My review of the Virgin Clubhouse at London Heathrow Terminal 3 (part 2)

This is part two of my review of the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse lounge in Heathrow Terminal 3.   Part 1 of my Virgin Clubhouse review can be found here.

There are four other corners of the Clubhouse lounge that I didn’t cover in part 1.  This is the library which is meant to be a quiet area:

Review Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse lounge Heathrow Terminal 3

This is the nearest Virgin gets to a business centre – a handful of laptops in the middle of the room:

Review Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse lounge Heathrow Terminal 3

To the left hand side of the lounge is a flight of stairs.  Go up and you find yourself in a secluded seating area.  I sat here for 20 minutes doing the interview with the Daily Express which appeared recently.

Review Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse lounge Heathrow Terminal 3

Take another flight of stairs and you find yourself somewhere very unexpected – a roof terrace!

Review Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse lounge Heathrow Terminal 3

Due to the joys of the Summer 2016 weather it wasn’t somewhere that anyone was choosing to linger but I can imagine it is a pleasant spot to use on a sunny day.

The restaurant

Finally, I want to talk about the restaurant.  This is an open plan area in the lounge, although the layout means that you don’t have people walking past you all the time.  Service was attentive but casual in a typical Virgin style.

The food was excellent.  I was genuinely surprised.  My meal was up there on a par with the Qatar Airways restaurant in their Terminal 4 lounge.

On the day I was there it was offering as starters:

Cauliflower soup with truffle oil

Confit Asian duck bao bun (see below) with spring onion, cucumber and hoisin sauce

Potted salmon with tartar salad on toasted sourdough

Review Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse lounge Heathrow Terminal 3 restaurant

For main courses you could pick from:

Sweet and sour chicken (see below) with jasmine rice and prawn cracker

Pan fried rainbow trout, warm Jersey Royal potato salad and toasted sourdough

The Clubhouse cheese burger with beef tomato, American cheese, red onion, lettuce, gherkin, cocktail sauce and chips (there is also a vegetarian burger option)

Three salads were also on offer.

Review Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse lounge Heathrow Terminal 3 restaurant

Finally, for dessert, they had:

Warm doughnut, strawberry jam and clotted ice cream (see below)

Home made gin and tonic and elderflower sorbet with fresh lime

plus fruit salad and ice cream.

Review Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse lounge Heathrow Terminal 3 restaurant

There honestly wasn’t a duff note anywhere.  If you heading to the Virgin Clubhouse at Heathrow, make sure you leave time and stomach space for a full meal.

I haven’t mentioned the bar in this review but, trust me, there is one, it is very long and it seems to stock pretty much anything you could possibly want!

Back in 1997, I remember the lounge having a sound proof room with some very expensive hi-fi equipment in it.  You could put on a CD, crank up the volume and take a seat in a comfy armchair.  That seems to have gone which is a shame.


You can, in general, believe the hype about the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at Heathrow.  Excellent food, a great bar, lots of space, the novel roof terrace, a free haircut and a sauna and jacuzzi (and a table tennis table) – you need to be pretty churlish not to find fun in that lot.

It could be better, of course.  A few bottles of Krug or Dom Perignon, a better kids playroom, a broader magazine selection, a full buffet for people who don’t have the time or inclination to sit in the restaurant ….. you can always add something else.

Making more of the spa treatments free would also be good, although to be fair Etihad has just gone down the same route and started charging for most of the treatments in its Heathrow lounge.  British Airways still has free ‘mini’ treatments but they are nowhere near as comprehensive as what Virgin offers.

The Virgin Heathrow Clubhouse should definitely be on your airline bucket list.  In a few days I’ll tell you whether I believe that the Upper Class in-flight product should be on your list too ….

You can find out more about the Clubhouse on the Virgin Atlantic website here.

(Want to earn more Virgin Flying Club miles?  Click here to see our recent articles on Virgin Atlantic and Flying Club and click here for our home page with the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points.)

My review of the Virgin Clubhouse at London Heathrow Terminal 3 (part 1)
Bits: LAST DAY for 480 Avios on £8 HP ink cartridges, Virgin places big A350-1000 order
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  1. Nice review.

    Last time I flew VS they had just refurbished the lounge but it wasn’t fully open yet, and looks great now.
    As for the flight itself, well, it was ok, not great and I am no fan of the reverse herringbone seating.

    • I flew UC from Manchester and very disappointed with the pre flight check-in, lounge etc at least Heathrow looks much better.
      Also not a fan of the UC seating( or service on our particular flight) on the 747. I wouldn’t rush back to try UC, especially from Manchester.

      • James A says:

        The VS experience from Manchester is entirely different. No lounge (or a poor lounge if/when it reopens) and their worst product (A330) on most routes. Still it’s convenient for those of us up north and plenty of mileage seats are available.

        I expect they will build a clubhouse when the new terminal is finished at MAN.

      • Flew UC on the 747 and A340 last year. The seats were not to my liking and the on board product was very tacky. The flight attendants were not slick either.

        Style over substance imho.

        I refer to it as Upper Chav class.

  2. Thanks for review. I am now looking forward to our first there in 10 days time…. I had planned for us to arrive at Heathrow at 4pm for our 8pm flight. Now I am thinking of arriving early to get more than 2 hours at the clubhouse.

    You mention they could have better kids play area. Do you think kids would easily get bored? What’s decent time to spend there?

    • Depends on a lot of things such as their age and what they enjoy. If they like planes they may enjoy the roof terrace (smoking is not allowed up there so it’s reasonably pleasant), unless children are banned from the table tennis table then they could use that (is there still a pool table?).

      To be on the safe side, if you have a tablet it’s a good idea to fill it up with things to do.

  3. Sampled the clubhouse on the way to NYC in May this year – it was excellent and can’t wait to return. On you first visit three hours is a good period to plan for.
    Don’t forget the revivals lounge on your return.

  4. Seems a fair review. My last visit was 2011 (thanks to the agreement they had with bmi) and I had wondered whether the quality would drop now they were partnered with Delta (and they moved many flights to T3 and allowed Clubhouse access).

    Thanks to Flying Club being the only remotely decent place you can credit East Coast train travel now I have went from zero miles in March 2015 to over 50k now (I travel by train too much!), so I’ll wait until I hit 80k and do an upperclass return to JFK.

    • I’ve had 100K sitting there gathering dust for nearly 20 years now! Recently decided to be more proactive & bring the wife into it – I think she’s nearly up to 20K in just a few weeks but that’s the easy stuff done.

      Any decent tips out there for Virgin miles? We haven’t done any credit cards yet so that will help next time a decent bonus comes around.

      • Haven’t yet converted Tesco —> Virgin, any idea when another 30% bonus might be seen? They seem to come quite regularly.

      • E-rewards points convert to Virgin. I have a Virgin black credit card that brings in a fair number and occasionally has a good sign up bonus.

      • may be a bit late, but a Virgin Money ISA is an easy way to net miles.
        Need to pay in for 6 months & obviously comes with the risks…
        I pay the minimum. 5000 miles + a little more than my investment back

        • You can get both VS credit cards at the same time so that is 2 bonuses. Amex Gold and Plat points convert 1:1 so that is 20k for getting free Amex Gold.

          3k for first Virgin Wines order.

          • Yep – could use our next Amex Gold for Virgin miles I guess.

            Got the wine, ISAs & eRewards already, so I guess it’s VS credit cards next

  5. Frankie says:

    Outdoor terrace looks fab. I’d spend hours wafching the planes & listening to the sounds. I always thought such terraces weren’t allowed due to security issues ( not sure what security issues though). Why don’t more airports or airline lounges have them?

  6. Don’t forget the shoe shine guy…. He’s great!


  7. I was in the Virgin arrivals lounge at Heathrow a few months ago off an overnight New York flight. The showers are great, the clothes pressing actually made a difference, the breakfast was fresh and tasty and the staff very helpful. Large selection of reading material as well. There is a small Business Centre just by the entrance. Sorry no pictures.

  8. Derek Holdrup says:

    I flew to Detroit last month and used the Virgin wing when I arrived in my private taxi – I live too far away for a free one. From drop off to being through security took at least 10 minutes. A fantastic change from my normal BA Gatwick departures. Just wish I could use Virgin every time I flew to the USA. Not keen on the A330 -300 seating if travelling as a couple though.

    • Lady London says:

      Ah! wish I’d remembered that I could have used the Virgin lounge at Detroit too. instead I used the Delta one which is not bad for an American lounge. But I am sure the Virgin one would have been better.

  9. That donut looks nice but i assume the filling is all clotted cream? I reckon you would increase your bmi, and chance of a heart attack in the process of eating just one of them

  10. Richard says:

    I used the old Virgin lounge at Heathrow a lot some years back when I was still working but didn’t have the opportunity to use the new one until recently on a flight to Delhi. I have always been a fan of Virgin from the early days and was one of the first Gold card holders – sadly no longer. I was very impressed with the lounge – it’s very spacious and I agree the food was very good. I wish we had allowed more time to enjoy it and then had less to eat on the flight. The big difference was the number of people – I can remember times when I was almost the only customer in the old lounge. I agree that it is a shame that the Music Room has disappeared but that was the only downside. We flew to Delhi on the Dreamliner – it was excellent and I still have quite a few miles which I keep topped up with Tesco points etc so looking forward to our next flight and visit to the lounge.

  11. Cheshire Pete says:

    We were here in March for our trip to Miami and last year to Rome, both on BA flights, so we felt a bit cheeky, but Virgin have an unwritten rule if you hold their Gold to allow access no matter who you fly with. Even more guilty only earned our free Gold when they were status matching on their now ceased Manchester shuttles !

    Anyhow what a change from the usual BA monotonous lounges. It is a breathe of fresh air, although have to say we spent most of the time sitting at the bar with proper real bar tenders drinking their selection of cocktails!

  12. Nice review. The clubhouse always puts s smile on my face before a flight. Much prefer it to BAs Concorde room and BAS pathetic offerings in T3.

  13. You forgot to mention the deli. That would be in place of a buffet if you want something quick. Who the hell has a deli, table tennis and jacuzzi in their lounge!
    I miss the pick and mix counter. OH used to dip her hand in those jars like a a digger shovel and fill her pockets.
    The pool table was there last time we were in, don’t know if table tennis is a good choice. Them balls flying around everywhere :)

  14. I was in the clubhouse last year for a flight to BOS. Flew home from JFK. I think the LHR is definitely superior. The only reason I haven’t been over there this year is because they’ve dropped the Canadian routes and I’d have to go to the US for a trip to Canananada on Virgin.

    I may be one of the few people who actually liked the layout of the UC seats. Travelling alone, I have no problem with not being next to someone. I did swap seats to allow to USian ladies to sit next to each other, as having them try to chat over me would have been a nightmare for me!

  15. What's the Point says:

    Totally agree with Raffles here, the V Clubhouse food is very good quality.
    I have eaten far too much on the two occasions we have flown out of T3 with them UC.

    • Lady London says:

      Yes, I’d personally time my flight for lunch or dinner not breakfast, I felt it lacked atmosphere early in the morning and the food selection was certainly more limited.

  16. Thanks for the review, Rob – looks pretty good.

    I’ve got a fairly decent stash of VS miles now, it’s just so annoying they shut down Little Red though, you can only book a through ticket on revenue so I’d have to book a separate BA RFS to T5, then go landside, collect bag and check back in :( Will need to do it at sometime though to use up some of my VS miles!

  17. Virgin Clubhouse LHR is still my favourite lounge in the world, JFK and SFO one are nice too (latter is airside which is a bit of a pain). Seen BA’s T3 Club, T5 Club and FLounge (will see CCR next month, I don’t expect it to be better than Clubhouse), Centurion LAS, Business and First LAX, various AA Flagship and Admirals, and will be seeing Qatars Doha, Cathay Pacifics HKG and Quantas SYD, all first, so will have further ones to compare with….

    Remember this is a Business class product, so should really be comparing it with BA Club lounge…

    • …while in fact it is far superior to anything else (including “First” lounges) in Europe or N America

  18. Rob, you missed out on the shoe shine – just as you enter the Clubhouse there’s a guy who polishes your shoes while you’re using the facilities. It’s also worth mentioning that wherever you sit in the Clubhouse, the staff will come over to take you order for food and drinks. The Virgin Clubhouse at LHR remains the most impressive business class lounge in the world, in my view – even though it’s now about eight years since it was re-done.

    • True, didn’t mention him but he was there. There are still quite a few shoe shine guys in the City so I don’t really notice them.

      • Yeah, but those don’t take your shoes, provide you with slippers and then let you go about your business (all for free). I suspect you’d not be seeing your shoes again with those…

        Also a shoeshine dude at Gatwick Clubhouse, which while nice, is smaller, and much less in it. Less food too, tends to be breakfast food, and a burger, because the VS LGW flights are pretty much done by 1pm.

  19. Johnny Tabasco says:

    Can’t say I done them all but the Virgin Clubhouse in Heathrow is certainly provides the best experience I have had in an airport lounge, anywhere.

    From the Upper Class drive up wing through to the hairdressers, the bar, the bathroom and washing facilities and best of all the salmon deli! It’s a wonderful place.

    The only slight criticism would be that from my experience it can get a little overcrowded in the mornings. I’ve struggled to find seating for a party of four for instance (and it’s a big place). You may have to patient for table drink and food service too during these times. But maybe that’s a little picky, there isn’t a lot VA can do about that. Overall it’s a stunning experience. And that salmon….

    Looking forward to the review of the flight, from my experience the Virgin UC experience varies dependent on which plane you get. Some of the older ones can be a little worn and dated – but it’s still good overall , especially for a miles redemption). The crew service remains consistently superb though, and puts BA to utter shame.

  20. Johnny Tabasco says:
  21. I have just about built up enough points for an Upper Class redemption for myself and wife so I am looking at destinations like Cancun as the jump off point for a trip to Yucatan. Unfortunately, Virgin flies out of Gatwick to Cancun, so we would only get the Gatwick Virgin clubhouse.

    This is the only Upper Class flight we will take in the forseeable future, so the question is whether we would be missing out by flying out of Gatwick. Should I make a point of flying out of Heathrow just to experience the main clubhouse?

    Any thoughts?

    • No. If you want to go to Cancun, go to Cancun. That is more important.

      • I’d disagree – I had the same dilemma with heading to the Caribbean. I desperately wanted to try out the Heathrow clubhouse, but when I was almost ready to book, I realised my planned destination of St Lucia goes from Gatwick.

        After a bit of scouting around, I found cheap return flights from JFK to Turks & Caicos instead for only slightly more than 200 quid, and spent 20,000 fewer flying club miles on a upper redemption to JFK, which seemed like a fair deal, especially considering the beaches in T&C look incredible!

        Have a look at the 80,000 return destinations, and see if you can find a bargainous flight to Mexico. Good luck!

      • I went diving off Cozumel for a couple of weeks (with Cancun as nearest). Cancun itself is a bit of a hole but as the gateway to somewhere else, no problems at all. Cozumel also gets over-run by our pondy cousins but as I was mostly 20 metres under, not an issue.

    • Though the LGW Clubhouse doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of its LHR cousin, it isn’t so far behind that I’d change my destination. Indeed some on VS travel forums prefer the LGW CH based on the attitude of the staff who always seem genuinely happy that you are there and about to go on holiday.

      A “new” CH will open in January 2017 when VS move their operations to the North Terminal.

  22. VS is simply the best – and never ceases to show that they appreciate my business.

  23. Looks great. It’s just a shame Virgin don’t offer an upgrade voucher or 2-4-1 for Upper Class on any of their credit cards.

    • Virgin redemptions are already cheap, in comparison to BA, adding a 241 would make them ridiculously good value compared to the competition.

    • UC costs about £500 in tax and 80K points to the East Coast. If I could get BA flights for that, they wouldn’t be anything like as good!

  24. I am also a big fan of Virgin and I will prioritise collecting VA miles over BA any time!

    • Me too; not least because – unlike Avios – I have a reasonable chance of redeeming them!

  25. barnaby100 says:

    I much prefer the virgin ground experience in UC to BA in 1st
    Drive through arrival. Shellac nails done (pay for). sometimes haircut, always facial
    Shoeshine. Magazines you might want to read (you must have been unlucky-they are usually good- unlike BA who have titles such as 1001 horses and yachts of the world etc)
    Pick up a spare clear bag from scanning and fill it up with pick and mix (someone above suggests that it has gone- it was there in May?)
    Deli is fab. Ice-cream, Bramble cocktails.
    The loos are lovely (unlike the CCR where they are a disgrace)
    There is a pool table.
    The outdoor area is the old vodka bar, at one point it had artificial grass- that may have been wimbledon linked
    The table tennis may have been a wimbledon thing? Not sure it is all year round.
    Children seem to like the hanging chairs

    BA Champagne is better in CCR but overall Virgin wins hands down on the ground.
    I arrive about 6 hours before the flight to fit it all in- longer if I want my hair done.

    • To see what really makes a typical VS Clubhouse so much better than a typical BA Galleries First, go to EWR or BOS (where they’re adjacent) and compare the welcome, the food and the comfort. .

  26. I note that VS will offer a flybe connection to BHD for money, when for example, requesting LAS-BHD. I assume the connection is not available as part of a redemption ?