Cigar lounges, pool tables and a nanny service for the kids while you hit the spa: The five most exclusive airport lounges in the world revealed
With spas, saunas and even cigar rooms, the new breed of airport lounge is adding an extra element of luxury for VIP travellers.
While the rest of us browse Duty Free, wealthy passengers spend their time at the airport in the pampered comfort of private airline lounges.
As lounges up the ante to attract even more big-spending travellers, website Private Jet Charter has nominated its five top lounges for the discerning passenger – and not one of them is in the UK.
A sneak peek: The Turkish Airlines CIP lounge has a dedicated pool area as well as lush vegetation throughout
Top of the list is the unusual Turkish Airlines design at Istanbul airport. Not many lounges can boast a grand piano, pool tables, a library, super size TV screens and private sleeping rooms.
But the CIP Lounge has it all, with private relaxation rooms and showers (along with special toiletry kits) and even a ‘billiards hall’. Families are also welcome, with a dedicated playroom and private infant room so they don’t disturb other fliers.
And of course, in keeping with the Turkish airline, hot and cold mezzes are available, along with an olive bar, Turkish Pizza station and separate grilled meats and fruit stations.
Virgin Atlantic is also a strong contender for its lounge in New York’s JFK Airport, which is praised for giving the feeling of an upmarket bar in the Big Apple. The lounge has gold ceiling decorations, a giant sofa made entirely of red balls, a pool table and an extensive cocktail menu.
But those wanting privacy can escape to the person-sized cavities in the walls, which are wool-lined and given ‘intimate’ lighting so that passengers can escape to their own private space – there are even complimentary pyjamas for those who are so inclined.
If passengers want to be pampered, the in-house spa offers treatments using specialist Dr Hauschka products, while the New York hairstylist Bumble & Bumble can make sure they are suitably coiffed.
On the opposite end of the scale, Private Jet Charter nominated the minimalist Finnair Lounge in Helsinki, for its Nordic-inspired furniture from Finnish design company Marimekko.
Stylish escape: Finnair has an entirely white lounge, witch coloured lighting to set the mood and a special area for children so other passengers aren’t disturbed
All white on the night: The Nordic airline has styled its lounge n a minimalist way, but has an extensive wine list for its diners and special relaxation areas
Take a seat: Splashes of colour are added to the Finnair lounge in the form of comfortable seats, while the airline also sticks with the Nordic tradition of offering a sauna
The sleek white and chrome interior is typically Scandinavian and the wine cellar is particularly extensive. The shower suites also mean passengers can freshen up with complementary Finnish sea-buckthorn berry cosmetics – but perhaps the most Finnish addition in the lounge are the saunas, where travellers can go and relax in the warm.
As Etihad aims to cater for the big-spending customer – having launched three-room suites on its planes – the Diamond First Class Lounge at Abu Dhabi airport has all the modcons.
Its Six Senses spa offers 15-minute mini treatments and there is a dedicated Champagne bar, serving the best bubbly from France – not to mention a cigar lounge, where the best tobacco products are flown in from around the world.
Luxury retreat: The Etihad lounge in Abu Dhabi has a Champagne bar, cigar lounge and special family room for children
Check in, chill out: The spa in the Etidah lounge offers 15-minute treatments and there are various areas to relax as the children are taken care of by a nanny
There’s even a personal nanny service so that tired parents don’t need to be around their children and a playroom set up for families. And the restaurant has a special chef’s table in the centre for VIP diners. While you eat, your spare clothes can be sent off and ironed and your shoes shined in time for the next stage of your journey.
As Asia overtakes Europe for its luxury offerings, its lounges aren’t far behind. The fifth most luxurious airport lounge in the world, according to Private Jet Charter, is the KrisFlyer Gold Lounge from Singapore Airlines. Set in Singapore’s Changi Airport, the space looks out over water features and leafy vegetation and has dedicated television lounges for those who want to zone out in front of their favourite programme.