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Virgin Australian: Lounge and Menu News

Virgin Australian: Lounge and Menu News

At the beginning of November, Virgin opened its refreshed lounge in Melbourne, to coincide with the NSW-Victoria, no quarantine border opening. It has 2900sqm of space, accommodating 650 guests (COVID-19 capacity is 500 guests).

The last time I was in Melbourne this lounge was shuttered for renovation, and only the former ‘The Club’ lounge was open to all qualifying frequent flyers. I liked the former ‘The Club’ very much, as I did the completely new lounge in Adelaide.

a woman walking past a reception desk

Melbourne Lounge

I will have to wait on an actual visit to pass full judgement, but from the images, Virgin Australia has released, I can’t say I’m that impressed. I’ll tell you why. The ‘Hi Flyer’ tag with its marijuana double entendre, seems a little dated, and not really premium if that is the customer you want to attract to the lounge. It doesn’t sit well with the previous ‘diamond leaf’ motif of the previous design either. ‘Get Down’ (to business) sounds like a joke rejected by the writers of Benidorm – the British TV series, or maybe I just got out on the wrong side of the bed this morning. The other ‘Wind Down’ signage with its wine glass logo, looks a bit blue tacked to the wall, compared to the considered 3D diamond petal timber ceiling treatment.

a sign in a building
Is it just me, but does that signage look a bit blue tacked to the original design?

The furniture has been upgraded, carpet replaced with a corporate grey, purple accents have been removed, and I think the lighting has moved to all white, instead of a purple wash – or my memory might be playing tricks. All the built in furniture and benches, ceiling detail and wall accents, other than those red joke signs seem to be the same. The plants in red and white planters are a nice addition.

a room with blue couches and tables and chairs
Pretty blue

That said, it’s good to know that this opening ‘completes the Virgin Australia national Lounge network’ according to their release. Virgin premium members will be asking about the lost lounges, the direct curbside entrance and the fate of the invitation The Club.

a woman walking in a room with chairs and tables
You can see how good the bones of the original design are

Where did all the lounges go – long time passing?

Virgin pre-administration had 11 lounges, now it has 7. It has closed lounges in Alice Springs, Darwin, Mackay and Perth (T2). That leaves them with one lounge in each capital city: Adelaide Brisbane, Canberra, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Perth T1, and Sydney. Premium lounges (the old invitation only ‘The Club’) in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane will re-open by 31 March 2022, with eligibility and services yet to be released.

a food court with red neon lights
I hate a niche with nothing in it. Just saying.

Frequent flyers can expect to see more ‘Virgin Flair’ through signage, seating areas, bathrooms and the general aesthetics. It’s a truly wonderful space that’s been given a new lease on life.

Paul Jones, Chief Customer and Digital Officer

Summary of facilities and services:

  • Food and beverage: All day-dining and barista service;
  • Bathroom facilities: New
  • New and refreshed furniture: couches, chairs, high bars and work benches
  • “Wake Up” Coffee Bar: café with baristas
  • “Wind Down” Wine Bar: premium selection of local beer, ciders and Australian wine
  • “Get Down to Business” Centre: Meeting rooms for hire, Wi-Fi, power, PCs and printing facilities (closed due to COVID-safe requirements)
  • Gallery Lounge: views of the tarmac, comfy chairs and ottomans.
  • Sunroom: cosy seating
  • Long Stay: chill-out zone adjacent to the Wine Down Bar – single seating
  • Workbenches: power and data
a bathroom with sinks and mirrors
Marble meets shack (bach if your from NZ)

New Menu

New menu dishes will be available on a monthly rotating basis, giving variety and choice across the day. Here are the highlights of the new menu followed by some shots supplied by Virgin:

  • Sourdough toast with avocado fetta, chilli flakes and lemon wedge
  • Breakfast croissant (ham, scrambled eggs, cheese)
  • Penne bolognaise and parmesan
  • Potato rosti with bacon and baked beans
  • Avocado, spinach, carrot, cucumber, hummus and falafel
  • Black rice, beetroot, walnut and fetta salad
  • Karaage chicken, slaw and mayonnaise
  • Falafel, tabouli and hummus.
  • Freshly baked biscuits
  • Chocolate & coconut Macaroon
  • Scones, fresh cream and Jam Gelato cups
a plate of food with a slice of lemon
Is Avocado and fetta on toast Australia’s signature dish?
a plate of food on a white surface
a plate of food with a lemon wedge
a plate of food with a potato and beans
Can you feel the ham hock in these beans and rosti?
a table with different foods

2PAXfly Takeout

This is another timely reminder to wear your seatbelt when seated. Holding you close to your seat will protect you from the sort of injuries sustained on this flight, when unsecured passengers flew to the ceiling of the aircraft, and then came crashing down once the ‘drop’ ceased.

The hope will be that this is an anomaly – a ‘freak accident’ in casual parlance. If it is a systemic error either mechanical or electronic, then this is a larger concern for the airlines that fly Boeing Dreamliner 787 aircraft. Let’s hope it isn’t. If it is, it will pile on the woes to Boeing’s existing stack.

Can’t wait to visit. The food looks good, and although it won’t be the same as The Club, that I visited earlier this year, it does have fabulous apron views. This is a refresh instead of a redesign, which is a good idea since the original design still stands as modern and chic. The tongue in cheek signage – I think will get old very soon, and some of the signage is grating compared to the elegance of the original design. Well, at least that’s what it looks like from the supplied photos. I thought this might be the issue after I visited the Adelaide lounge, and Virgin announced that its design would be the template for the refresh.

Still, can’t wait to visit.

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