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Update: A more recent review of the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at Heathrow T3 is available via this link.
Disclosure: I was booked on a Premium Economy fare on this trip and I asked the Virgin Atlantic PR team for access to the Clubhouse for the purposes of this review (I had never been inside this Clubhouse before). The fact that access was kindly granted has not impacted the opinions put forward in this review.
There are hundreds of airline lounges around the world but there are only a few that make frequent appearances on the lists of “the best lounges in the world” that frequent flyers like to compile (ignore the lists you’ll find in glossy magazines – they’re mostly nonsense).
Lounges like Cathay’s “The Pier” First Class lounge and Qatar Airways’ Al Safwa First Class lounge always make these lists (with good reason) and are a cut above most lounges, but the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at Heathrow T3 regularly gets a mention too (it seems almost universally popular) so I was excited to finally be able to take a look inside and see what’s on offer.
Who can access the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse?
- Passengers traveling in Virgin Upper Class (Business Class)
- Passengers traveling in Delta One
- Flying Club Gold members traveling on Virgin Atlantic
- Delta SkyMiles Diamond Medallion card holders*
- Delta SkyMiles Platinum Medallion card holders*
- Air New Zealand Gold card holders**
- Air New Zealand Gold Elite card holders**
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Elite Gold members and PPS card holders**
- Virgin Australia Velocity Club Gold card holders**
- Virgin Australia Velocity Club Platinum card holders**
- Virgin Australia Velocity The Club card holders**
*When traveling on a Virgin Atlantic or Delta Air Lines operated flight leaving the UK to any US airport. Or if you’re arriving from the US on a Virgin Atlantic or Delta flight and connecting at London Heathrow to another Virgin Atlantic or Delta operated flight (on the same day).
**When traveling on a Virgin Atlantic operated codeshare flight.
Who Can Bring A Guest?
Passengers listed above (excluding Delta One passengers and Singapore Airlines members) are welcome to bring a single guest to the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse as long as they’re traveling on the same flight.
The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse Heathrow
The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse in Terminal 3 is one level up from the departure’s concourses and can be accessed via elevator…
…or via the staircase you’ll find just past the elevators:
As you walk into the lounge, the space stretches out from left to right with seating areas on both sides…
…. and with a large bar dominating the area directly ahead.
The bar offers one of the most impressive selections of alcoholic drinks that I’ve seen in an airline lounge and, now that I think about it some more, I’m not sure I’ve ever been in a lounge with a more comprehensive set of drink options.
Here’s the menu:
The bar is staffed by trained mixologists so if there’s a particular cocktail that you’d like, it shouldn’t be a problem to have one of them create it for you.
The “plenty of options” theme continues with the Clubhouse’s seating areas which offer a remarkable variety of chairs, loungers, and sofas.
If you’re looking for relaxation and comfort the Clubhouse has Eames-style chairs that are my personal favorites…
…and a variety of other armchairs.
And if you’re looking for something a little quirky…
…or even something a little “out there”…
…the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse has you covered.
A significant amount of lounge space has been dedicated to the dining areas which take up a large portion of the left side of the lounge…and the theme of multiple seating options continues.
The clubhouse offers a small Deli (cold-food) service area which is open throughout the day.
I was visiting in the morning so the deli was serving is breakfast selection included a variety of bread and pastries…
…cold cuts and cheeses…
…and fruits, cereals and yogurts:
The deli’s breakfast ends at 11:30am when it’s replaced with “lunch and supper” during which time it offers a similar (but different) range of items.
The deli is really only a sideshow as the main event is the Clubhouse’s a la carte menu which you’ll find at each table.
This was the menu on offer on the day of my visit (it may vary from season to season):
Breakfast is served until 12pm, lunch/dinner is served from 12pm and there’s an afternoon tea option which is served between 3pm and 5:30pm.
All food and drinks in the Clubhouse are complimentary so you won’t see any prices on the menus and, as this isn’t the US where tipping is out of control, gratuities are not expected.
The Clubhouse is home to a good-sized spa that offers a wide variety of services…mostly for a fee.
Here’s the current spa menu:
Virgin Atlantic and Delta customers can get one complimentary spa treatment (out of the 6 complimentary treatments listed on the spa menu). All other treatments come with a fee.
Next up is an amenity you definitely don’t see in many lounges around the world – a barbershop!
What’s even more rate is a barbershop that’s free…which is exactly what this is.
However, while the spa and barbershop are certainly nice to have they’re not what I would call “good lounge essentials” (they’re more of a luxury than an essential ingredient to a good lounge), but the next amenity that the Clubhouse offers is definitely on the “must-have” list for any lounge aspiring to greatness – good shower rooms.
These shower rooms are very good indeed – they put the shower rooms in BA’s T5 lounges to shame and they’re only just short of being as good as the shower rooms that Cathay Pacific offers in the same terminal.
They’re a very good size, they’re well stocked with towels, the staff will provide most items a guest may need (toothbrush, toothpaste, razor, shaving cream, etc..) and the Cowshed toiletries are a nice touch too.
Finally, we come to one of my favorite aspects of the Virgin Atlantic T3 Clubhouse – the roof terrace (or “the garden” as Virgin calls it):
This is AvGeek heaven. Not only does it overlook the T3 apron…
…but it also offers views of one of Heathrow’s runways:
On a sunny day this can be a great place to spend some time before a long flight.
As Business Class lounges go the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at Heathrow is a very good lounge indeed. It’s spacious, it has plenty of seating options, it has some very good amenities (the showers are particularly good), the staff I met and interacted with were all friendly and happy to be of service, the food and drinks options were better than in most lounges I’ve visited and the roof deck is a great bonus to have.
It’s very hard to find a reason not to really, really like the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse…I just wish I had more opportunities to visit!