SYD: Sydney Skyteam Lounge
The Sydney Airport Skyteam lounge is a welcome delight at an airport where Skyteam has so many flights. It is an outstation for every one of them, but with a Skyteam flight leaving every half hour or so in the morning, it is good to have a decent lounge to head to.
There is a complementary buffet and bar (open all day), complementary wifi and computers, showers, and best of all a power socket at each seat.
Since it has been open, the Sydney SkyTeam lounge has been slightly upgraded, and is now open slightly longer, after it's much delayed and hesitant opening.
To find the lounge after security and immigration, head straight on past duty free and the Qantas lounges, and then head further on up past the old 'open' area, and the lounge is adjacent to the American Express lounge at Gate 24.
Both lounges are managed by Plaza Premium, with Skyteam underneath American Express.
The lounge itself is located on the lower level of the terminal, with an escalator and lift from the reception area, with is just past the American Express 'stone wall'.
As soon as you enter - via the rather noisy escalator - you can see the seating area spread out in front of you, but naturally enough, many people choose to sit where there are views, however there isn't so much an impression of the airport apron, but instead tarmac views and a view of the nose-wheel of your plane.
However, the Sydney Skyteam lounge has a good number of places to park up before a flight, mainly to the left as you enter the lounge, and it seats 160 passengers.
It can get busy though; from around 10am with Delta, Korean Air, and Garuda Indonesian all leaving at the same time. It occupies about 700 square yards.
There are similarities with the other Skyteam lounges at London Heathrow and Istanbul, with all three having a living wall, and a circular wine bar, but the Sydney lounge is certainly the smallest.
The Skyteam Sydney lounge has with low ceilings, but the furnishings are bright, there is that famous living wall of plants all the way along one wall, and the lounge has a great 'almost new' feeling.
It was designed by Parisian agency DesignImage and implemented by Hong Kong-based Australian architect Mitchel Squires.
One eye popping feature of the lounge is the bank of bright red seats on the left, in squeaky red leather. Each curves around, giving a comfortable enclosed space, and with somewhere to rest your drink on arm armrests or small circular coffee tables. One great feature of the seats is the power sockets for recharging your phone or tablet.
In the centre of the room are firmer more upright armchairs, again with power sockets.
In the middle of the room behind the curved screen is the business centre, with a curved meeting table, three computers and shelves with the magazine rack, and indeed a message book. There are two rooms at the far end.
The first is a massage room which has been upgraded with new massage chairs which weren't present at the opening, and which give a great electric massage. They are also good as a recliner for a snooze before flights.
The latter is a rarely used TV room. It's great to see Skyteam put the TV in a separate room, leaving the main part of the lounge a quiet relaxing space, as it should be. Alas the TV room is rather gloomy and dingy, and lacks a lot of atmosphere. The chairs are also in an L shape around the walls, which makes watching the TV a rather uncomfortable experience. However, the TV gets all the freeview channels. It is normally left on ABC News 24.
Going back to the base of the (noisy) escalator, there is a magazine rack, and then if you swing right is the most welcome area of the lounge. Light and bright, with great views.
There are only four tables at the window, and these are normally continually occupied.
There's a buffet on the right side of the lounge. There are some great bench-and-stool type seats here near the buffet looking out at the windows and - inevitably - the nose wheel of the plane you are about to fly out of Australia on.
At the far end of the lounge is the famous wine bar. Here, there is a large circular table, complete with silver coffee bean sculpture, a copy of the well-known one at Heathrow.
FoodFood in the Sydney Skyteam Lounge has been upgraded with more hot food.
At breakfast times there is a vast array of hot Asian specialities, including the famous Indonesian stir-fried rice Nasi Goreng which comes with Balinese spice paste (Base gede) in a little tub.
There is a vast dish of Congee with condiments including soy sauce, three herbs, nuts and chillies for breakfast.
You can also make up elements of a Full English, with scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage and mushrooms.
There are also trays of pastries, cereal, a toaster, and vegemite.
By mid morning, the food moves onto lunch.
There are typically two hot dishes, including chicken sausages, roasted chats with diced herbs, and poppadums.
Keeping you in a Bali mood, on the other side of the island buffet are salad bowls of Kimchi, Mesclun lettuce, and fresh tropical fruits.
There are also some desert yoghurts, and a vast cheese plate including a good selection of blue cheeses.
BarIn the wine bar at the far end of the lounge, up on the walls are wine cabinets however the only wine to try is in the silver bucket on the far right.
However, the wine is generally of an upper shelf quality, and pretty well sourced too. Normally, the wine is from Down Under, with a Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonay and a Pinot.
The sparkling wine comes from down under too, and is typically a good drop of sparkling Pinot.
The Red wine is a little more 'robust', with just standard reds from Penfolds having a Pinot Noir and a Shiraz.
In the fridge under the counter are cans of Heineken, Toohey's New, and bottles of Tasmanian Boags.
There are bottles of tonic, and large bottles of Tomato juice for mixing up a Bloody Mary.
Which means you have to head to the spirits section, on the far right of the bar.
Spirits in the Sydney Skyteam lounge are Baileys, Grey Goose vodka, Martini, Jim Beam, Chivas Regal, and Heindricks Gin.
In the morning there are also canisters of orange and pineapple juice.
BathroomsIn lounge. Doors by the buffet area.
The are also three showers, accessed via the same area. However, you need to ask staff for a towel.
Business FacilitiesThe business centre is in the middle of the room behind the curved screens, with an oval meeting table.
This large oval table has mains power (240v) and USB recharging sockets lurking under the centre-mounted covers. The table might not however be great for confidential meetings, located as it is right in the middle of the lounge.
There are also three computers, running Windows and with internet connections.
There are shelves with the magazine rack, and indeed a message book.
A separate newspaper and magazine rack is at the entrance.
There is also a TV room at the far end of the lounge.
There is free wifi. When you enter the lounge you are given a small slip of paper with the code.
AccessSkyTeam's Sydney lounge is open for first & business class passengers on China Southern, China Eastern, Taiwan's China Airlines, Delta, Garuda Indonesia, Korean Air and Vietnam Airlines, as well as travellers on those airlines who hold top-tier SkyTeam Elite Plus frequent flyer status.
Therefore the lounge acts as the Delta Sydney Business Class Lounge (Delta Skyclub Sydney), the Garuda Indonesia Business Class Lounge, and the Korean Air Business Class Lounge Sydney.
Paid access to the Skyteam lounge is on offer, which is a distinct rarity on the network, largely because there are no other pay-in lounges at Sydney Airport.
However a Sydney Skyteam lounge day pass comes at cost - and some cost. No less than AU$77 for two hours use and a shower, or $132 for five hours.
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