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The top 7 executive airport lounges around the world

Words by Charley Olmer

When booking your luxury getaway, holidaying in style should start from the outset. Whilst many people consider airports and travelling to your chosen destination to be rather tedious, gaining access to these lounges will make your trip an all round five star experience.

With your first class ticket in hand, you breeze past the frantic queues and delays, heading straight for the executive lounges. In most airports today, there are a number of different executive lounges to choose from. Of course your airline will stipulate the ones you are automatically granted access to, but with certain executive memberships and passes, there is much more choice.

Initially, executive lounges were known for being rather bland, having a few seating areas, some TV’s and business centres, along with a mediocre snack selection and a bar. However, today’s airport lounges have transformed into luxury spaces with all the amenities you could possibly think of.

From having a treatment in the spa or dining on an à la carte meal prepared by top chefs, to sitting by the bar watching expert mixologists and even kicking back in a hotel room, these lounges will make you want to extend your stay in the airport for a couple of hours longer.

Turkish Airlines Istanbul (Ataturk) Lounge

Turkish Airlines’ lounge offers a wide range of activities

Turkish Airlines boasts an impressive lounge at Istanbul airport, spanning over 5000 square metres, making it larger than some airports! Although the boundless size of the lounge may seem soulless, Turkish airlines have brought this space to life, injecting luxury and class throughout. The lounge is set on two floors with seating areas for hundreds, and is jam packed with all the amenities you could think of.

Travellers are given access to luxury sleep rooms, a spa, cinema, golf simulators, libraries, grand piano rooms, kids zones, concierge services and a number of dining experiences to choose from. It’s safe to say that there is no room for boredom in Turkish Airlines’ lounge. Whether you feel like taking advantage of all the activities, or enjoying a five star meal, wine and relaxation, there is truly something for everyone.

Emirates First Class Lounge, Dubai

Emirates’ First Class Lounge is more like a luxury terminal

Emirates is consistently ranked as one of the best airlines in the world each year, and going by its first class lounge in Dubai, you can understand why. Instead of being just an airport lounge, the enormous size of Emirates’ lounge spreads over the entire length of Dubai’s airport and means that first class passengers can reach their gate without having to leave it. However, this lounge is so large that it has it’s own duty free shops, making it more like a luxury terminal than an airline lounge.

Emirates’ lounge hosts an unique cigar bar, a private spa with complimentary treatments, a sleeping room with day beds, duvets and pillows provided, along with an à la carte menu, created by top chefs who are on hand to cook you anything you’d like. Of course only the best is provided, so passengers can expect to see Wagyu beef, lobster and caviar on the menu.

British Airways Concorde Room, London

British Airways’ Concorde Room has been updated with a modern British design

British Airways’ Concorde room has been in Heathrow terminal 5 for years, but underwent a revamp in 2017 to bring in modern British design. The lounge hosts a number of different seating areas, both private and public, along with a gallery so passengers can overlook the happenings in Heathrow. In addition, first class travellers are entitled to the Concorde lounges’ private cabana rooms, equipped with a full bathroom and comfortable couch and TV for a quiet moment to themselves.

As for the food, there is a full kitchen, serving an à la carte menu for breakfast lunch and dinner, along with a range of snacks available throughout the day. BA also provide a full bar with vintage champagne for those travelling in their elite first class.

Lufthansa First Class Terminal, Frankfurt

Lufthansa’s First Class Terminal offers a private and luxurious atmosphere

Forget about a lounge, Lufthansa took their first class experience to new heights with their first class terminal in Frankfurt. The private nature of the terminal gives a luxury feel and almost as if you’re travelling via private jet, and not with a commercial airline. The fully stocked bar is the centrepiece of the lounge, surrounded by many different seating areas, along with their restaurant where passengers can take full advantage of their à la carte menu and an impressive buffet to accompany it.

For guests wanting some more privacy, there are private nap rooms available for reservation as well as office rooms for those travelling for business. However, the best part of the Lufthansa first class experience is being chauffeured across the tarmac, straight to the plane. The cars used to transfer passengers are a Porsche Cayenne, Mercedes S-Class, and a Mercedes van to round off that VIP experience.

Qantas First Class Lounge, Sydney

Qantas’s First Class Lounge has a bright and colourful decor. Image credit: Qantas

Unlike many other airport lounges with neutral colours, Qantas’ lounge is bright and colourful, something you don’t see too often in an airport. Although their lounge area is large, the partitions between the seating areas give it a more private feel. Next to the lounge is a full kitchen with chefs preparing an à la carte menu throughout the day, serving up everything from steaks to fresh seafood. The airline lounge boasts an impressive champagne and wine list, from French champagnes to Australian and New Zealand wines, the choice is extensive.

Qantas also offer a spa service and will call flyers the day before to schedule in their treatments. The spa itself is stunning, surrounded by greenery, it’s something you’d see on a luxury resort, rather than in an airport.

Etihad Airways First Class Lounge & Spa, Abu Dhabi

Etihad have provided a hotel style lounge with fine dining provided by top chefs

Instead of going for the traditional airport lounge look, Etihad created a hotel-style first class lounge to ensure passengers were in sheer luxury and comfort throughout. The seating areas are plush and first class flyers are able to choose the larger lounges to relax in, or smaller, more intimate areas. In addition, other amenities include a spa, salon, kids area and even a state-of-the-art gym with treadmills, bikes and crosstrainers; an extra that you don’t find at many other lounges.

The intimate feel of the lounge is reflected in the food and Etihad brought in top chefs with five star hotel experience. They opted to move away from traditional lounge catering, providing top restaurant-quality food, including an exquisite tasting menu of scallops, lamb and Arabic desserts, all complimented by the expensive champagne and wine. Etihad’s Abu Dhabi lounge is certainly the hotel before you arrive at the hotel.

Singapore Airlines Silverkris First Class Lounge and Private Room, Singapore

Singapore Airlines’ flagship First Class Lounge is a relaxing haven at Changi Airport

Singapore Airlines consistently dominates the top spots on the best airline and first class lists, so it’s not surprising that their flagship first class lounge at Changi airport is equally as impressive. As you step into the lounge, the dark wood and marble décor instantly gives a luxury atmosphere and takes you away from the hectic nature of the airport. There are many different seating areas, giving travellers the opportunity to relax, get some work done, or read in silence. Guests have access to a full bar, round the clock buffet, and those with more time to spare can take advantage of the à la carte menu prepared by on site chefs.

However, Singapore Airlines boast an exclusive addition of the Private Room. Nestled between the first and business class lounges, a quiet, intimate lounge resides for those looking for some peace before their flight. Separate to the other restaurants, the Private Room hosts a fine dining experience, serving foie gras and sautéed lobster, paired with vintage champagnes to complete the elite experience.