Review: Qantas Lounge London Heathrow Airport

Review: Cathay Pacific First Class Lounge London Heathrow Airport
Review: Cathay Pacific Business Class Lounge London Heathrow Airport
Review: Qantas Lounge London Heathrow Airport


I loved visiting Cathay Pacific’s First & Business Class Lounge at Heathrow Terminal 3, and that isn’t even the only good lounge option for oneworld passengers. The Qantas Lounge Heathrow opened in late November 2017, and based on the pictures looked beautiful. I finally had the chance to check it out on Saturday morning.

For those into lounge hopping, the Cathay Pacific and Qantas Lounges are immediately next to one another — the Qantas Lounge is in Zone B, while the Cathay Pacific Lounge is in Zone C.

The Qantas Lounge London is open daily from 7:55AM until 8:35PM, and can be accessed by all oneworld first class, business class, Emerald, and Sapphire passengers. While the Cathay Pacific Lounge has a separate first class section, the Qantas Lounge doesn’t, so all passengers have access to the same space (unlike Qantas’ lounges in Los Angeles, Melbourne, and Sydney).

The Qantas Lounge has a beautiful exterior.


Qantas Lounge Heathrow exterior

At the entrance I was welcomed to “the brand new Qantas Lounge.” The staff member explained that there was dining on the first floor, and then more seating on the second floor. She also explained that a la carte dining would be available starting at 9:30AM (I arrived right as the lounge opened).

Inside the entrance was a hallway where you could turn either left or right, with the Qantas logo straight ahead.


Qantas Lounge Heathrow entrance


Qantas Lounge Heathrow roo

To the right of the entrance was a table with high-top seating.


Qantas Lounge Heathrow seating near entrance

Past that is the rest of the first floor of the lounge. Most of the lounge is on the second floor, while the first floor is exclusively dedicated to dining. All the bathrooms are on the second level. That’s not a huge deal, though it is a ways to get from the downstairs dining area to the bathrooms.


Qantas Lounge Heathrow stairs

The centerpiece of the lower level was the bar, which is also where one of the two buffets was located. There were a few seats at the actual bar, should you prefer not to sit at a table.


Qantas Lounge London bar


Qantas Lounge Heathrow bar

The dining area featured dozens of individual tables, mostly with two seats each. I loved the decor. Rather than going for an ultra-modern look, the lounge has more of a classic yet chic feel.


Qantas Lounge Heathrow dining area


Qantas Lounge Heathrow dining area


Qantas Lounge Heathrow dining area

The buffet was on the small side, though everything looked quite good. There were pastries, banana bread, scones, croissants, fresh fruit, yogurt, and more.


Qantas Lounge London breakfast selection


Qantas Lounge London breakfast selection


Qantas Lounge London breakfast selection


Qantas Lounge London breakfast selection


Qantas Lounge London breakfast selection

Here’s how the breakfast buffet options were described:

I’ll talk more about the a la carte dining in a bit.

After exploring the lower level I took the staircase up a level to the second floor.


Qantas Lounge London stairs to upper level

This has to be one of the more impressive airline lounge staircases out there.


Qantas Lounge London stairs

The impressive design continued at the top, with the circular bar.


Qantas Lounge London bar

The two sides of the second floor were more or less mirror images of one another. The level had plenty of different seating designs, all of which were thoughtful and chic.


Qantas Lounge London seating


Qantas Lounge London seating


Qantas Lounge London upper level seating


Qantas Lounge London upper level seating


Qantas Lounge London upper level seating

The back area of the lounge had some cool couches that I don’t think I’ve ever seen in an airline lounge before.


Qantas Lounge London seating


Qantas Lounge London seating


Qantas Lounge London seating


Qantas Lounge London seating

This is also where the lounge’s second buffet was located.The selection was roughly comparable to what you’ll find at the first level buffet.


Qantas Lounge London breakfast buffet


Qantas Lounge London breakfast buffet


Qantas Lounge London breakfast buffet

There was also a selection of tea. Australians take their coffee seriously, so coffee is exclusively available at the bars from baristas, which is something that I appreciate.


Qantas Lounge London tea selection


Qantas Lounge London syrups

So whether you want a cappuccino or a flat white, that’s something the lounge staff is happy to whip up.


Qantas Lounge London cappuccino

In the back corner of the lounge was a small business center with a printer and one iMac, as well as additional counter space so you could use your own computer.


Qantas Lounge London business center

The lounge also had a play area for kids, which I found to be strange. Rather than having a separate room or even putting it at the end of the room, they just plopped it right in the middle of the lounge, between other furniture.


Qantas Lounge London kids play area

All the lounge’s bathrooms and showers are located on the second level. The toilets are all individual rooms, which is a feature you don’t often see in business class lounges.


Qantas Lounge London toilets


Qantas Lounge London toilets

The lounge also had several shower rooms with rainforest showerheads.


Qantas Lounge London shower suite


Qantas Lounge London shower suite


Qantas Lounge London shower suite

While I thought the lounge design was exceptional, one thing I didn’t like was the lack of natural light. While the Cathay Pacific Lounge has expansive floor-to-ceiling windows, there was a lack of natural light in this lounge. There were a few windows, but I just felt like the lounge was gloomy, and the views from the windows weren’t great either. Then again, it’s not like London gets that much sunshine.


Qantas Lounge London window

At 9:30AM I decided to have breakfast, since they said that’s when a la carte dining would start.


Qantas Lounge London a la carte dining

I was impressed when I first heard that the lounge offers a la carte dining, given that you don’t often see that in business class lounges (though it is becoming more common).

So I was slightly disappointed when I saw the actual “menu,” which only had three things on it:

Something is better than nothing, though I find that to be a rather underwhelming selection, and feel like at that point you might as well just have a more substantial buffet.

I ordered the roasted field mushrooms and herbed bruschetta with semi-dried tomato and rocket salad. It was just alright — the bread tasted stale, and the dish was small.


Qantas Lounge London a la carte brunch

While I wouldn’t usually drink this early in the morning, I had a reason for ordering a glass of sparkling wine. Rather controversially, the Qantas Lounge serves Petaluma Croser sparkling wine from Australia, rather than champagne. Was it my favorite sparkling wine ever? No. But I enjoyed it, and it certainly wasn’t bad.


Qantas Lounge London sparkling wine

The lounge does have Perrier-Jouet champagne, though they reserve that for Qantas first class passengers and their top tier elite passengers (not all oneworld Emerald members, but rather just Qantas Platinum One members). That seems a bit cheap, in my opinion, mainly due to the awkward/unnecessary conversations I overheard several times.

“Can I have some champagne?”
“Are you in first class on Qantas? If not, we have sparkling wine.”

As far as service goes, most of the employees in the lounge had the Sofitel logo next to their nametag, due to a partnership between Qantas and Sofitel. I don’t put too much weight on these partnerships as it’s more branding than anything else (similar to an airline collaborating with a celebrity chef). While the servers in the lounge seemed well intentioned, service certainly didn’t feel very refined. I ordered a flat white and was served a cappuccino, and my server dropped her pen twice and asked me twice what I wanted to eat (when I selected one thing from a three item menu). None of this is a big deal, and that’s a limited sample size, but I figured I’d mention that there’s still some room for improvement there.

Qantas Lounge London bottom line

The Qantas Lounge London is a great new option to have as a oneworld flyer. The way I see it, there are pros and cons to the lounge.

What I loved about the Qantas Lounge was the design, their commitment to excellent coffee, and the individual toilets.

There are also areas that impressed me less. While the a la carte menu seemed well intentioned, this is one of the most poorly executed lounge a la carte dining experiences I’ve seen. Furthermore, the lounge lacks natural light, and at times the location of things felt a bit odd (like the kids play area just in the middle of the lounge and bathrooms only on the second floor).

So if you’re a oneworld flyer passing through Heathrow Terminal 3, you might as well lounge hop, given how close all the lounges are to one another. Personally I think I prefer the Cathay Pacific Lounge (especially if you’re a oneworld Emerald or first class passenger), though they’re both excellent.

If you’ve visited the Qantas Lounge, what was your experience like?

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Comments

  1. Thanks Lucky, glad it’s not just me who found the a la carte breakfast in this lounge underwhelming and poorly executed (see my comment under your T3 CX J lounge article). btw I thought the coffee was not outstanding either. Just OK.

  2. Son and his girlfriend were there a month ago and loved it, particularly the alacarte dining, but they had a night flight so dinner was served which was a much more extensive menu. He sent me details of the menu options Which I thought were much more limited than the choices in the Virgin alacarte dining menu. They particularly lloved the showers and the bar with its vast array of upscale spirits.

  3. Agree. I was in LHR last week. I decided to go to the QF lounge in hopes that it would beat out the Cathay lounge. Like you… first impression awed by the architecture/furnishing… but after about 15 min I was ready to get out of there and return to good old Cathay First.

  4. it’s a beautiful lounge, but I agree some small things were missed. One thing that drove me nuts, personally, was no “to-go” bottled self service beverages. I like to take an extra bottle or two of water with me onto the plane, and after visiting the Qantas lounge, I had to enter the Admirals club for all of 90 seconds to grab two bottles of water. Not the end of the world, but seemed like an odd misstep.

  5. One point of clarification that you may want to make–there are actually two single bathrooms (one for men and one for women) on the far left of the lower level. I don’t recall if they have signs marking them, and they are not immediately visible. You have to go up a short staircase of maybe two steps and around a corner. Much closer to the gin bar than the main facilities upstairs.

  6. Also, it might be worth noting the downstairs gin bar, which has an impressive selection of gins. The Australian Green Ant Gin is particularly interesting (to me as a gin fan), and I’ve made a routine out of eating at the Cathay First lounge and then heading over to Qantas to sit at the gin bar and try a few of the more uncommon options.

  7. I never understood why people get so excited about lounges. As long as it’s clean, has showers. has space to sit and has some decent food, who needs all the bells and whistles?

  8. @josh Same reason people get excited about J and F products with bells and whistles – presumably that’s why they are reading this website?

  9. Last Saturday I checked it out but decided the Cathay lounge was better as I like the noodles, bao and dim sum they offer in what was a nearly empty dining area. Wine wasn’t a criteria before boarding a 12:35 PM AA flight to MIA.

  10. Can a OneWorld Emerald utilise this Qantas lounge upon ARRIVAL at LHR, and/or if NOT actually flying Qantas?

  11. I’m surprised you didn’t mention the awful placement of electrical outlets. There are none by the seating just in the walls surrounding. Which means either sitting on the floor with your device or stretching a cord across the walkway to you seat. Very surprised to see this in a brand new lounge, I guess Australians never need to charge anything.

  12. The biggest problem with the Qantas lounge is that they have the lighting turned up too brightly. It’s just a nicer ambiance in the Cathay Pacific one. They’re both far better the the BA one however and I want an evening flight from T3 to try both lounges out properly.

  13. Is there any access other than stairs between the 2 levels for those who find stairs challenging?
    Or are those people denied the opportunity for a la carte dining?

  14. What’s the controversy about the Australian sparkling wine? Or is it controversial because you feel something else should be served?

  15. Nice to see the QF lounge showers stocked with Aspar amenities! This might be blasphemy, but I have to admit liking the Aspar Aurora Spa amenities in the Qantas showers better than the Aesop amenities in the Cathay showers. I do find the white Aspar more calming and gentle (lavendar, rose, ginger, etc.) than the brighter Aesop (mandarin orange rind, cedar bark, rosemary). The Qantas First black Aspar (e.g. QF LAX F lounge) are more masculine (patchouli, sandalwood) and also quite nice.

  16. Sir – A ‘Flat White’ is an espresso-based coffee drink. You were served the proper beverage.

  17. I think if you go to the QF lounge expecting a First lounge, you’ll be disappointed. Go to CX First. This is the issue with QF’s joint lounges, but overall its a decent product and is a competitive lounge product for a business lounge.

    I do certainly enjoy a Cathay noodle bar though, but its not like options are that extensive there either.

    I’d be interested to know what the non-breakfast menu is like.

  18. Good review, Lucky. Totally agree with you on the comment about Aussies taking their coffee seriously

    I’m addition, I always appreciate the Australian commitment to good, healthy food. While the spread might not always be as spectacular as the ME3 lounges, I find something homely and comforting about the offerings.

  19. I was in this lounge before my 14.00 BA to MIA flight. Totally empty. No restaurant service. Only a small uninspiring buffet upstairs, with servers gossiping away loudly in the background. The lighting was very harsh. The only 1 tiny lift, to get back down to the departures level; was really slow and took forever to arrive. Back to Cathay’s FC lounge, me thinks.

  20. Tried the QF London lounge the other week as I was flying first on QF to Sydney. after 15 minutes, I went back to the CX lounge. The QF lounge felt like a zoo and I may as well have been flying economy, there was nothing special about the treatment in the lounge as a F flyer!

  21. I too was there recently and agree with others that it doesn’t quite compare with the CX J lounge not to mention the CX F lounge. I did get a glass of champagne though without being asked whether i was a QF elite (which i’m not)…;-)

  22. Good evening everyone

    Is it possible to enter the Qantas lounge or the CX lounge with a business class flight to LAX with American Airlines and I have also the silver status from British Executive (Oneworld: Sapphire)?

    Thank you very much in advance!

    Greetings
    Roberto

  23. Just stopped into this lounge again this afternoon.

    The restaurant is closed from at least 2pm until 5:30pm. They do have a small hot and cold buffet upstairs that is open during this time but the main restaurant (and effectively the whole downstairs is closed during this time).

    Oh and also on a Thursday at 2pm it was quiet empty.

  24. In here now fir my first visit. I do think there is more natural light than I was expecting. Quite nice, but CX lounge still rules at LHR. I was there earlier and now going back.

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