|The Long Way to New York|
After a smooth flight to Sydney, I had a few hours to kill and decided to head over for a quick shower and breakfast at the SkyTeam Exclusive Lounge (yes they put the word Exclusive in the name of the lounge).
Located at Pier B, it is located beside the American Express lounge. This is a SkyTeam alliance lounge, which meant that this is a designated lounge built by SkyTeam, where only SkyTeam Business/First Class passengers or SkyTeam Elite passengers are eligible to visit this lounge. This is normally done when airlines do not have a partner airline originating from that country. For example, Star Alliance also operates a Star Alliance Lounge in Paris for all Star Alliance members.
You might wonder how I was able to enter this lounge then! Apparently, the Sydney SkyTeam Exclusive lounge is managed by Plaza Premium, the same operator as the lounge I visited in Singapore, and that’s perhaps why I was allowed in with my OCBC Voyage Card.
The Sydney SkyTeam Exclusive lounge markets itself as ‘An Oasis of Tranquility’. Greeted with a bright entrance, I was ready to put that title to the test.
Upon registering, I asked if showers were available. Strangely, there was only one shower suite available, clearly lacking when this is a lounge catered to more than 100 passengers at any time. Since there was a queue of 7 people ahead, I declined.
To access the lounge, you will head down an escalator, where you will have the option of walking straight to individual white armchairs or bright orange oval shaped sofas. On the right, you would see the tarmac view. I opted walking straight ahead as I noticed fewer passengers clustering.
I found myself an orange sofa on the left side of the lounge and at the opposite side, there were 3 iMacs and a printer available for business purposes, with a big work table with armchairs in the middle. I also discovered more empty white armchairs at the back, with each seating area having individual charging ports. There were also 2 separate rooms at the back; a TV room and a sleeping room.
The idea of having 2 individual rooms for different preferences sounds good, but I question the layout of it. The TV room seemed a little claustrophobic and dark, while the sleeping room was brightly lit without any curtains, with only plush bean bags for support. Maybe they should consider switching it around.. I don’t know about you guys but I do sleep better in a darker room..
I went to get some food as I didn’t eat much on the flight. The food was served buffet styled, with no on-demand options. There was a separate drinks and bar section further down.
For breakfast options, the usual staples, such as bacon, scrambled eggs and baked beans were present. The mains today was Nasi Goreng, a Malaysian dish, along with some porridge as well. At the opposite end, you had a salad bar, along with yogurt and fruit options. Towards the side, you could find some pastries and a self-serving pancake machine.
Over at the bar, you had both non-alcoholic and alcoholic options. Normally, lounges restrict alcoholic options to only after breakfast hours, but this lounge seems to an exception. You had detox juices, which will help blood circulation after a long flight, the standard soft drinks and bottled water. The alcoholic options were self-serve and extensive, you could get vodka, whisky or come up with a mixer yourself. Some cookies were available on the side.
After picking my food and drinks, I was fortunate to grab a seat by the apron, and then went to grab my things over at the other end. I’m glad I did. I’ve have to say this is one of the best apron views of the runway I’ve ever seen. Just take a look!
The Sydney SkyTeam Exclusive Lounge is a welcome pitstop for frequent travellers. However, for an airline lounge, I do feel a little disappointed since airline lounges tend to be of higher quality than third party lounges. While I haven’t explored the rivalling Qantas (Oneworld) and Singapore Airlines (Star Alliance) equivalents in Sydney Airport, I have heard high reviews from the travelling community, due to the exclusivity of these lounges, which are available only to elite status and premium cabin passengers. For example, they offer free massages and Michellin-star curated meals.
Nevertheless, this lounge offers a spectacular view of the tarmac and has decent seating options all over the lounge. Eligible SkyTeam passengers will be glad to have an oasis waiting for them, rather than roughing it out at a contract third-party lounge.