One of the best things about flying business class is access to the airline lounges. Flying on a Oneworld carrier out of London Heathrow Airport Terminal 3, business class travellers and Oneworld frequent flier elite members have a choice of lounges. There is the British Airways Galleries Lounge, American Airlines Admirals Club and the fantastic Cathay Pacific lounges. Since November 2017, there has been another one to choose from with the opening of the Qantas London Lounge at Heathrow.
The lounge opened just ahead of the start of Qantas’ nonstop 787 Dreamliner service from London to Perth, Australia – this will be the world’s longest flight. “Qantas is reshaping what customers come to expect from international travel with direct flights between Australia and London. It’s a long flight, so we’re taking a holistic approach to passenger wellbeing on and off the aircraft, and the new Heathrow lounge is an important part of that”.
Designed by Woods Bagot, copious helpings of marble meld with leather furniture, a clear sign you’re in a Qantas lounge, with clever nods to the airline’s flagship Los Angeles, Melbourne and Sydney locations throughout. Located next to gate 11, the Qantas London Lounge is close to the Cathay Pacific and BA lounges. (All of which are almost in a straight line across the concourse from the FastTrack security). Bart & I have visited the lounge on different occasions, so we’ve experienced the lounge at different times of day.
A warm greeting from the Qantas London Lounge team
Walking up to the two “Check-in” desks, I was greeted by big smiles from the people on them. As I handed over my boarding pass, the woman who was checking me in said a cheery good morning and welcome to our new lounge. I got the feeling that she was genuinely proud of the place.
With great enthusiasm, she asked if it was my first visit. When I said yes, she explained the layout of the lounge, the different drink options and where to find the breakfast buffet. She also informed me that the table service for brunch would start at 09:30. She advised (with a little laugh) that if I wanted the hot brunch I could always have a cocktail or a glass of bubbly while I waited. I have to say, her attitude definitely brightened up my morning.
A split level lounge
When you walk into the Qantas London Lounge at Heathrow, the space you come into appears quite small. However, that’s a bit deceiving. It’s just that the first thing that you see is the Gin Bar. It’s quite imposing and it’s only when you come closer to it you realise that the dining area, which offers full waiter service, runs behind it and takes up the rest of the floor space on the lower level.
Just to the right of the bar is an elegant set of steps that lead you to the upper floor. (Don’t worry if you can’t manage stairs, there is also a lift). Here you can find the second bar, various seating areas and the buffet. As I wasn’t in the mood for the full brunch, I headed upstairs and found myself a quiet place to sit. (Not that the lounge was massively busy).
Drink options in the Qantas London Lounge at Heathrow
There are two bars in the Qantas London Lounge at Heathrow. The first is the Gin Bar on the lower level. This imposing bar offers a wide selection of gins, as well as gin-based cocktails. When I say that they have a wide range of gins, what I actually mean is that I tried to count the number of types of gins four times and kept losing count. It turns out they stock 15 types (if you include the sloe gin).
Of course, there were some familiar faces like Tanqueray and Hendricks, alongside some of the newer brands like Sipsmith. However, there were a few I had never heard of, like Ophir Oriental Spiced, Green Ant Australian and Hobart No. 4 Single Malt. Clearly, Bart and I don’t do nearly enough gin drinking! Those who enjoy a good G&T will be pleased to know that the tonic is Fevertree.
Upstairs, there is the circular marble bar, which dominates the runway side of the upper floor. There’s a good range of Australian and New Zealand wines as well as a couple of French ones. They also offer sparkling wines and Perrier-Jouët Champagne. Bart & I were both offered champagne, though I have read that other visitors have been restricted to sparkling wine. The bar also serves bespoke cocktails, with an exclusive menu designed by mixologists from Australia’s famous Rockpool Bar & Grill. Both bars serve draft Moretti, Heineken and Kronenbourg 1664 beers.
In terms of non-alcoholic drinks, there is a coffee station upstairs by the buffet, where they serve Vittocia coffee, as well as a hydration station and juices at breakfast time. The Quench Hydration station was first introduced at the Qantas Brisbane International Lounge. The focus is on providing fliers with non-alcoholic beverages so they can hydrate prior to flying. The drinks on offer include infused waters and a signature tisane, designed by Rockpool. Tisanes are made by pouring freshly boiled water onto herbs and allowing them to infuse, drawing out the herbs’ flavours.
Qantas London Lounge at Heathrow food and dining
My flight was at 10:30, so I arrived during breakfast service. I went upstairs for the buffet as the brunch service wasn’t starting until 09:30. The buffet offering was good, with fresh fruit, yoghurt pots, Chia pudding, Bircher muesli and breakfast trifle. There was also a selection of sweet and savoury pastries and smoked salmon with accompanying salady-bits.
I tried the yoghurt pot, which was tasty, had a little bit of the smoked salmon and a couple of pastries, all of which were good. One other thing to note was that while I was eating my yoghurt, a lady came around with a tray of hot bacon and egg rolls, which she offered to every table. This was so unlike some other lounges I can think of where food is simply placed in the trough, with little thought to presentation.
When Bart visited the lounge, his flight was later in the day. He arrived during the brunch service. The brunch menu was the same as the day I was there; Eggs Benedict, Quinoa kedgeree with smoked salmon & poached egg and roasted field mushrooms & herbed bruschetta with semi-dried tomatoes & rocket salad. Not a huge menu, but then it’s better than in some other lounges. As with the cocktails, the food menu has been designed by Australian restaurant Rockpool.
Rockpool Bar & Grill can be found in Sydney, Perth and Melbourne and are a upmarket collection of restaurants that place an emphasis on excellent produce, delivered with a precise and attentive service style. These award wining eateries offer an upscale environment with a relaxed vibe.
Bart opted for the Eggs Benedict, which he thought were very good, with perfectly firm white and a runny yolk. Service was friendly, slick and efficient even though the tables in the dining area were all full.
Bart ended up staying in the lounge for a lot longer than I had. Brunch gave way to lunch and afternoon tea, complete with scones, jam and cream, served on elegant Royal Albert crockery decorated by Miranda Kerr. By the time he left the lounge, they had started evening service downstairs. The offerings included a hearty Lancashire hotpot and a light salad of kale, quinoa, preserved lemon, feta and coriander.
Seating and (a slight lack of) power
Downstairs, the seating is mainly for the table service, though there are some high seats at the Gin Bar. Upstairs, there are different seating areas. Overlooking the runway are some lounge seats, with small tables. There are also power outlets along the wall, which are double UK sockets with two USB ports.
Down one side of the stairwell there is a row of tables and chairs and opposite them is a row of lounge chairs with tables between each pair. There are power outlets along either side. Either side of the bar are long couches, with seats facing them and tables and none of these have power outlets. At the back (?) end by the buffet area are some high-backed bonket seating with small tables. Again, there are no power outlets at these seats, though there are a few on the back wall.
As well as the general seating areas, there are two private rooms. These are for VIP guests, though they can be used for any travellers when they are not reserved.
Showers, loos and other facilities in the Qantas London Lounge at Heathrow
As well as the lounge seating, there is a work bench with power outlets, an iMac and a printer for those who want to do some work. (Downstairs there’s also another iMac and printer). The lounge offers superfast WiFi throughout (we were both pretty impressed by the speed) and you can print wirelessly to either of the printers.
The upper level also has a couple of large tables with chairs which is handy if your travelling in a big group or want somewhere to work. The one slightly odd thing is the children’s play area. This seems to have been plonked in as an afterthought and sits in the middle of the upper floor of the lounge.
Unlike many lounges, the Qantas London Lounge at Heathrow has individual bathrooms, with a WC and sink. These are pretty spacious and well appointed. There’s more marble here, and also fabulous mirrors that are formed out of interconnecting belts.
The toiletries are by Aspar. The Botanical hand wash smells divine. We didn’t get to try out the showers, but again, they are stocked with the Aspar toiletries. The majority of the loos and the showers are on the upper floor. There are however a ladies and a gents loo on the lower floor.
You can tell that Qantas have put a lot of effort into the styling of the lounge and the Gin Bar is a great statement piece. The lounge has a clean, fresh feel and has a more vibrant atmosphere than some other lounges. Having said that, we both found it quite relaxing.
As I made my way to my gate for my flight, the lady who had checked me in made a point of asking me how I had enjoyed the lounge. Both the check-in hosts wished me a great flight and with big smiles said they hoped to see me again soon. Call me old fashioned, but when I get attention like that, it definitely makes you want to return to a place. Here’s looking forward to my next visit to the Qantas London Lounge at Heathrow.
When is the Qantas London Lounge open?
The Qantas London Lounge is open daily from 8:00am until 8:30pm and welcomes:
- First class & Business class passengers on Qantas flights and those of Oneworld airlines departing from London Heathrow Terminal 3 (American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, JAL, LATAM, Royal Jordanian & SriLankan Airlines)
- Qantas Platinum One, Platinum and Gold frequent flyers (and one guest) and their Oneworld Emerald and Sapphire equivalents, when on Qantas or Oneworld flights
- Qantas Club members (and one guest) on Qantas flights
- Holders of a Qantas Club lounge invitation when on a Qantas flight
- Emirates Skywards Platinum and Gold cardholders when on Qantas flights
NB: Oneworld flights do not include codeshare flights with non-Oneworld airlines, even those marketed by a Oneworld member but operated by a non-Oneworld carrier, or those operated by a Oneworld member but marketed by a non-Oneworld carrier.