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Have you ever been inside the Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Clubhouse at London-Heathrow? It. is. insane. We mean insane in the best way, of course. There's a hot tub, a pool table, old school Atari game tables, a free Bumble & Bumble salon, an outdoor deck, a sea of Eames lounge chairs and waiters who will bring you a proper teatime setup.
As you can imagine the services available are numerous during your couple hour stay in the Clubhouse, but Virgin Atlantic has gone ahead and added one more: bespoke shoes. For one month only, from March 18 to April 18, there will be a representative from Finnish cobblers The Left Shoe Company on hand to custom fit Upper Class passengers. The idea is traditional, but the process is quite futuristic:
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The best part of visiting Australia might just be found at the airport, that is if the folks at Virgin get their dreams to come true. Virgin Atlantic is thinking about building their first clubhouse down under, and it won’t just be one of their traditional airport lounges. Not only would it be their newest, but it could be the best, with new technology and extra space needed, as it will be available for flyers aboard V Australia and Virgin Blue as well.
The Virgin Group is already working on a new place to score a Virgin Redhead before your flight for all three of its airlines in Los Angeles, so these super combo lounges might just be part of their future plans for their company and passenger comfort. Right now they’re committing to finishing things at LAX, but it sounds like the blueprints to their latest clubhouse might be sent to Sydney at some point in 2011.
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This clubhouse is nowhere near the design spectacular that you will find at JFK, but it still has that certain je ne sai quoi that is unquestionably Virgin Atlantic. It's quite vibrant compared to other airport lounges, which typically go the cookie-cutter route of grey carpeting, brown leather seats, wood-paneled walls and an overall boring, business traveler feel.
But this clubhouse is full of pinks and purples and flat-screen TVs, not to mention little nooks for a library and a computer work area. All in all, it's a perfectly pleasant place to while away an hour or so before your flight. We managed to get in about 30 minutes in the Clubhouse and this is what we found:
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It’s getting pretty warm out, so we knew that this month’s airline cocktail had to be refreshing, colorful, and a little fruity. That’s why we chose a classic from Virgin Atlantic—The Virgin Redhead.
Available onboard selected Virgin Atlantic flightsof course it'll be easiest to order onboard their 747s with Upper Class barand within the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses around the world, the drink was created for the airline with the help of Bombay Sapphire.
Even if you aren’t a fan of gin, we’re thinking that this drink might just change your mind. The base of the drink is a combination of muddled raspberries, fresh lemon juice, cassis and framboise liqueurs. That mixture is then shaken—not stirred—with Bombay Sapphire Gin and topped off with champagne.
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You know when you're flying in economy class and you're walking through the terminal clutching your carry-on luggage and a Cinnabon, desperately seeking out a WiFi signal or comfortable seating, when...you pass a pair of sliding doors that briefly open to reveal what looks like a hidden wonderland within the airport? When this happens to us, our heart melts a little in agony that the experience of a first class lounge is so unattainable at that momentbut it wasn't last week, when Virgin Atlantic invited us into the holy grail of airline lounges: their Upper Class Clubhouse at London's Heathrow Airport.
What can we say about the place, except that it made our wildest airport dreams come true? The fact that free WiFi, complimentary Bumble & Bumble salon appointments, a pool table, an outdoor deck and even a HOT TUB exist in one place at an airport means we're going to need several hours to fully absorb it all, and thus we arrived nice and early.
After the jump, tons of pictures and more about that hot tub...
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Who goes all the way out to the airport just for afternoon tea, without a flight to catch? We do! Especially when we're talking about tea inside of the freshly remodeled Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Clubhouse at London's Gatwick Airport. It just reopened with the updated interior in November, so we were all about experiencing that precious "new airport lounge" smell.
Last week, we took a day from our London Field Trip to head out into the foggy London morning and check out this playful space over a pot of Earl Grey with Virgin Atlantic's Head of Design Joe Ferry and Senior Design Manager, Jeremy Brown. Our big question for them: why are Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, and in particular this updated one, considered just so cool?
The answer involves rock & roll, after the jump.
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Man, you guys are good! We posed a challenge to you back on Friday, to guess where we were at that very moment with only the photo above as a clue, and although had some great guessesthe Big Brother house, the Bridge of the Starship Enterprise and Austin Powers' lairtwo of you were totally jetsetting with the correct answer: Virgin Atlantic's Upper Class Clubhouse at JFK Airport.
On Friday evening, after sitting in rush hour traffic trying to get to the airport and mentally panicking, we arrived and checked into VS 046 to London-Heathrow. The good people at Virgin hooked us up with Clubhouse access, and we quickly collapsed into a futuristic chair and ordered up the lounge's signature drink: the Virgin Redhead. And that's when the fun began.
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Everytime we hear about the Heathrow Clubhouse for Virgin Atlantic's Upper Class and Flying Club Gold members, we get a little excited, if you know what we mean. Just a glance at the Arne Jacobsen Egg chairs, mid-century modern colors and design influence, and we've blasted off even before the plane departs. Knowing that Virgin's Clubhouse at London-Gatwick was under renovation, we wondered if it would re-open as sexified as Heathrow, and the answer is yes.
First, let's talk about the amenities that lie within the space that can accommodate 130 passengers. Please welcome to Gatwick a Cowshed Spa and rock garden, Wii and Guitar Hero zone, and electronics charging areas. Plus, they haven't forgotten all the modern design details we love; think Eames dining chairs, Turtle lounge chairs by Pearson Lloyd, Roberto Romanello's Delta chairs, Bertoia barstools, Nelson Coconut chairs, Fritz Hansen tables and of course plenty of Virgin's lipstick red. Is it just us or is it getting hot in here?
Airport lounges promise respite from the sad public seating at the gates and the unhealthy diet offerings of the terminal food courts. But of course, at a premium price. All week long at Jaunted we will be detailing what it costs to lounge at the best international airline lounges, because the domestic offerings that we featured last week got us dreaming of much, much more. Got any suggestions or tips? Let us know.
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse Keep reading after the jump for more peeks at club perks.
· How Much: If you're flying in Upper Class, just walk right in, no fee for you (although you did kind of pay for it within your ticket price). If you didn't throw down for the expensive seat, you can still get in if you are Flying Club Gold or have an American Express Centurion cardthat's the ritzy black one to all us regular folk. People who have booked their vacations with Virgin Holidays can use the clubhouses for a fee of £35 at Gatwick and £60 at Heathrow.
· Internet Access: Free WiFi is available in all of their clubs, but you probably won't use it since there's so much other stuff to see and drink.
Keep reading after the jump for more peeks at club perks.