Review: Qantas First Class Lounge Sydney SYD

Introduction
Emirates First Class A380 Los Angeles To Dubai
Park Hyatt Dubai
Afternoon Tea At Skyview Bar Burj Al Arab
Lunch At At.mosphere Burj Khalifa Dubai
Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai DXB
Emirates First Class A380 Dubai To Singapore
St. Regis Singapore
Westin Singapore
Singapore Airlines Private Room Singapore SIN
Singapore Airlines First Class 777-300ER Singapore To Melbourne
Park Hyatt Melbourne
Qantas Club Melbourne MEL
Qantas Business Class 737 Melbourne To Sydney
Park Hyatt Sydney
Qantas First Class Lounge Sydney SYD
Qantas First Class A380 Sydney To Los Angeles
SLS Hotel Beverly Hills
Oneworld Business Class Lounge Los Angeles LAX
Qantas Business Class 747 Los Angeles To New York
Park Hyatt New York
Dad’s Thoughts


People rave about the Qantas First Lounge Sydney, so I was excited to check it out. I’ve always considered the Air France First Class Lounge Paris, Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai, Lufthansa First Class Terminal in Frankfurt, and Thai Airways First Class Lounge & Spa in Bangkok to be the world’s best, so I was curious to see how Qantas’ flagship lounge compared.

We arrived at Sydney Airport at around noon for our 3PM departure to Los Angeles.

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Qantas Sydney terminal exterior

Once inside the terminal we tried to find the first class check-in counter, which we eventually discovered was actually partitioned off from the rest of the terminal.

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Qantas Sydney terminal check-in area

For what it’s worth, oneworld Emerald members can also use the facility.

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Qantas first class check-in Sydney Airport

There are a couple of check-in counters in the first class section, and we were quickly checked in. We were handed our boarding passes, Express Path cards (for expedited security and immigration), and immigration forms.

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Qantas first class check-in Sydney Airport

It is a pain that you’re handed immigration forms upon checking in, since you have to fill them out before you can proceed. Therefore it’s rather convenient that they have seating in the first class check-in area.

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Qantas first class check-in Sydney Airport

Once we had filled out those forms we proceeded to the Express Path towards immigration and security. Immigration was a breeze, though security was a pain in the ass.

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Express Path Sydney Airport

There was one insanely unprofessional female security screener who was bitching about how she was the only female working in that section, and couldn’t possibly conduct so many secondaries. But she wasn’t a good multi-tasker, so she literally just stood there and bitched rather than screening people. And she did so loudly.

Meanwhile my bag got pulled over for secondary by a jovial screener, who asked where I was traveling to. When I said Los Angeles, he said “oh, are you famous?” I responded “not as far as I know.” For the entire time he was going through my bag he was trying to figure out “who I was” since I was flying first class to Los Angeles.

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Qantas international terminal Sydney Airport

Once through security we followed the signage towards the Qantas lounges, which are just a two minute walk away.

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Qantas international terminal Sydney Airport

The entrance to the lounges are all located one level up from the main concourse, so we took the escalator up there.

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Escalators to Qantas lounges Sydney Airport

The Qantas First Lounge is located immediately at the top of the escalator.

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Qantas First Lounge entrance Sydney Airport

There were agents at the entrance to welcome us, though as it turns out the lounge is another level up.

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Qantas First Lounge entrance Sydney Airport

I do love the decor by the entrance.

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Qantas First Lounge entrance Sydney Airport

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Qantas First Lounge escalators Sydney Airport

Since our boarding passes were checked at the entrance I had assumed we were “good to go,” and just walked into the lounge. But I was chased down by a guy from the reception desk who needed to see my boarding pass again.

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Qantas First Class Lounge rotunda Sydney Airport

The lounge grew on me from the second I walked in, thanks to the “flipping” departures board, which I love.

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Qantas First Class Lounge departures board Sydney Airport

Okay, so the Qantas First Lounge is absolutely gorgeous, aesthetically the nicest I’ve ever seen. It’s bright, colorful, and almost hypnotizing.

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Qantas First Class Lounge Sydney Airport

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Qantas First Class Lounge Sydney Airport

The lounge is reasonably large, but despite its size, feels really private. That’s because the lounge has so many unique seating areas thanks to the massive “partitions” separating the various seating areas.

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Qantas First Class Lounge Sydney Airport

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Qantas First Class Lounge Sydney Airport

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Qantas First Class Lounge Sydney Airport

The furniture is all stylish, functional, and versatile.

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Qantas First Class Lounge Sydney Airport

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Qantas First Class Lounge seating Sydney Airport

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Qantas First Class Lounge seating Sydney Airport

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Qantas First Class Lounge seating Sydney Airport

In addition to tons of more “traditional” lounge seating, there’s a business center with some iMacs.

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Qantas First Class Lounge business center Sydney Airport

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Qantas First Class Lounge business center Sydney Airport

Then there are a couple of self serve bar areas with soft drinks and coffee machines.

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Qantas First Class Lounge self serve bar Sydney Airport

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Qantas First Class Lounge coffee machine Sydney Airport

There’s also a nice selection of fresh options. Here’s the menu:

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These were all intended to be things to nibble on more than anything else, and can’t compete with what’s offered in the lounge’s restaurant.

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Qantas First Class Lounge self serve bar Sydney Airport

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Qantas First Class Lounge self serve bar Sydney Airport

The lounge also has great plane watching potential, as you have sweeping views of both the runway and the tarmac from the lounge.

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View from Qantas First Lounge Sydney Airport

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View from Qantas First Lounge Sydney Airport

A friend of mine was in the lounge the same time as us, so we had lunch with him shortly after getting there. The restaurant area is beautiful, with both table and bar-top seating options.

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Qantas First Lounge bar Sydney Airport

The alcohol selection is quite impressive, including the wine display.

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Qantas First Lounge wine display Sydney Airport

The restaurant was reasonably busy, though we had no issues snagging a table in the corner by the window.

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Qantas First Lounge restaurant Sydney Airport

The lounge features a Neil Perry inspired menu, which changes seasonally.

The menu read as follows:

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And the beverage list read as follows:

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My friend is a regular here so did most of the ordering. I’m not a squid fan, though he said the salt & pepper squid were a “must.” And he was right.

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Qantas First Lounge dining starter — salt & pepper squid

Then we all shared a salmon tartare, which was fantastic.

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Qantas First Lounge dining starter — salmon tartare

For the main course I ordered a simple steak and fries. Since Sydney was really the “highlight” of the trip since that’s where we were over my dad’s birthday, we had eaten way too much fancy food. A simple steak and fries hit the spot!

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Qantas First Lounge dining main course — steak with fries

My dad ordered the burger, which he loved.

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Qantas First Lounge dining main course — beef burger

And then my friend ordered the spaghettini and grilled snapper. I think ordering both may have been a function of the amount of Perrier-Jouet champagne we had been drinking.

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Qantas First Lounge dining main course — spaghettini

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Qantas First Lounge dining main course — grilled snapper

When we first got to the lounge there was only one Qantas A380 parked in the gate area, though during lunch a second one was towed over. One would be operating our flight to Los Angeles, while the other would be operating the Dallas flight.

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Two Qantas A380s Sydney Airport

Qantas also has a spa in their first class lounge. If you’re traveling in first class on Qantas they’ll phone you the day before travel to check in with you and see if you want to schedule a spa treatment. My dad and I both scheduled 20 minute massages for 1:30PM. For what it’s worth, while oneworld Emerald members traveling in economy and business also get access to the lounge, they can only schedule spa treatments on a space available basis day of.

The spa is located at the far end of the lounge, and has a sliding door that separates it from the rest of the lounge.

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Qantas First Class Lounge spa Sydney Airport

I had to fill out a quick health form confirming I’m not pregnant and consent form confirming they’re not at fault if they kill me, but once that was complete my treatment started immediately.

The treatment room was beautiful, possibly the nicest airport spa I’ve ever been to.

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Qantas First Class Lounge spa treatment room Sydney Airport

My masseuse was fantastic. The treatments offered here are “real” massages, in the sense that you take off your shirt and lay down. It’s not like the 15 minute treatments offered by other airlines, where you sit in one of those massage chairs and stay fully clothed.

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Qantas First Class Lounge spa treatment room Sydney Airport

The lounge also has nice shower rooms, though I didn’t have a need for using one.

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Qantas First Class Lounge shower room Sydney Airport

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Qantas First Class Lounge shower room Sydney Airport

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Qantas First Class Lounge shower room Sydney Airport

At around 2PM we decided to leave the lounge and head to our departure gate, which was gate 9.

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Sydney Airport terminal

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Qantas A380s Sydney Airport

It was maybe a five minute walk to the gate, and much to my surprise boarding was already well underway when we got there.

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Boarding gate Sydney Airport

The jet bridge boasted some amazing side views of the A380, which really put into perspective just how big the plane is.

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Qantas A380 Sydney Airport

I also noticed that based on the tail number (VH-OQA) we were flying on Qantas’ first A380, also the one involved in the QF32 “incident:”

Qantas First Class Lounge Sydney bottom line

This is one of the world’s best lounges, plain and simple, and certainly deserves to be in the company of my other favorite lounges.

I’d argue the Qantas First Lounge Sydney has:

When you factor in that oneworld Emerald members get access to this lounge even when traveling in economy, it makes this lounge even better. This is definitely a step up from the Qantas First Lounge Melbourne. And while the Qantas First Lounge Los Angeles is possibly the nicest lounge in the US, it doesn’t compete with this lounge, given that it doesn’t quite have the decor or views of this lounge, and also doesn’t have a spa.

Kudos to Qantas on this amazing lounge!

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Comments

  1. Pretty much one of my favourite places in the world. Partly for the above but also party because it means I’m going on holidays 🙂

  2. Great write-up – for my money it’s THE best first class lounge in the world, as no other first lounge offers the same winning combo of the great food and wine (true restaurant-grade), spa and design.

  3. Nice review of the lounge. Your security experience sounds like something I can imagine happening in U.S. airports.

  4. the decor colors reminds me of In-n-Out burgers. Doesn’t scream luxury like the other top lounges in the world. Food looks good though.

  5. Wow, what a lounge! Thanks for the review. Do other 1st class passengers on OneWorld flights get access (JAL F SYD to NRT)? If not, what lounge would you recommend?

    Thanks!

  6. Hands-down best lounge in the world… simply beautiful. And, you know you’re in for a treat the moment you enter… I agree with David, the luxurious combination of aesthetic, service, spa and (Neil Perry) dining puts it in a class of its own. I strive to retain my QFF platinum membership in order to be able to access this lounge 1-2 times a year (as I now live in the US).

  7. Yes I agree with you that this lounge is the
    1) best for décor and view, for sure, no place can beat! I thought AF First lounge at CDG had classy décor as well but since they change to the newer one (since September 2014) with a bit more IKEA-like and red, then not so much.
    2) Second best for food after AF First: after I tried several things from the Menu from both QF SYD/MEL and AF CDG, it seems to be almost equally good but maybe AF CDG slightly better.
    3) Second best for spa… yes… the good thing is J and Y Oneworld Emerald can use it… that’s awesome!

    One more thing to add:
    I think the QF SYD F lounge service was not so attentive and personal. Since this lounge caters Y and J Oneworld Emerald pax as well, it is harder. When you sit (not at the restaurant area), the server may approach you and ask for something to drink, I found QF MEL, TG BKK, AF CDG, to be more attentive. When you sit down at the restaurant area, in QF MEL, TG BKK, AF CDG, the servers would explain the Menu to you if you ask something or give suggestion… engage in small talk….. there is no rush…. so it feels more like a nice restaurant. While in QF SYD, you can’t do that cuz the restaurant area is always busy.

    For me I agree with you on the top list of QF SYD/MEL, TG BKK, AF CDG, LH FRA are the top first class lounge of the world… but not so much for EK DXB. The EK F is just big and has lots of things… but most things are more like good but not great for FCL standard. Food is good but not great, service/attentiveness is good but not great, spa is good but not great, the décor was good but not great, the view… there is no view, and no transportation to the gate other than walk.

    Also note that QF SYD/MEL lounge do not have a sleeping area but that is understandable cuz the only “international” connecting pax from long haul flight is to New Zealand and those lay overs are usually not long.

  8. Ben I’m flying out on BA F in May can I prebook the lounge treatments or is the pre booking for QF passengers only?

    Dom.

  9. It’s interesting that they’re still offering Kevin Murphy toiletries in the SYD First Lounge. I think they stopped offering those in the MEL First lounge over a year ago.

    In case anyone is wondering, Kevin Murphy shampoo and conditioner is fantastic!

  10. I take it when the F team called you to arrange spa appointment they didn’t mention about kerbside assistance? They can meet you at kerbside with those hotel-style trolley and start the check-in process as you’re approaching the airport (by calling a direct number) so by the time you arrive at the F check-in counter your boarding pass is ready and they just need to glance at your passport to verify the details.

  11. I have to agree with an above comment – the MEL QF F lounge is better than the SYD QF F lounge. More attentive, better service.

    In the QF F lounge 5 days after Ben and the service was terrible. Check in agent kept interrupting me to check in more people as she check for spa appointment. The appointment took 20 second so to do once she stop the interruptions.

    Service in the restaurant was the worst I have ever seen. Waiter approaches us with Breaksfast menu – and I ask it there was a lunch menu. He said lunch started at 12 noon (it as 11:50am). I said we would wait til 12 to order , but bring the drink now. While the waiter disappears for over an hour and I had to call over to get another waiter to help.

    The first section (there are two separate restaurant sections) had more waiters, my side had only one. A nice waitress finally came by and took our order. But it took over an hour to get. Others arriving much after us, had there order and food before our order was even taken.

    I asked to see the manager of the waiters and express displeasure with the service and the disappearance of the waiter. Shortly after the waiter reappear and asked if we wanted something else to drink. Acted as if nothing happened. He was Indian/Middle Eastern chubby guy – not sure if he did not want to serve two men sitting together.

    Spa treatment (facial) was great. Overall a great lounge, just some bad people working there. But MEL is by far more service orientated in my view.

  12. That’s so nice you met up with a friend there! When I’ll visit this lounge, I’ll be all alone. 🙁
    anyone else departing SYD on February 15?

  13. How’d you like SYD airport overall?

    This is the lounge Virgin would have, if they had a First Class product.

  14. So glad you liked it but MEL is better! Lucky only used the domestic in MEL not international where the First Lounge is.

  15. FYI, There are also 2 private rooms available. Not that private in the sense that people are able to look in, but you have your own space.

  16. You only become a customs officer if you cant get into the police force. Complete bunch of wankers. One asked why I would want to go to a country with so many asians.

  17. @ Ted — No, not at all. Clearly the problem with the plane had been fixed and it has been flying for years since.

  18. @ TKK — Nope, and frankly wouldn’t have gotten much value out of it, especially since I wasn’t using data abroad. Cool service, though!

  19. @ wwk5d — Hah, great point about Virgin. As far as the airport overall, I thought it was okay. Reasonably nice, but not comparable to some of the better Asian airports.

  20. Thanks for the report.

    The first agents you refer to are colloquially known as the bouncers as their sole job is to keep obviously ineligible passengers making it to the reception desk.

    It seems to always be the case before those US flights depart in the morning that the lounge is chockers, which does impact the service in the restaurant and stops this from being a truly great first class lounge.

    We just did a report of the Qantas F lounge in Melbourne, although it hasn’t changed much since you last visited: http://www.milesdownunder.com/2015/01/review-qantas-first-lounge-melbourne/

  21. Wow that lounge looks like the complete package decor/food/spa treatment! Makes me sad I couldn’t get QF F tickets for my parents

  22. EK F pax and EK Platinum pax can use the QF F Lounge as well.

    Unsurprised, though, at your lack of research as a travel blogger. A Qantas First host would have met you kerbside with a porter, checked you in, had your immigration forms filled in, escorted you through security and to the lounge. They would also pick you up and take you straight to the plane. These are all QF F benefits.

    You really need to work on your research PRIOR to travel if you are going to offer advice on your blog.

  23. I’m with those who prefer the MEL lounge. SYD wins on aesthetics and view, but MEL offers vastly more attentive service. When my friend and I were in the MEL lounge, the host knew where we were and what we were doing at every moment. So, for example, when I came out of my spa treatment, the host met me at the door and escorted me to the table where my friend was eating. At SYD, by contrast, I had a minor problem with which the front desk staff might have helped, but they showed no interest in doing so. I don’t really fault the people; the SYD lounge is so much larger and busier that it would be very difficult to provide the personal attention you get at MEL.

  24. Lounge access question when *connecting* in Sydney.

    Flying AA in F from LAX to SYD. In Sydney connecting on QF to Cairns in J (no first class from SYD-CNS). Can I access the first class lounge?

  25. Sorry for the resurrection of an old topic. I just wanted to check, I’m flying Emirates first class from Syd to Dubai on Sunday. I understand I can access the Qantas lounge, but is the spa available to me? I plan to see both lounges, but the treatments sound better at Qantas.
    Cheers

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