World's most luxurious airport lounges
From ‘space pods’ to the swish hangout with a stream running through it, we list the airline waiting rooms so plush you'll positively enjoy the phrase 'flight delayed’
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse
Bubble chairs, pink walls and the poolside lounge make you feel groovy, baby, rather than a weary traveller. Check in early to make the most of the 14 metre-long cocktail bar, a Cowshed spa and Bumble and Bumble hair salon. But, if that sounds too exerting, relax in one of the suede day beds in the Sky Lounge, and watch the planes take off with stellar views of the runway.
Qantas First Class Lounge
The handiwork of acclaimed industrial designer Marc Newson can be seen throughout this stylish new Qantas First Class lounge, with 11 beautiful 'vertical' gardens dotted around. Decked out with leather recliners, Italian sofas, Carrara marble and quartzite from Switzerland. A world away from plastic bucket seats, then.
Thai Airways Royal First Class Lounge
Plush sofas, silk cushions and exotic wall hangings make this waiting area look more like a swanky hotel than an airport lounge. Slumber room? Check. Shower suites? Check. Spa? Check.
Emirates Business Lounge
Sludge-green walls, begone! In the Emirates Business lounge, the décor has been designed around the concepts of fire, water, air and earth. No matter how frazzled you are on arrival, the showers and spa massage facilities can ease you into a serene mood before you hop onto your plane.
VIP Lounge Centre
See-through bubble chairs suspended from the ceiling, a giant eye emblazoned on the entrance doors...it looks like travel of the future in the Privium Lounge in Schiphol Airport's VIP Centre. Very peaceful and quiet, there's a fireplace for stretching out in front of during the chilly months and the Light Energy Cabin which is flooded with, er, light for gloomy days.
Jet Airways' First Class and Première Lounge
Architects Skidmore, Owings and Merrill designed this airport lounge, with modern India and New York loft space in mind. The result is a slightly futuristic-looking lounge with a serious hint of first-class travel about it. Entertainment areas, rest zones, a media wall and a reading room help pass minutes, even hours.
Satellite Golden Lounge
Described by some passengers as being "absolutely massive", the Satellite Golden Lounge - available to Malaysia Airlines' domestic, business and first class passengers - actually has portions of rainforest enclosed in glass and a stream intersecting the room. If the sound of running water isn't enough, there are massage chairs, a relaxation room and even a slumber room for first class passengers only.
Finnair Lounge & Spa
Business travellers have automatic entry to this lounge, which is big on slowing down. It includes a spa sporting hot stone beds, which you can lie on while taking in the view of the snow outside. For extended relaxation, a pre-flight dip in the spa's pool and a stint in its sauna could be just the ticket.
There's nothing like an extended delay to provoke a silent scream, but those lucky few in the Cathay Pacific Pier Lounge at Hong Kong International Airport can catch a few extra winks. In the Day Break rooms, you can recline in a sleep-easy leather chair while watching your own TV, or pop into the special shower suites for pre-flight refreshment.
With that pampering hat-trick of the complimentary Six Senses spa, cigar lounge and champagne bar, we love Etihad's First Class lounge. If screaming kids are your bugbear while travelling this is the place to be. The little darlings are entertained by nannies in a family room, out of earshot.
British Airways Concorde Room
A microcosm of everything that makes a great luxury holiday, only first-class ticket holders can access this VIP lounge. And what a lounge! It features private dining booths, cabanas with day beds and the Concorde Bar, which serves complimentary champagne. If you haven't sunk a magnum before your flight, you can always make use of the state-of-the-art business suite, which converts into a fully equipped boardroom.
Iberia Business Class Lounge
As well as fruity Rioja in the wine-tasting area, the Sala VIP lounge also serves up mountain views and a good shot of the runway. For the weary, there are rest areas complete with comfy beds.
Qatar Airways Lounge
No, you're not on a tropical island, and yes, those are actual, living palm trees. Winner of the World Travel Awards 2010 Middle East's Leading Airline Lounge, Qatar Airways' lounge at Doha Airport is big on luxury. Sleek wooden floors, soft lighting and waiter service have all been incorporated to put an end to the harassed airport experience we all know and dread