When you are a business traveller, the airport is akin to second home. Get a sneak peek into the best-kept secrets of eight lavish terminal lounges around the world. By Riaan Jacob George
One of the biggest Business Class lounges in the industry, Emirates’ transit lounge at Dubai International Airport takes up the entire upper level of the departure concourse. While I do love the convenience of boarding the A380 aircraft directly from the lounge without having to walk through the terminal, Emirates pampers its passengers too. The exclusive Moët & Chandon bar takes care of your premium champers before boarding the flight. Alternatively, you can head to the Costa Coffee pop-up counter to grab a freshly brewed cappuccino and muffin to go.
If you are one of the lucky, or wealthy few to travel in Etihad’s The Residence, complete with a living room, bedroom and private bathroom, you can enjoy your own private lounge at the airport. This lounge is reserved for Residence passengers and comes with a Savoy-trained butler, Poltrona Frau upholstered furniture, private shower suites stocked with Acqua di Parma products, and the services of a flight concierge. The design aligns with Etihad’s vision of recreating a private club or yacht in the air.
In keeping with Hong Kong’s tea culture, Cathay’s chic The Pier, Business, features a separate Teahouse, where you can sample seasonal and artisanal tea varieties while you wait for your flight. The Teahouse is manned by specialists, who lay out an interactive menu and lets you taste some of the infusions on offer. The focus remains on high-end Chinese teas, sourced from artisanal producers. In addition to the green, black and white varieties, there is an entire menu of tisanes, honey, and spice infusions.
Passengers who opt for Singapore Airlines’ extravagant A380 Suites, replete with swivel armchairs and double beds, deserve the best in transit hospitality. Possibly the most “hidden away” space at Singapore’s Changi Airport is Singapore Airlines’ aptly named Private Room. Simply because the lounge, reserved for Suites passengers, is located inside the First Class lounge. It features private cabins for work and rest, besides showers and fine-dining menus.
When in Paris, make a quick dash to the Clarins Spa within the chic Air France Business Class Lounge at Terminal 2E. As you approach the spa, you find tablets where you can book yourself an appointment slot for a massage, facial, or a complimentary 15-minute treatment.You are expected to show up five minutes before your scheduled appointment and ushered into the treatment room. Therapists are quick to recommend treatments for skin that is fatigued by travel or a jetlag-curing massage.
Enjoy the last few months of this stellar lounge before Turkish Airlines shifts its base to Istanbul’s brand new airport. In case you’re only transiting through Istanbul and lamenting missing out on its unique culture, the CIP lounge gives you a taste of the city’s street food. In addition to the live counters, there are street-food carts that are wheeled through the lounge, dispensing things like the simit bread and Turkish delights. There’s even a separate trolley of cheese and a dedicated cart of freshly brewed Turkish coffee.
One of Zurich Airport’s best kept secrets, albeit reserved for the airline’s arriving Business Class passengers, the arrivals lounge comes into view after baggage claim, just outside the entrance of the railway station. The lounge offers food and drinks, as well as shower facilities. Hang your clothes in one of the “pressing cabins”, and come back later to find them ironed for free. When you’re ready to take the train, step out of the lounge and into the station.
Many frequent flyers prefer the small size of Dubai airport’s Terminal 2, since it is relatively less crowded. Business Class travellers of flydubai can enjoy the quiet comfort of their lounge tucked away in a corner. The best part, however, is the separate pre-boarding area, where you can help yourself to a drink or snacks right at the gate.