First look: refreshed Virgin Melbourne lounge is ‘same but different’

Melbourne’s lounge make-over is a make-better, the airline says, where a more relaxed vibe mixes with some on-brand playfulness.

By David Flynn, November 1 2021
First look: refreshed Virgin Melbourne lounge is ‘same but different’

Visitors to Virgin Australia's upgraded Melbourne lounge, which reopens its doors from 7am today, will be greeted by a familiar space with plenty of fresh touches.

Welcome to Virgin Australia's new-look Melbourne lounge.
Welcome to Virgin Australia's new-look Melbourne lounge.

And if they've been to Virgin's Adelaide lounge, which launched the airline's latest lounge design in early 2021, it'll be a bit easier for them to connect the dots in Melbourne.

Inside Virgin Australia's new-look Melbourne lounge.
Inside Virgin Australia's new-look Melbourne lounge.

Some new furnishings, softer materials with a more relaxed palette, potted and hanging plants, playful signage that's a little more Virgin Atlantic than the 'old' Virgin Australia (think Bain x Branson) – it all serves to take the hard sharp, corporate edge off the original Melbourne lounge, which was the first of the airline's then-new lounges under the reign of former CEO John Borghetti.

Inside Virgin Australia's new-look Melbourne lounge.
Inside Virgin Australia's new-look Melbourne lounge.

"It's a truly wonderful space that’s been given a new lease on life," says Paul Jones, Virgin Australia Group Chief Customer and Digital Officer.

While the previous lounge's footprint remains, as does the general floorplan, "frequent flyers can expect to see more 'Virgin Flair' through signage, seating areas, bathrooms and the general aesthetics," Jones explains.

Inside Virgin Australia's new-look Melbourne lounge.
Inside Virgin Australia's new-look Melbourne lounge.

"As part of our commitment to investing in great experiences for our guests, it was important that we elevated the standard of the Melbourne Lounge, which first opened over eight years ago, in line with our new and fresh Lounge design thinking."

Many of the changes are relatively small on their own but add up to a welcome make-over which also affords our best indication yet of how Virgin will update the other lounges in its network when the time comes.

Inside Virgin Australia's new-look Melbourne lounge.
Inside Virgin Australia's new-look Melbourne lounge.

"Our plan is to continue to invest and evolve Virgin Australia’s fantastic lounge spaces as part of our focus on creating great guest experiences," Jones promises.

The layout's broadly the same: spaces to sit back, relax and unwind, enjoy a delicious meal, connect with others or work on the fly.

Inside Virgin Australia's new-look Melbourne lounge.
Inside Virgin Australia's new-look Melbourne lounge.

Look for new and refreshed furniture such as couches, single seats, high bars and work benches, with three key areas:

  • The Gallery Lounge: "the perfect place to take in the stunning views of the tarmac," this space features comfy chairs and ottomans
  • The Sunroom affords "a mixture of cosy seating arrangements" leaning towards couples, colleagues and family members
  • The Long Stay is described as "a chill-out zone adjacent to the Wine Down Bar with a focus on single seating for the solo traveller to catch up or unwind prior to their flight."
Inside Virgin Australia's new-look Melbourne lounge.
Inside Virgin Australia's new-look Melbourne lounge.

Signature features of the Lounge will also return, including coffee and wine bars rebadged as The Wake Up and The Wind Down.

Inside Virgin Australia's new-look Melbourne lounge.
Inside Virgin Australia's new-look Melbourne lounge.

In keeping with the Virgin Australia signature 'flair', bright signage adorns the walls, entry and exit points.

Inside Virgin Australia's new-look Melbourne lounge.
Inside Virgin Australia's new-look Melbourne lounge.

The bathrooms and showers are entirely new, although at the time of writing the private shower suites with their floor-to-ceiling mirrors and bench seats are "temporarily closed due to Covid-19."

Inside Virgin Australia's new-look Melbourne lounge.
Inside Virgin Australia's new-look Melbourne lounge.

Although rated at a capacity of up to 650 travellers, current Covid-19 capacity restrictions currently limit this to 500.

Inside Virgin Australia's new-look Melbourne lounge.
Inside Virgin Australia's new-look Melbourne lounge.

Significantly, the Melbourne lounge also serves as the launchpad for Virgin's new lounge menu, which adopts an upmarket cafe vibe with unexpected international range from smashed avo to scones, Japanese karaage chicken to Chinese dumplings, and mediterranean plates to Macaroons.

Part of the spread in Virgin Australia's new lounge menu.
Part of the spread in Virgin Australia's new lounge menu.

Up next will be the launch of Virgin's new premium VIP program built around what were formerly The Club lounges at Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane – the airline says this will take place by March 31, 2022, which could also accompany a new top-level VIP tier of the Velocity Frequent Flyer program.

Read more: Is Virgin going to transform The Club into a Velocity elite tier?

TMP
TMP

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

17 May 2018

Total posts 6

Do you have any information on when the closed lounges will reopen? (Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Gold Coast)

01 Aug 2019

Total posts 14

Does not look too bad at all 

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 709

Comes across very European to myself, looks good I'm actually quite amazed at the changes coming to VA. I'm not really a lounge person but I like comparing the The Chairman Lounge to the The Club, I like comparing the VA lounges to the QF business lounge and economy lounge. When VA went down I was really worried Qantas would lower their standards and increase prices and the consumers at both VA and Qantas would loss out but after seeing what is happening at VA I really believe Qantas needs to pick their socks up which benefits all consumers.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 527

It also puts pressure on VA to do something - ANYTHING - to its lounge in SYD Domestic.   As keen as I am for the lounge in CNS to re-open (assuming it ever will?), surely (not Shirley) Sydney is long overdue for for at least a healthy dose of cosmetic surgery.  

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1020

That looks like an impressive refresh.  They have removed the purple lighting and changed around the furniture and it looks basically new.  They didn't need to start from scratch given the lounge was under 10 years old.  

It remains much much better than the very disappointing Qantas Club lounge in Melbourne that has very little going for it other than incenting Gold members to travel more to reach Platinum so they never have to visit it again.

08 Sep 2018

Total posts 23

I really love the bathroom. Even if I’m late and not using lounge I’ll still just drop in to use the bathrooms, the T3 bathrooms airside are horrendous.

Do like the greens and plants. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

27 Jun 2013

Total posts 19

Looks good. I enjoy the refreshed ADL lounge & find it has a more relaxed feel, especially compared to QF lounges

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Mar 2012

Total posts 231

Bathroom looks nice! Those plants around the place really liven it up. 

27 Apr 2017

Total posts 40

The abundant natural light with glorious tarmac views alone puts this lounge head and shoulders above the MEL Qantas Club dungeon.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Dec 2012

Total posts 54

The refresh looks good, less stark.  I wonder how the food refresh will go for us Gluten Free people.  The last management of VA took a long time to improve just a bit, I hope we don't have to start from scratch again educating the new management around on of the most common food allergies in Australia.

AT
AT

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 366

Excellent and great to see Virgin doing well with this new revamp lounge. Looks like a nice lounge to visit. 

That's pretty good given it's not a 'new' lounge but just a refresh. You can 'see' the old lounge underneath quite clearly but this refresh has given it a fresher look and a new lease of life for sure!

I presume the 'premium exit' is either going or already gone, as wasn't this lounge 'moving' airside due to a reconfiguration of T3 and all security to be done at T4?

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1020

The original plan had a dedicated premium entry and separate security from the check in hall in T3 directly into The Lounge though this seems to have now gone away with all T3 departures to be directed down the new ramp to what is currently T4 security and entering into the food-court at the top of Concourse E.  

It will be interesting to see if VA reconfigures the entry into The Lounge so there is another entry further towards Concourse E once The Lounge moves airside.

 

Aegean Airlines - Miles & Bonus

16 Jul 2019

Total posts 5

Looks great and a much warmer environment than the bright white purple corporate look under JB's management. Thank goodness those characterless tub chairs are gone.

It looks like VA are going after Qantas in the QFFF Gold and Qantas Club market as this lounge concept is far more inviting than the current Qantas Clubs. 


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