Last week on Forbes.com, we took you inside the most luxurious airport lounges — the ones that go well beyond loveseats and a snack table. Today’s tricked-out waiting spots come complete with rooftop gardens, first-rate cuisine and even spas. One of our favorites was the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse in Heathrow — owner Richard Branson knows how to woo his passengers, and that extends once you exit his company’s well-equipped planes.
The airline’s two-story, 12,000-square-foot clubhouse at London’s Heathrow feels like a modern hotel. Upper Class passengers are invited to skip the peanuts and dine in one of the velour-lined booths in The Brasserie or nosh on small bites in the more casual deli. Sip a specialty cocktail in the new Grey Goose Loft on the upper deck of the clubhouse where a mixologist will start you off with an amuse-bouche followed by a custom-made cocktail. Get a breath of fresh air—certainly rare for an airport—outside at the roof garden, or watch the sun set on the runway from the indoor observation deck.
The downstairs “poolside” lounge has a calming water wall—though not enough water to swim in—where you can relax in clear suspended bubble chairs. And there’s plenty of space to work—the lounge’s office and library have workstations and Wi-Fi Internet. Guests can make the most of their downtime at the Cowshed Spa, which offers services from men’s wet shaves to manicures, as well as haircuts by Bumble and Bumble stylists. The spa also has a sauna, circular hydro spa pool and steam room in addition to a St. Tropez tanning booth—convenient if you’re jetting off to the tropics.
Photo courtesy of Virgin Atlantic Airways