One big reason for my excitement for flying on Virgin Atlantic is based on excellent reviews of the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, their flagship lounge at Heathrow. Most reports say it is among the best Business Class lounges in the world. After our visit to the lounge, I can’t really dispute that.
A340-600 model in the Clubhouse
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse in London Heathrow
We went directly to the lounge after our arrival into Heathrow. Both of us skipped breakfast on board, and were feeling a bit off after the short overnight flight from Chicago given the time change, so relaxing in the lounge for a while sounded like our best plan. We were welcomed into the lounge, and found some seats in a casual seating area called the Lodge. We were quickly offered a drink and then ordered some food of the menu. The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse is large, and divided up into various zones. There is a small bar/lounge one floor up, and even an outdoor deck.
This area is appropriately named “The Library”
I had a bacon roll and some yogurt with granola and honey
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse Spa and Shower Rooms
Shower After a leisurely breakfast, we looked into making spa appointments. Guests can choose from a selection of complimentary treatments, and various other treatments are available for additional charge. We were able to make appointments for that evening before our flight. We probably could have tried to visit both the arrivals lounge once we cleared customs, received a treatment, then returned to the clubhouse before departure, but didn’t bother. Within the clubhouse, there is a luggage storage area, which we utilized rather than lugging our cabin baggage when we went to Windsor during our long layover.
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse shower room
After breakfast I decided to take a shower, so I returned to the spa reception to make sure a shower room was available. The shower suites are nice, although the yellow tile isn’t really my preferred color. One unique feature I enjoyed was the steam shower. Not everyone likes this sort of thing, and it reminded me of walking around Singapore or maybe Houston, but it was refreshing, and there is a good ventilation system to clear the steam out once finished.
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse steam shower
There is a nice selection of toiletries available, including lotions and shampoo from Cowshed, Bumble and Bumble, and Cheeky. I also took a quick shower in the evening before our flight to Dubai departed. I wanted to refresh before the flight since I knew we wouldn’t have the chance upon arrival in Dubai, and it would be a while until we got to our hotel.
Virgin Atlantic branding is everywhere
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse Spa
We also took advantage of spa treatments in the evening before our flight. There are a variety of treatments available, and even haircuts and shaves, as it is a full-fledged salon and spa. I just opted for a complimentary treatment, but my wife did both one of the complimentary treatments and another that she paid for. I decided on a head massage. Who doesn’t love a massage before or after a long flight? More information on the spa at the Heathrow Clubhouse is found here.
Hello purple! This is an exclusive entrance to security for Virgin Upper Class passengers
Using the Upper Class wing at Heathrow Terminal 3
Virgin Atlantic offers access to security screening at Heathrow. They have a special gate for cars to enter the Upper Class Wing, where there are porters to help with baggage, etc. Once in our Uber from Windsor, I called to provide them our car information. Unfortunately despite providing instructions and receiving assurances from our driver that he knew where the Virgin Upper Class Wing was located, he drove right past it and dropped us off in the Terminal 3 drop off curb. Oh well, we just walked across the departure hall, and found an entrance easily enough up one level to the special Upper Class entrance to security.
Security lines were very short, but the process didn’t move all that quickly. At least the security agents were friendly. Once we were back into the secure side Terminal 3, we made our way back to the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse. It is in the same corridor as the American Admirals club, which of course requires a meandering walk through various shopping outlets. The Clubhouse is up one level from the main departure level.
Back in the lounge
Some funky chairs in the Gallery where we sat upon our return to the lounge
We collected our items in the held luggage area, and then found another area to sit. In my time in the lounge I noticed that the staff tends to offer you a drink immediately after sitting down, then they can be a little bit hard to find for a second drink or whatever else you might want after sitting for a while When we first arrived in the evening, there weren’t that many guests in the lounge, but as expected it did fill up as we approached the late night flight bank. There is a lot of space in the lounge, but at busy times, it can become crowded.
The Den has a billiards table and the Sky Lounge is located above
Exploring the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse
After relaxing in the gallery, I decided to walk around the lounge and take some photos before the lounge filled up too much. The outdoor viewing deck is nice for planespotting geeks like me, but we were there on a lovely London summer day (read: cloudy and mild), so it wasn’t a great place to spend much time, at least when we were there. Plus views are obscured by the metal fencing all the way around.
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse Heathrow outdoor deck
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse outdoor seating area
After my little tour, both for a change of scenery and for a quieter spot due to a large group, we decided to move to another area of the lounge. This time we sat in the Cinema, appropriately named for the large wall of TV’s mostly showing live sports during our time there.
Dinner in the lounge
Eventually we had our spa treatments, then decided on a meal in the sit-down restaurant before our flight. This is something we did multiple times on this trip. With several overnight flights on this trip we found that this worked out well. While I eat most airplane food, in most cases lounge food is drastically better than on board. There is a setup that somewhat resembles a deli, and appropriately it is named, “The Deli”.
As I found out it is not self serve. I was scolded after I began serving myself. The staff will provide anything you like. Whoops. There is also menu service for food and drink anywhere in the lounge, but we found it easiest just to sit directly in the deli, since that was where most of the servers were, and it was closest to the kitchen, so it was most like a restaurant area, which just seemed easier.
Kale salad with Parmesan crisps
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse Chicken curry
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse Final Thoughts
In all, we really enjoyed our time in the Virgin Clubhouse. It is an excellent business class lounge. We had a long layover, but I wouldn’t really recommend spending all day in the lounge. The food and drink selection is excellent, but not on the level of say the Lufthansa First Class Terminal, but again I would put this on par with any business class lounge I have visited. I was happy with a few hours we spent there after arrival then again and before our departure to Dubai. If you have the opportunity to use this lounge, definitely don’t pass up the chance!
For an introduction and index of posts for this series, please click here