Melbourne - Tullamarine
- Quiet lounge makes a great space to work
- Complimentary alcohol 3-7pm
- Easily accessible when flying Virgin Australia from Terminal 3
- Slow WiFi, even when the lounge was quiet
- No hot food (except toast)
- Now accepting Priority Pass, even if you're not flying REX
While once reserved for passengers flying with Regional Express, the Rex Lounge at Melbourne Airport's Terminal 4 is now part of the Priority Pass program, welcoming guests travelling with any airline from the Victorian capital, and indeed, those departing from any terminal.
Although it's a fair hike from Terminal 1 where Qantas domestic flights depart – and if you're jetting abroad from Terminal 2, Priority Pass unlocks the Plaza Premium Lounge instead – the Rex Lounge is a particularly handy option for Virgin Australia passengers flying from Terminal 3, given its close location to T4 and the 'shortcut' walkway past Virgin Australia's own lounge, which gets you here in minutes.
I did just that: stopping by before a recent Virgin Australia flight from T3 to experience the lounge as a Priority Pass cardholder and bring you this review.
Location & Impressions
Tucked away in Melbourne Airport's Terminal 4, the Rex Lounge is naturally best-located for passengers departing from this terminal, but it's actually not far from Virgin Australia's lounge in Terminal 3 either, making it a good alternative if the Virgin lounge is busy or if you don't have access there.
For example, if you're flying Virgin from Terminal 3, you could complete check-in and head down the usual escalators nearby, where you'd find Virgin Australia's lounge over to the left. Just walk past the Virgin lounge and follow the sign to T4 Domestic.
You'll go through a security checkpoint – but one that's separate to the main T4 screening area, so there's rarely a queue – and you'll find the Rex Lounge down another escalator near Gates 30-33:
Including going through security at Terminal 4, it only took me about four minutes to get from the Virgin Australia lounge to the Rex Lounge, so while it might be inconvenient to go through screening again before your flight (if not flying from T4), it's still pretty easy to get here:
After a quick swipe of my Priority Pass card at the nearby reception desk, I was inside – and at 6pm on a weeknight, I was pleased to find the lounge mostly empty (and quiet), which Virgin Australia's lounge was not.
The Rex Lounge is open from 6am to 7pm Monday to Saturday and 7:30am until 7pm on Sundays.
- Priority Pass, Lounge Club and LoungeKey members travelling with any airline. Membership costs and guest inclusions are as per the terms of the traveller's normal membership plan.
- Diners Club cardholders travelling with any airline on presentation of their Diners Club card.
- Rex Lounge members travelling onwards with Regional Express, plus one complimentary guest. A $22 charge applies if bringing in a second guest.
- Other Regional Express passengers purchasing casual access for $33 per person per visit, available only between 9am-2pm Monday-Friday and all day on weekends.
Again, you don't need to be flying with Regional Express to access this lounge through programs like Priority Pass – you can be flying with any airline from any terminal at Melbourne Airport: even Qantas from Terminal 1 at the other end of the airport, if you're particularly keen and don't mind the walk.
All food and beverage here is self-service, and given this is primarily a 'regional' lounge, don't expect to find any hot dishes: but most of the basics are still covered.
Your choices begin with Nespresso coffee, tea-making facilities and instant noodles for a quick snack...
... continuing with items like chips, chocolate bars, tarts, muffins, cereal (even in the evenings), bread and condiments, with a conventional toaster nearby for an easy Vegemite on toast...
... with fruit packs, Chobani yoghurts, wraps and cheeses in the fridge below, aside a selection of juice and soft drinks.
From 3-7pm daily, the fridge on the left is unlocked and alcohol is complimentary for all guests, with Furphy Ale and James Boag beers available, plus a Hollick Shiraz on the bench above and Hollick Chardonnay as well, which I enjoyed with some cheese and crackers (after removing all the plastic wrapping):
As far as regional lounges go, that's a pretty decent spread – certainly not on-par with Melbourne's Qantas and Virgin Australia lounges, but for a Priority Pass lounge – and in fact, the only lounge in Melbourne Terminal 4 – it's acceptable.
What I really like about the Rex Lounge is that it's usually quiet – something I've also observed of the Rex Lounge in Sydney, which now accepts Priority Pass too – and for getting work done, it's hard to ask for a better atmosphere.
Lining the walls are an array of laptop benches with easily-accessible AC and USB power...
... with computers available too if needed, along with printing facilities...
... and a boardroom as well. On my visit, it was open for anybody to use, but can be reserved exclusively as a meeting or conference space by calling 03 9330 8002 (charges apply):
Wireless Internet is available – you'll find the password on signs throughout the lounge – although my speed tests clocked downloads at 2.48Mbps, uploads at 0.9Mbps and ping speeds at 27ms, and that's with only two other people in the lounge: so pack your own 4G modem if you need anything faster.
Kicking back before your flight? Venture beyond the magazine rack and the display cabinet...
... to uncover two massage chairs, which work as you'd expect...
... or, set up camp in the TV zone, which proved popular with other travellers during my stay:
You'll find newspapers in the lounge, too. When it's time to head to your gate, you're already in the right place if your flight departs from T4 – otherwise, Virgin Australia passengers can simply follow the signs towards T3, and emerge in front of the Virgin Australia lounge nearby the Terminal 3 security checkpoint:
All things considered, I'd certainly use the Rex Lounge again, but with access to both the Rex and Virgin Australia lounges, I wouldn't go out of my way to do so unless flying out of Terminal 4, where Rex is indeed the only airport lounge past security.
However, it's also a great option for those taking a Virgin Australia flight from Terminal 3 who don't have access to the Virgin Australia lounge, given the quick walk between T3 and T4 and the convenient walkway pictured above, which takes you straight through to the main Virgin Australia departures area.
The Rex Lounge is also an option to keep up your sleeve when Virgin Australia's lounge is busy – especially during school holiday periods when it's often noisier, too – and hey, if you want to stop by before a Qantas flight from Terminal 1, that's no problem: just leave plenty of time to reach your gate and clear security again, because as you'd expect, boarding calls for other airlines aren't made here.