Aviation Flat whites and "green ant" gin: Inside Qantas' new Heathrow lounge

Photo of Steve McKenna

Qantas has opened its first Heathrow Airport lounge ahead of its non-stop Perth-London flights, which begin on March 25.

The Terminal 3 lounge, part of a multi-million dollar investment in the Kangaroo Route, spans two storeys, with sweeping views over the airfield, and offers a bounty of food and drink, quiet areas and six shower suites with fluffy towels and Aurora Spa amenities. 

Fully wi-fi connected, the retreat seats about 230 and follows the same concept as Qantas’ other international lounges, with the food, drink and interiors blending local and Australian influences. 

“We have worked with leaders in design, food and service to create a lounge that is modern and comfortable and incorporates the aesthetics of the Qantas lounges that make our customers feel at home,” said Qantas Group chief executive Alan Joyce, who was at Heathrow for the opening. He described the London lounge as “a bit of English and a bit of Australian, too”.

He was keen to extol the virtues of the gins served at the specialist gin bar (picking out the Green Ant gin that uses real green ants sourced from the Northern Territory and is made in the Adelaide Hills). 

Also serving some of the finest “mother’s ruin” from England and Scotland, the gin bar is on the lower floor, where you’ll also find a selection of newspapers and magazines and a dining room where you can enjoy a la carte fare including Australian favourites such as eggs, kale and avocado and zucchini and haloumi fritters, plus ploughman’s platters, pot pies and other English dishes. 

You can also order salt and pepper squid with green chilli sauce — a dish popular in Qantas lounges worldwide.

A spacious upper level has an assortment of seating zones with leather and fabric chairs, tables and sofas.

Designed by Woods Bagot, interiors have been crafted to reflect London at twilight, with the furniture infused with deep blues, greens and browns. Brass and marble fittings aim to evoke the architecture of the English capital, while the timber floors are the kind you’d typically find in Australia. 

Beside a “quench” hydration station with fruit-infused and sparkling water, a buffet has hot and cold dishes such as fresh fruit, combos such as smoked salmon and cream cheese with kale and quinoa salad, cakes and scones, and herbal teas (with tea cups and saucers by Miranda Kerr for Royal Albert).

There's a tucked-away printer-friendly Mac workstation, but a popular stop may be the circular marble-topped bar that's nestled beneath a brass chandelier and has the air of an upscale hotel lounge, with jazzy background music adding to the atmosphere.

There's an all-day barista service that'll do you a good flat white, but you might prefer Australian and European wine and beer or a mocktail or cocktail conjured by the Qantas Rockpool Mixologists. 

Your thoughts will surely drift closer to home as you cast your eyes at the flat-screen TV showing Australian news and weather, or through the windows at all those all Airbuses and Boeings landing and preparing for take-off.

Fact File

Disclaimer

Steve McKenna was a guest of Qantas and Visit Britain.

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