Qantas domestic business class lounge, Melbourne Airport

Review: Qantas domestic business class lounge, Melbourne Airport

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

location:

dining:

work:

overall:

What's Hot

  • 40% more seating than the old lounge
  • Cocktail bar, all-day barista coffee
  • New look and feel, closer to an international lounge

What's Not

  • Can still feel busy during peak times

X-Factor

  • Neil Perry's Asian Spice Bar

Introduction

If you haven't visited Qantas' domestic business class lounge in Melbourne over the past year, you're in for a pleasant surprise: not only has the lounge been expanded significantly, it's been entirely redesigned with several new additions.

Among them, an Asian Spice Bar created by Neil Perry, a central cocktail bar and coffee servery replacing the small counter service zones of the 'old' Business Lounge, and even more tarmac views, with exterior windows spanning the entire length of the lounge.

Step inside and see why, with the exclusion of invitation-only spaces like the Qantas Chairman's Lounge and Virgin Australia's The Club, we now consider this to be Australia's best airport lounge for domestic travellers.

Location & Impressions

No longer do Business Lounge guests need to trek through the Qantas Club – now, as you ascend the ‘lounge escalator’ in Melbourne (after security and to the right), you’ll be able to head straight into the Business Lounge, which now begins back where the Qantas Club entrance used to be:

As there are tarmac-facing windows along the length of the lounge, the space feels light and airy wherever you wander, with the Business Lounge now offering seats for up to 350 guests: 40% more than before.

Designed by Woods Bagot with elements centred on “dark luxurious tones and sophisticated finishes … to symbolise the chic, urban feel of Melbourne”, one of the most eye-catching features of the lounge is the new bar area:

Here, there’s all-day barista coffee, joined by beer, wine and spirits from noon and signature cocktails in the afternoon and evenings, with the new look and feel carried through the rest of the lounge too, including its revitalised relaxation zones:

Much of this lounge sits within the footprint of the former Qantas Club, so for many travellers, the views will be familiar:

Access

  • Qantas and QantasLink business class customers with an onward departing flight, or after arriving in business class on the overnight QF648 service from Perth.
  • International passengers connecting to or from a Qantas, Emirates or Oneworld alliance flight booked in business class or first class, even if the domestic leg from Melbourne is booked in economy.
  • Qantas Platinum and Platinum One frequent flyers before or after a same-day Qantas, QantasLink, Emirates, Jetstar or Oneworld flight.
  • Other Oneworld Emerald members when their next onward flight that day is with Qantas or QantasLink and carries a QF or other Oneworld flight number (no access prior to Jetstar flights).
  • Emirates Skywards Platinum cardholders where their next onward flight that day carries a QF or EK flight number and is operated by Qantas or QantasLink.
  • China Eastern's Eastern Miles Platinum members departing on a Qantas- or QantasLink-operated domestic flight.

Jetstar passengers should note that this Business Lounge is located in Terminal 1, while all Jetstar domestic flights depart from Terminal 4 at the opposite end of the airport: a 10-15-minute walk, so leave plenty of time as you'll have to clear security screening again to proceed to your gate, as Terminals 1 and 4 aren't linked 'airside'.

Those departing from Terminal 4 who also have a Priority Pass membership might instead consider using the Regional Express Rex Lounge in T4 for convenience, especially if pressed for time.

Dining

On the food and beverage front, Qantas kicks its ‘signature dining concept’ up a notch in Melbourne with the opening of Neil Perry's new Asian Spice Bar, offering a range of fresh dishes prepared to order, inspired by Perry's Spice Temple restaurant.

With two options available at a time, my visit found a very tasty chicken laksa on the menu...

... along with a vegetarian wonton noodle soup, which came packed with flavour...

... boosted by the spices and textures of the condiments you can add on top (I added a bit of everything):

As with the Mexican cantina in Brisbane's Business Lounge, the dishes on offer will rotate to keep things interesting, with some of the other possibilities including stir-fried noodles and pork char sui with rice and stir-fried choy sum, with orders placed at the counter and served soon after.

There's plenty of seating in this area, whether at the high tables shown above or the booth seats below...

... and this is where you'll find the lounge's buffet zone too, beginning with simple breads and spreads...

... crudités...

... salads and other ingredients to add to a toastie, with a sandwich press nearby...

... fruits and sweets...

... snacks and lollies (yes, the famed liquorice allsorts remain)...

... and hot buffet stations, offering things like Singapore noodles, tomato, chickpea and spinach soup...

... stir-fried Chinese cabbage with bok choy and Chinese broccoli in rice wine vinegar, mushroom and sesame oil, or fried rice with capsicum, broccoli, shitake mushrooms and egg:

Menus are provided in several places if you're wondering what's what...

... and across the main walkway, you'll spot the bar:

If you're stopping by after midday, try the lounge's refreshing new gin-based cocktail (just ask for the "signature cocktail")...

... while barista coffee is available here all day. Being my third coffee order of the day, I switched my usual latte for a short macchiato...

The bar also serves a range of beers, cider, wine...

... and spirits, with a similar yet broader selection than offered in the Qantas Club next door.

Back towards the lounge entrance, a Quench hydration station as now seen in several Qantas lounges, where travellers can mix refreshing non-alcoholic drinks. My favourite here: pouring about 1cm of the lemon, lemon myrtle and Kakadu plum cordial into a glass, topped with sparkling water from the nearby Brita tap.

Work

As soon as you enter the Business Lounge, you'll spot the main working area to your left...

... providing a long working bench, plus computer facilities...

... and a mobile phone charging station, although you'll need to keep an eye on your own device as there's no locking facility here:

We should just note: when this part of the lounge first opened, the power points (as pictured above) were located very close to the bench itself, which prevented travellers from being able to plug in larger laptop chargers.

These have now been moved higher up, including at the other working benches scattered throughout the lounge, where my Microsoft Surface charger plugged in without issue:

AC and USB power outlets can also be found throughout the lounge at "all fixed seating positions" – that's the chairs that don't move, such as the banquette seats (tucked away below the cushion, facing towards the cocktail tables)...

... and these circular tree-like perches, where power outlets are available at a similar spot:

Speed tests of the lounge's WiFi network during the busy weekday afternoon rush put average downloads at 64Mbps, and average uploads at 116Mbps, which, in plain English, is excellent regardless of what you're using the connection for.

Relax

Finished work for the day? There are plenty of places to kick back, beginning with those tree-like seats...

... and continuing with a range of comfy options throughout the space...

... and, particularly good for solo travellers, a line-up of seats facing the windows:

As in Melbourne's Qantas Club (pictured below), private shower suites are at-hand...

... with newspaper and magazine selections offered too, as expected.

All things considered, we'd now crown this as Australia's best airport lounge for domestic travellers – excluding the invitation-only Qantas Chairman's Lounges, of course – particularly given the new dining options and overall look and feel, which elevates the experience closer to that of an international lounge.

However, even with all the extra space, it can still feel quite busy and hectic during peak times given the sheer volume of passengers coming and going, but having said that, I was always able to get the type of seat I was after, without having to compromise, which is more than can be said of many other lounges during rush hour.

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!
 

26 comments

  • bodez

    bodez

    1 Nov, 2018 06:40 pm

    A far better lounge and offering than the international lounge now!
    No member give thanks

  • Sanjay Prakash

    sanj747

    1 Nov, 2018 07:12 pm

    Very good review Chris. Managed to get sometime in there today and it is very nice. Asian spice bar, buffet stations and the bar and barista all provide great choices. Makes it a welcome change for domestic travellers. Well done QF.
    No member give thanks

  • turbojezz

    turbojezz

    1 Nov, 2018 07:26 pm

    im quite excited to check this out one day soon!
    No member give thanks

  • mviy

    mviy

    1 Nov, 2018 08:14 pm

    Look forward to visiting this lounge!
    No member give thanks

  • newbieADL

    newbieADL

    2 Nov, 2018 12:37 am

    I'll have to give this another shot now it's officially opened. I visited recently and didn't think much of it. It was extremely noisy, as others have observed in the Community section, and there didn't seem to be any 'quiet' zones to seek refuge in. In the old lounge, I was accustom to walking through the entire space and hiding in the far left corner.

    When I visited there also wasn't a spare seat, unless I wanted to make friends with a stranger and you couldn't even get something as basic as a soft drink, without lining up at the bar.
    No member give thanks

  • iameric

    iameric

    2 Nov, 2018 02:05 am

    Can you advise whether AA Admirals Club members have access to the Domestic Business Lounge when flying QF? It’s listed on AA’s website (along with the International Business Lounge and Qantas Club).
    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    2 Nov, 2018 08:59 am

    No access: Admirals Club unlocks domestic Qantas Clubs, but only Qantas’ international business class lounges (both the base lounge tier compared to domestic business class and international first class), in the same way that reciprocally, Qantas Club members can access AA’s Admirals Club lounges (the base tier compared to Flagship Lounges, which aren’t open to Qantas Club members).
    No member give thanks

  • JOhn Davis

    Hobart Flyer

    2 Nov, 2018 06:28 am

    Sadly they don’t seperate the serving utensils for the gluten free dishes so what is the point of having these dishes!
    Member who gave thanks

    Helen Page

  • vbarberini

    vbarberini

    2 Nov, 2018 09:45 am

    These domestic business class lounges are Qantas’ is trump card against Virgin. I am VA platinum and often fly J, but their lounge offering is way below par for business class - especially in Sydney!
    No member give thanks

  • xtfer

    xtfer

    2 Nov, 2018 01:17 pm

    Sure, but VA's lounge is above par if you are only going to the Qantas Club...
    No member give thanks

  • Jordan rowland

    Jordan Rowland

    6 Nov, 2018 08:44 am

    Exactly what I was thinking.... As a Platinum with VA I look at theses types of lounges longingly, if only for the food offering... VA really need to step their game up if they want to compete that’s for sure.

    No member give thanks

  • jianga

    jianga

    2 Nov, 2018 12:41 pm

    Not sure why but the design of both new lounges (Q Club and Bus Lounge) reminds me a bit of Brunetti.....
    No member give thanks

  • Brett Barclay

    Melbourne Flyer

    2 Nov, 2018 03:46 pm

    Still lacks enough charging areas during peak times, not sure why they have all these seats in the middle without the ability to charge devices.
    No member give thanks

  • Ma

    Ma

    2 Nov, 2018 04:25 pm

    WOW a comprehensive review with details from all angles! I have never come across similar reviews published elsewhere about airport lounges. The spacious environment to the food displays and the bathrooms facilities, they are not just words but photos to prove their existence. Well done Chris! A task well accomplished too!
    No member give thanks

  • Wheats

    Wheats

    2 Nov, 2018 04:26 pm

    To see photos of the lounge that empty is laughable. Every week I'm in there sometime between 4.30 - 7.30pm and every time it's a struggle to get a seat.
    No member give thanks

  • R M

    Rxm

    2 Nov, 2018 04:32 pm

    Can’t say I like the new lounges in Melbourne. They seem to open and noisy and not family friendly at all. The business lounge has managed to encapsulate a shopping centre food court feel. It’s even worse around the corner in the Qantas club lounge. And who has time to queue up at the bar for a soft drink or the noodle bar to get food. But this seems to be the new way forward for Qantas. Noisy crowded and in relaxing spaces that resemble a collision between a pub and a food court.
    No member give thanks

  • hutch

    hutch

    2 Nov, 2018 05:38 pm

    While I can agree with the soft drink front, I fail to see how the the new qantas business lounge is more 'food court like' than the last lounge?
    The new lounge is bigger, you still have the buffet like the last lounge if you don't want noodles and you now have an extended length of tarmac views.
    No member give thanks

  • Matt Brown

    mdbrown

    2 Nov, 2018 08:54 pm

    I cant yet comment on Melbourne business but I really disliked the layout of QC straight away. All these hard metal chairs and blockages on the main walkway in. Mayhem and frustrating. Favourite is Perth BC.
    No member give thanks

  • Matt Brown

    mdbrown

    6 Nov, 2018 01:25 pm

    In QC today and first time I have seen since they finished Reno’s and opened extra space. Have changed my mind and like all but the walkway next to the round dining tables where it can get a bit obstructed sometimes. Lots of little private and quiet areas to hide and a good selection of comfy seats.
    No member give thanks

  • Graham BLAMEX

    BLAMEX

    3 Nov, 2018 10:27 am

    Children should not access this lounge
    No member give thanks

  • CQ

    MEL Traveller

    3 Nov, 2018 11:06 am

    What? Why should children not access it? Ridiculous.
    No member give thanks

  • Scott Watkins

    scottw

    2 Nov, 2018 06:19 pm

    Good news that they've moved the powerpoints up. I was in the Business lounge just after it opened and couldn't plug my MacBook charger in. I told the staff and they apparently hadn't been notified at that time, they used my charger for some photos. It still surprises me that architects overlook these things.
    No member give thanks

  • Tim Davies

    Boeing-Tragic

    2 Nov, 2018 06:38 pm

    A good read Chris, and great photos, they make it look bigger than I recall it. I found it to be ..... I guess 'intimate' is the nice way of saying perhaps a little too small. It kind of made me appreciate VA's The Club more. But I do think the lighting in Q Business was less confronting than VA's bright white. All up, MEL fliers are now being treated with a little more respect - whether travelling business with QF or VA.
    No member give thanks

  • ama18

    ama18

    2 Nov, 2018 07:16 pm

    Great work Qantas. Looks amazing. Classy and sophisticated. I recently got a free Virgin Platinum status card. Tried their lounges in Sydney and Adelaide once and threw the card in the bin.
    Virgin lounges are relics from Ansett 1990s era that have had a fresh lick of paint and some new carpet. What’s premium entry about walking up a gangplank past the designated smoking entry at Sydney airport?
    Simply magnificent Qantas. Love it
    No member give thanks

  • Graham BLAMEX

    BLAMEX

    3 Nov, 2018 10:30 am

    VA lounges are a glorified bus shed. I am Platinum with both QF and VA. After the SQ transfer downgrade abt VA and now this lounge in MEL. Goodbye VA!
    No member give thanks

  • highflyer

    highflyer

    5 Nov, 2018 11:11 pm

    Managed to pop into the Melb domestic business lounge on arrival before my international flight out. Can say for a domestic lounge, this lounge ticks all the boxes. The ambience was nice when you first walk in, and even tho I arrived around 1pm, it didn’t feel over crowded. I felt like there was a good selection of seating for dining and also relaxing. Only thing I might suggest is an automatic Drink dispenser so staff don’t need to bothered just for a soft drink, especially if it is bar hour. Great job Qantas.
    No member give thanks

Guest

16 Nov, 2018 02:26 am

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