When Australians plan their trips to London, Heathrow Airport doesn't tend to feature on many 'to-do' lists. Most travellers usually land and take off here, but rarely fancy hanging around for longer than necessary. But this might change thanks to the brand spanking new Qantas London Lounge.
Unveiled this week, the first-ever dedicated Qantas lounge at Heathrow is a stylish refuge from the hustle and bustle of Terminal 3, and a great place to while away the hours before your long flight home, with delicious food and drink, cosy, relaxing areas and six sleek shower suites with fluffy towels and Aurora Spa amenities.
Split over two levels, with sweeping views over the airfield, the lounge is a treat for customers on the airline's existing 'Kangaroo Route', as well as the landmark direct Perth-London flights starting on March 25, 2018.
Fully WiFi-connected, the lounge seats around 230, and follows the same concept as Qantas' other international lounges in Singapore, Hong Kong, Los Angeles and Brisbane, with the cuisine, liquid-refreshment and interior design taking 'local' inspiration.
“We have worked with leaders in design, food and service to create a lounge that is modern and comfortable and incorporates the aesthetics of the Qantas lounges that make our customers feel at home,“ said Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce, who was at Heathrow for the opening and described the lounge as “a bit of English and a bit of Australian, too“.
Designed by Woods Bagot, the interiors have been crafted to reflect London at twilight, with the furniture infused with deep blues, greens and browns. The brass and marble fittings look to evoke the historic architecture of the English capital, while the warm-hued timber floors are the kind you'd typically find Down Under.
Entering the lounge at its lower level, there's a selection of newspapers and magazines, a smart-casual dining room and a gin bar (where you can order some of the finest Australian and British gins). Scale the winding staircase and you'll arrive at a super-spacious upper level with a range of seating areas, with leather and fabric chairs, tables and sofas scattered around, a secluded printer-friendly workstation and, most strikingly, a circular marble-topped bar with a brass chandelier that could have been plucked out of a high-end hotel.
From here you can gaze out the windows, listening to the soothing background music and watching aircraft land and take off, or turn around and peruse the Australian news and weather on the flatscreen TV, as you sip your tipple of choice, perhaps a mocktail or cocktail conjured by the Qantas Rockpool Mixologists, or Australian and European wine and beer.
There's an all-day barista service that'll do you a nice flat white. Food-wise, there are hot and cold buffets that include such treats as fresh fruit, smoked salmon and cream cheese with kale and quinoa salad, and various enticing dainty cakes, plus tea, scones and jam (with tea cups and saucers by Miranda Kerr for Royal Albert).
In the dining room, you'll enjoy a la carte menus, with options including brunchy Aussie favourites like eggs, kale and avocado and zucchini and halloumi fritters alongside quintessential British goodies (think: ploughman's platters and pot pies). You can also tuck into the salt and pepper squid with green chilli sauce - a signature dish popular in other Qantas lounges around the world.
There is, it must be said, a catch to access this swanky London retreat. It's open daily, 8am-8.30pm, and available to Qantas customers travelling in First and Business and Qantas Platinum One, Platinum and Gold Qantas Frequent Flyers and their guests. Also eligible are oneworld Emerald and Sapphire customers, Emirates Skywards Platinum and Gold customers and Qantas Club members and their guests.