Virgin Australia's new Brisbane Airport lounge opens today, and Australian Business Traveller attended a media preview to bring you this first look at the lounge.
Like its Melbourne sibling, the Brisbane lounge sports a clean contemporary design created by architect Tim Greer, from Tonkin Zulaikha Greer.
The lounge has room for 200 seated guests in 700 square metres of space.
Martin Daley, Virgin Australia's Group Executive for Product and Guest Services, told Australian Business Traveller he expects around 180,000 passengers to pass through the lounge each year, averaging 500 per day and peaking at 700 per day.
As with Melbourne's lounge, the flowing space is carefully divided into several 'zones' to suit the different needs of passengers.
'The hearth', located on the left when you enter the lounge, is a communal area built around a long snaking table where you can grab a quick bite, bash out some work on the laptop or just share a drink with your fellow travellers.
Situated between the dedicated service desk (above) and a self-serve bar area (below) it's best suited to a short stay visit before boarding your flight.
The bar itself extends out to create a subtle division for this area, and then spears back to create 'the long bar' servery.
The long bar forms the spine of the lounge.
It incudes a self-serve selection of food...
... which is now complemented by a small grill for D-I-Y toasted sandwhiches.
The barista service is open around the clock...
... and anytime after 11am the bar is open.
Virgin Australia is introducing new wines from smaller vineyards, alongside the staples. These will be in all lounges from next week and will be rotated on a seasonal basis, and include two lower-alcohol wines.
The reds: Valley of the Giants from WA, Classic Dry Red 2010; Seaview 2010 special vintage Sangiovese, and Angel of the Abyss 2008 Del Diablo Loco McLarenvale shiraz.
The whites: Lumina 2010 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, Seaview 2010 special vintage Vermentino, Morgan's Bay 2010 Chardonnay.
And for bubbles: Gabbiano Asti and Morgan's Bay sparkling cuvee.
Exclusive to the Brisbane lounge will be Queensland beer Great Northern.
Across from the long bar are more of the curved workbenches with inbuilt AC powerpoints for laptops and tablets, while (of course) free wireless wafts through the lounge.
Behind these are scores of designer chairs and tables, in a glass-walled area which lets in the natural light.
At the far end is a small nook of chairs which is handy for the bar and food but also away from the crowd.
Back towards the entrance, and around behind the reception desk, is the large 'library' area.
We were amazed at how well this blocks out the sound of the rest of the lounge, much more so than its Melbourne counterpart.
Six meeting rooms adjacent to the lounge are being renovated and will reopen mid-August.
Also on the cards is valet parking and the possibility of a fast-track premium entry similar to Virgin Australia’s Sydney lounge.
The Brisbane lounge sits bestride an external rotunda which Daley says will be converted for valet parking by year’s end.
“At some stage in the future this could include premium entry, that’s in the design phase, ideally we can introduce this in the future.”
Daley says that Virgin Australia will allow reciprocal guest access for Qantas’ top tier frequent flyers through to the end of August.
Qantas Frequent Flyer Gold and Platinum members travelling on Virgin Australia will have full access to the Brisbane lounge until August 31. And even if they’re flying on Red Roo metal, Virgin Australia lounge staff will provide a guided tour of the lounge.
About David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.