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Inside the Brand New Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at New York's JFK Airport

March 6, 2012 at 1:22 PM | by | ()

Spoiler alert! The new Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at New York's JFK Airport is awesome. We've been in it, sat in its designer chairs, sipped its specialty cocktails, marveled at the tarmac views and—yes—it's passed the test of "do we want to live here?"

The 10,000-square-foot Clubhouse sprayed the champagne during a grand opening party last night, complete with words from Sir Richard Branson and three unplugged songs from KT Tunstall. Upper Class passengers flying that evening were treated to all the fanfare as well; imagine grabbing a bite and checking your email, then Branson waltzes in and shakes your hand.

Wiping the stars from our eyes, let's get down to business. The new lounge is indeed new; it's not simply a renovation, since the old lounge was before security, in a far less convenient part of JFK Terminal 4. You'll find the fresh space after security, directly upstairs from the Virgin Atlantic gates. No more rushed Virgin Redhead cocktails before making a dash for your flight. If the plane is leaving without you, you'll now be watching it do so directly below. Wave to the pilots!

Now, for the fun part: Once you're inside the Clubhouse, everything is free, save for the extended spa treatments in the Bumble & bumble salon, but we had a look at the spa menu and those won't set you back more than $40 if you're feeling extra indulgent. So yes, the WiFi is free, the food (full meals! afternoon tea!) is free, the alcohol is free, the basic spa and salon treatments are free, the use of the pool table is free and handfuls of candy (from crystal bowls) are free. It'd be too easy to start legitimately frolicking up in here, but we do advise against it since, of course, the best air to cultivate in an airline lounge is an air of James Bond-ish mystery.

The lounge has several zones: the bar, the restaurant, the "gentleman's club" area with the pool table and tufted banquettes, the Bumble & bumble salon/spa, the restrooms, the Mac desktop work bar, the central lounge area and several other seating areas.

An easy, flowing layout means plenty of niches if you're feeling asocial or looking for quiettime in an Eames lounge. All in all, we'd have to say the place is very much a mix of the Playboy Club in the (classy) 1960s, the infamous Boom Boom Room at the Top of the Standard Hotel, uptown see-and-be-seen swank, and a necessary dash of classic Virgin Atlantic playfulness.

Need to know:
· The lounge is located up a flight of stairs/elevator from just beyond Gate A5 in Terminal 4.
· Opening hours are M-W-Th-Sa-Su from 13:00 to 22:00 and Tuesday and Friday from 14:00 to 22:00.
· This JFK lounge has two signature cocktails: the "Virgin Rose" and the "Big Virgin Apple." More on these later today!
· Furniture around the lounge is a mix of custom and designer. Design geeks will be excited to chillax in Eames, Saarinen and Jacobsen chairs.
· Spa treatments stop 50 minutes before your flight, so make sure to arrive with plenty of time to get an appointment and then enjoy it.
· Spa products are Bumble & bumble, Dr. Hauschka and Truefitt & Hill.

How to get in:
· Fly in Upper Class on a Virgin Atlantic flight
· Be a Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Gold member
· Fly in First or Suites Class on a Singapore Airlines flight
· Have a Singapore Airlines Solitaire PPS card
· Fly in First or Business on TAM
· Fly in First or Main Cabin Select on Virgin America, but you will be charged an entrance fee.

The lounge is officially open for business, but while there'll be no KT Tunstall serenading and Branson greeting at check-in, there will be everything else, and really that's way more than one can ask for from an airline lounge.

[Photos: Cynthia Drescher from Jaunted]

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