Qantas Club domestic lounge, Melbourne Airport

Review: Qantas Club domestic lounge, Melbourne Airport

Country:
Australia
City:
Melbourne
Airport:
Melbourne
Cabin Class:
Any
Alliance:
oneworld
Airline:
QF (Qantas)

location:

dining:

work:

overall:

What's Hot

  • Fresh design with extra seating
  • As before, all-day barista coffee

What's Not

  • No more tarmac-facing windows

X-Factor

  • Revitalised bar area no longer tucked away in a corner

Introduction

Following extensive redevelopment works over the past 12 months, Melbourne’s new-look domestic Qantas Club lounge is now open, retaining staples like all-day barista coffee while also providing 10% more seats in the revitalised and also partially-relocated space.

Australian Business Traveller put the new Qantas Club lounge through its paces on a recent visit to Melbourne to bring you this review.

Location & Impressions

As before the renovations took place, you’ll find Melbourne’s Qantas Club after security screening and to the right-hand side in Terminal 1, through the door and up the escalator, shared also by the Business Lounge.

However, its location has changed somewhat: rather than being wholly in the space straight off that escalator, you now turn right at the top...

... which means no more tarmac views from anywhere in the lounge.

There are some windows towards the far end of the space, but these now face back into the terminal, not outside.

On the plus side, the overall seat count in the lounge has increased 10% to 530, helping to ease the squeeze at peak times, and with the previous guesting restrictions for Gold frequent flyers and Qantas Club members no longer in place.

Designed by Woods Bagot, Qantas says the lounge’s new colour palette is “inspired by the Great Ocean Road using natural timbers, cool greys and pops of turquoise.”

Given both the move and the extensive redesign, this feels like a brand new lounge, even though Melbourne obviously had a Qantas Club before. For example, the buffet areas are more approachable with prominent use of those natural timbers…

… and rather than having the bar tucked over against the wall as in the ‘old’ Qantas Club, it’s now an eye-catching central feature here, and as in other major Qantas lounges, the staff in Melbourne pump out espresso all day: fitting for Australia’s coffee capital:

Those with an eye for design might also notice that the furniture layout here and the lounge’s custom lighting give a nod to the road grid system of Melbourne’s CBD.

Access

With a separate Qantas Business Lounge also available for domestic passengers in Melbourne, this Qantas Club primarily serves:

  • Qantas Club members prior to Qantas, QantasLink and Jetstar flights booked on a Qantas or Jetstar flight number.
  • Qantas Gold frequent flyers prior to Qantas, QantasLink, Jetstar, Emirates and Oneworld flights (including domestic codeshares).
  • Oneworld Sapphire frequent flyers when their next onward flight that day is operated by Qantas or QantasLink with a QF or other Oneworld flight number (no access when flying Jetstar).
  • Emirates Skywards Gold cardholders travelling onwards aboard a Qantas, QantasLink or Emirates flight booked under a QF or EK flight number (includes access for domestic Qantas flights booked as an EK codeshare).
  • China Eastern's Eastern Miles Gold members departing on a domestic flight operated by Qantas or QantasLink.
  • American Airlines Admirals Club subscribers before a Qantas or QantasLink flight booked under a QF or AA flight number.
  • Qantas Silver frequent flyers and eligible credit card customers redeeming one of their single-use complimentary lounge passes prior to a Qantas, QantasLink or Jetstar flight.

The following guests are also welcome here, but will likely prefer the Qantas Business Lounge next door:

  • Qantas and QantasLink business class passengers.
  • Qantas Platinum and Platinum One frequent flyers and other Oneworld Emerald cardholders.
  • Emirates Skywards Platinum and China Eastern Platinum frequent flyers.
  • Passengers connecting to or from a same-day international business class or first class flight with Qantas, Emirates or a Oneworld airline, even if the domestic flight is booked in economy.

Dining

For many business travellers, the first port of call will be the barista station, where staff serve espresso coffee...

... and unless you're in a rush, these come in mugs and glassware: thank you, Qantas, for doing away with disposable cups as the 'default' here, as had previously been the case:

From the same counter, alcohol is available from midday...

... with a selection of wine, beer, cider...

... and spirits:

Also on the beverage front, a ‘Quench’ hydration station – as seen in Brisbane’s domestic and international business class lounges – for non-alcoholic refreshments…

… while the buffet changes throughout the day. A recent morning visit found fresh fruit salad, muesli…

… hot dishes like baked beans and hard-boiled eggs...

… the ingredients for a DIY toasted sandwich...

… and the requisite toasters, plus a pancake machine:

A selection of nibbles can be found towards the end of the buffet...

... while a separate station provides fruit, cereal and juice:

Down the far end of the space is also a self-serve coffee machine, if there's a long queue for the barista or you don't feel like walking back to the bar:

There are various types of dining tables spread throughout the lounge, such as these along the wall...

... others further along...

... and some high seating too:

Most other seats also provide at least a cocktail shelf to nurse your drink and snacks:

Work

When there’s work to do, you can set up at one of these benches, which provide access to both AC and USB power...

... or, plug in at one of these more relaxed seats – handy if you're just wanting to charge your phone:

While these tables also look like a good place to work, they don't provide access to power, nor do many of the other types of seats here, which is unfortunate.

Tucked away behind reception, there’s also a computer station with wireless printing from your own device also possible, but this remained in use for the duration of my visit.

Tests of the lounge’s WiFi network showed average download speeds of 40Mbps, and average uploads of 9Mbps.

Relax

When there’s time to unwind, there are plenty of places to make yourself comfortable…

… with a variety of reading material provided, although Qantas no longer provides complimentary access to PressReader to download publications on your own device, to printed material it is:

As in the previous Qantas Club, there’s also a space for children to play – fortunately away from the lounge’s main working areas, which keeps everybody happy (although no photos, as the space was in use).

Several private shower suites are available too, and come as a significant upgrade to the relatively basic showers these replace:

For regular Melbourne travellers, this was a much-needed revamp of the Qantas Club space, with an inviting and modern design, and of course, 10% more seats than before in one of Qantas’ busiest domestic ports.

However, it's unfortunate to have lost airside views here to make way for the new Business Lounge, when the previous one already had this feature, but at least there's some promise of natural light near the Qantas Club bar.

Chris Chamberlin travelled to Melbourne as a guest of Qantas.

Chris Chamberlin
Chris Chamberlin is a senior journalist with Australian Business Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!
 

38 comments

  • Tony D

    StarTeam

    1 Nov, 2018 12:20 pm

    It is very nice! Will check both lounges out this coming Saturday - never has been so excited before a domestic leg of the journey.
    No member give thanks

  • George Bagios

    gbagios

    1 Nov, 2018 12:25 pm

    Issues with WiFi connection which has never been a problem suggest using skip app when ordering coffee Just findingbit now way too busy
    No member give thanks

  • Steven Beale

    melbtraveler

    1 Nov, 2018 12:26 pm

    Awesome Review. The lady Barista you have featured is amazing. So friendly and loves a chat while making and taking lots of orders on the go and knows the regulars. Qantas if your reading as a HR Director myself she is an asset to you lounge and business
    Member who gave thanks

    Flyman

  • Stefan Kane

    DrSK

    1 Nov, 2018 06:06 pm

    Couldn't agree more - she is always so pleasant and engaging, and makes excellent coffee too. An absolute asset to the lounge and the airline more broadly.
    Member who gave thanks

    Yaf

  • Dale

    hakkinen5

    1 Nov, 2018 07:03 pm

    Yes Maria is fantastic. She is always happy and chatty and makes not only the regulars (some of which she knows by name) but everyone feel welcome. I hope Qantas look after her.
    No member give thanks

  • Steve987

    Steve987

    1 Nov, 2018 08:17 pm

    I always get a coffee from her before going to business lounge. Makes much better coffees and is great to chat to!
    Member who gave thanks

    jubsie

  • blart

    blart

    1 Nov, 2018 11:16 pm

    Ha! I thought I was the only one who did that!
    No member give thanks

  • Smith

    RMITLad

    1 Nov, 2018 12:38 pm

    3 stars seems a bit harsh, and expectations not inline with the prodcut offering. If this were a business lounge I'd rate it three stars, but as an airline club - seems a 4.5 too me. Not too much critisim in the article just on the natural light - which understanably should be prefferenced to high yielding business class. Regardless good to see a refresh, and QF continuing to invest in their lounge product- be interesting to see whats in store for SYD domestic, and one day Melbourne international.....

    No member give thanks

  • tomJ

    tomJ

    1 Nov, 2018 01:28 pm

    As far as the MEL international J lounge goes, it will probably move into the new T2 expansion that they're starting on in oct 2019.

    For anyone curious, it seems they're planning on squaring off the terminal by filling in much of the empty space between the main building and the gate 12-20 pier, the key benefits being 5 new lounges (hopefuly with windows) and a rooftop bar/observation deck.
    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    1 Nov, 2018 01:29 pm

    Hi RMITLad, just on the star rating: we’ve given this lounge 3.5 stars out of 5 (the same as a 7 out of 10), which we feel is fair, given that the lounge has lost most of its natural light in the revamp (which readers have previously told us is very important - take a look at the comments on our review of Melbourne’s international business class lounge, for example), combined with the desire for more power points, and the relatively limited hot food selection compared to other lounges.

    There’s no denying the style and design of the lounge is fantastic for a Qantas Club, of course!
    No member give thanks

  • Kathy Franklyn

    Kathy Franklyn

    7 Nov, 2018 04:52 pm

    Not a a fan of the new lounge at all. Seating very uncomfortable and can find better in the terminal
    No member give thanks

  • Annie K

    Anniek9

    7 Dec, 2018 03:34 pm

    I concur Kathy, I am also not a fan, it has a 'McDonalds' feel about it and sadly more aligned to the Virgin offering. The seating is not comfortable and the layout awkward. Sorry Qantas, after so much hype I'm disappointed.
    No member give thanks

  • Ian

    Ian Jones

    1 Nov, 2018 12:44 pm

    What about the toilets? Last time I was there in September, the toilets were woefully too small for the lounge capacity. I hoped it was just an interim problem but you haven't mentioned them - just the showers.
    No member give thanks

  • Scott Rawlings

    sra35

    1 Nov, 2018 02:10 pm

    Looks great to me and another area I feel that QF are ahead of Virgin. If you then add access to the QF Business lounge they are miles ahead of what Virgin offer
    No member give thanks

  • reeves35

    reeves35

    1 Nov, 2018 04:50 pm

    The Virgin Lounge in Melbourne is much more impressive than the new Qantas Club. The new Business Lounge may be nice but the Qantas Club looks and feels like it is built to a price. The old Qantas Club was definitely in need of an update but at least you didn't feel like you were being relegated to the "back-room."

    When I was in the new lounge, I missed feeling like I was on the Great Ocean Road or the echo of the Hoddle grid; it just felt like a lot of tables and chairs.
    No member give thanks

  • Nicho Kiu

    Nichokiu

    1 Nov, 2018 02:35 pm

    The food in this lounge is utterly woeful. Especially in the mornings - hot food options = beans. Seriously? For all the flying gold members do, the best Qantas can do is serve BEANS?!
    No member give thanks

  • sgb

    sgb

    1 Nov, 2018 03:06 pm

    Not Beans again....
    No member give thanks

  • jsf

    jsf

    1 Nov, 2018 03:19 pm

    Didn't even get beans in the morning 5AM for 6 AM flight.
    No member give thanks

  • jsf

    jsf

    1 Nov, 2018 03:22 pm

    Also they could've put some tags on the buffet table. Really can't tell if it's cream or yoghurt or salad dressing in the bowl.
    No member give thanks

  • williamjs

    williamjs

    1 Nov, 2018 03:39 pm

    So disappointing. Yeah, ok, fantastic, nice flashy new bars. Gold/QC members still fork out a lot of cash to QF, and a windowless lounge is poor form, especially given the VA domestic lounge gives you nice views out over the apron. I was very fond of sitting back with a drink in hand and watching the jets. Can't do that anymore.
    No member give thanks

  • levelnine

    levelnine

    1 Nov, 2018 07:29 pm

    Exactly. The loss of tarmac views is a huge disappointment. Natural light is essential to well being and the ability to view the aircraft was a boon for children and adults alike.
    No member give thanks

  • pearsonlive

    pearsonlive

    1 Nov, 2018 03:45 pm

    Whilst the food and drink areas look great, I can't help but feel that the seating is all a bit too much like a doctors waiting room and not a relaxing space to wait for a flight.
    No member give thanks

  • Kathy Franklyn

    Kathy Franklyn

    7 Nov, 2018 04:58 pm

    Totally agree re seating. Very uncomfortable for this kind of lounge. Feels like a 70’s cafeteria. Not somewhere to sit before or after a long flight

    No member give thanks

  • airADL

    airADL

    1 Nov, 2018 05:13 pm

    Not that impressed I think 3.5 stars is over generous.

    No natural light is awful.
    No member give thanks

  • LDom

    LDom

    2 Nov, 2018 12:21 am

    I was there this afternoon. It was very busy and not very relaxing. The poor staff were trying to keep up with clearing plates, glasses, etc but seemed to be fighting a losing battle. The seats seemed old already and not that clean. It is great that you can get a drink and food, but I was sitting there (once I found a seat) wondering if there was a quieter bar outside somewhere......
    No member give thanks

  • cgm

    cgm

    2 Nov, 2018 12:39 pm

    Tried it yesterday. Disappointed with the seating arrangements. Many of the seats resemble those found in a canteen and I would much prefer the seats at the departure gate to those. Some of the seating configurations just don't work well with table and food either. For me, increased capacity has been achieved at the expense of comfort and relaxation and won't look forward to going in there as much as I used to.
    No member give thanks

  • Bertie

    Bertie

    2 Nov, 2018 06:43 pm

    My wife and I visited this QF Club lounge yesterday 5 till 6.30pm. First impression was how busy and cramped it felt. And no windows to the tarmac!! It took us quite some time to find two seats together. Availability of food and drink was fine and staff were friendly and helpful. Overall, although brand new this lounge looks and feels like a big step down from the previous MEL QF Club. I only hope that the SYD one won't be going the same way!
    No member give thanks

  • Stm Aus

    stmaus

    5 Nov, 2018 01:02 pm

    Extremely noisy when busy.
    No member give thanks

  • Rosieh

    Rosieh

    7 Nov, 2018 10:36 am

    Domestic travellers have been given a massive downgrade. The reason people join the Qantas Club is to get away from the mayhem of the terminal and relax in quiet, comfortable seating and surrounds. Now we have garden furniture in a cramped, narrow, noisy, dark corridor. The lack of natural light is a foolish decision. I've yet to see it, but I'm so looking forward to the big windows to look down on the terminal mayhem to relax! There is little difference between the terminal and the Domestic QC lounge now. In fact, the terminal is probably more comfortable.
    No member give thanks

  • Kathy Franklyn

    Kathy Franklyn

    7 Nov, 2018 05:00 pm

    Agree totally. Downgrade no class uncomfortable seats and seating arrangements. Departure gates bettet
    No member give thanks

  • Faust3202

    Faust3202

    7 Dec, 2018 03:38 pm

    Ordinary cafeteria experience bordering on terrible. No natural light is not a good option, and removing the views of the tarmac whilst simultaneously shunting us to the back of the building is a bit of an insult. As a longtime Gold FF, I'm starting to get a bit jack of Qantas' disdain for its loyal customers.
    No member give thanks

  • michael blazewicz

    blaz

    7 Dec, 2018 04:14 pm

    Yes, I was there early Sunday morning, and the overall impression is that it is a bit of a corridor ,and lacked natural lighting but it wasn't very busy, so quite acceptable. However on my return trip on a weekday , by 4 pm it was over crowded, exacerbated by Sydney flight delays.... so getting to the bar was quite a feat. The only way you could obtain a seat was to wait for a flight call and get ready to pounce. Claustrophobic and crowded. Maybe it needs a few skylights, and another bar that opens when they get busy.
    No member give thanks

  • Anthony Liddy

    Tony.liddy

    9 Dec, 2018 05:50 pm

    You have to be kidding! Compared to the older lounge which had a club feel to it, this new lounge is like walking into a cafeteria or Westfield food hall. Nothing relaxing or comfortable about it, looks and feels cheap and IKEA like, including the bathrooms that also used to have some style about them. I’m very dissapointed and seriously considering dropping my paid lounge access or swapping to Virgin where I can have access for free. It’s clear from talking with a number of other lounge guests and travellers my thoughts are not alone. Please fix this unmitigated disaster.
    No member give thanks

  • Gary  Bryant

    good67

    10 Dec, 2018 11:18 pm

    No Windows to the tarmac :(
    Feels like some nasty cafeteria
    Could be in Coles Bourke St 1986
    No member give thanks

  • Mike Tuzee

    Mike T

    11 Dec, 2018 09:34 pm

    Very claustrophobic, no natural light or outlook.
    Cramped seating, might be more seating capacity but much less space. Reflects the seat pitch in economy really.
    Nothing seems to flow well, buffet poorly planned
    I miss Maria who made great coffee and very personable
    Just refreshing the old lounge would have been a far better result. Maybe that was like the comfortable old slipper but the new lounge really feels like a 2nd class downgrade.

    No member give thanks

  • Marks2

    Marks2

    28 Dec, 2018 03:37 pm

    Sorry, but no. I thought I'd wait till I had a flight via Melbourne before I offered an opinion. It seemed claustrophobic and cheap. I might as well just sit down and eat in the main terminal. The food when I was there (over lunch) was very limited and ordinary. The area seemed darker than in the images in this review. The money spent on a Qantas Club membership would be better spent on eating elsewhere in the terminal from the point of view of food variety and quantity as well as comfort and natural lighting.

    Anyone based in Melbourne and therefore using a lounge frequently should consider Virgin very seriously, or not bothering.
    No member give thanks

  • Tony Thompson

    awthommo

    10 Jan, 2019 11:31 am

    does anyone know what time the domestic lounge closes on weekdays. I have an 11.00 pm flight to Perth.
    No member give thanks

  • Marks2

    Marks2

    5 Feb, 2019 12:44 am

    I've been in the Melbourne Qantas Club lounge twice. Coffee and drinks are fine. Food selection is woeful. Interior is hardly distinguishable from the general airport ambience. Sorry Chris, but I cannot see three stars for this.
    No member give thanks

Guest

20 Jul, 2019 06:00 pm

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