For most of us, layovers are awful — you’re surrounded by cranky fellow travellers with nothing to do but eat overpriced airport food and try to find a power outlet.But for a select few, layovers are a chance to indulge in VIP lounges where they can get pampered in spas, eat gourmet meals, and take a nap (wearing complimentary pajamas, of course), only to be awoken by a personal chauffeur ready to accompany them directly to their gate.
Sound like a dream? It’s actually the reality at these top 10 airport lounges from around the world. Whether you’re in Finland or Hong Kong — or looking to indulge your inner child or cure a hangover from the night before — these mini slices of paradise will make you want to skip your flight altogether.
Business Class flyers are usually a little less spoiled than their first class counterparts, but not at the Doha International Airport's Qatar Airlines Premium Terminal.
In addition to sushi platters, salad bars, buffets, and dessert stations, Business Class flyers enjoy massage chairs and even a 24-hour clinic in their lounge.
Location: Premium Terminal; Doha International Airport, Qatar.
If you ever have to travel with a hangover, the Virgin Atlantic JFK Clubhouse is a great place to be. There is an intimate relaxation area with complimentary PJs and low lighting, plus a ton of food in the back to snack on.
And for those who need a little 'hair of the dog,' the Clubhouse has a well-stocked bar, too.
Location: Above boarding gates A4 and A5; John F. Kennedy International Airport, U.S.A.
Finnair Lounge at the Helsinki Airport has what any weary world-traveller wants -- a free buffet (with Marimekko tableware to boot).
There's also the Finnair Spa with Finnish saunas and showers, a high-quality wine cellar, over 250 plush chairs to read and relax in, plus free access to the airport's internet.
Location: Terminal T2 between Gates 36 and 37; Helsinki Airport, Finland.
Heathrow was just named the best airport for shopping due to its massive selection of high-end stores, such as Burberry, Dior, and Gucci.
And once you're done blowing your dough, enjoy intimate dining with elegant private booths and full waiter service, complimentary champagne, Afternoon Tea service, and access to the Elemis Travel Spa all in the British Airways Concorde Room.
Location: Terminal 5; Heathrow Airport, London.
If your kids can be a handful, Etihad's Diamond First Class Lounge at the Abu Dhabi International Airport will take them off your hands with personal nanny service and a playroom.
You'll be whisked away to the day spa or shower rooms (while they iron your clothes and polish your shoes), or to a cigar lounge with plenty of Cubans and cognacs.
Location: Terminal 3; Abu Dhabi International Airport, United Arab Emirates.
The Pier at Hong Kong International Airport is known for its private rooms, wake-up calls, and shower suites. But more than that, it's The Noodle Bar, with its modern décor, first class service, and freshly-made Japanese noodles, that stands out to travellers.
There are also two more fully-stocked cafés and bars in the lounge if noodles aren't your thing.
Location: Gates 62--66, Northwest Concourse; Hong Kong International Airport, China.
Need a little R&R before take off? The Qantas First Class Lounge in Sydney pampers its passengers with a complimentary treatment in its day spa surrounded by a wall of plants.
You also have access to the shower suites, a luxe library to read in (with magazines, books, and boardgames), not to mention a high-quality converge service. You might even forget you're at the airport.
Location: International Terminal; Sydney Airport, Australia.
Most of these airport lounges allow their guests to feel removed from the general public, but the Lufthansa First-Class Lounge takes it to the next level -- it has a terminal all to itself. With valet parking, two private sleeping rooms, shower facilities, and a cigar lounge, this is what a first-class lounge should be.
Not to mention that when you're ready to board the plane, a limo will take you directly to your gate.
Location: Terminal 1; Frankfurt Airport, Germany.
The entire Changi International Airport in Singapore is a child's playground -- it has huge couches and TVs, a rooftop pool, touch screens in the bathroom, a four-story amusement park slide, and a movie theatre.
There are also intimate gardens and even a napping lounge for those wanting a little peace and quiet.
Location: Changi International Airport, Singapore.
Being a VIP member at Air France La Premiere Lounge really pays off -- they check your bags for you upon arrival, treat you to a complimentary spa treatment, and serve wines chosen by three-star Michelin chef Alain Ducasse.
But more than that, once your plane is ready to begin boarding, you are chauffeured directly to your gate and introduced to the flight staff. Now that's service.
Location: Terminal 2E; Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, France.
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