The best airport lounges in the world

Here’s a look at the best airport lounges for you to consider next time you find yourself with time to spare at the airport.

Virgin Atlantic's New York JFK Clubhouse. Image credit: Virgin Atlantic
Virgin Atlantic’s New York JFK Clubhouse. Image credit: Virgin Atlantic

You’ve booked your journey to the airport using a reliable Blacklane airport transfer service and arrived at the airport with some time to spare before your flight. If you happen to be in one of the below airports, make your way straight to one of these luxurious lounges.

Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, New York – where guests feel welcome

Located in JFK’s Terminal 4, the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse is one of, if not the best, airport lounge in the U.S. With swanky decor and futuristic furniture, it oozes glamor and elegance. Highly skilled mixologists behind the bar and the billiard table will make you feel as though you’re in an exclusive cocktail bar. In fact, staff here have gained a reputation for spoiling their guests. Enjoy a massage, a facial, and a foot rub in the luxurious spa where Dr. Hauschka products are used, or get a haircut in the Bumble and bumble salon.

The Pier, Hong Kong – where traveling yogis can find their zen

Cathay Pacific has a remarkable seven lounges in Hong Kong International Airport and The Pier is one of the best airport lounges in the world. It recently made headlines after opening a 700 square foot area called The Sanctuary, which is divided into two parts called The Body Sanctuary and The Mind Sanctuary. The former allows visitors the space to practice their own yoga and pilates moves if they’re already well practiced or follow guided videos if they’re still amateur, while the latter provides travelers with two types of meditation. One uses audio from noise-canceling headphones and the other uses gazing meditation, where guests practice Trakata, which involves staring at a single point.

Cathay Pacific Lounge, London – enjoy a meal at a world-class restaurant

The international airline wins again, this time in London’s Heathrow airport. Renovated in 2016, this Terminal 3-based first class lounge allows its guests to help themselves to a glass of bubbly from the self-serve bar. A fully-stocked pantry provides all the snacks you need or if you’re hungrier and have more time, meals can be enjoyed in its restaurant, open all day. Just down the hall is the airline’s business class lounge, which is home to one of the airport’s best restaurants – the world-famous Noodle Bar. After indulging in some world-class cuisine, have a quick power nap in one of the comfortable chairs overlooking the tarmac. The Cathay Pacific Lounge is definitely a VIP airport lounge not to be missed.

Star Alliance Lounge, Los Angeles – an ultra-exclusive lounge

LA Star Alliance lounge. Image credit: Star Alliance
LA Star Alliance lounge. Image credit: Star Alliance

Inside the Tom Bradley International Terminal of LAX is another contender for best airport lounge in the U.S. It’s also one of the strongest contenders for most exclusive and most secure. Used by celebrities and VIP travelers from around the world, entry into the Star Alliance first class lounge must be made via an access code which unlocks a door inside the Star Alliance business class lounge. Very clever. As well as benefiting from two-in-one VIP rooms, the Star Alliance Lounge also provides one of the best views from its outdoor terrace of the airfield and Hollywood Hills in the distance.

Air France La Premiere Lounge, Paris – enjoy Michelin star cuisine

Air France La Premiere Lounge at Paris CDG T2E Halle K. Image credit: Air France
Air France La Premiere Lounge at Paris CDG T2E Halle K. Image credit: Air France

Located in Terminal 2E of the Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, the Air France La Premiere Lounge is one of the finest on earth. Guests are greeted at a special entry area and have their bags taken care of while they’re personally escorted through a priority security screening point. The sophisticated lounge has a sultry-looking bar with HD TVs showing news and sport. Semi-private work desks are available for passengers, as is a library with art books and periodicals. The standout appeal of the lounge though has to be the food and the spa. The restaurant menus are created by French cuisine legend, Alain Ducasse, so expect lobster Caesar salad and Normandy-style veal escalopes. First class passengers are entitled to a complimentary 30-minute facial or massage in the lounge’s Biologique Recherche spa, making it the perfect way to enjoy your time pre-flight.

Swiss First Lounge, Zurich – where travelers can enjoy breathtaking views

Swiss Airport First Lounge. Image request: SWISS
SWISS Airport First Lounge. Image credit: SWISS International Airlines

Zurich Airport’s SWISS First Lounge has all the qualities required to make it one of the best airport lounges in the world. It can be found in Terminal E and is home to a number of quiet areas as well as two hotel rooms for visitors to recharge their batteries and enjoy some privacy. It also has a five-star restaurant for exceptional cuisine, plus a humidor containing more than 1,000 bottles of wine, so connoisseurs will be truly spoilt for choice. The lounge includes champagne and whiskey bars if you prefer those over wine, and an American-style diner if you’d rather have a classic milkshake. As incredibly luxurious as all this is though, nothing can beat the views from its outdoor terrace. Guests can see what’s going on down on the runways, while the beautiful Alps can be admired in the background.

Qatar Airways Premium Terminal, Doha – a spacious airport lounge

In 2017, Hamad International Airport became the first airport in the Middle East to be awarded a five-star rating, so it’s only right that they would have one of the best airport lounges. The Qatar Airways Premium Terminal is a 10,000 square foot metropolis that’s completely separated from the rest of the airport. It cost 100 million USD to build and is spread out over two stories. Colored in soft hues to calm jangled nerves, there are separate dining and lounging areas. The dining area has three different buffets as well as a bar area. There are vast selections of sushi, salads, and hot dishes such as stews and curries. After an impressive meal fit for royalty, relax in a leather recliner or a massage chair. Other impressive features include a clinic, prayer rooms for men and women, PlayStations for kids (and big kids), a nursery for the little ones, and a business center for the professionals.


James Massoud

James Massoud is an experienced, London-based food and travel writer regularly contributing to luxury lifestyle magazines such as 7* Life and the Kensington & Chelsea Review.