I had been looking forward to this lounge visit for awhile now. After a dreadful red-eye, my upcoming lounge visit was all the more exciting. The Clubhouse, without a doubt, ranks very high on my list of best lounges I've been too. The cuisine was exquisite (like First Class lounge food should be), access limitations keep the lounge fairly empty, service is great, and the atmosphere is calming. Thanks to the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse I was able to recover and enjoy the rest of my flights.
Access to the Clubhouse
Think of this as the pre-post disclaimer. Access is hard to come by. You can't purchase a membership and there is a long list of requirements in order to be eligible to purchase a day pass. If you're in Upper Class on any Virgin Atlantic flight head to the lounge, it's complimentary. If you're in First Class or full-fare Main Cabin Select on Virgin America, it's going to be $75 for the day. The lounge opens at 5am then closes at 7:50am and re-opens midday then closing after the last Virgin Atlantic departure. If by chance you meet those requirements (class, flight times, etc.), head to the lounge.
I was actually surprised to how small the lounge was. On Virgin Atlantic's website, the Clubhouse appears to be one of the largest airport lounges in existence. The lounge is actually very exclusive and small. There were only twenty guests including myself in the lounge with a maximum capacity of what I'd imagine to be roughly 150 people. So, service was punctual and semi-professional. The only issue I had with service was the hostess' attitude. She didn't understand that I was an arrival, not a departure, and that I hadn't yet purchased the day-pass. I could tell she didn't feel like putting up with any abnormal requests so I decided to visit a Virgin America rep to purchase the pass. I then arrived back to the lounge where the hostess didn't brief me on lounge amenities so essentially, I went in blind. Once inside however, service was phenomenal and unbelievably quick. The limit access kept the lounge way below capacity making the whole experience that much more enjoyable.
The lounge offers a nice amount of amenities. All amenities are included with lounge access. The amenities are as follows;
I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the menu. There are a fair amount of options for breakfast however, there are far more choices for midday meals and dinner. All options for every meal are quite filling and fitting for a first class lounge. There were a few main dishes for breakfast; waffles, eggs with toast and sausage, and eggs benedict to name a few. I considered the waffles however, decided to go with the eggs benedict and a side of fruit. All meals are included in the day-pass or Upper Class access. Drinks are also included. There is a single option for coffee however, the tea list takes up 75% of the last page on the menu. As for adult beverages, I Googled the wines offered and they're nothing too fancy however, fitting for a lounge of this type. As for breakfast, the eggs benedict was the best I've ever had. It was simply perfect and the single serving was surprisingly filling. The fruit cup however, was underwhelming. Service was punctual and professional. Overall I really enjoyed the whole dinning experience.
So $75 is a bit much for what you get. Though as I re-live each bite of my eggs benedict and the feeling of hot water rush down my back after a miserable red-eye I can't help but give the Clubhouse a positive review. It's quite, access is difficult to come by, dinning is exquisite, the staff is fairly welcoming, and seating is ample. If you are searching for an oasis in the harsh JFK desert, the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse is the place to be. I take that back; if you can't gain access into the Etihad Lounge then the Clubhouse is the place to be.
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