If you’re looking for the best airport lounges that Heathrow can offer for the coming year’s travel, then you’ve come to the right place. This guide focuses in on a quintet of pretty darn fantastic kick-back spaces in the big airport, each of which offers something a bit special for that pre-flight pampering in 2023.
Naturally, the charge is led by the UK’s flag carrier British Airways. They have a dedicated Concord lounge that even has the nose of a vintage airplane set on its viewing deck, not to mention sci-fi-style sleeping pods for those hard-earned z’s before boarding. On top of that, there are curated lounges by Cathay Pacific, Virgin, and a whole host of other brands, all of which provide something unique to travelers moving through London’s largest hub.
Of course, not ALL travelers are eligible to visit the best airport lounges that Heathrow has up its sleeve. The entry requirements for each of our picks here varies. If you’re traveling first class then there’s usually a dedicated lounge on offer. Others might be able to get access thanks to deals with associated credit cards, flight upgrades, or through other partners.
British Airways Concorde Room
The British Airways Concorde Room is the crème-de-la-crème of the chillout spaces for pre-departure travelers in London’s largest airport. That’s why it reigns supreme on this list of the best airport lounges Heathrow can offer. It’s reserved for first-class travelers only and makes its home in the newer terminal five, one of the major long-haul terminals in the complex.
Refurbished in the wake of the 2019-20 COVID pandemic, the facility now channels a chic yet traditional feel that nods towards the elegance of classic British design. The private cabanas with private beds and showers are no longer available, but they’ve been switched out for a futuristic Forty Winks nap lounge that’s loaded with gravity-and-light sleeping pods.
The food and drink offering is second to none. Diners can pick between lunchtime farmhouse sarnies with British cheese and free-range egg pastes or evening mains that run the gamut from plant-based burgers to pan-roasted sea bass. Match that with one of the curated wine labels, which include Argentine Mendoza reds and three types of champagne and plenty in between. Alternatively, there are in-house cocktails designed by a professional mixologist.
As we’ve already mentioned, the British Airways Concorde Room is open to all BA first-class travelers but also BA Gold Guest List members, a status that is achieved after accumulating over 5,000 tier points with the flag carrier.
Cathay Pacific First Class Lounge
The Cathay Pacific First Class Lounge has an understated cool and elegance about it, much like the carrier’s even-more-luxury lounges back in their hub country of Hong Kong. That really runs throughout this chic escape in Heathrow’s Terminal 3. It beckons only a few steps past the security check, so you shouldn’t have to walk very far before getting the luxury a-rolling.
And it really is luxury…The lounge comes with dedicated desk areas in a business section that’s done out in hardwood mahogany with dim lighting and room for ad hoc computer stations. There are plush lounge chairs and recline seats. And then there’s the food and drink…
An exclusive wine bar with fine French bubbly and more mingles with The Dining Room restaurant, a bistro that offers creative Asian and Western foods along with artfully baked deserts. You certainly won’t go hungry!
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse
The folk over at Virgin bill their Clubhouse as “more like a five-star hotel than an airport lounge.” That’s a big claim. But who’s to disagree? The spot is unquestionably among the best airport lounges Heathrow can offer, boasting everything from private relaxation pod spaces to Peloton work-out zones to al fresco terraces.
Let’s begin with the basics: The lounge is located in the Upper Class Wing, which is Virgin’s private check-in facility. It’s a doozy, with a separate entrance to Terminal 3’s main concourses and a handsome lobby space centered on a grand atrium cut through by a spiral staircase. You’ll find the Clubhouse on the top floor there.
Entering, you’ll be greeted by a vast, open-plan lounge space with sit-down dining tables and faux-leather chairs. It’s got an Art Deco edge to it, with 50s parquet flooring and glossy marble workspaces where you could easily flip open the laptop for some time at the proverbial coalface. The bathrooms are now all shared, but are both clean and stylish, with complimentary REN cosmetics as standard.
For us, the piece de resistance of the Upper Class Wing lounge from Virgin is twofold: The bar and the outdoor area. This is the ONLY facility in the whole of Heathrow Airport that has the latter, and it’s a space with lovely views of the main runways to boot. When it comes to the former, the staff are very knowledgeable and chatty, and can offer everything from crafted cocktails to bespoke champagne labels.
Qatar Airways Premium Lounge
It’s little surprise that it’s Qatar, one of the leading long-haul players out of the Middle East, that come in with another of the best airport lounges Heathrow can muster. Cue the Qatar Airways Premium Lounge, a super Zen space that channels a bit of the mystery of Arabia and mixes that with pure, unadulterated luxury.
The good things begin the moment you stroll in. There’s no bulky reception desk. Instead, you’ll instantly be surrounded by babbling fountains that look more like something out of a Moroccan riad than an airport departure hall. There are private table areas shaded by olive trees, a stripped-down white and black color scheme that’s easy on the eye, and floor-to-ceiling windows that let in ample amounts of natural light.
One of the standout features of Qatar’s submission to this selection is the high-class refreshment facilities. This lounge comes with an array of private shower and bathroom spaces. But they’re not your run-of-the-mill wet rooms. These have heated floors and mirrors, embroidered bathrobes, and soothing cosmetics.
For the foodies, there’s an al a carte offering of larger meals but also a fully stocked delicatessen and deli for simpler snacks. WiFi is complimentary and available throughout the whole space, as are free-to-use working desks with plugs and printer access. The Qatar Airways Premium Lounge can be found in Heathrow Terminal 4.
Qantas First and Business Class Lounge
The all-new Qantas First and Business Class Lounge is one of the jewels in the business-class crown of Terminal 3. It serves all biz and first passengers making for one of the long-haul connections with the Aussie national flag carrier, including the major point-to-point departure all the way from London to Perth in WA, which is now among the longest nonstop flights on the planet!
Anyway…back to the lounge. Done out with a mishmash of retro 50s design features and a twist of uber-cool modernism, it looks more like some New York jazz bar than a wait-around at a major airport. We especially love the symmetrical main atrium, which opens onto huge windows with sweeping 180-degree views of the airplane park and runways.
Drinkers are sure to love the dedicated gin bar, which has over 10 varieties of the good stuff and more than 100 different ways of mixing them. Diners are bound to enjoy the UK-inspired menu of British classics that was designed under the guiding hand of Neil Perry and then matched with Australian wine labels for extra class.
The Heathrow Qantas lounge in T3 is open to all first and business passengers with the Oz flag carrier. It’s also for platinum Emirates members and Emerald-and-up Oneworld members. It’s possible to bring a guest along if you like.
The best airport lounges Heathrow can offer – our conclusion
Heathrow has some of the best airport lounges in the whole, wide world. There again, that’s probably just what you’d expect. This is the largest airport in the UK by a long stretch, and one of the largest on the whole planet to boot. It crosses five whole terminals, acts as a hub for the British flag carrier BA, and is a departure and arrival point for airlines as diverse as Qatar and Qantas.
Packed between the endless shopping concourses and check-in halls are a series of truly unique and luxury lounges that we think any high-class traveler should have their eye on. BA’s award-winning Concorde lounge probably stands a cut above the rest, what with its on-demand champagne and aviation-inspired installation art. But we also love the gorgeous turn-of-the-century looks of the Qantas lounge and the simple Middle Eastern-style spaces of the Qatar lounge.
Just be sure to check your eligibility ahead of time and book in if necessary.