The best kept secret in hospitality has well and truly broken free from the cute mini shampoo vial.
While hotel club lounges may have been traditionally created for busy executives and business travellers, discerning leisure travellers are taking advantage of the exclusive benefits that this premium realm provides. The lounge concept delivers a superior hotel experience with all the trimmings, perfect for travellers who want to celebrate a special occasion in style, visit the theatre or simply shop and sight-see in the city.
Rebecca Freestun is the Communications Manager of Accor Australia and New Zealand.
“Since we launched our first club lounges with our luxury Sofitel brand back in 2006, we’ve always had huge interest from the leisure market as well. Accor’s newest five-star hotel brand and proponent of the club lounge concept Pullman now has some of Australia’s most popular club lounge facilities on site, and in fact they are designed to cater equally to both markets in support of Pullman’s ‘bleisure’ (business and leisure) positioning,” said Rebecca.
Through the week Sofitel and Pullman’s club lounges attract corporate clients who are seasoned travellers and appreciate the extra service and complimentary features, however most noticeably on Friday nights and weekends other holidaymakers who want a little extra magic during their stay enjoy the club lounge.
"These hotels offer versatile luxury lounge concepts designed to create a ‘hotel within a hotel’ experience for those looking for a more personalised, luxury encounter. For leisure travellers it represents a VIP lounge of sorts. It’s a sanctuary that reflects the modern travellers work/life balance, offering club guests the freedom and privacy to relax, work, dine and entertain on their own terms,” said Rebecca.
The club lounge is usually situated on the same level as the superior accommodation options, which is known as the club floor. The convenience helps maintain a level of privacy desired by many patrons. Colleagues and friends of club guests can access the lounge for an additional fee.
When taking advantage of an Accor club lounge with Sofitel and Pullman, guests have access to a contemporary space in which they can enjoy a private hot breakfast, all-day snacks and refreshments, make use of the modern business facilities or simply relax with cocktails and canapés. The exclusive atmosphere is conducive to intimate get togethers and pre-dinner drinks, or to simply relax at the end of a busy day. Most also serve complimentary champagne or sparkling wine and cocktails. Hors d’oeuvres are served each day from 5.30pm to 7.30pm.
Facilities may also extend to state-of-the-art workstations, wireless internet, audio-visual technology, meeting facilities, a 'quiet room' and a recreation room with the latest plasma televisions, DVD movies and entertainment options and bathrooms for guests to shower and refresh.
At the Club Sofitel lounge, guests have access to a dedicated Club Sofitel concierge who can arrange anything from theatre tickets to taxis. This is an express service that allows guests to bypass hotel reception and check-in and out directly at the club. It's a VIP perk that makes holiday-makers feel special.
Apart from their terrific range of accommodation brands, Accor have been carving out a niche in the travel lounge arena. The French-based property group this year announced that it had taken over the operations for the majority of Qantas Domestic Lounges, bringing the group’s hospitality expertise to further enhance the customer experience. Having successfully managed Qantas’ First/Business Lounges in Sydney and Melbourne airports for over five years, Accor will now also oversee the domestic lounges in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra and Perth.
In making the announcement, Simon McGrath, Accor’s Chief Operating Officer Australia and New Zealand said, "Both Qantas and Accor put the customer first in their operations and we are proud to introduce Qantas flyers to the Pullman standards of hospitality which will see greater personalisation of services, enhanced dining experiences and the warmest welcome in the industry."
Alexi Vrontamitis, Regional General Manager Qantas International Lounges, added that, “This partnership brings Accor’s extensive knowledge and expertise to the domestic lounge product for Qantas and means we can bring Accor’s national reach and resources to the forefront to enhance the customer experience.”