When you’re trekking the globe for business, a pitstop to refuel is essential. Airport lounges can be a refuge for weary travelers who can’t afford to miss a beat. Intrepid travelers know where they can take a load off, eat gourmet, drink top shelf booze, and get some work done quietly if needed. Better still if there are perks like showers and a place to catch a snooze. A lounge can be an escape from airport chaos.
But all airport lounges aren’t equal. Here, travel experts weigh in on some of their favorites.
Punta Cana International Airport, Dominican Republic
How about an invigorating swim? You can do that at Punta Cana International Airport in the Dominican Republic. After a major renovation, the new terminal includes an information desk, tour operator counters, shops, restaurants and more. Last year, the airport unveiled a VIP lounge complete with an infinity swimming pool. When choosing PUJ’s VIP Services, guests receive a personalized meet and greet upon arrival and departure, in addition to exclusive access to the VIP Lounge areas. You’ll also get an expedited airport escort that will allow them to avoid lines at immigration and customs checkpoints.
Turkish Airlines Business Lounge, Istanbul Airport, Istanbul, Turkey
The Turkish Airlines Business Lounge has an approximate area of over 60,000 square feet, seats 765 guests and features 13 private suites with showers, along with meeting rooms, a library and prayer room. Turkish Airlines also designed a 130 square-foot museum in the space as part of a collaboration with the arts and cultural institution, Istanbul Modern. Says global jetsetter Andrew Blasi, director of consulting firm Crowell & Moring International, “The Turkish Lounge in Istanbul is the ultimate in all things – it is massive and convenient to access. Multiple levels and hidden nooks abound. You won’t have trouble finding a seat here and there are plenty of unique food and beverage stations.”
Nick Brennan, founder and CEO of MyUKSkimCard.com
clocks hundreds of thousands of miles every year,
domestically and internationally. This year alone he’s visited more than six
different countries and spent much time airport lounges.
“By far my favorite lounge is the Qantas First Class Lounge at Sydney international airport. Access is for those flying First Class on Qantas or another One World airline (e.g., American Airlines) and also American Airlines Executive Platinum members flying in any class (even coach) on any One World airline,” he says.
Brennan gives it high marks for a few reasons, “It has a really cool old school flip style departure board – only those over 30 years of age will remember the flip style departure boards in airports!” Secondly, he calls it out for its gastronomy. “An amazing a la carte restaurant serving freshly cooked meals such as fettuccine with roast mushrooms, cavolo nero and poached egg, or pork belly with snake beans, black fungi, chili and ginger, or sticky beef with pickled daikon, shallots, ginger and bok choy.” A
What seals the deal? “Complimentary spa treatments including facials and massages and the treatment rooms feature a living plant wall!”
Emirates Business Lounge Dubai International Airport, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
With gourmet dining, free Wi-Fi, direct boarding, and quiet areas, Emirates’ Business Lounge is a favorite among well-traveled gurus like Patrick Smith, an airline pilot and host of askthepilot.com as well as
travel blogger Anthony Bianco of thetraveltart.com. Travelers can enjoy a chilled glass of bubbly at the Moet & Chandon Lounge, which serves as a tribute to the over 25-year partnership of the beverage and travel giants. In fact, this is the first time an airline has ever served four of Moët’s finest champagnes in one place. Business travelers can also indulge in a healthy snack at the new Health Hub, catch up with friends over a freshly brewed cup of Costa Coffee, or get the job done in one of the many quiet areas. Emirates also has a lounge at JFK Airport in New York City that offers three private shower rooms, two prayer rooms and a wide array of fresh cuisine replaced every 25-30 minutes.
The LOFT by Brussels Airlines and Lexus, Brussels, Belgium
Some tout this lounge for its beautiful, light, airy environment. It’s known for the personal touch. “They know who you are and greet you by name when you walk in the door,” says Will Hatton, founder and CEO of website, HotelJules.com.
The food selection is vast, yet well organized. “You can pick from station to station. Belgian food is available as a speciality buffet, and as you expect, they have a highly functional business center, meeting rooms, and an inspiration wall covered with interesting historical facts.”
What does he love most? “The coupe de grace is the ‘nap boxes,’ comfortable spaces for weary travelers to rest. The bathrooms even have mood lighting that can be set to your needs. You can even book a shower.”