Virgin Australia Melbourne Lounge Review

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by carlousmoochous, Aug 1, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. carlousmoochous

    carlousmoochous Silver Member

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    Hey everyone - It's been a while since I had my travel trip report writing mojo on and I finally got it back last weekend during a day trip to Coffs Harbour. Here is the first part of the trip report with a review of Virgin Australia's lounge at Melbourne Airport. The photos are on my blog at Where to from Here? | Travel Blogging by CarlousMoochous I hope you enjoy!

    Location

    This Virgin Australia Review begins in Terminal 3, Melbourne Tullamarine Airport. The Virgin lounge in Melbourne is located outside security on the main concourse level between the arrivals and departures levels (next to the Sunglasses Hut and opposite Krispy Kreme). It’s pretty easy to find and get into, however being pre security you need to make sure you leave enough time to clear security before your departure time. Most gates will be a left hand turn when leaving the lounge but some, especially A330 flights will mean a right hand turn towards the traditionally Rex (Regional Express) concourse.

    Entry

    Access to Virgin’s lounge is open to Velocity Gold and Platinum frequent flyers as well as those of Virgin’s partner airlines holding similar status. Business class passengers also get complimentary access as do some government fares (a smart move by Virgin to snatch some of the government travel spend, especially out of Canberra).
    There is a self service machine you can use to check yourself into the lounge using your boarding pass or velocity card. Once it registers you it asks how many guests you are bringing in, before welcoming you to the lounge. This system skips the queue at the traditional desk however there doesn’t seem to be any barrier to stop you entering should you not be eligible. I’m sure Virgin has this worked out in the background somewhere so I’m not suggesting you try and bring the whole team in on your next trip, but it may allow the odd non eligible member through the doors.

    Space & Comfort

    During my visit the lounge was undergoing some construction so it would be a little unfair to be too harsh in my judgement of the space and style of the lounge today. That said, in it’s current (and even pre construction form) the lounge is relatively long but quite narrow with quite a few different forms of seating splashed around the place. There’s a slightly more open area that’s raised by the window but otherwise is a long and narrow lounge.
    Once past the food and beverage service area the internal wall is wrapped with several very stylish looking illuminated bars behind which are video monitors showing what I can only describe would be some form of art. Although these are impressive and provide a very Virgin branded image to the lounge, practicality has been completely forgotten with no space for legs under the bars making it an awkward and rather unpleasant experience if you try to sit here (I now realise why they are almost always unused when I’ve been here).
    The remainder of the lounge is filled (probably a little excessively – hopefully due to construction) with a combination of lower bench tables with power outlets and network points, long booth style seating and combinations of odd multilevel tables and chairs. There are a few larger arm chair type relaxing chairs by the window but these appear a popular option and thus were all full during my visit. My pick of seating if you want to eat something or do some work would be one of the lower benches with the power that run along the main walkway as the other tables are too low and uncomfortable to work or eat from.

    Food & Beverage

    Arriving in time for breakfast meant the usual airline lounge breakfast selection, some cereals, fruit, cold meat, cheeses etc, bread, muffins and the famous pancake machine that everyone seems to go crazy over when an airline rolls one out into their lounge. Barista coffee is available all day and they don’t do a bad hot chocolate either – I’m a ‘darl’ so even scored a few extra marshmallows. Madam Flavour tea’s are also available with the Mint Lavendar Tissane a favourite of mine.
    One differential between the Virgin and Qantas lounge is the sandwich press toaster which is generally around most of the day. Sometimes it’s great to be able to make a toasted cheese and vegemite sandwich when travelling instead of trying to be all gourmet all the time. It would be great if they had some sweet options too, as I feel the lounge is missing a nice cake or slice for this sweet tooth traveller.

    Staff Service

    There isn’t any table service however the service behind the barista is friendly and there are a few staff wandering around clearing tables. Unfortunately the food service area wasn’t well maintained today with it looking rather dirty / messy (how much of that is the responsibility of the clientele or the staff is a mixed guess).

    Airport Views

    There are decent views of both the Virgin concourses from the raised section of the lounge however, due to construction the other windows are all blocked off making it feel a little darker than usual. The windows aren’t that tinted (if at all) which makes taking photos that little bit easier although reflections from the internal lighting will often show. Gate 2 is directly outside the window so if you like watching an aircraft get turned around then a window seat is definitely for you.

    Amenities

    The bathrooms are clean and modern, something I’d expect to see in a nice hotel with decent hand wash and an overall clean and fresh feel to it. This might sound picky, but a travel review needs to be sometimes, but the actual cubicles are a little cramped; especially if you have a roller bag with you (which surprisingly many people in airports have). Showers are also available with towel packs available from reception if you need to freshen up before or after a flight.

    Business Facilities

    WiFi is available throughout the lounge however I wasn’t able to find a dedicated business section (e.g. Computers or printers etc). The WiFi password is displayed in the lounge but despite a few attempts I wasn’t able to connect to it on my iPad. Monitors throughout the lounge show SkyNews while others display up to date information on the financial markets.

    Overall

    I struggle to put my finger on it but for some reason the Virgin Lounge in Melbourne just doesn’t sit right with me. I like things with a bit of order and the layout of the chairs and tables is all a little too random for my liking. I like the use of colour and lights but I can’t help but thinking that style has been at the expense of practicality to some extent. It’s also a little loud with that background ‘shopping centre’ noise ever present and the sound of the barista bashing the coffee grinder and staking cups reigning throughout the entire lounge.
    Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a great lounge and definitely is somewhere you’d want to be while waiting for your flight however the overall atmosphere isn’t as relaxing or practical as it could be; hopefully new renovations (which I’ve heard rumours about will be massive) will help dispel whatever it is that makes this lounge not sit quite right with me.
     
    violist likes this.
  2. adl73x
    Original Member

    adl73x Gold Member

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    The Melbourne VA lounge as you say does have the aircraft view, which other spaces inherited from Ansett, like the Brisbane VA Lounge, do not. Being before security is a longstanding issue with this space.

    I think the Sydney VA lounge gives the best compromise, with the kerb-side entry, own security, and views over the concourse.
     

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