· Same Color Scheme, Different Vibe
Like its higher-class sib, the Business Lounge is on the upper level of the international terminal, and right next door to the First Lounge. When you pass the friendly receptionists at the front desk, the lounge opens up into a large entry area with charcoal, taupe and red armchairs of different shapes and sizes grouped around coffee tables. The lounge is basically split into two symmetrical halves from here.
Don’t ask us why, but we veered to the left. Toward the back of the main area of the lounge are two long bar-height tables with about 20 stools around each. Here you'll find sunken cubbies holding bottles of wine, beverages and other snacks like fruit, chips and nuts. Grab a chair overlooking the runway and note that most seats have plugs nearby to charge up your electronics.
Farther on the left, we came to one of the two kitchen-galley areas. In it were refrigerators with beverages like bottled water and sodas, a welcome compliment to the espresso machine, Australian beers on tap, and the hard liquor bar. Since it was the morning, the menu included yogurt, fruit and pastries, though most of the day features just finger foods, small sandwiches, cheese plates, and a soup of the day, as well as various snack packs.
Then at the end of this side of the lounge was a small children’s area with some toys and games, and a wall-mounted flat-screen tuned to cartoons.
The other wing of the lounge was pretty much identical, except for the kids’ area, and the fact that there was another long desk-height counter running along the windows with over a dozen Mac desktop computers plugged in for travelers on the go to use. We had our own laptop with us, so we just logged onto the free high-speed WiFi and got down to business. This side also had a wall-mounted Bloomberg-style board listing various stock prices for the more financially inclined of the lounge guests.
· To the showers!
Now, we’re not ones to use public showers unless absolutely necessary (it’s not like we bring flip flops with us everywhere!), but we thought a good wash-up would be nice before the flight, and we poked our heads into one of the showers to see how they looked. It was like an entire bathroom suite with sink-vanity area, toilet, and large open shower, all tiled in gleaming white, and with Moulton Brown products. Seemed safe enough, so we got a bundle with a hand towel, bath towel and bath mat from the friendly attendant and spent the next half-hour luxuriating and grooming so we looked our best for the flight.
· Business Class, Not Second Class
We’re not saying that the Business Lounge was as nice as the First Lounge—after all, finger foods can’t really compare to a Neil Perry menu, and there weren’t any spa treatments to be had here. It also feels a little more trafficked, and more functional than design-driven. But all in all, it was a great airport lounge experience, and just where we wanted to pass the time between flights so we could get some work done, have a snack, and grab a shower.
Because the lounge is so expansive, even during the busiest times of our visit, no one seemed to have any trouble finding a table or seating, or even a quiet corner to nap in. And while the food was just okay, the wines were still pretty high-end, including some of Australia’s big names like Coldstream Hills 2010 Sauvignon Blanc from the Yarra Valley, and Penfold’s 2009 Bin 138 Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre blend. Needless to say, we had a good time conducting a (purely professional!) tasting.
Full disclosure: Eric Rosen was a guest of the Qantas Business Lounge courtesy of Qantas, but all opinions expressed are entirely his own.