Lounge Review: Qantas Sydney First Class Lounge
Fabian runs a new food blog called The Hungry Gwailo offering a unique take on Hong Kong’s expansive dining scene.
Whilst recently in Sydney, Fabian was lucky enough to have a guest pass into the award winning Qantas First Class Lounge.
The First lounge is Qantas’ flagship lounge, seconded only by its first lounge in Melbourne, which while having a similar style isn’t held in the same regard. Only travelling in business class that day and being OneWorld Sapphire would only permit me into the rather lackluster Qantas business lounge in Sydney for this flight. Fortunately enough I had a one time pass for the Qantas Sydney First lounge.
The lounge is designed by Marc Newson, that rather famous Aussie architect and designer. The lounge is consistently regarded as one of the best lounges in the world, and frequent visitors will often remind you to spend as much time in the lounge as possible. With Qantas, that’s 3 hours (when international checkin opens), unless you only have carry on baggage (or have a domestic flight with through-checked bags). I didn’t fall into either of those categories, so it was going to have to be the standard three hours for me.
As you come into the lounge on the mezzanine floor, you walk past a living wall (basically a wall full of plants, and yes they are real and not plastic), which looks awesome before going up some escalators past the service desk, and into the lounge.
The lounge features a sit down restaurant with the menu designed by famed Aussie chef Neil Perry. A lot of the dishes on the menu are taken from his Rockpool or Spice Temple restaurant menus, each executed quickly and faithfully. The restaurant section takes up the middle section of the lounge, which is just up from the escalators and service desk. You’re approached by a waiter who will quickly find you a table, and sit you down with a menu. Since I was there in the morning, the breakfast menu was in swing, which is a shame because the lunch menu has far more interesting options.
Tables are set nicely with Alessi designed crockery, cutlery and stemware. All very lovely.
Either way. I ordered Sweet Corn fritters with Avacado, Tomato Relish, Sour cream and coriander without the bacon. Noticing that most other diners were quite happily enjoying alcohol, despite it being 9 in the morning, I had no compunction about ordering champagne to go with my meal.
The first lounge at Sydney offers FOUR (!) types of champagne by the glass, most other lounges only offering one. All are non vintage, but are great choices. Bollinger Special Cuvee, Taittinger, Vueve Cliquout and a recent addition of Delamotte. The delamotte, being a blanc de blanc was probably best suited to eating a meal with, being relatively medium bodied, low residual sugar and being all chardonnay. Did I mention I’m a wine geek as well?
The corn fritters were great, but still I felt a little peckish, I asked to see the menu again and ordered a fruit salad with a glass of Bollinger and a café latte. The coffee was great (Qantas use vittoria coffee in their lounges), and the Bollinger was as always excellent. The waitstaff were generally great, most seemed to pander a little (probably because of the attitudes of some do-you-know-who-I-am guests), but it comes with the territory I suppose.
The lounge also features a Payot spa with various massage treatments. Usually this is extremely hard to get into unless you’re travelling in First, where first guests are called the day before their flight to organize a spa appointment. However regular guests are able to try their luck at the door. No luck for me unfortunately, fully booked.
Shower rooms feature a mixture of Payot and Kevin Murphy amenities, great for a quick shower before the flight.
The lounge also features a small library area. The architecture of the whole lounge is great.
Seemingly, the three hours seem to float past and it was time to board. A shame since I was enjoying myself so much in the lounge. After visiting I’m definitely convinced that the Qantas First Lounge’s reputation as one of the worlds best is totally deserved.