Ian Griffin checks into Air New Zealand's elusive domestic Koru Lounge, in Wellington.
Where is it? After realising the usual lounge behind security is being renovated and with the international salon not opening until two hours before departure, you might think your capital city Koru options are exhausted. However, this bold Sydney-bound Koru fan refused to be defeated and having heard a rumour about a third Wellington Koru Lounge I set out to tick it off my list of conquests.
The greeting: I couldn't fault the hearty welcome from the Air New Zealand staff when I eventually happened upon this remote outpost of our national airline's corporate empire. This is probably because staff interaction with actual passengers is rare given the lounge's extraordinary location, hidden atop a nondescript staircase in a far-flung corner of Wellington Airport. Luckily, my international ticket and puppy-eyed desperation for tasty Koru comestibles proved acceptable to the understanding staff gatekeeping this hush-hush lounge.
First impression: Bloody hell. There really are three lounges in Wellington! What's with that? Also, the decor is really, really aqua. It is so turquoise that anyone with a fake tan will stand out almost as much as an Aucklander on Burns Night in Dunedin. As the photograph shows, my own suitcase was seriously out of kilter with the predominant corporate colour.
What's there: Once your eyes have adjusted to the extraordinary hue, there's a good selection of areas where you can relax or work. Although I defy anyone with healthy eyesight to relax ...
Who's there: A secret society of Koru connoisseurs with a sense of adventure and the determination to locate arguably the most elusive Koru Lounge on earth.
Tech stuff: The Wi-Fi is of the usual high quality and speedy enough to satisfy even the most demanding consumer. I saw lots of power points and chargers, and at the time I was there the relatively low occupancy meant I could simultaneously hog power points with my laptop and phone and charge my earphones without feeling guilty.
The view: Turquoise chairs. That is all.
Eating: Arriving just before lunchtime I was tempted by the vat of pumpkin soup with croutons, which was fine but not spicy enough for my unrefined palate. There was a decent but not extensive selection of sandwiches, and a cheeseboard accompanied by that lovely chutney Air New Zealand does so well.
Drinking: The coffee was great, and when I was there I saw (but didn't test) the decent selection of wines and other beverages.
The bathrooms: Spacious and clean.
The lounge atmosphere: Stunned.
The bottom line: Anyone who finds this lounge deserves complimentary membership of The Explorers Club of New York and a pair of very dark sunglasses.