SYD: Sydney Virgin Australia Lounge
NEWS: Renovations of the Virgin Lounge at Sydney are complete.
Located in the middle of Terminal 2, you can either use the premium entry (see below) direct from the kerb, or go via the main security check, then down the stairs, left, take the lift in the middle of the food court, at the top of which there is a snazzy looking reception desk.
The Virgin Australia lounge Sydney takes the form of a large circular square (if that makes sense). As you enter there is a vast bar straight ahead of you and the food area is on the right. Walking left up the ramp there is the main two stories part of the lounge, with a great airfield view. Carry on and here is the main seating area, and then as you go right, a long corridor type area, with leather benches. Inland from here is a maze type area, with lots of high white benches designed for vertical drinking. These benches have USB sockets to charge tablets or mobiles, beside the normal Australian power sockets.
Carry on around the square, and the business centre such as it is is straight ahead of you, and then right again is a TV viewing area with again, more vertical benches. Curve right, and the toilets are on the left: the toilet block, incidentally, is one of the few remnants of the old Ansett days. You're now back at the food area, and towards the window side here is a confusing area of benches and tables: indeed, you'll have to wiggle through the people to get to the comfy relaxing seats by the window, separated from the main part of the lounge by high curtains.
There is a second floor to the lounge from the main reception desk, go right and right again to find the hidden stairs: these are closed until about 3pm each day, when the upper floor opens. Up the stairs is a vast open area, rammed with seats: There are large TVs on the wall, and again a great view: this is a vastly better area to sit in than downstairs. At the far end is another food area, and a smaller bar, but still with the same wine. Floor to ceiling windows run the length of the lounge, although they stop at the wall which separates the main Virgin Lounge from the invitation-only Virgin The Club Sydney. Power sockets are at a premium upstairs, so if you need to recharge, you need to sit at the far brown leather bench.
It may seem odd that a no-frills airline comes with Business Class lounges, but then, this just highlights the move by Virgin away from its low cost roots, and its desire to snatch a share of the business traveller market. Also, to certain extent, this was due to a certain opportunism, because Virgin moved wholesale into most of the airport facilities vacated by Ansett and that included taking over all of the old Ansett Golden Wing lounges, which were used for many years with Ansett furniture and even Ansett logos clearly visible.
Incidentally, it's worthwhile having a good look around the lounge: it is a very historic area. The new lounge occupies the lower level of the former Ansett Golden Wing Club lounge: it's vastly better than the old small lounge, which closed in 2008, and which only used the former Ansett Executive Lounge on the first concourse. This was called the Virgin Sydney Blue Room lounge.
BarThe bar is good in the Sydney Virgin Australia lounge, with two beers on draft: both types of Peroni. There are bottles of beer everything tom Fat Yak to Tooeys behind the bar. There is soft drinks machine too.
Wine is in the glass fronted refrigerated trough, with three types of white you can serve yourself these; for anything else you need to ask the barstaff, which include spirits, of which there is an OK but not comprehensive selection.
The bar downstairs can get very busy, particularly between 5 and 6 in the evenings. However upstairs it is a different story, and you can generally sail up to the bar, which is a good job as it is hidden almost behind a large pillar.
FoodThe Sydney Virgin Australia lounge has a good salad bar, with quite a decent setup of ham, cheese, and pasta dishes.
There is also the famous Virgin Australia toasted sandwich machine. Take some bread, pop in ham cheese and pineapple if you want it, and away you go.
There is also hot soup in the evenings.
BathroomsIn lounge, and pretty good, with stylish black tiles.
Business FacilitiesBusiness facilities are really poor in the Sydney Virgin Australia lounge.
There are just three computers at the far end of the lounge downstairs for communal use, and a tired laser printer.
There is however free fast wifi.
Newspapers and magazines are pretty poor in the lounge: there is just Time, M2, and Traveller magazine, with the regular national and Sydney newspapers. All the magazines have stickers on saying they must not be removed from the lounge.
However you can pre-load your tablets with newspapers in the lounge: there is a small poster showing how to download them.
AccessOne other delight of the Sydney Virgin Lounge is the Lounge Premium Entry. If you have carry on only, and are in Business Class or Velocity Platinum and Gold, you can step direct from your taxi into the lounge.
The entrance is right at the end of the terminal departure road, just beyond the set down area at the western end of Terminal 2.
Here there is a vast desk with at least three people checking boarding cards (a flash of your card is not enough) and then two dedicated security lines. It means getting into the lounge will only take a couple of minutes but only if you don't have luggage to check in.
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