Virgin Atlantic has unveiled what it feels business travellers have
been waiting for with the official opening of the new Clubhouse at
Heathrow.The £11m flagship lounge, which is over 2,500 square metres in
total, has been created by the Virgin Atlantic design team with the help
of Softroom, the London based architectural practice, with interiors
designed to feel like a private members’ club. To complete this
approach, Virgin Atlantic worked with Soho House, the established
private members’ club, on service design.
The Clubhouse provides the ultimate pre-flight experience for every
passenger with an array of exciting new and unique areas. Passengers
can enjoy a stylish haircut in the salon from Bumble and bumble; relax
in the spa pool or sauna; choose from a range of Cowshed treatments;
enjoy a game of pool in the Den; a blockbuster film in the Cinema; enjoy
a delicious cocktail at the 14 metre long bar; and choose from the
extensive Brasserie menu for a richer dining experience before their
Speaking from the new Clubhouse at Heathrow, Sir Richard Branson,
Chairman of Virgin Atlantic commented:
“Our Upper Class passengers now have the ultimate pre-flight experience
and something truly unique. Our Clubhouses have always led the industry
in offering luxury and innovation and with this sumptuous range of new
and remarkable features, we believe that passengers will want to arrive
at the airport earlier to make the most of their time there!”
The Clubhouse team is headed by Clubhouse general manager Jean-Michel
Dixte, formerly of the Savoy Group. A concierge team is on hand to book
hotel rooms or restaurants for passengers, or simply offer advice and
are stationed at their red leather desk just by the entrance to the
lounge. Alternatively passengers can press a concierge button on any
phone situated around the lounge for service at their seat.
The space has been kept as open as possible, to maximise the Clubhouse’s
grand sense of scale. The layout features a series of ‘landmarks’ and
‘vistas’ to encourage passengers to stroll and explore their
The Den is the dedicated games area and is equipped with a burgundy pool
table, retro video games consoles and a state of the art multiscreen
style cinema, which shows a variety of television programmes, films and
the biggest sporting events. The area is furnished with aubergine
leather and velvet covered chaises-lounges and extra-deep sofas so that
passengers can be entertained in comfort.
The Sky Lounge is located at the top of a white staircase that leads
through the ‘clouds’ of the ceiling to offer a hideaway mezzanine which
has deep-pile sky-blue carpet, champagne leather seating, yellow
loungers and tan leather ‘Hockney’ day beds. Full-width sloping windows
sit beneath a dramatic skylight, offering views of departing aircraft.
Underneath the skylight is a low blue glass table set into the floor,
which provides a viewpoint onto the Den’s pool table below.
From the Sky Lounge passengers can access the Roof Garden, unique to any
business class lounge in the UK, this outside space is adorned with
trees and plants, and is the perfect place to watch the airport action
or relaxing before departure.
Adjacent to the Den is a special dedicated Playground. The brightly
decorated room has a wide selection of toys and games for children of
all ages as well as a TV with dedicated children’s channels showing
through the day.
The Lodge has a convivial après-ski vibe. The oyster shell of the
enclosure has rough-hewn limestone blocks, set in angled cliff like
bedding on the outside and topped by a fringe of tinted glass. It is
lined with iridescent mosaic tiles and houses cushioned banquettes with
blush leather bolsters.
Tucked away behind a glass partition are The Office and Library. With a
rich timber ceiling and velvet wall panelling, this business centre
features eight work stations with dark green leather Eames ‘Soft Pad’
executive chairs and is equipped with faxes, telephones, printers,
photocopiers and recharge stations. The Clubhouse, which is fully
wireless, offers 8 Sony laptops with internet access as well as lap top
points dotted around the space for the passengers’ convenience.
The Observation Deck, facing south-west and outwards is orientated to
take advantage of the views towards the runway and the setting sun.
White leather ‘Karuselli’ chairs and shapely ‘Gigi’ seats alternate with
club chairs and daybeds covered in a range of soothing greens, each lit
by classic floor lamps. For more views of the airport, relax in the
Gallery behind the bar part of which has has been dedicated to The
Fumoir, which provides passengers with the perfect environment for that
last cigarette before departure.
The Poolside Lounge is also an oasis of tranquillity. A ceiling to floor
Japanese water wall runs gently into the pool, ‘Globe’ lights float
above the water and soothing images play on the plasma screen, next to
‘Swan’ chairs and ‘Bubble’ hanging seats.
Beyond the water wall is the new spa, Cowshed at the Clubhouse. With
its dark grey, Welsh slate floors, black glass mosaic tiled walls and
splashes of autumnal colours, passengers will instantly feel like they
have entered a haven of tranquillity and luxury. Cowshed is the Soho
House spa brand and passengers can now treat themselves to a selection
of exclusive Cowgroom treatments including a relaxing facial, shoulder
massage, manicure, pedicure or wet shave for men, all using Cowshed’s
acclaimed 100% natural products.
Situated within the spa area is a hairdressing salon, Bumble and bumble
at the Cowshed with hairdressers offering stylish pre-trip haircuts and
treatments from the New York stylists to the stars and fashion world.
Upper Class passengers can also choose to take a dip in the spa pool,
enjoy a sauna or use the steam room before setting off on their travels.
For those in need of a pre-travel glow, passengers can also use the new
St. Tropez tanning booth that is available within the spa area.
The new Clubhouse has a professionally equipped kitchen on site,
offering meals and light bites to suit every taste. Upper Class
Passengers can enjoy a wide selection from the brasserie menu and choose
to have breakfast, lunch or dinner before their flight. Passengers can
eat at their seat wherever they choose or for a more formal dining
experience The Brasserie area has a continental feel with individual
tables or raspberry velour lined booths. Passengers can also make a
selection from The Deli where they can sit at the 7 metre long marble
clad deli table or help themselves to drinks, treats, and healthy snacks
from stations dotted around the lounge.
Upper Class passengers will find a 14 metre long cocktail bar framed by
a rose tinted glass wall with bespoke solid walnut and leather seating.
Passengers can take a seat around the bar or in the sunken lounge and
sample a range of classic drinks and champagne cocktails.