Review: Virgin Australia Gold Coast Airport Lounge

There's a lot to love about this small yet inviting lounge, both before and after your flight.

Overall Rating

By Chris Ashton, July 1 2022
Virgin Australia Gold Coast Airport Lounge
Country

Australia

City

Gold Coast

Airport

Gold Coast

Alliance

None

Airline

Virgin Australia

Cabin-class

Business

Notes
The Good
  • Abundant natural light and tarmac views
  • Lengthy door list, plus an option for paid access
  • All-day barista coffee, bar service from 12am
The Bad
  • Can become crowded during peak travel hours
X-Factor
  • ‘On Arrival’ access available for up to 60 minutes
Location
Dining
Work
Overall

Introduction

Perched above Gates 17 and 18 at the soon-to-be-expanded Gold Coast Airport, Virgin Australia’s Lounge hasn’t seen much attention in recent years – a fine example of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ – yet it remains an inviting sanctuary for those seeking a little pre-flight relaxation.

Welcoming business class passengers and Velocity members Gold and above, the lounge does double duty for domestic and international flyers – those jetting overseas just need to clear a second security screening and passport control en route to their boarding gate.

The lounge is open daily from 60 minutes before first and until the last Virgin flight.
The lounge is open daily from 60 minutes before first and until the last Virgin flight.

However, there have been a few minor adjustments in recent years, particularly to the food and beverage offering, prompting Executive Traveller to give the space a second look.

Location & Impressions

After clearing the newly-enhanced security screening check (using the priority lane if you’re in business class or a Velocity Gold or Platinum member), turn left and continue to the far end of the terminal, just past Hungry Jack's.

You’ll see the lounge entrance opposite Gates 17 and 18, recently rebranded from Gates 1 and 2 as part of the terminal expansion.

Making your way inside, you can admit yourself via the self-service access point – handy during peak travel times – or see the friendly staff at reception. Gold, Platinum and Lounge members can bring up to three adults and three children as guests, depending on their membership tier limit.

Check in is available via self-service or at the reception desk.
Check in is available via self-service or at the reception desk.

The lounge proper is directly above reception and accessed via stairs and an elevator. At the top of the stairs you’re greeted by a short stay area with a handful of high tables and chairs, as well as arrival and departure screens near the entrance to the bathrooms.

The 'silent lounge' means passengers need to keep an eye on their watch and the departures screen.
The 'silent lounge' means passengers need to keep an eye on their watch and the departures screen.

The primary lounge is just around the corner and includes a mix of seating options: high seats and low lounges, dining tables for those wanting to spread out, and workstation benches.

Overall, the look and feel is very familiar to Virgin Australia's other domestic lounges, featuring liberal use of timber and purple lighting.

Access

The lounge features a lengthy door list including higher tier Velocity members and partners.
The lounge features a lengthy door list including higher tier Velocity members and partners.

When flying on a Virgin Australia operated flight, the Gold Coast Virgin Lounge is accessible to:

  • Velocity Gold and Platinum members, and business class passengers
  • Virgin Australia Lounge members, with an annual membership fee of $399
  • Velocity Partner credit card holders with a single-entry pass
  • Velocity Partner Airline status holders with Virgin Australia Lounge access included
  • American Express Centurion or Platinum card
  • Single entry passes can also be purchased for $65 on the day of departure

Dining

One of the most noticeable recent changes is to the dining experience. No longer a self-service buffet, you place your order from a set regularly-rotating menu with the staff member on duty.

Virgin has waved bon voyage to self-service dining, at least for now.
Virgin has waved bon voyage to self-service dining, at least for now.

For my morning flight, the hot menu included smashed avo with freshly baked sourdough, crumbled feta and lemon (with optional bacon, on the side), and Canadian pancakes with maple syrup.

There were also pastries and an assortment of cold options, including fresh cut fruit, yoghurt and muesli. 

Smashed avo with crumbled feta and chilli flakes makes for a perfect start to the day.
Smashed avo with crumbled feta and chilli flakes makes for a perfect start to the day.

It was a streamlined offering to the hot and cold buffet of old, but still plenty of choice. 

Juice, a selection of teas, and barista-made coffee, together with sparkling and still water, were also available. Alcoholic beverages including craft beers and wine are available from 12pm. 

A selection of beers and wines are available from midday.
A selection of beers and wines are available from midday.

My delayed flight due to high winds in Sydney meant I also had a chance to try out the lunchtime menu too, which featured a chicken and basil pesto sandwich, falafel wrap, spiced Israeli couscous salad, and Thai beef salad. The latter looked a bit sad on display. 

Work

Business travellers hoping to fire off a few emails before the flight will no doubt gravitate towards the ‘business zone’, tucked away around the corner from the main space.

Workstations include a power point with USB outlets.
Workstations include a power point with USB outlets.

It features several curved workstation benches with power outlets and comfortable leather swivel-seats, along with a row of desks facing the wall.

This four-seat space originally had a number of computers for guest use, though they’ve since been removed. There's no power supply for these particular seats. 

Computers have been removed from the lounge, yet the printer remains for those last minute jobs.
Computers have been removed from the lounge, yet the printer remains for those last minute jobs.

I’m pleased to say the free WiFi has received a huge speed boost in recent times. A quick test revealed blistering 114.6 Mbps download and 149 Mbps upload.

Relax

If you’re in the mood to relax, or just want to soak up the view across the tarmac to the Tweed Hinterland beyond, you can choose from lounges radiating from round coffee tables, or pick a solitary perch in front of the window.

Gold Coast Airport straddles the border of Queensland and New South Wales.
Gold Coast Airport straddles the border of Queensland and New South Wales.

Particularly useful before evening flights or international services are the shower facilities, with all amenities provided – this includes separate shampoo, conditioner and shower gel.

Beyond this, there’s not much to do except sit back, read a book, and maybe download a few movies on your Netflix or Amazon Prime account to enjoy onboard.

It’s worth noting this is a ‘silent lounge’ with no announcements, so you will want to keep an eye on your watch and the Departures screen to ensure you don’t miss your flight.

There's a mix of seating options to suit your mood.
There's a mix of seating options to suit your mood.

The Verdict

Overall, it’s a good lounge with the same facilities you’d expect from its counterparts in the larger capital cities, albeit a more intimate space.

Despite being several years since its last makeover, the lounge has held up surprisingly well, with service always a genuine highlight.

Virgin Australia reintroduced ‘on arrival’ access earlier this year, meaning members can once enjoy access to the lounge after their flight. The time-limited perk includes up to 60 minutes of use, giving enough time for a quick bite, coffee, and a few emails.

Though initially quite deserted, the lounge became increasingly crowded as the day went on, particularly with rolling delays affecting many flights, to the point of almost standing room only.

In light of the Gold Coast Airport’s expansion, it may be time for the Virgin lounge to follow suit. 

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 798

It’s actually worth comparing the Qantas lounge to the Virgin lounge at the Gold Coast to see which one people prefer maybe as a mystery shopper. I’ve had 2 bad experiences at the QF lounge Gold Coast zero at the Virgin lounge, first day the QF lounge opened I ate to much Salmon and got the evil eye another time I hopped off a VA flight proceeded to the Qantas lounge to see my brother before he left the Gold Coast, the lady on the front desk ripped the VA ticket out of my top pocket aggressively. I told her doesn’t matter if I have a VA ticket I’ve also got a QF ticket flying out this afternoon and a Platinum card to go with it.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 576

Funny that, have had nearly (but not) the same experience at BNE, SYD and MEL business lounge.  I swear, some of the staff there must have come from a State Correctional Facility based upon the attitude they show (that or door security at a nightclub !).  A J-class ticket without a QFF number (not booked by me) that showed the flight time, and I get quizzed as to ". . . and how long I plan to stay in the lounge?".   Math101 not on the job criteria ?  

As for the 'search and frisk' you were subjected to, not sure if their T&Cs allow that sort of thing. What next, cavity searches ???   

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 798

I agree 100% Boeing, all my bad experience have been with QF the only other bad experience was with check in staff at Paris Airport on a SQ flight and my wife thought she was flying home without me.  This one other time at the QF First lounge in Sydney I walked in with my wife and 2 adult kids (like I owned the place), 5 minutes later the lounge manager came up to myself losing it in front of all the guests about myself bring in 3 adult guests, how dare you do that, I responded with how is it my fault if your two (large) doorman let us in?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Feb 2015

Total posts 351

I’ve never been in the VA lounge at GC Airport, but by the photos, it looks a lot more appealing than the QF lounge which is lacking natural light and still has that 90’s design. Also not ideal that the QF lounge only opens an hour before the flight.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Aug 2020

Total posts 9

I was in the VA OOL Lounge just the other week and have been there numerous times (pre Covid) and always found it relaxing and quaint. Last time they had some awesome Thai soup with crusty bread rolls. I have nothing bad to say about it at all.

19 Apr 2013

Total posts 11

Food sounds great. Unfortunately QF seems to have banned protein across its lounges (ex first class). And while QF GC lounge is not managed by Accor, I can only guess that QF has told the lounge operator to trim the food budget. It’s a shame because it’s a nice little lounge and the staff are great. Yes, it’s now trapped in due to last airport expansion and not as nice as Virgin lounge, but here’s hoping QF improves food at least.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 May 2019

Total posts 7

They’ve also banned humility and service. VA GC lounge is sooooo much better than the QF lounge, fresh, appealing and service is great.   

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

27 Jun 2013

Total posts 22

Being a Gold Coaster, I try to use this as my base airport where possible. VA lounge is far better than the QF, which is still really a regional lounge made over from the JQ days. VA lounge facilities, staff, F&B are well above QF offerings in every way. And yes, the QF lounge access is always an issue for first flight out of a morning

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 798

I vote the VA lounge Gold Coast has a better feel, brighter outlook, happier staff. 


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