Qantas Sydney Internation Business Lounge - Qantas Club Review
The Qantas International Business Lounge/Qantas Club at Sydney Airport has recently undergone significant renovations as part of the $500million upgrade to the International Terminal. Billing itself as one of the top business class lounges in the world and now under the direct management of the Sofitel Hotel chain, Qantas has invested not only a vast sum of money but its reputation on making this a premium lounge for its loyal customers. As part of our recent flight to New York, we were lucky enough to experience the improved Sydney International Business Lounge.
Food and Drinks
The lounge has 2 separate large food bars, each serving one end of the long business lounge. At breakfast, the traditional Qantas offerings of continental breakfast and assorted pastries are still in vogue, but one of the two serving areas has been boosted by the addition of a pancake making machine. This is a welcome addition giving a much needed hot food option, though the quality of the pancakes that the machine produces is far from gourmet. With only one machine in operation, this serving area tends to become very busy during peak breakfast hours.The other major addition to the breakfast menu is a barista, preparing fresh coffee to order until 9:30am. The barista compliments the 2 additional coffee machines which produce surprisingly decent coffee.
After breakfast, cold finger food such as cheese, biscuits and small cakes are available all day. Lunch usually consists of pre-made sandwiches or bread rolls and dinner consists of hot food of the sort that would normally be found on the plane.
To cater for passengers still functioning on very different time zones and due to being "officially" out of the country after clearing customs and security and therefore not subject to the normal Australian liquor licensing laws, complimentary alcohol is available at all times, as opposed to the 1pm and after serving time in the domestic Qantas Club lounge. Also unlike the domestic lounge, it is completely self serve. A mixture of Australian premium beers including Crown Lager, James Boags Premium and Cascade Premium are offered along with Heineken. Wine buffs are catered for with a solid selection of red and white wines and self pour spirits are readily available. For a softer option, softdrinks are available from a post mix machine plus water and a variety of juices.
The lounge is a long, relatively thin room with panoramic views over the airport and to the Sydney CBD beyond. Seating is predominantly single seat couches with high arm rests, with a splattering of larger couches and single seat stools, with coffee tables shared between every 4 seats.
Like the Qantas Business Lounge/Qantas Club at LAX, the bathroom facilities in Qantas lounges are always of a high standard, and this tradition is continued at the Sydney International Business lounge. Not only are they spotlessly clean, the colours and finish throughout are of a universally high standard and the addition of linen hand towels is always a nice touch. The shower suites are palatial and include complimentary high end shampoo, conditioner and body wash and are a wonderful place to wash and refresh between long haul flights.
The business traveller or the active tourist looking for internet connectivity is well catered for. A suite of complimentary PC's are offered, with Internet connections, word processing and printing facilitates. Free WI-FI is available throughout the lounge and unlike a lot of other airline lounges, there is no password that needs to be retrieved from reception, it's just connect and surf.
A dedicated service desk is available to handle any flight questions or changes and flights are called for boarding over the PA system within the lounge. One criticism is that there are no departure screens within the main lounge itself, forcing patrons to leave the lounge area and return back to the Qantas Lounge Lobby to view the departure screens for any flight changes.
The lounge itself is tastefully decorated in a modern style, with an open plan style, neutral colours and strong lines, though it does border on feeling sterile. I have always found it to be impeccably clean, with plenty of staff cleaning tables and ensuring the general cleanliness of the entire lounge.
Access To The Lounge
Complimentary access to the lounge and all facilities and items inside is limited to the following groups of people, as long as they are flying with Qantas, or one of the other members of the OneWorld Alliance (British Airways, American Airlines)
- Business class travellers;
- Qantas club members, flying in any class
- Gold and platinum Qantas frequent flyers, flying in any class
- OneWorld Emerald and Sapphire frequent flyers, fling in any class
The improvements to the Qantas Sydney International Business Lounge/Qantas Club has seen Qantas continue their tradition of providing quality clean and quite lounge facilities for the travelling public. Even with the improvements with a pancake machine and barista, the food variety and quality is still nothing beyond adequate, but taking sanctuary in the lounge, with excellent shower and toilet facilities, Internet access and a comfy seat to enjoy a quite beer or wine far beats waiting with the crowds at the departure gate.
If you enjoyed this article, please read my review of flying Qantas Business Class between Sydney to New York via Los Angeles, my review of the Qantas Business Lounge/Qantas Club at LAX and my overview of Australian Domestic Airlines