Melissa Nightingale visits the Air New Zealand lounge at Wellington International Airport while flying with Singapore Airlines.
I've never been in an airport lounge before, so I wasn't sure what to expect. The entrance to the lounge is tucked away down a quiet corridor and behind an opaque automated door. The staff member at the front desk showed me where to scan my boarding pass before waving me through.
First impression: I immediately felt relaxed when I walked through to the lounge. Calm piano played over the speakers while I took a quick wander around. There's plenty of space and not too many people, so I tucked myself into a corner armchair with a gin and a curry. Perfect.
What's there: It's an array of cosy armchairs and small tables, with enough room to find a secluded spot if you want your space. There's a kitchen, bathrooms and a shower, and a desk of communal laptops for anyone who hasn't brought their own. There's also several stacks of magazines if you'd rather not spend your relaxation time staring at a screen.
Who's there: Only a handful of people were scattered around the lounge when I arrived, aged from their 40s to 60s. At 26 I felt like I was sticking out like a sore thumb. The crowd picked up over the next hour, though, and once a couple wheeled in their baby in a pram I breathed a sigh of relief at not being the youngest person in the room.
Tech stuff: Powerpoints and USB ports are everywhere you look and easily accessible free Wi-Fi. And, of course, a TV is mounted on the wall.
The view: The designers have helpfully plastered a picture of Wellington over what I'm assuming are the windows: there is no view to the outside world from here. No harm in using your imagination for an hour or two.
Eating and drinking: I arrived about midday to an array of curries and spiced coconut soup. There was a good selection of cold salads, sandwiches and cheeses and crackers, plus sweet treats. I grabbed an eggplant and cashew curry on rice. There's also a row of liquor bottles and a fridge fully stocked with beers, wines and non-alcoholic drinks. A selection of teas and coffees were on offer too – I felt spoiled for choice.
Bathrooms: Lovely marble walls and floors with Antipodes soaps and hand cream. I didn't try it, but there was also a unisex shower.
Lounge Check: Inside Qatar Airways' business lounge in Doha
Lounge atmosphere: Calm and relaxed. At first it felt almost too quiet but as people started coming in, the pleasant babble of chatter grew. I felt comfortable, and still able to focus on what I was doing.
Bottom line: For a first-time lounge experience I was mostly impressed by food and alcohol. The seating and facilities were a nice addition but for a hungry millennial like me, you can't go past a good buffet.