WE ARE A LUXURY TRAVEL AGENCY, WITH AN EXCLUSIVE NETWORK OF PARTNER HOTELS WORLDWIDE.
WE ARE A LUXURY TRAVEL AGENCY, WITH AN EXCLUSIVE NETWORK OF PARTNER HOTELS WORLDWIDE.
WE ARE A LUXURY TRAVEL AGENCY, WITH AN EXCLUSIVE NETWORK OF PARTNER HOTELS WORLDWIDE.
WE ARE A LUXURY TRAVEL AGENCY, WITH AN EXCLUSIVE NETWORK OF PARTNER HOTELS WORLDWIDE.
WE ARE A LUXURY TRAVEL AGENCY, WITH AN EXCLUSIVE NETWORK OF PARTNER HOTELS WORLDWIDE.
WE ARE A LUXURY TRAVEL AGENCY, WITH AN EXCLUSIVE NETWORK OF PARTNER HOTELS WORLDWIDE.
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VS upper 787 1 80x80 - REVIEW - Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse - London (LHR)
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REVIEW – Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse – London (LHR)


Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse

  • Location: London Heathrow LHR Terminal 3
  • Lounge access:
    • Passengers travelling in Virgin Atlantic Upper Class

    • Passengers travelling in Delta One*

    • Delta SkyMiles Diamond and Platinum Medallion card holders*

    • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Elite Gold members and PPS card holders**

    • Flying Blue Platinum card holders*

    • Air New Zealand Gold and Gold Elite card holders when travelling with Virgin Atlantic to San Francisco

    • Virgin Australia Velocity Club Gold, Platinum and The Club card holders**

*When travelling between UK-US on a Virgin Atlantic or Delta Air Lines operated flight.

**When travelling on a Virgin Atlantic operated flight.

 


Intro


Heathrow’s Terminal 3 has a particularly impressive concentration of top quality lounges, reviews of which you can read below:

I have a real soft spot for the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse though. Indeed my first ever luxury travel review, back in 2013, was of a flight on Virgin Atlantic Upper Class (on the now defunct Tokyo Narita route).

Having had the great fortune to travel on the majority of the world’s top Business and First Class products since my last visit, I was very intrigued to see how a return visit would stack up.

 


Upper Class Wing


It would be remiss of me to begin this review at the doors of the lounge itself, since arriving into Virgin’s Upper Class Wing is such a key part of the experience at Heathrow.

The wing is attached to the far end of Terminal 3 and is accessed via a completely different entrance to the regular terminal.

In order to gain access, we were first required to confirm our last names and flight details at a checkpoint. After this it was a short drive up a steep ramp, which opened into an impressive circular courtyard, complete with a sculpture of a gigantic golden orb.

VS clubhouse LHR 2 - REVIEW - Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse - London (LHR)
VS clubhouse LHR 1 - REVIEW - Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse - London (LHR)

Private check-in facilities for First Class passengers of Thai, ANA or Singapore airlines are nowhere near as impressive as this – even in their home bases. The fact that this is a Business Class facility is honestly incredible.

Indeed, the sense of calm and quiet here is far more akin to the experience of checking in for a private jet flight (albeit with more impressive decor).

Staff at check-in were very friendly and chatty, despite obviously having a much tougher workload these days, due to COVID related paperwork and procedures.

Having a private facility like this makes a huge difference when customers require extra care and attention during check-in. We had a brief wait of 5 minutes or so before being called to the counter but there was plenty of available seating in which to sit and relax.

VS clubhouse LHR 4 - REVIEW - Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse - London (LHR)
VS clubhouse LHR 3 - REVIEW - Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse - London (LHR)

Upon completing check-in we walked along a short corridor, leading directly to Virgin’s private security lane. 

VS clubhouse mobile 2 450x638 - REVIEW - Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse - London (LHR)
VS clubhouse mobile 1 - REVIEW - Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse - London (LHR)

It’s hard to overstate how amazing it is to be able to breeze through security like this. When we exited the security lane we were deposited into the main security hall of Heathrow’s Terminal 3, which was absolutely heaving with passengers. Every scanner was completely jammed full of people with lines stretching beyond the security hall’s entrances.

 


Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse


The Clubhouse is located one floor above the main departure terminal. You can either access this via set of brightly illuminated black marble staircases or via a lift with a purple leather sofa inside.

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Virgin Atlantic LHR Clubhouse – entrance.

Staff at the counter were once again very friendly and keen to chat about travel, the lounge, fun destinations, etc. They also offered a brief rundown of the facilities as they welcomed us inside.

Staff throughout the Clubhouse seemed to be genuinely proud to be working here. 

As we stepped into the lounge for the first time in nearly 8 years, it was not hard to see why. The design here has aged beautifully and the midcentury modern look is every bit as striking today as it always was.

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Virgin Atlantic LHR Clubhouse – main hall.

Once inside, there was a counter where guests could ask for assistance with flights, together with an area for storing bags. There was no formal procedure here with tickets etc. Passengers were just invited to leave coats and bags at their leisure.

VS clubhouse LHR 9 880x587 - REVIEW - Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse - London (LHR)

Virgin Atlantic LHR Clubhouse – service counter.

After leaving a few things in the cloakroom, we made a beeline directly to the bar where we ordered some beautifully crafted espresso martinis.

Screenshot at May 03 11 57 30 - REVIEW - Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse - London (LHR)
VS clubhouse LHR 12 - REVIEW - Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse - London (LHR)Virgin Atlantic LHR Clubhouse - bar

Service here was excellent, with staff striking up interesting conversations with us and really engaging with us as guests.

At BA lounges the service tends to be quite abrupt as a result of a significant language barrier. Virgin’s staffing policy is clearly very inclusive but here all the staff we encountered were either native or highly fluent English speakers, meaning that they had the confidence to express themselves and provide truly amazing service.

After sitting and chatting at the bar for a while, we made a quick stop at the deli to pick up some of the delicious beetroot cured salmon.

VS clubhouse LHR 14 880x587 - REVIEW - Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse - London (LHR)

Virgin Atlantic LHR Clubhouse – deli.

We took a seat at the very stylish white marble island opposite and ordered some a la carte dishes and Jacquart champagne via QR code.

Both my Eggs Royale and Kamara’s Daal dish were amazing. This was a true a la carte dining experience, a world away from the usual troughs of self-service lounge slop that so many other European airlines serve.

VS clubhouse LHR 15 450x600 - REVIEW - Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse - London (LHR)
VS clubhouse LHR 16 - REVIEW - Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse - London (LHR)
VS clubhouse LHR 17 - REVIEW - Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse - London (LHR)

Should we have preferred a more formal restaurant setting, plush velvet booths were also available just behind us.

 

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Virgin Atlantic LHR Clubhouse – dining booths.

After our meal we decided to explore the lounge a bit, heading to the far right hand side to begin with. The combination of the sunken lounge seating and the tiered ceiling lighting is truly iconic and in terms of the overall feel, this lounge reminds me the most of the Qantas First Class lounge in Sydney, albeit with a bit more of a fun twist.

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Virgin Atlantic LHR Clubhouse – social seating.

A rather disappointing change to the lounge came with the removal of the complimentary hairdressing service. As with many COVID related cost-cutting exercises, I doubt that the bean counters will reverse the decision – now that paid hairdressing staff have been replaced with product placement for Peloton.

VS clubhouse LHR 22 880x587 - REVIEW - Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse - London (LHR)

Virgin Atlantic LHR Clubhouse – Peloton bikes.

Next to the Peloton bikes is another area that has suffered from cutbacks. Previously this was a spa area, offering massages, facials and other similar treatments (some paid, some complimentary). Again, under the auspices of COVID, this has now been replaced by several ‘relaxation pods’ and an Instagrammable chair.

VS clubhouse LHR 24 768x512 - REVIEW - Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse - London (LHR)
VS clubhouse LHR 23 450x483 - REVIEW - Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse - London (LHR)

Just past the relaxation area were the bathrooms, which were decorated in a modern, minimalist style and featured Ren toiletries.

VS clubhouse LHR 25 450x600 - REVIEW - Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse - London (LHR)
VS clubhouse LHR 26 450x600 - REVIEW - Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse - London (LHR)

Back inside the main lounge there was a more private and spacious feeling seating area, just past the bar. 

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Virgin Atlantic LHR Clubhouse – seating area.

Continuing on from here was an area featuring lounge chairs, set up for TV viewing.

VS clubhouse LHR 28 880x587 - REVIEW - Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse - London (LHR)

Virgin Atlantic LHR Clubhouse – TV viewing area.

Beyond this TV area, there was some more cafeteria style seating, with QR code menus set at each table.

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Virgin Atlantic LHR Clubhouse – cafeteria seating.

Continuing on from here, there were several very elegant workstations set up, with multiple power sockets and even wireless charging pads. I like how some of them were completely empty, acknowledging that most people will be working from their own laptop. They also enjoyed plenty of natural light and were beautifully designed.

All too often you’ll find business facilities tucked away in some corner as an afterthought. I could comfortably sit here and run my business for an afternoon with plenty of privacy and space for my multi screen setup.

VS clubhouse LHR 30 880x645 - REVIEW - Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse - London (LHR)

Virgin Atlantic LHR Clubhouse – workstation.

This end of the lounge was generally quieter and featured plenty of empty seating areas, with views of the planes.

VS clubhouse LHR 31 880x561 - REVIEW - Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse - London (LHR)

Virgin Atlantic LHR Clubhouse – views.

The Clubhouse also features a small upstairs loft area, which was Grey Goose branded last time I was in here but otherwise looked identical on this occasion.

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Virgin Atlantic LHR Clubhouse – loft area.

Up another flight of stairs is the lounge’s outdoor terrace – quite the coup as this is the only lounge in all of Heathrow airport to feature one. 

VS clubhouse LHR 33 880x587 - REVIEW - Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse - London (LHR)

Virgin Atlantic LHR Clubhouse – roof terrace.

Despite the colourful furniture, the grey fencing and small footprint lend this area the feel of a prison exercise yard, rather than a luxurious lounge. It’s cool to see the planes up close…

VS clubhouse LHR 34 880x587 - REVIEW - Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse - London (LHR)

Virgin Atlantic LHR Clubhouse – roof terrace view.

…but the terrace is a far cry from the truly excellent Star Alliance Lounge Terrace at LAX. There, guests can pull up a seat at a rooftop bar with a fire pit, with glass walls affording unobstructed views of the runway.

 


Conclusion


Virgin Atlantic’s ground experience at London Heathrow remains one of the very best in the world.

The Upper Class Wing specifically is without question the best Business Class check-in facility on the planet. In the many years since it opened, no other airline has even attempted to compete. 

As a standalone lounge, the Virgin Clubhouse is also very impressive. It is so much better than BA’s Heathrow lounges, that it’s almost laughable to compare them. Where BA have gone for the cheapest possible ingredients, dreary furniture and perfunctory service, Virgin have done the exact opposite.

The experience here is truly fun; you feel welcome from the moment you enter and staff genuinely seem to enjoy working here. They’re proud of the product and it shows. 3 hours is probably the bare minimum amount of time I’d recommend to a first time visitor. 

You’ll want to move around, explore the different areas, have a meal, order cocktails. Before you know it, it will be time to board and you’ll honestly wish you’d arrived here sooner.

This may not be as luxurious as the Lufthansa First Class Terminal or Singapore’s : The Private Room but honestly, I’d far rather spend my time here. 

 

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