Review: The Qantas Lounge London Heathrow T3

Qantas London Lounge Heathrow T3

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It’s here! The Qantas London Lounge at Heathrow Terminal 3 opened its doors to the media today and will open to guests from tomorrow (29 November 2017).

I was lucky enough to get an invitation to official opening hosted by Alan Joyce (Qantas Group CEO) and got a chance to see inside the lounge and to take some pictures of the new facility.

You may have already seen the media images that have been released but the images in this post are my own so there’s no photoshopping going on…this is exactly what you’ll find when you visit.

The Qantas London Lounge Heathrow T3

In 70 years of service between Australia and London this is the first time that Qantas has had its own lounge at London Heathrow…so this is as big a deal for the airline as it is to oneworld flyers.

It’s almost impossible to miss the lounge as it’s located almost directly ahead of you as soon as you exit the duty free area of Heathrow T3.

Qantas Lounge London Heathrow T3 Review

Qantas Lounge London Heathrow T3 Review

The first thing to note is that the lounge does not have a separate First Class area so this is a lounge for both First and Business Class passengers as well as oneworld Emerald and Sapphire members.

The lounge is set over two floors and holds seating for “more than 230 customers”.

The lower level of the lounge is predominantly dedicated to dining and is dominated by a gin bar which offers bar-style dining on one side….

Qantas Lounge London Heathrow T3 Review

Qantas Lounge London Heathrow T3 Review

…and a buffet area on another side:

Qantas Lounge London Heathrow T3 Review

The gin selection looks impressive and tips its hat at both Australia and the UK:

Qantas Lounge London Heathrow T3 Review

Qantas Lounge London Heathrow T3 Review

Don’t worry if you don’t like gin as the bar offers beer on tap….

Qantas Lounge London Heathrow T3 Review

…and a variety of wines (red and white)….

Qantas Lounge London Heathrow T3 Review

…as well as soft drinks, teas and coffee from an impressive looking machine.

Qantas Lounge London Heathrow T3 Review

The remainder of the first level of the lounge is taken up with various dining tables and chairs:

Qantas Lounge London Heathrow T3 Review

Qantas Lounge London Heathrow T3 Review

Qantas Lounge London Heathrow T3 Review

If you need access to power outlets while you’re on this level you should aim for the green leather bench at the far side of the gin bar as this has power outlets and USB ports at ankle level.

Qantas Lounge London Heathrow T3 Review

The upstairs level of the lounge can be accessed by a lift or central stairway that leads from one side of the bar.

Looking down the stairway from the upper level of the Qantas Lounge

The first thing you encounter as you reach the top of the stairs is a round cocktail bar.

Qantas Lounge London Heathrow T3 Review

Qantas Lounge London Heathrow T3 Review

If the lower level was mainly about dining then this level is mainly about relaxing or doing some work (while having a drink!).

There are stools around the bar and armchairs and sofas either side:

Qantas Lounge London Heathrow T3 Review

Qantas Lounge London Heathrow T3 Review

Qantas Lounge London Heathrow T3 Review

By the windows (behind the bar) you’ll find a row of armchairs facing towards the windows….

Qantas Lounge London Heathrow T3 Review

….although, due to the nature of the armchairs and the fact that the windows are not of the “floor-to-ceiling” variety, I’m not sure just how much you’ll be able to see out of the windows once you’ve sat down.

There are various chair/table set ups on either side of the upper level of the lounge….

Qantas Lounge London Heathrow T3 Review

Qantas Lounge London Heathrow T3 Review

Qantas Lounge London Heathrow T3 Review

Qantas Lounge London Heathrow T3 Review

Qantas Lounge London Heathrow T3 Review

…and, at the end furthest away from the cocktail bar is a buffet area serving much the same as the buffet area on the lower level (more on the food later).

Qantas Lounge London Heathrow T3 Review

This is also where you’ll find the “Quench Hydration Station” which offers herbal teas, fruit infused water and sparking water.

Qantas Lounge London Heathrow T3 Review

Qantas Lounge London Heathrow T3 Review

Qantas Lounge London Heathrow T3 Review

Qantas Lounge London Heathrow T3 Review

There’s more seating in this part of the lounge albeit slightly different from what is offered in other areas.

Qantas Lounge London Heathrow T3 Review

Qantas Lounge London Heathrow T3 Review

Qantas Lounge London Heathrow T3 Review

There is also a small work area in a corner of the lounge which, on my visit, just had a single iMac and a printer/copier/fax (I’m not sure if the lounge plans to add to this in the coming days/weeks).

Qantas Lounge London Heathrow T3 Review

It’s worth noting that there really aren’t all that many power outlets around the Qantas lounge and the ones that you’ll find are not of the universal variety.

Qantas Lounge London Heathrow T3 Review

Having 2 USB ports is very nice and I almost understand why Qantas decided that 3-pin style sockets were good enough (that’s what guests will have been using in the U.K.)….but what about passengers in transit from Europe?  And wouldn’t Aussies like to use their own style plugs their own lounge?

I would have preferred to see universal outlets installed.

The bathrooms in the lounge are of a very good size…..

Qantas Lounge London Heathrow T3 Review

…and the facility offers 6 shower cubicles…..

Qantas Lounge London Heathrow T3 Review

…one of which is of the accessible variety:

Qantas Lounge London Heathrow T3 Review

The Qantas media release describes the lounge as having “sweeping views of the airfield” which, in my opinion, may be taking a little bit of a liberty with that term.

Yes, you can definitely see the airfield from the lounge but I’m not sure I’d call the views sweeping.

Qantas Lounge London Heathrow T3 Review

For those of you who know Heathrow T3, the Qantas lounge is essentially in the space between the British Airways Galleries First lounge and the T3 Duty Free area so it shares very similar views to Galleries First…only because it’s closer to the terminal building the jet bridges take up a lot more of the view.

A sweeping view is more like the view you’ll get form the Cathay Pacific First Class lounge which, funnily enough, you can see from the Qantas lounge:

Qantas Lounge London Heathrow T3 Review

Lastly the food….

As usual with Qantas, the menus have been designed by Rockpool and the service staff are provided by Accor/Sofitel so things are going to be good – the main Qantas lounges around the world do service and food very well.

Guests will be able to enjoy à la carte service in the dining room (bottom level) with a selection of “plates of the day” including:

  • traditional British dishes such as ploughman’s platters, pot pies and scones with jam and cream
  • “Australian favourites” such as healthy brunch bowls with eggs, avocado and kale and zucchini and haloumi fritters
  • The signature salt and pepper squid as found in the Qantas First Class lounges in Australia.

That last menu item is truly fantastic (I had it a little over a week ago in the First Class lounge in Sydney) so, if nothing else, I’ll be visiting this lounge just for that. 🙂

In addition to the à la carte service the lounge will also offer “premium hot & cold buffets”.

Here are some images of the food that was on offer for the media event and which I’m told are representative of what guests will be being offered from tomorrow.

The items on offer included:

  • Fresh seasonal fruit
  • Yoghurt pots
  • Chia pudding
  • Bircher muesli
  • Mushroom and goat’s cheese tart
  • Smoked salmon and condiments
  • Kale, quinoa and pepita salad
  • Boiled eggs
  • Brioche roll with bacon, egg & HP sauce
  • English muffin with spinach egg and caramelised onion
  • House made muffins
  • Selection of pastries and breads

There may well have been more on offer but I got distracted by a Q&A with Alan Joyce….but I didn’t miss how good the drinks from the cocktail bar looked:

Thoughts

Negatives

  • I’m not sure there will be enough power outlets and, in busier times, I think guests will struggle to find somewhere to sit that has a power outlet close to hand.
  • The seating was comfortable but some of the furniture selection on the upper level was not really to my liking.

Positives

  • The gin bar and the cocktail bar look fantastic.
  • The coffee from the espresso machines was excellent.
  • The food offering looks like it’s going to be very good indeed and I have no doubt that the service will be excellent too (it almost always is in premium Qantas lounges).
  • The shower cubicles look nice and the fact that there are 6 of them should mean that the wait list shouldn’t ever get all that long.
  • The lounge architecture looks nice – marble has been used tastefully and the central staircase gives the lounge presence.

Bottom Line

It’s very important to remember that this isn’t a First Class lounge – it’s a First and Business Class lounge and when you look at it in that light this is a winner.

The seating may not all be to my taste but this lounge has more “First Class” about it than any other “First & Business Class” lounge I’ve visited. The food is definitely more akin to what you’d expect in a First Class lounge than a Business Class lounge and, from what I saw, it blows away what British Airways offers in its First Class lounge just steps away (and the less said about the American Airlines lounges the better).

As oneworld travelers, a lot of us became very excited when we finally got the Cathay Pacific lounges in Heathrow T3 as they’re both such a big improvement on the two BA lounges we’ve been stuck with for years – now we have another lounge to get excited about.

The Qantas London Lounge at Heathrow T3 may not be as big as the two Cathay Pacific lounges put together and it may not have the views that the Cathay lounges offer either….but the food, the service and the overall architecture of the Qantas lounge is more than a match for what Cathay offers….and that’s a pretty good compliment.

3 COMMENTS

  1. You seem to imply that Australia and UK use the same power outlet, this is incorrect, it’s kind of a shame that they didn’t put universal outlets, specifically Australian outlets as many of their customers will need them…

Comments are closed.