Qantas' new first class lounge in Singapore is getting closer to welcoming its first travellers, with the ribbon cut and the welcome mat being laid out at the end of November.
Catering for 240 guests, here's what Qantas first class flyers – along with Platinum, Platinum One and Chairman's Lounge members and their Oneworld Emerald equivalents – can expect to see.
First impressions will come from a marble-clad lobby area in Changi Airport's Terminal 1 D-gate wing, as the new lounge is located in a different part of the terminal to the existing (business class) Qantas Singapore Lounge, which is over by the C Gates.
That marble theme is echoed throughout the interior, beginning with a cocktail and espresso bar, where Qantas says the neutral colour palette, luxurious materials and leafy green highlights are designed to make travellers "feel relaxed as soon as they enter the lounge".
As premium passengers have come to expect of Qantas' other top-notch first class lounges in Sydney, Melbourne and Los Angeles, there'll be several dedicated dining areas with full table service, plus an 'open kitchen concept' preparing à la carte meals.
Neil Perry, Qantas’ Creative Director of Food, Beverage and Service, tells Australian Business Traveller that "it’s super exciting to have a full kitchen at our disposal when we're designing a menu."
While the Singapore's first class lounge menu is still under development, Perry promises that the iconic salt and pepper squid will definitely make the cut.
Travellers powering through any pre-flight work can set up at a number of laptop benches – conveniently located next to the dining area, hinting that a serving of squid is the perfect match to that spreadsheet...
... but hopefully, your time here calls for some relaxation instead, in which case you have plenty of options whether travelling with a companion or in a group...
... or flying solo, with a collection of individual seats taken straight from the design pages of Qantas' new Chairman's Lounge in Brisbane, but coloured here in emerald green (rather than cream as in Brisbane):
Of course, plenty shower suites will also be available – and the plan is to have each fitted with an oversized LED lighting panel to assist passengers get their body clocks back into sync.
In a first for the airline, the new lounge is being designed and refined through the aid of virtual reality, which designer David Caon says has "sped up the consultation process between our design team and Qantas."
The technology makes it possible for the team to have a 'virtual' walk-through of the space and to use the lounge as any regular traveller would, but before construction commences, helping to shape the final design...
... as well as assess various fixtures and finishes, right down to the colour of carpet.
But this time around, VR is far more integral to the overall design process.
"Being able to immerse ourselves in a virtual lounge gives us a more accurate sense of space and an understanding of how it will look to scale" well before the build begins, adds Qantas International CEO Alison Webster.
Two handheld controllers and a specialised VR headset let you explore the lounge in a surprising amount of detail and provide a unique sense of perspective and space.
Caon, seen working below with Singapore first class lounge co-designer Kelvin Ho from Akin Atelier, is drawing on some familiar materials from the Sydney and Melbourne first class lounges – such as European oak and Carrera marble – but with other touches from the contemporary Qantas palette as well as unique-to-Singapore materials.
Singapore's Qantas First Lounge will be open from 2.30pm to midnight to Qantas, Emirates and Oneworld first class passengers, Qantas Platinum (and above) frequent flyers, other Oneworld Emerald cardholders such as Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Club Diamonds, and Qantas Premier Titanium Mastercard holders using one of their two yearly Qantas first class lounge passes.
Qantas International CEO Alison Webster tells Australian Business Traveller that her aim is to see the lounge open "around the end of November."
"We're keen to get this open as soon as possible, so we've pushed all of the timelines that we can. We've had tremendous support from Changi Airport in making the space available to us, and it's full speed ahead to get this up and ready for our Christmas peak... we're really comfortable about November."
The Roo's existing Business Lounge in Singapore will also be expanded by the middle of this year, adding space to ease the squeeze at peak times where many travellers are routinely turned away and directed elsewhere.