What to do with an abandoned airport? That’s what the owners of Ciudad Real transport hub were thinking up until very recently.
Built south of Spain’s capital Madrid, it was meant to be a huge rival to the city’s airport, but the business collapsed after three years amid the spiralling economic crisis. Now the airport has found a new use… in an unlikely place. Award winning film maker Pedro Almodovar will use the airport for his newest comedy, featuring none other than Penelope Cruz and Antonio Banderas.
There’s now a life size model plane on the runway, for a scene of an emergency landing. The so called ghost town airport has seen little activity since it closed in May this year. It’s thought the airport, which is still staffed by a skeleton crew will not return to commercial use any time soon, but with Almodovar, who was born in the municipality of Ciudad Real, getting on board, you never know what the future holds.
The airport was once a place associated with stress, queues and general discomfort, however over the last decade, cities around the world have helped to take the edge off a little, by building exceptionally designed, clean, well-functioning airports.
Along with them have come unbelievably chic and undeniably cool airport lounges – a testament to this new-age luxury. Rather than mimicking the dull clinical feel of a hospital waiting room, these new super-luxe first-class areas are havens of top-notch amenities, privacy and most of all – calm. At PurpleTravel.co.uk, we’ve picked out the top ten airport lounges in international hubs across the world, perfect for those travelers who want the journey to be as enjoyable as the destination. Now there’s a reason to get to the airport early…
Virgin Atlantic JFK Clubhouse, John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York
Virgin Atlantic’s new Clubhouse boasts an Austin Powers-meets-uptown mod feel, complete with a red leather sofa and purple lighting. Enjoy a cocktail at the ultra-chic cocktail lounge or take a seat in the brasserie dining area, where you’ll be served a delicious selection of a la carte meals, desserts and fine wine. But it’s the Clubhouse Spa, featuring Dr. Hauschka products and treatments, that really makes the JFK Clubhouse a standout layover option.
British Airways Concorde Room, Heathrow Airport
The typically British herringbone print, velvets and crystal chandeliers of the Concorde Room at Heathrow collaborate to form a relaxed, traditional-style sitting room. Its charm comes in the fact that it is not particularly fashonaqble or at all modern, but instead, this is a ‘homely’ retreat – that is, if your home comes with full waiter service, complimentary wines and Champagne and private, hotel-style cabanas with day beds and en-suite bathrooms.
Etihad’s Diamond First Class Lounge, Abu Dhabi International Airport
Etihad’s first-class lounge is a buffet of indulgence. Staff nannies take care of the little in the kids’ retreat, decorated with vibrant beanbags and toys, while over in the Six Senses Spa, parents can indulge in a complimentary treatment. And that’s not to mention the Champagne bar, the cigar lounge and the incredible a la carte dining or even dinner at the chef’s table.
Finnair Lounge, Helsinki Airport
From the felt walls that banish outside noise to the pretty Marimekko tableware, Finnair Lounge’s simplicity is what makes it beautiful. Enjoy the perpetual buffet, the elegant Finnish and Nordic furniture designs and the excellent views, or if you’re expecting something more indulgent, head to the Finnair Spa, complete with traditional Finnish saunas (reopens this winter)
The Pier, Hong Kong International Airport
At The Pier, Cathay Pacific’s glass-enclosed first and business-class lounge, travellers will find incredible cuisine such as freshly made Japanese noodles at the Noodle Bar and fine dining at the Haven restaurant. Sip champagne on the leather armchairs or refresh inside the pebbled showers – what travel stress?
Qantas First Lounge, Sydney Airport
Modern, polished and sophisticated, Qantas First Lounge, would appear to be the norm of airport ‘luxury’. However, with a 98-foot, 8,400-plant vertical garden – this is not your average airport lounge. It is cleaner and lighter and better yet, part of the garden is incorporated into each of the Payot Paris day spa treatment rooms, so it feels more like a rainforest than an airport. The upper floor of the lounge was designed by Marc Newson and includes an open kitchen restaurant serving food by Australian chef Neil Perry.
Qatar Airways Premium Terminal, Doha International Airport
Is it a mall? Is it a hotel? No it’s the massive Qatar Airway lounge at Doha airport. Never ones to be content with doing it on a small scale, the Premium Lounge includes a handful of worthwhile airport elements (duty-free, fine boutiques) and complements them with heaps of indulgent goodies (a full-service Elemis spa, several restaurants, cafés and bars, private meeting rooms and business centres). Hotel-style bedroom suites and child entertainment finish of this truly over the top airport retreat.
Singapore Airlines SilverKris Lounges, Singapore Changi International Airport
The staff of this lounge at Singapore Changi International greet first-class passengers of Singapore Airlines curbside, taking their bags, before guiding them to an armchair in the first-class check-in lounge and checking them in personally to ensure all the usual stress of baggage carts and check-in queues are a faraway thought. The SilverKris Lounges, comprise meeting rooms, café/bars and 13 Italian-leather slumberettes for the ultimate in relaxation.
Swiss Lounge, EuroAirport Basel Mulhouse Freiburg
An enormous glass dome, surrounded by chrome and wood finishings make the Swiss Lounge a breakthrough in the usual span of boring, uninspiring airport seating areas. With open architecture, heaps of greenery and panoramic views, you’ll hope your flight gets delayed in here. Expect warm and cold buffets, a proper European bar and a Japanese bridge in an atrium surrounded by palm trees.
Thai Airways First Class Lounge, Bangkok
At Thai First Class Lounge in Bangkok, travellers can relax in semi-private rooms that function almost like a living room with couches, chairs and TVs. They can also book a spa treatment or massage in their own private spa bungalow – the only way to do long-haul.