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This is the next installment of TPG Managing Editor Eric Rosen’s series on his month-long trip to Southeast Asia. Other posts include: Send in your Southeast Asia Tips, and Flight Review: Lufthansa 747-400 First Class. In this post, he fills us in on how he passed his time during his layover in Frankfurt in Lufthansa’s First Class Lounge.
My flight from JFK arrived in Frankfurt at 5:30 in the morning. I had sort of been hoping we would not pull into a gate since parking on the tarmac would mean getting first class chauffeur service, but that wasn’t the case. Instead, we were deplaned along with everyone else at the gate and started the mad dash all the way down the very long terminal to immigration and customs. I cleared it in a few minutes and headed to the First Class Terminal, which is set apart from the rest of the airport in its own building. I hadn’t reviewed the access rules carefully, but figured since I was arriving in First Class on a Lufthansa flight I could get in, but it wasn’t to be.
The “personal assistants” manning the reception desks informed me (sincerely regretfully, I might add) that because I was continuing on Thai that I should go to the First Class lounge in the terminal itself since they would have no way of getting me to my plane. I said I could take care of getting to the plane myself, but they were firm, so I turned back around and walked back to the terminal.
The First Class Lounge I did have access to was in Terminal B across from gate B22. That ended up being convenient since my departure gate was pretty nearby. After reviewing my flight documents for a moment, the receptionist welcomed me into the lounge and took me right back to one of the shower suites so I could get cleaned up. She offered me a shaving kit and toothbrush and toothpaste, and left me to my own devices.
The bathroom was nice – spacious with a separate area for the toilet, a large sink area with good lighting, and a shower stall, though I was disappointed there was no bathtub in here (not that I was going to use it). The bathrooms were kitted out with Etro products.
After my shower, I explored the lounge, which was empty except for about 4 other passengers.
One wall is floor-to-ceiling windows looking out onto a busy tarmac bristling with Lufthansa planes at the gates. Along this wall are mod-style armchairs with ottomans, each with its own side stand with power outlets. At the far end of this side of the lounge is the Villigier Cigar Lounge, which is nice and clubby feeling, but is really more of a smoking lounge with its own little self-serve bar with liqueurs, ports and other digestif spirits.
Back in the main lounge, there are a bunch of little seating areas with armchairs and small sofas arranged around coffee tables, each with a selection of savory snacks in glass carafes. There is also a narrow bar with all kinds of candy stocked in various jars that you can help yourself to…dangerous!
At the far end of this main room is the bar, which has hundreds of bottles on display ranging from your average vodka selection to top-shelf whiskies from all over the world, as well as a selection of wines and champagnes including Veuve Clicquot rose and Ruinart brut.
The other major element in the main part of the lounge is a dining room with two- and four-top tables and creamy yellow leather armchairs. There is a buffet along one wall, and while I was there, it had breakfast dishes including eggs, bacon, sausage, yogurt, cereal, pastries and a selection of cold cuts all catered by DO&CO, as well as fresh juices.
There was also a cool machine in the corner on display where kitchen staff could slice off pieces of jamon Serrano for guests. You could also order a few hot dishes a la carte, including eggs whatever way you wanted.
The other interesting feature in this mini-restaurant was the water bar in one corner with a selection of dozens of different varieties of H20 from all over the world ranging from Fiji to Greenland. I asked the waiter on duty and he said that while folks were interested in it, few actually ordered from it.
The lounge also has several office spaces, which are kind of like cabinets since they fully close off, with desks, outlets and work chairs. I commandeered one of these for a couple hours while I was working since I could shut the door and have some quiet time.
Back in the corridor by the shower suites, the lounge has two day rooms where guests can grab a nap, though both seemed to be taken the whole time I was there, and one of the shower suites is actually part of the lounge’s small Babor Spa. You can reserve a treatment when you get in, and when it’s time, you are shown to another shower suite – this one with a bath and the signature Lufthansa rubber ducky – to wash off before your treatment. I got a 45-minute relaxation massage, which cost 90 euros ($120). While it was indeed relaxing, it was nothing remarkable, especially for that price, so I wouldn’t recommend it. Maybe get a facial instead. Treatments range from 20 minutes to 90 minutes.
All in all, I thought the lounge was a pretty pleasant place to spend a layover, though I wish I weren’t there so early in the morning so I would have felt more like tasting a few selections from their scotch menu! The staff was friendly and efficient, the food and beverage amenities were impeccable, the shower suites were spotless, and the various spaces within the lounge were comfortable. Although I was disappointed not to have access to the First Class Terminal, this was a great alternative and I don’t feel like I missed out too much.
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