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Some things are worth waiting for, and our brand new $7 million Clubhouse at New York JFK International Airport is one of them.
Inspired by the theme 'Understatedly Uptown, Unmistakably New York', the new airside space was designed by Slade Architecture in collaboration with the Virgin Atlantic in-house design team, and at 10,000 square feet is more than double the space of the existing Clubhouse.
New York State of Mind
Just like all the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses, there’s no mistaking which city it lives in. The space oozes uptown style and the moment you walk in from the distinctive reception area, you'll be transported into a world of graceful elegance with cascading, shimmering golden ceilings of lighting, and soft, decadent textures.
The wide windows on both sides of the Clubhouse create a focal point, with magnificent views of Virgin Atlantic aircraft at their gates, and a glimpse of the landmark Saarinen-designed former TWA Flight Centre, one of the world’s greatest examples of airport architecture.
The Central Park Lounge
As all Virgin Atlantic flights from JFK depart in the evening, the heart of the new lounge is a sultry, uptown cocktail bar where resident mixologists will tempt you to try a delicious selection of well-constructed signature cocktails. They're also experts at mixing the classics. From serving some of the world's best tasting vodka to sourcing New York's finest microbrewery ales, every little detail has been considered.
Featuring a backlit, glazed bar, ebony end grain wood flooring, quirky Nube Italian leather studded Sir chairs and Arne Jacobson designed Swan chairs, the Central Park lounge creates the aura of a private members club.
A real feature of this area is the bespoke lighting - 2000 beautifully finished golden cylinders float and undulate across the ceiling, creating an effect that makes the lounge and bar glow.
The Entertainment Zone
Just to the left of the entrance to Central Park is The Entertainment Zone. It features a large maple wood and burgundy billiards table, and one of the icons of the new Clubhouse, an oversized, custom made, flame red ball sofa. Part of the approach to furnishing was to provide elements that reflect a social aspect, and this sofa is definitely something to share with somebody else, with plenty of space for lounging as you watch the world go by.
Food can be ordered from anywhere in the Clubhouse, but if you prefer a slightly more formal dining experience, just like at London Heathrow Clubhouse, the Brasserie is the perfect space.
It features walnut flooring, and table service is offered at custom black marble and satin chrome dining tables, with Cassina dining chairs. For a larger gathering, there’s a custom-made banquet communal table.
A delicious new menu designed using the best ingredients from New York adds some real culinary flair from both sides of the pond. The menu features traditional comforts like pork sliders, caramelised apples, old school tin-baked steak and Brooklyn ale pie, mixed in with some rather theatrical flourishes, bringing moments of delight to every table.
The Brasserie leads through to complete shower and bathroom facilities, accessed by a passageway featuring an innovative light feature that changes colour with movement.
The Quiet Lounge
To the left of reception, the carpeted Quiet Lounge offers a completely different change of pace, with a number of cleverly designed spaces perfect for meetings, or just for getting away from the world with a good book.
Rather than a formal business setting, in a nod to the prevalence of iPads and laptops, the JFK Clubhouse offers full high-speed WiFi or a PC station with laptops. The concierge team are ready to assist with any document printing or phone charging, and can also help out with any final arrangements before you fly.
The Clubhouse Spa
The new lounge features the opening of the very first Clubhouse Spa outside of London. Renowned New York City-based salon and product company Bumble and bumble are partnering with Virgin Atlantic, the only hair service available at any US business class lounge.
With two flagship New York City salons and a vast network of like-minded salons, Bumble and bumble has become coveted by hairdressers, actors, models and beauty junkies around the world. A full range of Bumble and bumble products will be available for sale, and their seaweed shampoo and conditioner products will also feature in the Clubhouse showers.
The spa also offers a unique collaboration with Dr Hauschka Skin Care, a certified-natural German brand with a holistic approach to wellbeing, whose products are perfectly suited to nighttime flying.
Dr Hauschka-trained therapists will offer a range of complimentary or paid-for treatments, including their signature Radiant You Treatment and, in a first for any Clubhouse Spa, aromatherapeutic oil back massages. A range of Dr. Hauschka products will also be available, including some great travel essentials.
Once you've enjoyed all the delights of the spa, the intimate relaxation areas offer some really special spaces to enjoy some ‘me’ time. In a quiet corner of the Clubhouse, person-sized round cavities have been created in the walls, lined with wool, with intimate lighting; perfect if you've had a hard day and want to retreat to your own private place. Finally, you can slip into a sleep suit in the Clubhouse, and you'll be given a hanger and suit cover ready to hang up on board.
Virgin Atlantic operates five daily direct flights to New York - three times daily to and from New York JFK International Airport, plus an additional twice daily service to Newark Liberty International Airport.
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About the author: MaxineMaxine Sheppard
Maxine is the editor of the Virgin Atlantic blog. Travel and music are her joint first loves, and despite having written for Virgin for more years than she cares to remember she still loves nothing more than jumping on a plane in search of new sights and new sounds.