Chris Reed - eventually - finds his way to a Qantas domestic Business Class lounge.
The arrival: Never mind that. I need to start with a confession: I was supposed to be visiting Qantas' fancy new Business Class lounge in the domestic terminal at Melbourne. But an inability to read basic instructions and grasp the complexities of a domestic flight originating at an international terminal meant I wound up in the international lounge instead. It was very lovely and the staff and refreshments were great and if you ever get the chance, please go. But nine days and almost 3500km later, I made it to the domestic lounge in Perth. Not without a self-inflicted hitch. I'd initially tried to access the standard Qantas lounge, only to be told, rather sweetly, that I was eligible for the next class up. Happy days. So I went back down the escalator and across the airy atrium of the airside bit of the terminal and got a warm welcome.
First impression: It was early Sunday quiet. There was lots of space and lots of light and it was very nice indeed.
What's there: As you might expect, it's a big space in which various cunning design techniques have been used to break it into areas. I walked down a long thin bit with windows to the tarmac on the left and turned right to find the kitchen at the heart of things. There was a big island covered in goodies, as well as waist-height counters against the walls. There were plenty of adjacent low chair and table clusters. Ahead and to the right was the bar area with a mix of higher tables/bar stools and banquettes along the walls. The colour scheme was dominated by earth tones, with lots of browns and woods. Chairs the colour of a light tapenade, terracotta/grey and grey/blue rugs. Very soothing.
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Who's there: Hardly anyone to start with, although it got steadily busier in the next 90 minutes. Some blokes looked like they'd been in town for the AFL match the night before. I'd been there too, at the highly impressive Optus Stadium to watch the Hawthorn Hawks dismantle Perth's West Coast Eagles. Beyond that, older and mostly dressed-down but obviously well-heeled weekenders and business peeps heading home/to be important.
Tech stuff: Sockets all over the place, good Wi-Fi, multiple tellies in the bar (shut at that time of day) showing AFL, rallying and news ("Sydney unit sells for over $5.5m!").
The view: I didn't get round to looking out the windows but, as mentioned, there was lots of light.
Eating and drinking: Hot breakfast options included scrambled eggs and porridge. There were DIY juices and granola carrying the name of Aussie super-chef Neil Perry if you wanted something lighter. I was on the way home after a week of luxury cruising, so I did. The granola was just right. You could order coffee with an app but I still like talking to people. Even on Sunday morning.
Bathrooms: Aspar products in the men's. I have good memories of it being very pleasant. Memories only though. Taking pictures in toilets is a tricky business.
Lounge atmosphere: Murmurs growing to laughter as lunchtime loomed. Very relaxed.
Bottom line: Sorry for stuffing up Melbourne Qantas. The Perth lounge was well worth the wait.