Review: Sydney Qantas First Class Lounge

Sydney Qantas First Class Lounge

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Qantas offers some of the best First Class lounges in the world and as a fan of the airline’s First Class lounge in Los Angeles and even the recently opened Business Class lounge in London, I was genuinely excited to revisit the Sydney Qantas First Class lounge to remind myself of what it’s like.

Opening Hours & Entry

The lounge is officially open between 5:00am and 10:00pm but it will stay open later if the last Qantas departure is delayed.

Per the oneworld webpage, you must be departing on a flight that is both marketed and operated by a oneworld member airline to qualify for access to the lounge. This rule applies to guests too.

Access is granted to:

  • Oneworld Emerald status holders + 1 guest
  • Travelers booked into First Class + 1 guest
  • First Class customers connecting on the same day of travel, or before 6am the following day, can access the lounge when travelling between an international long-haul and an international short-haul or domestic flight (and vice-versa).
  • Lounge access will be determined on the international long-haul ticketed flight (either First of Business Class) regardless of the ticketed class of travel on the international short-haul or domestic flight.

Location

The Sydney Qantas First Class lounge is located on level 4 of Terminal 1 at Sydney International Airport.

To get into the lounge you clear security and then follow the signs which lead to a set of escalators (they’re hard to miss!). These escalators lead to level 3:

Sydney Qantas First Class Lounge

At the top of the escalators is the main door to the lounge….

Sydney Qantas First Class Lounge

…and through that door is another set of escalators leading up to the lounge:

Sydney Qantas First Class Lounge

The Sydney Qantas First Class Lounge

The first thing you’re faced with as you enter the lounge is the welcome desk staffed by incredibly friendly staff.

Sydney Qantas First Class Lounge

To the left is a fully operational old-style departures board (which I love!)….

Sydney Qantas First Class Lounge

…and to the right is the lounge itself.

The lounge runs from right to left and perpendicular to the welcome desk (so it’s a long rectangular shape) and it has floor-to-ceiling windows running the entire length of the lounge.

Sydney Qantas First Class Lounge

The windows are amongst my favorite things in this lounge as they let in so much light that the lounge can feel twice the size it really is (and it’s not a small lounge to start off with). They also give guests great views of the airport apron…..

Sydney Qantas First Class Lounge

…and, on a clear day, you can see Sydney in the distance.

The lounge is divided into sections by wooden structures that most frequent flyers will recognise in a heartbeat….

Sydney Qantas First Class Lounge

…and the seating in these sections doesn’t vary all that much from one end of the lounge to another.

At one end of the lounge you’ll find an area designed to look a little like a private library….

Sydney Qantas First Class Lounge

….and next to this are a set of meeting rooms that can be booked at the welcome desk.

Sydney Qantas First Class Lounge

But, with the exception of the dining area, the rest of the lounge is filled with armchairs and sofas:

Sydney Qantas First Class Lounge

Sydney Qantas First Class Lounge

Sydney Qantas First Class Lounge

For those who like to look out over the airport apron there are comfortable armchairs lined up by the windows….

Sydney Qantas First Class Lounge

Sydney Qantas First Class Lounge

….and these come with an unexpected party-piece – they recline!

Sydney Qantas First Class LoungeSydney Qantas First Class Lounge

The one issue I should point out at this point is the issue of power outlets – there really isn’t enough of them in the lounge and the ones that are there aren’t always well located.

Β Sydney Qantas First Class Lounge

Also, if you’re not from Oz, be prepared to bring an adapter with you as all the power outlets I saw were of the Australian three-pronged kind.

Qantas First Class Lounge Dining

The dining area is located towards the center of the lounge and comprises a staffed bar at which you can choose to dine….

Sydney Qantas First Class Lounge

Sydney Qantas First Class Lounge

…and a dining area across from the bar with tables offering views across the airport apron.

Sydney Qantas First Class Lounge

Everything in the lounge is served to guests by waitstaff supplied by Sofitel and, while the lounge is overseen by Qantas, the food and beverage selection is all supplied by Rockpool.

The bar is very well stocked so it’s unlikely guests will be able to trip up the bar staff too often….

Sydney Qantas First Class Lounge

Sydney Qantas First Class Lounge

Sydney Qantas First Class Lounge

…and if alcoholic beverages aren’t your thing there’s a good selection of sodas and juices as well as an excellent range of teas….

Sydney Qantas First Class Lounge

…and a full-size (professional) espresso/coffee maker behind the bar.

The lounge offers a la carte table service and there’s something about being handed a menu without prices that I don’t think I’ll ever get bored with πŸ™‚

Click to enlarge the menu

Sydney Qantas First Class Lounge

The champagnes on offer were pretty good….

Sydney Qantas First Class Lounge

…I’m not sure I know enough about the whites to pass comment…

Sydney Qantas First Class Lounge

…but do I know enough about the reds to say that it was a solid selection:

Sydney Qantas First Class Lounge

Lastly, for anyone wondering what the dessert wine selection looked like…here it is:

Sydney Qantas First Class Lounge

On the food front it’s tantamount to sacrilege to visit the Qantas First Class lounge and not order the “salt & pepper squid”…so that’s what I opened up with:

Sydney Qantas First Class Lounge

Sydney Qantas First Class Lounge

It. Was. Delicious.

The squid was substantial yet flavorful….and not in any way rubbery (like poorly cooked squid can be) and I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I asked for a second helping!

After a suitable amount of time had passed after my second helping of squid, I moved on to the “lucky duck noodles”.

The pictures below really don’t do the dish justice. While the noodles weren’t in any way as fantastic as the squid (I’m not sure much is!), they were nicely cooked and thoroughly enjoyable.

Sydney Qantas First Class Lounge

Sydney Qantas First Class Lounge

It was lucky for me that I had as much time in the lounge as I did as this allowed me to have another long gap between courses and before I ordered the lounge’s “signature Pavlova with mango and passion fruit”.

Sydney Qantas First Class Lounge

When the dessert arrived it was hard not to wonder if I hadn’t accidentally ordered a troll doll rather than the Pavlova…

Sydney Qantas First Class Lounge

….but, as with the noodles, the picture doesn’t really do the dessert justice and it was really very good.

Qantas First Class Lounge Amenities

Aside from the meeting rooms I mentioned earlier the lounge has three primary amenities:

  • A spa
  • Shower facilities
  • Work area

Sydney Qantas First Class LoungeSydney Qantas First Class Lounge

The spa is open between 08:00 and 16:00 so, as I only got to the lounge shortly after 16:00, I didn’t get a chance to check that out.

Fortunately the shower facilities are separate from the spa so I was able to make use of those.

There was no sign-up sheet for the showers during my visit – you just helped yourself to whatever free cubicle you could find (and there were plenty).

The decor of the shower cubicles is very similar to what you’ll find in the Qantas LAX First Class Lounge and the new Qantas Business Class lounge in London so, if you’ve visited either of those, you’ll know what to expect.

Each shower cubicle offers the usual Qantas toiletries as well as dental kits, razors and a few other items travelers may need.

Sydney Qantas First Class Lounge

The work area is found towards the left hand end of the lounge (near the entrance to the spa and showers).

The work area consists of three iMac computers….

Sydney Qantas First Class Lounge

Sydney Qantas First Class Lounge

…and a pair of printers/copiers:

Sydney Qantas First Class Lounge

There’s very little dividing this work area from the rest of the lounge so it’s not a particularly quiet or private place to work. It’s more of an emergency work area for those who haven’t got their laptops with them or for those need to print something off rather than somewhere I’d happily sit down to a few hours work.

Thoughts

Negatives:

  • The lounge needs more power outlets and, if possible, multi-region power outlets
  • The work area is pretty basic and, if you’re not a Mac-person, the lack of a PC option may be an issue.
  • Decor-wise the lounge is starting to show its age.

Positives:

  • The staff in all parts of the lounge are incredibly friendly, helpful and polite
  • The food options are great and the salt and pepper squid (in particular) is delicious
  • The champagne options are among the better ones in the oneworld lounge network
  • The lounge offers some great views over the airport apron and the runway and, thanks to the floor to ceiling windows, it’s incredibly light and airy.
  • The shower facilities are good and the cubicles are spacious so getting changed for the flight ahead isn’t an exercise in contortion.

Bottom Line

In a number of ways the lounge is starting to show its age but, overall, it’s still a fantastic place to relax before a flight.

Despite not having the option of the spa on my visit I still loved every minute of my time in the lounge and I walked out beautifully relaxed and ready for the flight ahead – that’s what a great lounge should do every time and the Qantas First Class Lounge in Sydney does it for me.

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