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Lounge Review: Virgin, Melbourne’s The Club

Lounge Review: Virgin, Melbourne’s The Club

This was probably my one and only time visiting The Club – Virgin’s previously invite-only politicians and heads of big business lounge space at Melbourne Airport. During my visit, The Club was being used as Virgin Australia’s main lounge while the usual frequent flyer space is being upgraded. The refreshed lounge is due to open ‘within weeks’.

Since my visit, Virgin has also opened a temporary lounge – to fulfil increasing demand.

The old Virgin Lounge at Melbourne Airport – to re-open refurbished in a few weeks

Introduction

A lot has happened to Virgin Australia during COVID-19. It went into administration, got bought for AU$3.5 billion, changed management, and re-launched itself as a ‘mid-level’ airline as opposed to a budget or full service airline.

It’s still sorting a lot of stuff out, including what to do with its lounges, and most especially what to do with its invitation only facilities ‘The Club’. Reportedly, its even going out to ‘The Club’ membership to ask them what they value about their exclusive facilties.

Virgin Australia check-in at Adelaide Airport

At the Airport

Virgin Australia lounges at Terminal 3, Melbourne Domestic Airport are located down the escalators from check-in and to the left before security. The old closed lounge is to the right of the corridor above, with The Club at the end of the corridor to the left.

Its a bit of a walk, and some of the new facilities behind that white wall to the left of the image are now open.

If you are arriving on a flight into Terminal 3, then you will have to exit next to security, and turn right to access the corridor to either the ‘old’ Virgin Lounge or further along the corridor to the left to access The Club. Through the door, you go, and upstairs to be greeted by the formal entrance desks.

COVID safe counters

There are copious check-in QR codes and hand sanitiser stations in this wood and leather lined and marble floored, usually invitation-only inner sanctum.

I love a leather padded wall

Design

I love the design of this lounge. The signature diamond motif was developed by Tonkin Zulaikha Greer architects in 2011, and is displayed in the Sydney and Melbourne lounges. I think the interpretation of the design in the Melbourne The Club lounge, shows the concept off at its best. All that wood and leather, custom made timber light fittings and the curved walls that create private cocooning spaces. I think it’s sensational.

The lounge has no windows, other than that opening to the sky, but it still gives a remarkable sense of light and space.

Seating around a main thoroughfare, with more private spaces to the left and right
Curved walls and pods help with privacy

I like a well supported back in a chair, so I was a little sceptical about these laid back bottom huggers, but they were remarkably comfortable. The majority of spaces were set up for singles and couples, as befits a usually exclusive lounge.

Virgin Australia’s The Club, Melbourne 2021

Facilities

All the curves make it difficult to fathom the shape of the lounge.

The food service and bar area can be seen at the back centre of the image above. With COVID-19 restrictions, all service was table service. For more information see ‘Food & Drink’ below.

The bathrooms are located off the foyer to the right of the reception desks.

Food & Drink

Due to COVID restrictions, everything was ordered via QR code phone app and delivered to your table.

I was obviously a little anxious about my connecting flight on to Sydney, since I managed to not actually complete my order (or take a photo of it), and when I rectified this and my sandwich and drink arrived, it was almost time to exit the lounge, head through security again, and wait for my flight at Gate 7.

Menu screens

As you can see, they had run out of chicken sandwiches, so I went, like a schoolboy for the Tasty Cheese and Tomato. I got a couple of bites in before the flight was called.

It’s a mystery how I managed to stuff up this order, since I had experienced exactly the same type of service in the newly opened Virgin Adelaide Lounge a couple of hours previously.

Bathroom foyer

Bathrooms

The bathrooms were accessed from a corridor behind the reception area via a foyer. It makes for a very private (in this case mirrored) experience.

These bathrooms are beautifully appointed, each offering toilet, change and shower facilities, with these beautiful diamond-shaped tile walls, and crushed fabric ‘smoked’ mirrors, wood frames and marble floors.

As in Adelaide, the hand wash is from Hunter Lab, with a pleasant tangerine, grapefruit and rum aroma.

WiFi

The WiFi signal was good, and that’s not bad considering that the lounge was relatively full.

Comfort

I spent somewhere between a half and 3/4 of an hour in the lounge, so I didn’t really get to explore all the sections of the lounge. Aesthetically, the lounge was lovely, and the seating I chose surprisingly comfortable. All that wood and leather panelling on the walls and dividers together with the high paterned ceilings makes the lounge surprisingly quiet.

I love table service in a lounge, so despite my misfire on the ordering it was very comfortable and enjoyable, although short stay.

Departure

I headed down the main arm of Terminal 3, and on to gate 7 to be treated by this less than helpful signage.

Melbourne Airport, you need to fix this signage in Terminal 3, Gate 7

2PAXfly Takeout

Remembering that you can cancel and rebook any fares through to the end of February 2022, this offer is worth booking some speculative travel.

I usually value status credits over points, but triple points is a good deal. Anyway if a good bonus status credits deal comes up – I can always cancel my triple points booking and rebook using the credit to gain the the status deal. Sorry guys, you can’t combine deals.

Qantas didn’t come down in the last shower, so don’t expect this triple points deal to be giving you the best fare prices (I haven’t checked this), and the same applies to those double status points offers if they return. I have no inside knowledge, but a triple points offer, often comes just before a double status credits offer. Just sayin’.

I love the feel and design of the Melbourn Virgin Australia, The Club lounge. The design is wonderful, giving a clubby, contemporary but not stuffy feel to the lounge. I hope that Virgin doesn’t decide to add some of what I consider the slightly tacky ‘mid-range’ design aspects of the new Adelaide lounge, which is now to be their ‘brand look’ for the refurbishment of other lounges.

The slightly tacky goodbye not to passengers at the Adelaide Virgin Australia Lounge

At one stage, it was rumoured that the Club lounges would be closed. I hope that’s not the case, and this lounge is preserved. I’m glad I got a chance to experience it.

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