Let’s get one thing straight from the get go: the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse Lounge at London Heathrow is a business class lounge, not a first class lounge. If however it feels a lot more like one of the worlds best first class lounges than any other business class lounge you’ve ever been in, let alone imagined, you’d hardly be alone in your thoughts.
Years on, the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at London Heathrow Terminal 3 is still as fun, playful and downright sophisticated as ever, so here’s what it’s like to enjoy the space in 2020…
It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve made the walk. As soon as you’ve scanned your upper class boarding pass, Delta Platinum or above, or Virgin Gold frequent flyer card, the first view of the lounge is stunning. “Upper Class” Purple hues, mood lighting and a long cocktail bar are the first sights, and the question becomes “where to?”.
If you’re none of the things above, you can still gain entry to the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse via the Virgin Atlantic Rewards Credit Card, which offers Clubhouse passes as a potential perk. If you know anyone who has Gold with Virgin Atlantic, you can also ask if they have any extra buddy passes laying around!
The middle floor area of the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse airport lounge is always a solid choice, with close proximity to the bar and quick service, not to mention well placed power ports.
But this massive lounge has too many fun nooks and crannies to just plonk down and “chill”. Through the smoked glass directly behind the cocktail bar are fun, more private areas with tarmac views. It’s totally ok to sit on the hanging, swinging chair, with views over the tarmac
One thing that’s impossible not to love: full on waiter service in the Virgin Clubhouse, everywhere you sit. Yes, Virgin offers waiter service in their business class lounge.
It doesn’t matter where you are or what you want – you can always have it at your seat. It’s amazing to still be able to enjoy a full meal or afternoon tea from any vantage point.
On that note, the classic afternoon tea from Eric Lanlard is well worth the indulgence if you happen to be in the lounge between 3:00-5:30PM. Some people apparently time their Virgin Atlantic flights around it, not that anyone can blame them.
Come to the Virgin Clubhouse hungry, very hungry. The Clubhouse is one of the few business class lounges, or airport lounges in general where you really can eat your weight in quality airport meals.
What’s on offer foodwise, in the Virgin Clubhouse? There’s decadent Indian curries, a dedicated salad bar with smoked salmon and other treats, healthy hot meals and British classics. And yes, there’s still Lanson Rose and Brut as well as all the other goodies…
If facing the bar, the further left in the Virgin LHR T3 lounge you go, the fewer people you find. There’s a kids area off in the corner, but it’s totally quiet and if you’re looking to zone out or be productive, this couch and work station filled area is probably your best bet. If you’re feeling more festive, the bar, areas to the right or the center of it all are hard to pass up.
There are two things, other than all the other fun things, which make the Clubhouse more fun and novel than most airport lounges. The first: spa treatments.
The second: haircuts. Both are free, via most methods of lounge access. Unlike many airport spas, this spa almost always has appointments available and the masseuses are great.
Whether you’re on your way home via a Virgin Atlantic flight, or headed for brand new territory, it’s always nice to feel sharp before you jet off and the Bumble & Bumble hair facilities are brilliant. I’ve gotten a touch up on numerous occasions and if nothing else, it’s just a great way to pass time.
Virgin plays the boutique card to the max, and they play it well. The airline has partnered with top local cocktail bars in each city it operates a Clubhouse to bring exclusive cocktails from the worlds top mixologists.
With the close of London’s Dandelyan Bar, the Virgin Heathrow Clubhouse will soon launch a new cocktail partnership. For now, the Laverstoke Old Fashioned, made with Gin and burnt honey, or the Pinnacle Point Fizz made with Patron tequila, blue corn, sloe, ginger and pineapple are must try cocktails in the Virgin Clubhouse.
While they last, of course…
As airlines and partnerships expand, it’s nice when some things don’t change. Virgin Atlantic still calls the departure of each flight, so you can actually sit back and relax.
The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at Heathrow lounge coordinates with the gate staff to time things so that if you depart when called, there shouldn’t be any lines to wait in. Of course, if you want to stand around the gate looking impatient and waiting to be first aboard, you could do that, but relaxing in the Virgin Atlantic Heathrow Clubhouse is so much better.