The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse is one of the few airline lounges available at Terminal 4 and arguably one of the best the terminal has to offer.
Within the Virgin Atlantic lounge network, there are only 10 lounges, six of which are in US.
Virgin Atlantic’s website describe their Clubhouses as follow:
Clubhouses are our luxurious private airport lounges, located in many of our destinations around the world. They are stylish, peaceful spaces designed to allow you to relax before your flight, away from the bustle of the main airport. Whether you want to toast your journey with a cocktail, enjoy a relaxing massage, or find a quiet spot to get some work done, our Clubhouses have a space to suit.
Virgin Atlantic’s Clubhouse at JFK is definitely one premium place to be in if you are flying out of Terminal 4.
A little more about JFK and Terminal 4: JFK is typical of many US airports where the terminals are operated mainly by airlines, or a group of airlines given the large domestic presence. Terminal 4 is the ‘default’ airline for many international carriers, as it was built in the 1990s on what was formerly known as the International Air Terminal where international airlines operated in and out of. Today, T4 is the largest and the busiest terminal in JFK, with over 20 million passengers served in 2017. That’s about a third of all traffic in and out of JFK.
Now, back to the lounges. So who can access the lounge?
The lounge serves Virgin Atlantic’s own Upper Class customers, which can be quite a handful given its six daily flights to London and one daily flight to Manchester.
Other customers who can gain access include Delta’s Gold, Platinum and Diamond Medallion members who are departing on a UK-bound flight.
For Singapore Airlines’ customers, only passengers in Suites and PPS Solitaire members are eligible to use the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse. All other premium passengers, including business class, Star Alliance Gold and PPS members are directed to the Swiss Air lounge.
I had access as I was returning to Singapore on the Singapore Airlines (old) Suites, as I have been keen to try them before they are phased out in a couple of years.
For those who are familiar with the Virgin brand across the world, they have successfully built themselves a very fun and hip image, partly due to how Richard Branson’s own personality is like.
The entrance is simple but exudes confidence. Right beside the entrance was a coat and bag check area, where you could store your carry-on luggage so you didn’t have to lug them around in the lounge, although the lounge was not that huge. I thought that’s a very nice feature so that bags do not get in the way within the lounge.
The lounge was designed in true Virgin style, free flowing areas with a bar right in the middle.
There are cluster seatings in most part of the lounge featuring hip chairs and couches. I lost count of the number of unique number of seats they have, from sofas to armchairs and booth seats.
Of course, the lounge comes with a proper dining area with immaculately dressed tables.
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse features an extensive a la carte menu that you can choose from, with breakfast offered up to midday and bar bites, main meals after noon. While I didn’t try any of the food from the lounge as I was stuffed from breakfast, I manage to have a glimpse at what people around me were having. The bar bites seemed the most popular, with many have a couple of them just to have a variety of tastes.
Also, the lounge features an extensive drinks menu. Partnering Employees Only NYC, the cocktail menu is impressive with over a dozen creations to choose from, including non-alcoholic mocktails.
For those who prefer their grapes, the lounge offers champagnes and a list of wines. Those who love a good beer will be happy to find New York craft beers available.
There was also a Dr Hauschka spa, where customers can take complimentary treatments such as a haircut, and a 15-minute head massage. Unfortunately, the services are only free for Virgin and Delta customers.
There’s also a wider ala carte menu for those who wants massages as well as other services, starting from US$20.
I decided to pamper myself and go for a 30-minute trigger point massage (US$40, plus tax). My therapist started off the treatment with a choice of essential oil, lemon and lemongrass or lavender, which she sprayed on my hand and asked me to take a breath of it. It was indeed soothing, and as she worked her way down my back with a good grasp of the acupressure points, I was blissfully napping.
Showers are available at this lounge, although I was rather puzzled as to why the restrooms and showers are combined. Out of the dozen or so rooms, about half of them doubled up as shower suites. That also means that during peak hours, there’s often a line waiting to use the bathroom and the chance of a passenger going into a shower room that’s not fresh is very high.
What’s most memorable during my entire stay in the lounge was not the bubbles, but the great service personalities.
Momi, one of the many wait stuff is incredibly bubbly, with incredible conversations with all the customers around me. Apart from being attentive, she had the ability to make people laugh and yet so comfortable too.
That really brightened up my otherwise poignant evening, and probably one of the best lounge staff I’ve seen in a very long while.
Overall, the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse is an incredibly strong asset for the airline, offering incredibly good food and beverage offerings and also being able to offer an affordable spa experience for its Upper Class (business class) passengers at JFK too.
The JFK Clubhouse, while not the largest lounge in the terminal, wins in terms of its Virgin-esque modern design and excellent service. If only the bathroom situation can be rectified, this will otherwise be the only lounge I ever want to be in if I fly through JFK.