminals are often the backdrop for hectic travel experiences riddled with crying babies, perplexed families looking for their gate and frustrated business travelers having to unpack and dismember all of their electronics while going through security checkpoints. Thankfully for the jet-set, airports in the 21st century have become keen to alleviate the struggles of travel and create beautifully-designed, chic VIP lounges. And as someone who passes a great deal of time in said lounges the world over, I say let the revamping begin. I present to you a round-up of my favorite luxury lounges.
Naturally an Australian lounge makes the cut (#AussiePride) —the Qantas First Lounge in Sydney is without a doubt my absolute favorite spot — the piece-de-resistance being of course the vertical garden by the internationally-celebrated botanist Patrick Blanc. Occasionally I feel a bit hot and bothered after being in an airport for too long — recycled air, stressed passengers — it can definitely take a toll. I always make it a point to arrive on the earlier side to just chill in the lounge and have a nosh on the sublime offerings from super star chef, Neil Perry. The lush surroundings, which feature sofas and recliners designed exclusively for the lounge by Poltrona Frau, make it all the more better for a little pre-flight zen.
Everyone knows that Doha is #trending as a destination — and for good reason. The city is positively bursting with luxe hotels, up-and-coming designers and big names leaving their mark in art and fashion. Qatar Airways has a stunner of a 108,000 square foot terminal that services business and first-class passengers only. The premium departure lounge is absolutely gorgeous — it has all the classic markings of a VIP airport hideaway (5-star cuisine, plush privacy rooms), plus a spa with a jacuzzi and sauna for a little extra pampering.
Cathay Pacific's "Wing" lounge in Hong Kong is a classic. Renovations just finished up in February 2013 with Foster + Partners and the end-result is simply stunning. The design is very clean and minimalist and the dining options are delicious. I'm partial to the cabanas in the lounge — the day beds and full baths are the perfect intimate touch for curling up with a good read during longer layovers.
So whether you're sprinting through the airport to make the next connection or leisurely strolling toward a first-class lounge for pre-flight massages and mimosas, make sure to take a look around to appreciate the newest trends in an increasingly chic avian world.