Lonely Planet Writer

Take a peek inside the coolest new airport lounges in the world

There’s been a wave of openings of wholly renovated airport lounges in London, Los Angeles, and Santiago. These lounges are mostly reserved for elite fliers, but here’s a sneak peek for everyone:

Qantas giant Italian marble bar at the new lounge at LAX.
Qantas giant Italian marble bar at the new lounge at LAX. Image courtesy of Qantas

In early May, Qantas debuted its new lounge at Los Angeles International in the Tom Bradley Terminal that’s exclusively for first-class passengers. The 17,500-square- foot space is triple the size of what came before (and you can take a virtual tour of it via Google Maps).

The First Class lounge at Qantas, LAX.
The First Class lounge at Qantas, LAX. Image courtesy of Qantas

While there are seven showers for washing up and plenty of desks for getting work done, there are also countless Knoll leather couches and velvet “womb chairs” for relaxing. Guests can also unwind at a bar made of a 48-foot stretch of Italian marble.

The entrance to the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at LAX.
The entrance to the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at LAX. Image courtesy of Virgin Atlantic

In late April, Virgin Atlantic opened its Clubhouse lounge at Los Angeles (LAX) International Airport’s Terminal 2. The Clubhouse’s design aims to capture the vibe of the City of Angels, with décor in shades of copper and sunshiny gold.

The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at LAX.
The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at LAX. Image courtesy of Virgin Atlantic

At the kitchen, expect to find healthy smoothies and freshly made salads, which you can enjoy on a surfboard-inspired counter that offers views of the Hollywood Hills. Many of the chairs are by the designers Ray and Charles Eames, Walter Knoll, Arne Jacobsen, and they have been lined up in a pattern to suggest the rolling dunes and hills of the regional landscape. Visitors to the 4000-square-foot space will find also artworks by artists such as Diana Reichenbach and Vic Lee.

Singapore Airlines new luxury lounge at Heathrow Terminal 2.
Singapore Airlines new luxury lounge at Heathrow Terminal 2. Image courtesy of Singapore Airlines

And also last month, Singapore Airlines opened its new lounge at London Heathrow’s Terminal 2 with design touches meant to evoke a modern Singaporean home. In the foyer, there’s a large, batik design screen. There’s the usual dining and bar areas, only they are enhanced with signature Singaporean dishes on the menu and with Asian-themed artwork hanging nearby. You can also watch planes taxiing outside large plate-glass windows will resting in unusually tall high-back chairs.

Singapore Airlines SilverKris Lounge at Heathrow Terminal 2.
Singapore Airlines SilverKris Lounge at Heathrow Terminal 2. Image courtesy of Singapore Airlines

As you would expect, the lounge has plenty of “productivity pods”, or tastefully decorated privacy screens that enable guests to recline or work in peace. Besides London, this SilverKris design already in airports in Sydney and Hong Kong, and it will be added to airports in Manila, Brisbane, and Bangkok.

Santiago's luxury airport lounge.
Santiago’s luxury airport lounge. Image courtesy of LATAM Group

In late March, LATAM Group, the parent company of the airlines LAN and TAM, unveiled a lounge at Santiago International Airport, also known as Arturo Merino Benitez Airport, which instantly became the largest elite airport lounge in South America. There’s a grand staircase for the two-floored spaces, with communal dining areas. Travelers looking for private work stations will find cubicles and a bank of Apple computers, yet they’ll also find plenty of power outlets in all of the floors next to leather-cushioned footstools throughout the lounge.