When Gatwick revealed it would rejig three major airlines earlier this year, Virgin Atlantic found itself headed to the North Terminal for the first time.
Never an organisation to miss an opportunity, the carrier used the move as inspiration to renovate its Clubhouse experience, bringing what passengers loved best to its new home, while introducing a series of new flourishes to make the much loved lounge even better.
‘Land side’ Virgin unveiled a new check-in area, with an increased number of kiosks, ensuring the smoothest start to every customer’s holiday.
A giant gold feature wall was also added, along with the usual red and purple tones, to mark the airline’s arrival.
But it is ‘air side’ where the real magic happens.
Regular travellers will recognise many of the key traits the airline has become famous for in the new Clubhouse, with an eye catching marble bar forming an impressive centrepiece.
The feature will allow guests to sip their favourite Caribbean tipple before they hit the beach.
To ensure customers get a lounge experience like no other, the Clubhouse has also partnered with east London cocktail bar, White Lyan, to offer a bespoke selection of drinks.
During my visit I sampled the extensive cocktail menu and any bar that offers a ‘Breakfast Martini’ gets my vote.
With an extensive food menu on offer, there is certainly plenty to choose from.
And, in a truly special touch, food and beverages are presented via table service – something offered by very few other airline lounges in the UK.
Passengers looking to relax can also take advantage of the complimentary pool table, games consoles, and newspapers, or just take in the views over the airport from the huge windows.
A woodland themed play area filled with toys and games ensures even the youngest travellers will be kept entertained.
But it is the spa that really sets the location apart from its competitors.
Following the move to the North Terminal, the spa has seen the number of treatment rooms double, allowing more customers than ever to enjoy a relaxing pre-flight pamper.
On offer are bespoke experiences using the best products, designed to leave guests feeling invigorated and in tip-top condition.
Visitors can choose one of the complimentary services from a reviving Dr. Hauschka hand treatment to a calming head massage, with more comprehensive treatments on offer for those with a little more time and cash to spare.
I opted for a relaxing head and foot massage during my visit.
Following deep inhalations of aromatherapy oils, my scalp was treated to deep massage movements that instantly freed the tension to reduce stress before travel.
It is a world away from the hubbub down in the public areas downstairs of the airport.
Mark Anderson, Virgin Atlantic executive vice president, customer, commented: “We want our customers to have the best possible experience at the airport and those visiting the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse will be in for a real treat.
“Our Gatwick customers travel to a variety of global destinations, and whether they’re planning to relax in the Caribbean or soak up the theme parks in Orlando, our new Clubhouse will make the start of any break truly special.”
The problem is, there is never enough time to enjoy it all before you fly!
Virgin Holidays has also opened its new v-room at Gatwick, which is housed next door to the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse.