We have become quite spoiled with our yearly business trip to London, and I am the first to admit it is nice knowing we will be jumping across the pond every fall. Maybe it is because we are living in an Urban city environment for a week, instead of the suburbs, but all I know is that I come home energized and feeling alive. I always leave wanting to stay longer but excited knowing I would be back soon.
When I first started traveling in my early twenties, I was the girl who arrived at the gate 30 or even 15 minutes before my flight took off. The first time I went to Paris I was running to the gate 20 minutes before take-off; those were the good ole days when that would fly! I traveled with only a carry-on, so it was easy to travel this way, and not be bothered by sitting and waiting for a flight to take off.
Those were also the days when airports did not have many options except for a bad cup of coffee and some equally bad fast food. Today things are different, and now I do not mind arriving at least an hour if not two before a flight. So many options for eating and drinking, and one can even get a manicure and do a little shopping now.
It is no secret that we are huge fans of the Virgin brand, from flying on Alaska Airlines and Virgin Atlantic, to even using their credit cards. This year we were invited to experience the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse in the San Francisco as well as the London airports. Did I mention we checked in four hours, yes four hours, before our flights to get the full experience? What an experience it was!
Our outbound flight to London was in the evening, so we went early to grab a cocktail or two and to enjoy some heavy appetizers before boarding. The atmosphere at the San Francisco Clubhouse is cool, chic and makes one feel like the rockstar they are. Plus, there are great views of the runaway. The amenities range from quiet areas to work, entertainment on multiple TV screens and even showers if you want to freshen up before your flight. Let’s talk about food and drinks now. Some of the best airport food I have ever had. Period. They recently revamped their food and cocktail menus with the help of Whitechapel, which is a local Bay Area restaurant. I wrote about it before if you would like a little history on it. The Clubhouse has a lovely assortment of seasonal menu items that do change to things fresh and exciting; the cocktails are just as innovative and tasty.
After a lovely few days in London, it was time to head home. Once again, we planned to arrive at the airport early with plenty of time for enjoying champagne and brunch in the London Heathrow Clubhouse. This is a beautiful lounge for relaxing before a flight. Just as chic and modern (yes, I did swing in those chairs) as the San Francisco location and the amenities are fabulous. From getting a haircut to a massage as well as hitting the spa. If I would have known before arriving, I would have booked a massage. Lenny did get his shoes polished! The food was fantastic. We enjoyed eggs benedict as well as champagne. Then we moved on the smoked fish and charcuterie board along with a couple of cocktails. To say we were fat and happy when we boarded our flight would be an understatement.
These experiences are not only a plus when traveling but also so rewarding for your well-being. I mean being spoiled and pampered is not a bad thing. I cannot recommend the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses enough – worth the extra hours spent at the airport!