a bedroom with a bed and a window

Now let me start by saying this: I’ve slept in airports before. To be abundantly clear, none of my previous overnight airport stays included: a bedroom,a  butler, champagne, warm cookies, spa treatments, multi course dining, smoked salmon or robes. It’s good to get bad news out of the way, so I will get that out early  as well.  You’ll have to walk across the lounge full of business people, to reach the bathroom. Some could call that a downside, but for those who’ve made a living off of nonconformist behavior, there’s nothing like walking past a bunch of people in suits, wearing slippers and a bathrobe – as if you own the place.

a bed with white sheets and gold lampsOwn The Place

That’s a great way to start. For one week, Virgin trialled a bedroom in their London Heathrow Clubhouse lounge in partnership with swanky Airbnb competitor Onefinestay. For those lucky enough to win a (*free*) night – the stay included everything. Yes – there was a multi course dinner. Yes, cocktails too. Yes, I had a haircut and a massage. But that was all semi irrelevant (evil laughter) for the frequent traveler. The wildest thing about the experience was spending the night in a business class lounge meant for hundreds – without a soul to be found. And Virgin was cool enough to give us a heads up, so we alerted our readers (who did stay!).

a couple of women wearing red uniforms holding drinksGhost Town

Ok fact check – there was another soul to accompany Laura and I that evening. Our “butler” Chloe, who could not have been lovelier. The bedroom, situated in the far corner of the Virgin Clubhouse opened up directly to the entire lounge. After everyone fizzled out, we went on the loudspeaker to make (crude) announcements, we walked around the bar, poured drinks, tried every single seat. It was comically blissful. Chloe was there the entire time to ensure we didn’t rob the place had everything we needed at all times.

a bedroom with a bed and a windowAirside Departure

After an all too brief sleep (hello, cookies and champagne) we awoke airside. Sadly we only had an office to return to, but if you were flying that day, you would’ve already been through security and only a minutes walk from your boarding gate. Of course during the wait, you’d be able to sample the full privileges of the lounge. Who doesn’t love a champagne breakfast? I must confess, I also ate at least 2 LB of salmon. But Branson has an island, so call it even?

Future Plans?

If you haven’t already seen our Facebook live, I highly recommend watching skipping through it. You’ll get the full Virgin Clubhouse experience, and an insight into exactly what was going on, in far better ways than words can describe. Our takeaway here is hope for the future. I’d be hard pressed to imagine that thousands of passengers, regardless of cabin class would love to spend a night airside ready for departure. It would be incredibly cool to see an offer such as this one rolled out for connecting passengers faced with an overnight or significant wait time. For now, just watch.

What do you think of this overnight airside concept?

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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