With everything from spas, showers and saunas to screening lounges, cigar rooms and champagne bars, premium airport lounges are the modern-day refuge for the weary traveler. While most passengers still choose airlines based on convenient routes, amenities on the ground have also become a key differentiator.
Here are four lounges that are adding an extra element of comfort to the airport experience.
Turkish Airlines: CIP Lounge, Ataturk International Airport, Istanbul
Consisting of two levels, the lounge measures over 3,000 square meters and includes private relaxation rooms, showers with special toiletry kits, a playroom for children and private room for infants. Other amenities are also present, such as a billiard hall, library, cinema, golf simulator and an Austrian bistro on the lower level. Distinct architectural details, such as the arched room dividers, are inspired by the Ottoman and Seljuk periods of Turkish history.
Etihad Airways: Diamond First Class Lounge, Abu Dhabi International Airport, United Arab Emirates
Evoking the world’s most prestigious hotels, private members’ clubs and fine dining establishments, the lounge features 16 unique zones designed to ensure that guests can relax, re-energize and be pampered before boarding their flight.
Discerning guests can look forward to an à la carte restaurant, fitness room, cigar lounge, Six Senses Spa, Style & Shave barbers, nail bar, TV room, secluded relaxation room, prayer room and children’s play room, where qualified nannies keep kids safe and engaged. There’s also a champagne bar and an entertainment room with flat-screen TVs and individual headsets as well as include shoe-polishing and clothes-ironing services.
Cathay Pacific: The Pier First Class Lounge, Hong Kong International Airport, Hong Kong
Designed by the London firm Studioilse, headed by Ilse Crawford, The Pier resembles an upscale apartment belonging to someone with an abundance of good taste. Materials such as bronze and limestone complement natural plant life while real furniture pieces – as opposed to generic lounge chairs that are often seen in other lounges – contribute to the cool residential environment.
Private relaxation rooms, featuring padded daybeds overlooking the runway, are equipped with adjustable lighting, a mirror and a reading light. The Pier also offers complementary foot massages – and neck and shoulder massages upon request – in three private booths. Shower suites are furnished with Aesop bath products.
Of course, dining has been taken into close consideration. A noodle bar serves fresh, made-to-order Chinese dishes and a teahouse offers artisanal blends recommended by experts. There’s a food hall where travelers can indulge in tapas, cheese boards, salads, hot dishes, fish platters, sandwiches, desserts, and fresh fruit.
Finnair: Finnair Premium Lounge, Helsinki Airport, Finland
The Finnair Premium Lounge features not only sleek, smart design, but also another staple of Finnish culture: its very own sauna.
Helsinki design firm dSign Vertti Kivi & Co. looked to Finnish traditions, customs, and trends for inspiration. Just like Mother Nature, the lounge’s features change throughout the day and across seasons. Special mood lighting on the walls blend perfectly with the interior – filled with contemporary Nordic furniture such as Eero Aarnio’s Ball Chair and Yrjö Kukkapuro's Carousel and Moderno Chairs – to create a serene oasis. That the lounge’s felt walls absorb outside noise make this spot even more calming.
Throughout the day, guests can help themselves to gourmet snacks, salads, hot soup, desserts, and more from the self-serve buffet. In addition to free sparkling wine, beverages such as beer, tea, water, orange juice, soft drinks, and coffee are also available.
Of course, the highlight of the Finnair Premium Lounge is the sauna, which is possibly the only one found in an airport lounge in the world. Following custom, men and women can share the space, which can accommodate roughly five adults.