Photos: new look for Qantas Chairman's Lounge, Melbourne Airport

By David Flynn, February 10 2014

The invitation-only Qantas Chairman's Lounge at Melbourne Airport now sports a dramatic new look following extensive renovations behind those frosted glass doors.

The exclusive lounge is nothing like its Sydney counterpart, which shares much of its DNA with the highly-regarded Qantas International First Lounge.

Melbourne's new Qantas Chairman's Lounge darts off in a totally different direction. 

We're certain this very colourful and very contemporary look will also prove very controversial, especially among more traditionally-minded members of the Chairman's Lounge program.

Gone are the muted colours and solid "gentleman's club" design.

Now it's light, open and airy, and rather more 'new European' rather than 'old London'.

Thankfully there's a well-stocked bar to help calm any overwhelming panic brought on by this dramatic change.

Visitors to Qantas' Sydney and Melbourne first class lounges will notice some familiar favourites on the menu, which is printed using the same placemat design as daily menus for the Qantas Singapore Lounge.

More photos: Inside the Qantas Chairman's Lounge

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David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

25 Jul 2013

Total posts 52

I can't believe they would replace a beautifully detailed Marc Newson interior with this... it looks so cheap! Qantas has surely lost the plot.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Oct 2013

Total posts 93

First replacing the Skybed with something off the shelf, now this... I feel like the last people that had good taste in QF management were sacked in the last round of layoffs!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Feb 2013

Total posts 54

I'm not a great fan of the Marc Newson designs, but this new one looks as if its straight out of Ikea!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1136

I was just going to make the Ikea comparison. No, Ikea doesn't necessarily equal tacky but compared to the previous "private club" feel this is a far cry.

Ah well, not as if I'd ever see the inside of the lounge anyway. Moving on. :)

AlG
AlG

04 Nov 2010

Total posts 674

Yikes! This doesn't look at all 'exclusive' or 'refined' or antyhing else you'd expect from a VIP lounge. Yes it's 'contemporary relaxed' but it screams IKEA to me!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1380

Take out the coloured wall and it is very 'on trend' interior design wise with lots of light wood, dark hues, metallic light fittings.

Did the Melbourne CL ever have the Newson design, I thought it was much older (the other picks above are from Sydney)

22 Jul 2011

Total posts 98

Correct - only Sydney got the Marc Newson treatment and it was controversial - a lot of the pollies etc with zero design appreciation liked it. I think it's a shame. It was a bold call, but a complete success. Probably looks better in person, especially at night.

The Melbourne lounge is just meh.

am
am

15 Apr 2011

Total posts 586

I love how high the ceilings are, and most of the fittings and furniture actually look very nice. I can only assume that the coloured wall looks better in person than it does in the photos, given how tasteful Qantas' lounge design generally is. 

It'll date quickly though, unlike what they have in Sydney. 

VA

01 Mar 2013

Total posts 26

Perhaps this could be taken as a nod by qantas that not all corporate high fliers these days are male?  I can see how a designer may have come up with this if they were asked to design a lounge that moved away from the "london gentleman's club" aesthetic and more toward a "refined scandinavian living room".  If you remove the rainbow (IKEAesque or perhaps gay pride?) wall and replace it with something like the vertical timber feature in Alvaro Aalto's 1939 Villa Mairea, and replace some of the brand new chairs with vintage equivalents then I think it could be very a striking and inviting space.

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 662

 it's time for QF to move away from the 'mancave' mindset and embrace a more up to date/contemporary/unisex design which reflects more of the actual members of the chairmans lounge...well done QF

09 Sep 2012

Total posts 140

By "male" do you mean men?

Who says Ikea is tacky? It doesn't have the same testosterone punch as the SYD Chairman's Lounge but I think it is still quite nice...different but nice.

Shame the MEL Domestic Business is still in its current tattered state.

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 662

i agree!!! well said

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Feb 2013

Total posts 54

The Marc Newsom design is dark, very masculine, and clubby. I welcome a brighter, lighter design. The seating area in the new design looks good, but the dining area just shouts Ikea to me.

Did anyone say Ikea is tacky? I don't have a problem with Ikea furniture; I have Ikea furniture in my living room. However, in a airport lounge I prefer a layout that looks as if it is the result of meticulous design, exceptional materials and generous proportions. I'd prefer that it doesn't look and feel like an Ikea showroom, nor like my living room.

MartinS,

You've hit it on the head! Maybe the look they're going for is someone's living room!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Oct 2012

Total posts 150

I don't mind it. I have mixed minds about the coloured wall, but it's growing on me. Honestly, look at it 2-3 times, it actually fits in well. I like that they have gone for a more homely feel, such as a living room, which is infuzed with a very cafe/small restaurant feel. It is definitely very "melbourne". 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Oct 2012

Total posts 150

Does anyone know where they get the small dining tables and chairs from? I really want some!

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 662

going by the various comments on here...IKEA!! because apparently ONLY IKEA  makes/supplies this type of furniture....i admit i dont know where/who supplies them....but im willing be bet they are NOT from IKEA....and are of a far better quality...maybe even made in OZ with OZ sourced materials... shock/horror!!....and yes also very 'melbourne'  ... that's a compliment..not a criticizm

am
am

15 Apr 2011

Total posts 586

Indeed, some commenters here would do well to go and have a wander around some high end furniture shops and realise that this look is very in right now, and it's very different to the chunky chipboard flat pack stuff that you get at Ikea. I have nothing against Ikea, but I doubt anybody would be making the comparison if they saw the furniture in person and realised how much quality and finish impacts the feel of the space. 

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 662

let me also add...i have nothing against IKEA..i have acquired many 'allen keys' over the years!! and am happy to report all of my purchases have survived what i have inflicted on them...lol

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Feb 2013

Total posts 54

I too am sure they are not from Ikea. But as you say "IKEA makes/supplies this type of furniture".

The dining area looks cramped and overly busy to me. Like an Ikea showroom, or a Docklands cafe if you prefer. Great for creating a bit of buzz in a cafe, and I'd be quite happy to grab lunch or a coffee in such a setting. Personally, I prefer an airport lounge to be an oasis of calm, but each to his/her own.

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 662

let's not forget....this is the Chairman's Lounge..and will hardly be overcrowded by the 'masses' ..even in the dining area... i'm sure the dining space will be able to accommodate its clientelle quite comfortably

17 Feb 2012

Total posts 121

Love it...  With most lounges set in muted tones, its finally great to see some colour.  It is also much more reflective of Melbourne's more stylized architecture and edgy urban design.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Oct 2013

Total posts 93

This looks like a pretty chic and aesthetically engaging lounge... but this is what I would think the QF Club lounge should look like.

Let's be honest, if I was a major account holder for a large firm (as many CL members are), I expect a certain air of exclusivity with my membership... where lounges are more muted, conservative, and, unfortunately in my opinion, resemble gentlemen's clubs from old ye London.

So it's not a bad design, in fact it looks great... but wrong demographic. In the words of spacecadet - Qantas has surely [really, truly] lost the plot.

17 Feb 2012

Total posts 121

Thanks for the throw back to the 1950's PB, and god forbid any women accesses these lounges - unless they are serving the drinks.  No Qantas hasn't lost the plet - as the quaint colonial world you want to hark back to no longer exists.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Oct 2013

Total posts 93

I was merely pointing out that the demographic is more attuned to a more discerning taste aesthetically, but thanks for insinuating about my morals, which is far removed from what you're suggesting.

09 Sep 2012

Total posts 140

Take out the word "unfortunately" and I couldn't disagree with your first two paragraphs, mr-jb.

Shouldn't all airline lounges be quiet, restful, subdued havens away from the madding crowd though? Isn't that the idea? It remains my hope, but these days I often wish I'd stayed in the public areas, where you rarely are forced to listen to interminable mobile telephone conversations from self-important wheeler-dealers or pep-talks from sales managers to their sycophants.

26 May 2012

Total posts 150

I am sure it is very difficult to get a real idea of the lounge until you actually go to it. For example, I wasn't that wowed with the photos of the Sydney Qantas First Lounge until I went there and it blew my socks off. 

I eagerly await comment from a visitor...

26 Jul 2013

Total posts 12

I have been in there on numerous occasions before and after the refurb and I think it is actually very nice and much better than the old one! I completely agree the pictures don't do it justice and it is much nicer in person.

The food from the restaurant was fantastic although the service was average, admittedly it has improved dramatically as the new staff find their feet. 

I do have to question wether it is all worth it though... My first impression, along with my father, when we walked in after the refurb was any wonder qantas is going broke!


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