Finally, I make it to the Qantas First Class Lounge, Sydney
A childhood wish
Do you remember as a kid building the anticipation of a particular experience or acquisition to legendary proportions? Thinking about it every day, and imagining the joy and fulfillment it would bring? In my day, it was an action figure, or a ride at the show, or a show bag (do they still exist?), or in my family’s case, it was ‘The Mousetrap Game’
My brother and I rehearsed my sister in how to pester my parents. Our quota of treat requests had run out, but we knew that her pestering still had weight with our parents – plus she was the youngest and the only girl. She asked, and we got the game. Unlike a show bag, it did not disappoint. We played it ourselves, with our friends, with our family, with our cousins, with our cousin’s children, and still to this day we play it. After 50 years it still gives joy, and amazingly, has all its pieces.
The Qantas First Class Lounge at Sydney Airport is a bit like that game of Mousetrap. I have anticipated being there for the last 10 years. I haven’t pestered my parents about it, after all, I am an adult! But I have built it up to almost mythic proportions.
To some people I know (you know who you are), this First Class lounge is well known, commonplace, expected. Not to me. This was the first time I had entered through its hexagon patterned, translucent front doors.
My First Time
I have often been propelled up those escalators at Sydney Airport towards the First Class Lounge entrance, only to pass it and move on to the Qantas International Business Class lounge. This time, no turning left at the top. This time, walk straight ahead through those hexagon patterned sand blasted doors.
What a way to start a journey. The living wall that graces the entrance, and recurs throughout the lounge, most effectively in the spa treatment rooms, was revolutionary in 2007, and even now, 10 years later it is still impressive.
We had checked in early enough to take full advantage of the lounge, its restaurant, and spa. We arrived about 1 pm, with nearly 3 hours before our departure at 3:50 pm. We were greeted at every service touch point and asked if we would like a spa booking before or after we had a bite to eat. Before please, but after a glass of champagne – the Perrier Jouet – I think.
Soon we were at reception booking our treatment. I chose a Men’s purifying facial described as a:
‘deep cleaning facial for men to hydrate, repair and balance all skin types. Includes a hot towel treatment, tone and exfoliation, face masque, scalp massage and application of a soothing moisturiser.’
The rooms make you feel like you are in the jungle. You are almost surrounded by living walls.
There is nothing like a good facial to make you relax. Well, there is, but not amongst white women of quality. The treatment whizzed by. Suddenly nearly half an hour had passed, with the actual treatment being about 15 minutes. The spa staff were great, even organising so that both Mickaeli and I could have our treatments at the same time.
Next food . . .
Doesn’t quite have the crisp white table cloths of the Qantas Lounge in Hong Kong, but the dining area is elegant and has some views onto the Tarmac.
The menu on one page – is self explanatory:
Although not a big fan of all of Niel Perry’s food – I do like his Asian outlets including Spice Temple. I’ve had it before, but it’s difficult to pass up his salt and pepper squid. Crisp, salty, tender and delicious.
Ok – we had the time and had committed to the meal, so next question is – Beef or Duck? The duck just sounded too rich, so I went for the beef – strangely thinking that the Asian flavours would be lighter. I was wrong, but it was still delicious.
We rejected desert and instead retired to more comfortable seating, ordered another few of glasses of Perrier Jouet Grand Brut, dealt with a bit of email correspondence, and read until it was time to board.
With all that champagne, there was at least one visit to the bathroom. The bathroom design shows incredibly restrained refinement. Note the detailing in the Carerra marble wall tiling:
Rested, fed, and exceedingly well watered, we headed to the gate around 3:30 pm to start our First Class adventure.
Like the First Class lounge – our childhood game of Mousetrap still exists, with all its pieces in tact. Some 50 years later it is still played and enjoyed by my 2nd cousins’ children.
10 years on, the Qantas First Class lounge in Sydney is still wonderful and lives up to expectation. I will miss it next time I have to endure the purgatory of the Business Class lounge. I’m joking – not about the missing – just about the ‘purgatory’.
Like voting, visiting the Qantas First Class Lounge, Sydney should be done early and often.
Verdict Well worth its reputation, and a phenomenal way to start a journey. One of the best lounges in the world, but beginning to show its age.