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Inside Virgin Atlantic's Totally Redesigned Upper Class Clubhouse at Newark Airport

Where: Newark-Liberty International [map], Newark, NJ, United States
December 7, 2012 at 12:37 PM | by | ()

"Oh man, ugh whatever." - the typical feeling upon discovering your flight is departing from Newark-Liberty International Airport

It's true. Newark isn't exactly the most convenient airport, nor will it be winning any airport beauty pageants, but airlines have ways of turning your frown upside-down real quick. A grand example is the newly revamped, just-debuted-this-week Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Clubhouse.

At 5,000 square feet, it's half the size of their also recently reopened JFK Clubhouse, but that's partly due to the fact this one doesn't have the Cowshed Spa. Going for a downtown feel (JFK's aims for uptown style), it instead focuses around the architectural central bar (most popular cocktail? Mojito!) and chill-out lounge nooks (see the "Passion Pit" in our gallery below).

The trademark Virgin Redhead cocktail does make an appearance on the lengthy menu, full hot meal table service is still a mainstay, restrooms with showers are available, and we have it on good authority that the promised Instagram display is now installed and on view.

Still, Virgin Atlantic has got to bling it out. Look for Swarovski crystal accents around the bar, pillows printed with Manhattan satellite images in the Origami lounge, LED lights simulating stars in a night sky in the mosaic-ed entryway, and designer furniture all over the place (but especially in the Liquid Lounge near the bar). According to the Clubhouse receptionist, oneworld flyers heading to the British Airways lounge next door are forever trying to talk their way into the Clubhouse. Can't blame them, really; word is the time before the evening flight to LHR gets a good vibe going.

There is one major tick mark in the negative column for the resdesigned lounge: no windows and, therefore, no views of the planes. There is a skylight above the bar, but the location of the lounge within the terminal doesn't yield it any walls with windows (perhaps because the neighboring British Airways Galleries lounge took them all). Oh well. Have another cocktail.

How to get in:
It's really quite simple. To sashay your way into the Clubhouse, you've got a few options:
· Be traveling in Upper Class on a Virgin Atlantic flight
· Be Gold level in VA's Flying Club loyalty program.
· Hold a UK American Express Centurion card (black card with numbers starting 3742)
· Be Sir Richard Branson.

[Photos: Cynthia Drescher/Jaunted]

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