In the international terminals at its hubs in Sydney and Melbourne, Qantas operates what we think are two of the best lounges in the oneworld lounge network.
Oneworld emerald status provides frequent oneworld travellers with access regardless of class flown. This is a double edged sword. On the one hand, frequent travellers get to enjoy these lounges far more often than the narrow network of destinations with first class service would ordinarily allow. On the other hand, it does mean that these first lounges can get busy at times.
At the top of the escalator is the entrance door. No Sydney-like curved ‘living wall’ to pass on the way in here, but a quick check of the boarding pass at the entry desk and we were warmly welcomed into the lounge.
The staff, in comparison to some of our previous visits to the Sydney first lounge, were a lot more personable and eager to help.
At this time, we made sure to ask about available spa appointments, to ensure we would get a slot that suits.
We were swiftly shown to an office suite that we had pre-booked. These office suites, situated to the left as you enter the lounge, make for a splendid place to get a little work done or just to enjoy solitude within the confines of a busy airport. With more than enough flat surfaces to spread out paraphernalia and gadgets, we find it an excellent setting to be productive. We do wish there were more power sockets located near the desk, but this is a minor point.
Past the office suites is the spa, where we enjoyed a deep tissue massage, which helped iron out the last remaining kinks from a hectic week of work.
There’s ample seating throughout the rest of the lounge, with teak partitions (doubling up as magazine racks) to break the lounge up.
The Melbourne First Lounge, while following the same design language as its sibling in Sydney, is a much more intimate space.
The Sydney lounge awes first time visitors with its dramatic wooden arches and expansive views over the tarmac and the sweeping Sydney skyline. In contrast the Melbourne lounge is a little more restrained.
All devices plugged in to juice up, we strolled across to the other end of the lounge for a spot of lunch, while overlooking the tarmac.
The dining area is at the far end of the lounge and provides table service and an extensive menu designed by Rockpool (Neil Perry). This is one thing that doesn’t appear to have been touched throughout Qantas’ cost cutting measures.
As is the norm for us, we started off with a glass of Tattinger (although that is not the only champagne the lounge stocks, just our preference). To start with we ordered the salt and pepper squid – a lounge special.
Followed by a seasonal special of chicken stir-fry with hot bean paste and snow peas.
…and rounded it off with a buttermilk panna cotta with melon.
With a lazy lunch out of the way, we moved back to the office suite to fine-tune a presentation. We found the wi-fi internet to be speedy and were pleased that the lounge staff unobtrusively kept our champagne topped up.
This lounge is unquestionably the best in class in Melbourne and showcases the very finest that Qantas has to offer.