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TheStreet Open House

Airline VIP Lounges That Wow

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. ( MainStreet) -- For international business travelers, a trip to the airline VIP lounge is a staple of life on the road, especially in an era of lengthy airport delays and carrier hubs that aren't always in the direct path of where you're headed for business. Luckily, some of the most luxurious airport VIP lounges await international business and first-class customers with amenities and services that not only make a layover tolerable, but have travelers wishing it were a little longer.

With more than 100 destinations worldwide and an impressive fleet of new, long-haul Boeing (BA) 787s and Airbus A380s on order, Qatar Airways operates from its hub at Doha International Airport servicing U.S. cities including New York, Houston and Washington, D.C. First- and business-class customers find a separate Premium Terminal offering limousine service and dapper bellmen to help with luggage and check in to the airline's lounge, and inside the Qatar Airways Premium Arrivals Lounge offers personal concierge service for appointments at the in-house spa, where travelers can buy anything from Swedish massage to oxygen facials. Dining varies between a buffet-style cafe and full-service dining room with an elaborate sushi bar and high tea. Those in need of a little shuteye also find "privacy rooms" with beds tucked in Italian linens to sleep away even the longest of layovers.

London Heathrow's Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Lounge gets a lot of the VIP attention with its hair salon and spa, charcuterie bar and James Bond-style martini bar.

Many know Qantas as Australia's largest domestic and international airline, but business travelers likely associate the airline with its Sydney lounge, where a dedicated check-in allows first-class passengers to show up just 60 minutes before international flights. A private porter ushers travelers into the Marc Newson-designed Qantas International First Lounge, where an assigned concierge helps with restaurant reservations or appointments at the in-lounge spa with treatments using Payot Paris that can be as short as just 20 minutes or as long as an hour. Newson designed almost every inch of the space, from its overall architecture to the asymmetrical wood paneling and geometric carpeting -- even the cutlery in the dining room. Leading the restaurant is Sydney Chef Neil Perry, who also creates the Qantas in-flight menu, presenting a full-service dining experience complemented by Australian wines and reserve champagnes.

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