I’ve had a sneaking suspicion for some time now that the Virgin Atlantic lounge at London Heathrow Terminal 3 is really rather worth going to. The problem is I haven’t ever managed it…until now (it’s a whistle stop tour: London for a few days, New York for a few more before heading back to LDN and home to SIN).
It feels like walking into a sort of utopia that you didn’t know existed.
Yup, Richard’s got it right, and this time he’s thrown away the rule book.
As soon as you’ve got past the two rather snappy Essex girls (read Ah-Lians) who so fiercely guard the entrance you notice it, a perceptible shift in atmosphere and ease; people are smiling, laughing, looking relaxed…invariably with a beautifully concocted drink in their hands, made at a bar that would not be out of place in central London.
There is not a whiff of corporate stuffiness.
Unexpected finds include the groaning charcuterie and cheese counter that could be straight out of Fortnum’s:
Then there’s the shoe cleaning man, armed with every conceivable colour of polish – damn to always travelling in my ‘patent’ Zara flats.
There is even a spa, with a hairdresser, massage rooms and a nail bar, tucked away in the very far corner of this parallel world where nothing bad can happen (Dr. Hauschka or Bumble & Bumble products only – LOVE). You can get free as well as paid-for treatments, although sadly the complementary slots were full and the only one I could get was half an hour after my flight had taken off – less than ideal but nice idea.
Other areas that have been carved out of the huge room include a relaxing pod with swing seat ‘bubbles’ – lovely for reading the papers in:
And a more standard restaurant-style seating area where I sampled their very respectable clubhouse burger (has to be eaten at a table and chair in my opinion, although you can order and eat food from wherever you want).
There is a very cool Grey Goose loft bar, Branson being Branson presumably rotates its sponsorship, renting it to various companies who pay handsomly for the privilege of marketing to his lounge-lizards.
Lastly, it even boasts a (fake) log fire as well as a huge TV zone which I gave a wide berth as I will no doubt, despite my good intentions to do a spot of writing, be watching solid tele on the plane ride over.
My access to the holy grail of airport lounges was granted through one of H’s credit cards.