Lounge: Qantas International First Lounge
Location: Sydney International Airport
Lounge Rating: 5/5 Stars
For years I had been intrigued by the Qantas International First Class Lounge. Perhaps it was something to do with the number of glowing reviews about its outstanding service, design and food or the amount of celebs like Hugh Jackman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ellen DeGeneres and Pink to name but a few, who would cheekily check into the lounge on their social accounts. Whatever the case, the lounge was a goal of mine that I had to tick off my bucket list and when I turned Platinum a few months back I knew my chance to finally experience its opulence was a reality especially with my trip to China.
So what is the lounge like and does it belong on the pedestal on what is regarded one of the best airport lounges in the world? The Australian Traveler checked in to find out.
Lounge access options
- Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum or Platinum One members travelling in any class on a flight with Qantas, Jetstar, Emirates or any Oneworld partner airline (flying out of Sydney and Melbourne. That roster currently includes British Airways, Cathay Pacific, JAL, LAN, Malaysia Airlines and Qatar Airways.
- First class passengers (travelling on Qantas or Emirates International First Class)
- Oneworld Emerald members (travelling on flights marketed and operated by Qantas or a Oneworld airline)
- Emirates Platinum Skyward Members
Lounge location and opening hours
Once checked through immigration, head towards the escalators at the end of the duty free area and make your way to level 4. Here is where both the Qantas Business and First lounges reside. Hours of operation for the lounge are from 5am to 10pm daily.
There was quite a bit of passenger traffic when I arrived at the lounge due to my flight flying out during the airport morning peak hour. Despite it being busy it by no means felt crowded, instead feeling quite private with the amount of large partitions through the lounge.
Marc Newson’s architecture is stunning from the self watering walled garden at the entrance to the lofty wooden ceiling spars. The furniture throughout the lounge is stylish, functional, and versatile and are bathed in an abundance of natural light with fantastic tarmac views to match.
The bathrooms are designed as individual suites and are completed in a beautiful marble finish. All of them are kitted with a shower and luxurious amenities, ideal for those who may have forgotten their toothbrush or want a shower prior to boarding.
One thing that I loved about the lounge design was the flipping departures board which had a retro nostalgic charm to it.
Bread and butter (food and drink)
This is by far one of the best selling points of the lounge. If you are a foodie or simply one that enjoys a bite, there is something for everyone here and will please even the fussiest eater.
The lounge features an inspired menu, which changes seasonally by renown Australian chef Neil Perry. His touches to the menu are quite evident and adds an aspect of both class and gastronomic delight.
Having checked in for the breakfast run I wanted to find a spot within the seated restaurant to enjoy a decent bite and perhaps a champagne before wheels up. I was sat down and attended to by a staff member who provide this very extensive menu (see above) and upon first impressions the list of food and beverages was impressive with some decent drops in the mix. After all it is after 12pm somewhere in the world.
Having saved my stomach for the lounge I was quite peckish and ordered the signature breakfast (two eggs poached with bacon, chipolata, hash brown and roasted tomato) and the sweet corn fritters dishes. I struggled with the amount of great champagne choices but in the end decided on the Pommery as it has been a while since we were acquainted. I followed up my dishes with a fruit platter and a barista made soy latte.
Everything I ate or drank was well presented and tasty. Accompanied with the stunning views overlooking the airport and Sydney CBD, this was by far one of the best cafes for breakfast I had ever experienced. The only downside to my dining experience was realising that this sadly couldn’t be my normal weekend brunch hang out.
The lounge name says it all – first class and you wouldn’t expect anything less from it. Qantas delivers it in droves here from the service to the delicious menu. No wonder this lounge was voted over the last decade as one of the top 10 best lounges in the world.
The only thing I could fault about my experience here was that the Spa treatment was down one staff member and booked out the whole day. As such I was unable to review this section as a result (next time hopefully).
After my time here in the lounge, I have learnt that this place requires more time and I will endeavour to try and arrive a few hours earlier so that I can thoroughly immerse myself in what is truly a unique and wonderful Qantas lounge experience.
Fun fact to close on: Did you know that more Champagne is consumed in the Sydney First Lounge than anywhere else in Australia (per capita) on a weekday night?!
Have you experienced the Qantas International First Lounge in Brisbane? Did you love your experience there as much as I had or did you find something off about the lounge that put its reputation to shame?