Gin for the Win: A Review of the Qantas Lounge in Heathrow’s Terminal 3
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To The Point
If you’re in Terminal 3, you absolutely must visit the Qantas lounge (if you have access). It’s more like a nice hotel than an airport lounge. Pros: The à la carte waiter service and the gin bar. Cons: It’s not open all day.
Heathrow’s Terminal 3 has many lounges, as it’s the home of a number of the Oneworld alliance members that fly in and out of Heathrow. The bigger of these airlines have their own dedicated lounges within the terminal, including Cathay Pacific, Qantas, American Airlines and British Airways. I haven’t been to Australia yet, which also means I’ve never flown Qantas or experienced their hospitality, but I’ve heard great things, so I couldn’t wait to see what their Heathrow lounge would be like.
Access is granted first and foremost if you are flying in first class or business class with Qantas or any of the other Oneworld alliance member airlines that use Terminal 3. You can also use the lounge if you have Oneworld Emerald or Sapphire elite status and you’re flying in economy or premium economy on any Oneworld airline.
It’s open from 7:55am to 8:35pm. This is shorter than the majority of other lounges owing to the departure times of Qantas flights.
The lounge was really easy for me to find, as there were various signs from the moment I got through security. Qantas is in Zone B and was pretty much the first lounge I came to.
Everything about this lounge is beautifully designed and well thought out. Downstairs is the main bar and restaurant, which was the main selling point of this lounge. Why? The bar was a gin bar, and the restaurant served the most amazing à la carte breakfast and lunch, with great table service to boot.
This was a proper, authentic restaurant within a lounge, not just a communal eating area with a few benches and chairs and tables.
You could also eat up at the equally stylish bar area if you were traveling alone and wanted to be social.
At the end of the bar was a symmetrical double staircase that led up to the main lounge and buffet.
At the top of the stairs was another, circular bar, where you could get coffee, beer, wine and soft drinks.
There was plenty of seating and places for relaxing or even sleeping. From fancy, orange couches, and homey dining tables and chairs to the dark blue couch zone at the back of the lounge, which was comfy enough to get my head down for 40 winks, I was spoiled for choice.
There was a kids room, which I thought looked pretty good from a 28-year-old’s perspective, but our very own Kathleen Porter-Kristiansen and her 4-year-old son recently visited the lounge, and he wasn’t all too impressed.
For the AvGeeks out there, those too-cosy armchairs in the corner were pretty much the best seats in the house for runway and apron views, but they were already snagged before I got there!
Even without a comfy chair, the views were pretty good!
The washrooms were all unisex private rooms. They were squeaky clean and smelled great.
Even these interiors were designed to the highest specifications — bathroom goals for my own house! They felt like they belonged in a fancy hotel, not an airport lounge. Their showers were first come, first served and equally as nice.
I’d never heard of the amenities, but they smelled delicious.
The Wi-Fi speed was adequate for what I needed. If you’re planning on streaming or uploading, though, this probably isn’t the lounge for you (download 4.56 Mbps and upload 4.61 Mbps).
Food and Beverage
I was blown away by every aspect of the food and drinks in this lounge. The breakfast buffet was probably the best I’d seen in any airport lounge, and probably better than some hotels — true story. Usually, breakfast buffets are full or fried and mainly unhealthy options, but not here. There were healthier little touches like hard-boiled eggs and smoked salmon.
There was of course the usual bacon and sausage for fry-up fans.
Continuing with the healthy theme, I could also have opted for fresh fruit, granola, yoghurt and combinations of the three.
It wouldn’t have been a breakfast buffet without a selection of pastries (and scones), now would it?
I popped back into the lounge later in the day, and there was a decent set-up again. Not quite as impressive, but enough to please most people’s tastes. I love pasta, but it’s a pretty safe cop-out in airport lounges, so I tend to take points off for that.
Again there were healthy options by way of making your own salad and couscous.
The game was stepped up slightly with the chicken tikka masala, rice and accompaniments.
There were a couple of desserts for sweet tooths.
The buffet was great, no question, but downstairs in the main restaurant was where the real action happened. The à la carte breakfast menu blew my socks off. The lounge was really quiet, and I was able to grab a table right next to the window and a power outlet. Food, charging and planes — what more do you need in a lounge? I was starving, so I ordered the salt-and-pepper squid for a starter, and egg (not eggs) Benedict for a main. I could have eaten both dishes twice over, they were so delicious.
There were also a couple of options from the buffet available down in the restaurant.
The chef was friendly and more than happy to explain the menu to me.
Later in the day, when it was an acceptable time to have a drink, I went back to sample the lounge’s gin bar. As a gin lover, I found this to be perfect. I love the idea of Aviation gin and wish I liked it, but it’s just not for me. Luckily there was a whole flight of other gins to try, some which I’d never even heard of.
Upstairs was a selection of flavoured waters and teas, coffee and all the other usual soft drinks.
The à la carte hours were from 9am to 11:15am for breakfast and 6pm to 8:30pm for dinner.
I very much enjoyed my time in this lounge. I have since been back a couple of times and even booked a flight out of Terminal 3 just to be able to go back for the breakfast — the food in this lounge really is quite something. Whatever airline you’re flying with, I would highly recommend popping in if you’re in the airport around breakfast time and then also if you’re a gin lover — this is definitely the best complimentary gin selection I have ever seen in an airport lounge. If I had to find something to complain about, it would be the Wi-Fi, but it really wasn’t that much of an issue to me at all. I can’t wait to go back and try the evening à la carte menu.
All photos by the author.
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