Lounge Review: Qantas Business Lounge, Canberra

Location: All of the Qantas lounges are in the new section of Canberra Airport one level above the departures level. At the top of the escalators the Business lounge is straight ahead while the Qantas Club is to the right and the exclusive Chairmans Lounge to the right. The lounges are all very close to Qantas gates and security clearance.

Entry: Unlike the Qantas Club, where you can purchase access, the Business Lounge is or use of Business class passengers and platinum frequent flyers (and Oneworld emerald equivalents) . Unfortunately there is no anytime access anymore which is a significant gripe for frequent flyers when they are picking up friends at the airport. Platinum members can enter the lounge when arriving from a Qantas flight subject to space availability.

Space & Comfort: Both the business lounge and Qantas club are brand new and as you would expect of something so new, they both offer great levels of comfort and space. The Business Lounge is about half the size of the Qantas Club howler offers slightly nicer chairs and given its limited access, is generally quieter and more relaxing than the Qantas Club – especially on weekday afternoons when the lounges fill up with the exodus of public servants. The lounge is subtly sectioned off into discreet areas like the bar, business area and several seating zones making it feel a little more private when it’s full.

Food & Beverages: The buffet lunch menu selections today were a chicken korma, Vegetable tangiene or spices Mexican soup in addition to the usual antipasto spread, cheeses and cold meats. For the sake of the review I tried the vegetables which were spices and nice although I didn’t want to eat too much as I was saving myself for the first lounge in Sydney later that afternoon. The food available today was great for snacks or a full lunch and in my experience the same offerings at dinner are much preferable to the snacks in Y on the flight. If you want to make a sandwich there are breads available and a toaster, although no sandwich press for those cheese melts.

The bar opens around midday and offers a variety of beer, wine sparkling as well as spirits and is staffed by a bartender although the wines are self service. Soft drinks and a variety of juices are available all day. Before 3pm there is barista coffee available but after this point you’ll need to use one of the coffee machines if you need a hit of caffeine.

Staff Service: Today the staff outnumbered guests of the lounge and thus service was very good although generally the staff are friendly and attentive regardless of the number of visitors. In addition to the entry staff there are several servers behind the buffet and a few cleaners who rapidly clean up and used plates glasses etc.
Airport Views: Unfortunately the lounge has no views of the tarmac or runways instead looking across to the multistory car park and the elevated entrance road. If they swapped the locations of the Qantas Club and Business Lounge the views would be great, so if you’re after airport views this lounge isn’t for you.
Amenities: The bathrooms are clean and fresh with Molton Brown hand wash and moisturizer which are always a nice touch. There aren’t showers in the lounge although I’m not sure if Canberra would really have any need for them.
Business Facilities: Strategically placed in the far corner of the lounge away from any ambient noise is a business centre with several iMac’s (which also run windows for those not up with Macs) and a printer. There area is pretty quiet and the Internet connection fast for checking those last few emails or checking in on Facebook. There is also free wifi across the lounges which since Qantas swapped from Telstra to Optus the speed and reliability has increased significantly.
Overall the Business Lounge, although very similar to the Qantas club is quieter and more relaxing with the staff friendlier and more eager to assist or chat. As both lounges are brand new they can’t be faulted for quality and design so either will make the wait and Canberra relaxing.
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