The Gold Coast Airport (OOL) in southern Queensland is my local airport. Over six million people a year move through the airport, making it Australia’s busiest non-capital airport. It is a major port for Jetstar and Virgin Australia.
Following my review of my Virgin Australia flight down to Melbourne yesterday, and in keeping with Simple Flying’s growing catalog of airline lounge reviews, I’m going to tell you all about the Virgin Australia Lounge at the Gold Coast Airport.
Both Qantas and Virgin Australia have lounges at this airport. Qantas lounges usually have an edge over Virgin Lounges. Not so at the Gold Coast, as the Virgin Lounge is far superior.
The Virgin Australia Lounge at the Gold Coast Airport is located at the end of the terminal, opposite Gate 1 (turn left after you’ve cleared security and are airside). There’s a reception area and stairs (or an elevator) to take you up to the lounge on the first floor.
Who has access
There are a number of flyers who will be able to access the Virgin Australia Gold Coast Lounge. These include:
- Business class passengers on a same day Virgin Australia flight
- Gold Velocity members (+1 guest) on a same day Virgin Australia flight
- Platinum Velocity members (+3 guests) on a same day Virgin Australia flight
- Virgin Australia Lounge members (+1 guest) on a same day Virgin Australia flight
- Holders of complimentary guest passes
- Amex Platinum, Amex Business Platinum & Amex Centurion cardholders on a same day Virgin Australia flight
- Delta SkyMiles Gold, Platinum and Diamond Medallion members on a same day Virgin Australia flight
- Delta Sky Club members on a same day Virgin Australia flight
- Etihad Gold, Diamond and Exclusive Guests on a same day Virgin Australia flight
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Gold on a same day Virgin Australia flight
- South African Gold and Platinum Voyager members on a same day Virgin Australia flight
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Elite Gold, PPS Club, and Solitaire PPS Club a same day Virgin Australia flight
As I passed through the lounge yesterday, it seemed like half the airport fell into one of the above categories. The small 135 seat lounge was very busy. A number of flights were scheduled to depart in the next hour, and bad weather down south was delaying incoming aircraft. Nevertheless, I found myself a seat at one of the communal work benches.
Virgin Australia’s design gurus decided that a stark white look was going to be a dominant feature of Virgin Australia lounges. The Gold Coast lounge is no exception. White ceilings and white walls. Lots of white. It divides people, although purple chairs and carpets with splashes of red help soften this somewhat.
What I do like about this lounge are the windows, with views out onto the tarmac and over to the mountains in the west. Light floods in, and the effect is very bright and airy.
There is the usual range of lounge seats, communal work benches, solo chairs by the windows, chairs clustered around tables, loungers, and bar stools to choose from.
Once a few flights departed, the range of seating choices opened right up. I found myself a solo chair looking out the windows towards Mt Tambourine, with a table next to me to hold a drink.
The lounge was opened in 2012 in a response to Qantas temporarily quitting the Gold Coast market. Virgin wanted their corporate traffic. Their lounge has proved extremely popular and is starting to show some signs of wear and tear. A refresh might be in order in the not to distant future.
Food and drinks
Behind a rather stylish white curved counter, the food and drink offerings are decent enough for a domestic airport lounge.
Any self respecting airline lounge in Australia has a barista doing decent coffee and this lounge is no exception. There’s also a range of self serve juices and soft drinks.
Wine is available on a pour it yourself basis. The range included a Clare Valley Riesling, a New Zealand Pinot Grigio, Margaret River Sauvignon Blanc, a Barossa Valley Chardonnay, Houghtons Cabernet Sauvignon and an Australian sparkling.
Beers were behind the counter and counter service was swift and friendly. A range of international standards such as Stella and Corona were available. Local beers included Coopers, Boags, Cascade and the ubiquitous Crown Lager.
On the food front there was the standard lounge offering of salads and the infamous Virgin toastie machine. You can only eat so many Virgin ham and cheese toasties in your lifetime but I suspect people would scream if they took them away.
The lunchtime soup offering was potato and leek. There was also a reasonable wild mushroom risotto with shaved parmesan. Warm garlic butter infused rolls made a welcome and tasty appearance.
Over at the bar were a range of bar snacks and chips. Fruit was also available.
While the lounge was busy, several staff continuously circled, clearing away used glasses and plates and wiping things down. I was asked twice if I would like my used plates taken away. They did a really efficient job in a crowded space.
Behind the buffet counter a couple of staff kept the drinks flowing and the food looking fresh and presentable. Service staff at the reception counter downstairs were courteous and friendly upon arrival. They called the flights are they started to board.
I like this lounge. Sure, its my local lounge and it’s on the small side, but I like the relaxed vibe, big windows and the way the light makes the small space look larger. I like that it’s 12.30pm on a Monday and lots of people are drinking a wine or two; very Gold Coast. Next time you’re passing through it is well worth checking out.