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Last Tuesday September 8th, On the way to the land of lions and cheetahs and wine oh my, we were lucky enough to fly Virgin Atlantic Upper Class from London Heathrow using all of our remaining Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles. After a quick painless breeze through the Upper Class Wing, one of the cooler experiences on the ground from any airline, we headed to Virgin Atlantic’s flagship lounge, which was more jacuzzis and cocktails and curry than running from animals….

Unlike most lounges with clever names which are really just a few chairs and some cheap wine, the Clubhouse is a real… clubhouse. Like that of an Austin Powers styled country club the lounge offers free haircuts, massages, a jacuzzi tub, roof deck, movie theatre, deli, pool table and all sorts of other weird things you certainly wouldn’t expect in an airport. If you’re a Delta Gold elite or above, Virgin Gold or are flying Upper Class regardless of whether you used miles or paid cash you can find yourself taking advantage of all the above. Why not? It’s fun…

The Areas

An experience is what you make of it. When you enter the lounge you are just about where I am standing taking this (above) picture. Follow Laura directly down the corridor to the spa and hair section and make an appointment as soon as you get in the lounge. They book up quickly…

If you’re as clever as we are you will then find an out of the way area like this against the window for plane watching and friendly waiter service. Very tranquil. 

This (above) is the far corner of the lounge where haircuts and spa treatments go down, not to mention speedos in the jacuzzi. Enter at your own risk.

Directly across the lounge you reach the more social and romantic areas such as this lovely fake fire place. Anyone notice the movie theatre looming in the background?

Ah yes, there it is. I managed to catch a bit of the England game on the big screen. The drinks help to stomach that kind of experience…

If you take the stairs just to the left of the movie theatre you are led to the Grey Goose Loft Bar which is really just code for another quiet and beautiful space. No one ever really seems to be up here so if you have work to do it can be very nice and peaceful.

Though you can’t bring any food or drink out (at least you’re not supposed to) the deck is a very under appreciated part of the lounge which is a must for any plane spotters!

The Food

I get a kick out of a lounge with a changing and delicious menu complete with waiter/waitress service. I just love ordering and ordering only to find each dish comes back with a smile, no matter how frustrated the poor, kind waitress is.

You can’t leave London without having a curry and this is a solid one!

I don’t know if there are any proverbs about eating pork buns in London, but I certainly enjoyed having mine! 

And without having a f**king clue what it was, I ordered a “rum baba” for dessert. 

In between sending waiters scrambling I love visiting the deli area of the lounge. You can grab a selection of cold cuts, three kinds of smoked salmon and nice cold salad options. A nice alternative for those whose waists look better than mine!

The Drinks

Virgin prides itself on throwing some mixology into the mix and I was very pleased with the diversity of offerings and the incorporation of herbs and unusual ingredients into some great drinks including old staples and bartender inspired seasonal creations.

The “Italian Spy” pictured above was the only one I could remember to get a photo of! Apologies. Honeymoon, you’ll have to forgive my lack of professionalism.

The Experience

Most lounges can be quantified in a picture or two as part of a flight review. The Clubhouse simply cannot. I find the space to be a true “something for everyone” from swinging 60’s ceiling chairs, pool tables, office center, movie theatre, roof deck and of course, just a really well stocked bar with lots of champagne and cocktails. In the words of Larry David “what’s not to like”?

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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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