Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce will officially cut the ribbon on the airlines' new Melbourne domestic lounges this Thursday, November 1, marking the end of a year-long upgrade for both the Qantas Club and the Qantas Business Lounge.
That multi-million dollar makeover saw an all-new Qantas Club open at the end of May, with the neighbouring business class lounge debuting in late August – although both remained to some extent a 'work in progress' until this past weekend, when the lounges assumed their final form.
What's new at Melbourne's Qantas Business Lounge
The business class lounge now sports an additional 'wing' next to the bar which effectively mirrors the layout of the lounge on the opposite side of the bar, with an extra two of those circular orange-cushioned lounge pods currently seen in the lounge...
... plus additional banquette seating...
... and more stand-alone seating stretching along the windows facing the tarmac.
This represents an overall boost of some 100 seats – around 20 percent more than the current count – and lifts the Qantas Business Lounge's total capacity to 350, which the airline says is 40% more than the old lounge.
But for business class passengers and Platinum-grade frequent flyers the highlight is be the Asian Spice Bar.
Located beyond the self-serve buffet, the Asian Spice Bar will serve up freshly-made Asian soups, noodles and street food from noon each day, and we're told typical dishes will include
- beef brisket noodle soup with salted chili and bok choy
- char sui pork with rice and stir fried choy sum
- sichuan eggplant with rice and stir fried gai lan
- chicken laksa
- vegetarian wonton noodle soup
The Asian Spice Bar will be Melbourne's take on the 'signature dining concept' of its sibling new-look lounges, with Perth now famous for its pizzas while Brisbane is host to a Mexican Cantina.
What's new at Melbourne's Qantas Club
The crowded Qantas Club gains some respite by expanding into part of the business lounge's former footprint, with an L-shaped extension wrapping along past the Qantas Club bar and up to the old business lounge's servery.
This will add almost 200 extra seats to Melbourne's Qantas Club for a total capacity of around 530 passengers, or 10% over the previous Qantas Club.
As a result, Qantas has lifted the longstanding guest restrictions during peak hours for Gold-grade frequent flyers and Qantas Club members.
A series of windows into the terminal are also being opened up at a new extension just past the bar in an effort to address what has been a common complaint of Qantas Club members: that the lounge's relocation has seen the views and natural light handed over to the Qantas Business Lounge.
Those windows into the terminal won’t do much for a view but at least they’ll bring some light into the rear section of the Qantas Club.
Up next on Qantas' lounge to-do list is a Cinderella-like transformation of its Sydney International Business Lounge stretching through to late 2019, which will be designed by David Caon and feature a Rockpool 'dining concept'.
This will run concurrently with the construction of an all-new Qantas first class lounge at Singapore, which is due to open in late 2019 and take its cues from the Sydney, Melbourne and Los Angeles first class lounges with a cocktail bar, dining room, open kitchen and private shower suites.