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TPG reader Daniel sent me a message to ask about international club lounges:
“You recently mentioned how domestic airport club lounges are declining, so I’m wondering, what’s your take on international club lounges. Do you have any favorites?”
Daniel is right: I’m not a huge fan of domestic lounges. Yes, they give you a little space to relax and plug in, and maybe get some free Wi-Fi. However, I generally find them to be crowded and not well designed, and they charge for everything nowadays — even moldy sandwiches, as TPG intern Kevin Song discovered in an Admirals Club just last week.
As far as international lounges go, one of my favorites (which I just went to recently) was Qatar Airways’ Al Mourjan Business Lounge in Doha (DOH). It was sprawling, with multiple restaurants and design that was out of this world. I felt like I was in a museum! The lounge staff was great, and there were plenty of showers and a quiet area for relaxing — basically, it had all the trappings of a lounge where you could easily spend four or five hours.
I also just recently visited the new lounge at the Lufthansa First Class Terminal in Frankfurt (FRA). There you can take a bath (and of course, steal a rubber ducky), or stretch out in one of the rooms with a twin bed (I fell asleep for almost three hours). There’s great Champagne, and even a cigar room for smokers.
Even though I hate London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR), I like the British Airways Concorde Room in T5. You can have a decent meal with good food and wine, and of course, there’s plane watching. 747s are my favorite, and I love seeing them line up for takeoff.
Lounges in Asia tend to be of higher quality. Cathay Pacific has been renovating its The Wing First Class Lounge in Hong Kong (HKG); I was there in December of last year, and while I don’t think it’s as nice as people make it out to be, it’s a pretty chic lounge. The Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Gold Lounge in Singapore (SIN) is nice, as well.
The only lounges I’m digging in America these days are the Virgin America Clubhouse at JFK, where you can get a haircut or a massage; and of course the Amex Centurion Lounges, especially the one that opened up near me in Miami (MIA) recently. The Seattle Studio Lounge (SEA) just opened up as well, and Amex just announced it will open another in Houston next year. I’m hoping for even more, because they’re the leaders when it comes to domestic lounges.
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