It took a while for Virgin Atlantic Airways to open their sleek Clubhouse at Los Angeles International Airport’s Terminal 2. Despite flying daily routes to Heathrow from LAX for 25 years, real estate in the terminal was limited, as Virgin Atlantic's Reuben Arnold explains. But once Air France moved out of its 4,000-square-foot space, Virgin took the roomy area down to the studs and started all over again.
What has risen is the carrier’s tenth Clubhouse, the place where the line's Upper Class ticketholders and Gold Card customers can freshen up -- and of course get online -- before their flights. Diamond, platinum, and gold members of new partner Delta Airlines (who are flying on a Virgin-operated flight) also have complimentary access. There’s a lot to love about this cool new Clubhouse; here are just six highlights.1. The amazing view of the Los Angeles landscape hits you immediately, thanks to the floor-to-ceiling windows that span the length of the lounge. See the Holywood sign off in the distance and your plane close up -- the Clubhouse overlooks the gate, too. This makes it pretty obvious to know when it's time to board, though of course you'll have PA reminders for when to go to the gate.
2. The comfortable modern furniture pops with color against the white and copper walled backdrop. And Virgin really wants you to stretch out and settle in -- the couches are seriously comfortable, which is hardly a guarantee in even the poshest of most airport lounges.
3. Craft cocktails and signature dishes from local restaurant Hinoki & the Bird bring the L.A. culinary scene into the lounge. Be sure to try the Century City establishment's green papaya salad and chili crab toast, and the miso donuts are also highly popular. If it's a drink you're looking for, their cocktails include the Matcha Rickey (gin, matcha, lime, and Thai basil) and the Penicillin (Scotch, ginger syrup, lemon juice, honey, and an Islay float). Those, and everything else served in the Clubhouse, are all free of charge.
4. The fantastic art installations give you something else to look at, both at the front and rear of the Clubhouse, when you tire of the city views. In the dining area -- which provides a bit more privacy than the rest of the lounge -- watch the ever-changing video created by California artist Diana Reichenbach. Near the front, spend some time perusing the massive hand-lettered mural by British artist Vic Lee -- a love letter to both L.A. and London.
5. The restroom subway-style tiles are anything but an ordinary white. No, it's not the area of the lounge where you'll be spending the majority of your time (we hope!), but a well-outfitted restroom usually reflects a generally thoughtful design. In those at the LAX Clubhouse, you’ll discover a riot of color and graffiti-like designs that make a whimsical and memorable experience. Showers aren't available here yet, but there are plans to add them in the future.
6. The special cold-press juice recipes from The Juicery are packed with antioxidants as well as antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Three juices are on offer to help your body cope with the long flight to London ahead of you: The Laurel, with spinach, pineapple, and more; The Rosemont, with ingredients like raspberry, grapefruit, and pear; and The Hollywood, full of tumeric and carrots goodness.