Martinis Down Under – Qantas International First Class Lounge Sydney

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It’s rare that a oneworld alliance First Class lounge can compete with the powerhouse Star Alliance First Class lounges from the likes of Lufthansa and Thai but this lounge puts up a good fight.

  1. Introduction and Trip Planning
  2. LAX Oneworld First Class Lounge
  3. Qantas A380 LAX to SYD Economy
  4. Park Hyatt Sydney Part I
  5. Sydney Qantas Business Lounge
  6. Sheraton Mirage Port Douglas
  7. Exploring the Great Barrier Reef
  8. Cairns Qantas Club Lounge
  9. Park Hyatt Sydney Part II
  10. Exploring Sydney
  11. Sydney Qantas International First Class Lounge
  12. Qantas 747 SYD to LAX Economy

Reluctant to leave, we packed up shop and took the train back to Sydney International.  We approached the dedicated Qantas First Class checkin separated by a large marble wall.


Inside the marble walls were a few leather chairs. A fancy checkin experience doesn’t do much for me. I want to get airside as fast as possible and sitting down doesn’t improve my experience.


Along with our tickets we were provided Express passes to clear security though there wasn’t much of a line anyways.


After clearing security we headed straight for the Qantas International First Class Lounge. As a oneworld emerald member, I have access along with a guest to oneworld’s First Class lounges even when flying on an economy ticket. Oneworld is the only alliance that allows this type of access for economy flyers. For example, Star Alliance lounges require the passenger be flying on a First Class award and in some cases require they be flying a specific airline such as Lufthansa in Frankfurt.

Up one floor from the main terminal floor we found the sliding doors.  The Business Class lounge was further down hall though we did not pay it a visit.


Once inside you are immediately greeted by what may be the most iconic fixture in an airport lounge, the living wall gardens of Qantas.  The wall is absolutely beautiful and you can’t help but wonder if you’ve left the airport.  A true oasis.


Continuing around the massive wall of green you reach an escalator up to the First Class Lounge.


Up the stairs there is an old school mechanical flip schedules.  Another nice touch.


We handed our tickets to the lounge reception staff who warmly greeted us and told us to enjoy the facilities.



It was 8AM in Sydney but 5 o’clock somewhere so we headed straight for the marble bar to grab some champagne to enjoy the end of our trip.

A small selection of self-serve food and drinks was set out at a couple stations along the far wall.  There were a few attractive options along with a cappuccino maker but it seemed as though most everyone eating was doing so in the dining area.


A big advantage this lounge has over the Lufthansa First Class Terminal is the spectacular tarmac and downtown city views from every seat in the lounge.



I made a quick loop of the space and found a quiet library area.


In addition there were a couple conference areas with doors to do work in a comfortable setting.  This was vacation so obviously we didn’t partake.


After our brief tour we grabbed a table in the dining area.  We were approached immediately and presented menus along with an offer to enjoy one of four high quality champagnes.  Have I mentioned I love this lounge yet?



The lounge restaurant is all made to order and has a seasonal menu designed by a popular chef.  Everything looked amazing.



We went with the sweetcorn fritters with bacon and a BLT sandwich with avocado.



This was the best meal I have had in a lounge anywhere.  Everything tasted fresh and it wasn’t overkill fancy.  I prefer fresh and simply prepared food over the fancy “First Class” items like caviar and lobster.

I took a look at the private shower rooms which looked perfectly good.



Sadly our flight was called and we headed for the gate.  We only had about 90 minutes in the lounge but would have liked to stay another couple hours.  Next time.

The bottom line

The Qantas First Class Lounge in Sydney is absolutely fantastic.  I wouldn’t go as far as say it is better than Lufthansa First Class facilities in Munich and Frankfurt but I would say it is at least in their league. There is inherently less exclusivity and more bodies in a oneworld lounge where all emeralds have access. Furthermore, the lounge is missing some of the special ground services found elsewhere but I truly enjoyed the restaurant and tarmac views in this lounge far more.  I have visited a fair share of the nicer oneworld First Class lounges but I have not found any lounge as enjoyable.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed on this site are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed.

About alex

Alex loves to travel and does so a lot. Logging 100,000 flight miles each year over the past 4 years, Alex uses points and miles to power his passion. Alex is continuously striving to experience the far reaches of the globe. In his day job, Alex is a Management Consultant frequently on the road advising Technology organizations. I love thinking about, reading about, and talking about all things travel. Feel free to reach me at

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  1. how does it compare to the new CX F lounge at HKG (IIRC it’s at “The Wing”) or SQ’s TPR ?

  2. That has to be the best #avgeek view at SYD. And of course… the best lounge.

  3. Oh interesting. I had no idea all Danish Modern furniture came from IKEA. Thanks Jason.

  4. Jason – ‘cheap marble and ikea furniture’?!

    This is clearly a cynical commment from someone who hasn’t seen the lounge.

    In fact, this lounge is designed by Marc Newsom and the marble looks and feel luxe, not cheap.

    This, in my opinion, is one of *the* best lounges in the world. I have yet to experience a better restaurant in a lounge, than the one in Qantas. The food is by one of Australia’s top chefs, Neil Perry.

  5. I have been to one of the cabanas at the CX F lounge and they have bath tubs. Does the QF lounge have bath tubs also?

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