The Koru Lounge is located in Terminal 2, on the mezzanine level above the hustle and bustle of the hoi polloi of the ground floor. It is open to passengers flying that day in Business Class on Star Alliance members, and Air New Zealand Business Premier, as well as Air New Zealand Airpoints Gold and Gold Elites, Koru Club members, and Star Alliance Gold members. Or, if you’re stuck in coach but have a layover in Terminal 2 for a while, you can fork over the $55 for a Day Pass.
The lounge was designed to “bring a piece of New Zealand right to the heart of southern California,” and has South Pacific touches like paua laminate and rimu veneers, New Zealand-made furniture and carpets made from New Zealand wool, decorative works by some of the country’s emerging artists, a color palette of taupes, greens and blues meant to be reminiscent of the New Zealand landscape, and a lit glass topographical map of the country on the wall as you enter. You’re not exactly hiking the glaciers of the Southern Alps, or kayaking off the Otago Peninsula, but the overall impression is still refreshingly non-L.A.
The whole concept behind the lounge was to demarcate it into several distinct “Zones,” that somehow still integrate into a cohesive space. There are five of these zones throughout the lounge, each designed for a specific purpose.
The Relaxation Zone is in the area in the back near the windows that look out onto the airport’s runways. It’s quieter back here, away from the front desk and the areas with televisions. The wide seats are meant for long-term comfort, and there’s a little library area with international magazines and newspapers, as well as New Zealand coffee table books, to peruse while you wait.
Next to the Relaxation Zone is the Business Zone. This area has several workspaces reminiscent of Office Space cubicles, but if you’re looking to get work done in a hurry with few distractions, this is the place to be—and at least they’re being refurbished next year so they’re not quite so drab. In addition to the lounge’s free, secure WiFi, the seven PC’s back here also have high-speed internet connections, and there’s a copier-fax machine.
But why work when there’s an Entertainment Zone up front with televisions, books, a self-serve bar area, and even some more workspaces in the area with bar seating, called the Data Bar, where you can plug in your laptop and surf the web. The small children’s play room in the far back corner of the lounge is also included in this zone, and road-warrior parents should find some good games, toys and books to keep their rugrats occupied while in transit, though older children might not find too much of interest back there.
Speaking of the bar area, this brings us to the fourth zone, the Replenishment Zone, where guests can find small cold and hot buffets serving up snacks like fresh fruit, cold cuts and salad, as well as salty treats and cookies, and a self-serve espresso drinks machine. This is also where they keep the booze.
Not only does the Koru Lounge feature New Zealand’s 42 Below Vodka, but it also has two beers (an ale and a pilsner) from Monteith among other international brands, and a wide selection of the increasingly popular wines from down under, which changes four to five times per year. When we were there, they were featuring Culley Pinot Noir and Cabernet-Malbec from Marlborough, and an Alpha Domus Navigator Cab blend, though we opted for a Cable Bay Sauvignon Blanc instead.
The fifth and final zone is the Refresh Zone, which is comprised of six private shower suites with fresh towels, and supercool Pacifica Skincare organic bath and skincare products that contain all-natural New Zealand ingredients.
As you can see, we paid each of the Zones a quick visit, and then we knew it was almost time to board when the Flight Concierge and Flight Service Manager came by to introduce themselves and offer suggestions, both for the flight and our time in London. But that was okay, because we had the British Airways Galleries Lounge at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 to look forward to during our stay in the U.K.