|London Heathrow’s Clubhouse has a dramatic bar with signature cocktails.|
We recently flew Virgin Atlantic and got to explore some posh services at its Clubhouses at JFK International and at Heathrow.
The new New York Clubhouse is the smaller of the two and has a somewhat romantic vibe, with lots of small tables surrounded by plush chairs. Food and drinks are included, so we picked a low table by a window (great view of the planes), sank into a nice deep seat and ordered some champagne and a saffron, tomato and olive arancini (risotto balls with tomato and olive inside). For dessert, we opt for the chocolate mousse cake with sweetened cream and mixed berries, but are also tempted by the white wine-poached plums with Amaretto cream and biscotti. We’re hoping to come back for a morning flight so we can try the breakfast menu, which includes a full English breakfast as well as churros with chocolate and a smoked haddock frittata.
Food is available all throughout the Clubhouse, but for a proper meal, the Brasserie gives a classic restaurant vibe. There’s also a classic cocktail bar for funky new libations or the classics.
For unwinding and relaxing, the Clubhouse has a pool table and an ultra-trendy sofa made of bright red balls. A spa offers several complimentary treatments, and while they officially don’t allow advance bookings, call 718-751-4370; you can always try to get a reserve a spot.
A workstation with computers is just off the main floor behind a screen that provides a nice mix of privacy and connection. Wi-Fi is free and there are plenty of plugs all throughout the space (not just in the business area) for recharging a wide variety of electronics.
In London, passengers flying Virgin’s Upper Class get their own driveway and private check-in room at Heathrow that leads straight to a Fast-Track line for security.
If the New York Clubhouse is impressive, the Heathrow version is spectacular. In the morning, there’s full English breakfast. In the afternoon, try “British Tapas,” a selection of snacks like cheese on toast, sausage and mash, and fried whitebait. A full Afternoon Tea serves up finger sandwiches and scones with clotted cream and strawberry preserves. For drinks, try the Gin-Ger Tonic. It has a huge chunk of ginger inside; it’s fizzy and not too sweet and not too spicy and perfectly refreshing, like a G&T with a serious kick.
We booked a complimentary treatment at the spa and enjoyed a wonderful back-and-neck massage that included aromatherapy. (Ask for Becky.) There are also spaces for manicures, facials and haircuts and even a sauna.
Nice Touch: Guests in need of a shoeshine can drop off their footwear to be polished and use slippers provided to wander around the lounge.
|The Clubhouse at JFK has a more intimate vibe with many of the same perks on a smaller scale.|