Not long ago, first class lounges were an extension of your office. A space for a quick business meeting or a well-appointed workstation where you could dash off those last-minute emails before you boarded a trans-Atlantic flight. Today’s finest first class lounges also double up as oases of tranquillity. Sip a champagne cocktail or recharge at a spa or make time for a quick haircut. Things you barely have the time to do once you touch down. It’s why first class travellers occasionally arrive ahead of their schedule to experience some of these luxurious airport lounges.
Cathay Pacific Pier Lounge, Hong Kong
This all-new lounge has been envisioned as a luxury apartment that truly makes weary fliers feel at home. It’s reflected in the design language and the thoughtfully planned ‘Retreat’—eight day-suites with day-beds where you can catch a short snooze or ringside views of the runway. The Pier’s other highlight is its horseshoe-shaped bar with green onyx walls. Cathay’s signature fragrance fills the air while the restrooms are kitted with Aesop toiletries.
The Private Room, Singapore Airlines lounge at T3, Changi, Singapore
This one is a throwback to a gentleman’s club in London. Leather sofas and personal valets who magically appear when you need them. The kind of luxury experience we thought we left behind in the 20th century. It’s not just the name that suggests exclusivity, this lounge is only accessible to first class fliers on Singapore Airlines (and not even for partner airlines) with its own exclusive access and exit. The menus showcase some of the region’s signature dishes.
Lufthansa First Class Terminal, Frankfurt
Asian airlines might dominate our list, but Lufthansa’s First Class lounge experience ranks among the finest. Their Cigar Lounge is truly unique while the bar has a choice of at least 130 whiskies on any given day. Michelin-starred chefs carefully plot menus, while their shower areas also feature large bath tubs, a rare luxury even in first class lounges. However, it’s the ride to your flight that is one of the lounge’s biggest draws—you’re transported straight from the lounge to the tarmac in a Porsche or Mercedes limo.
Emirates First Class Lounge, Dubai
A lounge or a concourse? Go figure. This is a mini terminal in itself and offers something other lounges can’t match—access to your aircraft straight from the lounge. No kidding. While the sheer size can be overwhelming on a quiet night or day at the lounge, the range of amenities are quite spectacular. A blissful spa and dedicated sleeping rooms where you can stretch out, vie for choice for a terrific cigar lounge or a wine bar where accomplished sommeliers help you pick from their wine list.
The Etihad First Class Lounge, Abu Dhabi
The dimly-lit reclining zone is one of the many thoughtful touches that make this one special. If that doesn’t calm your travel-weary nerves, a 15-minute complimentary massage at the Six Senses spa will bust that jet lag somewhat. Culinary options include a special Emirati tasting menu developed in collaboration with the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi that features some modern interpretations of the region’s cuisine. The lounge has an exhaustive collection of wines and whiskies.