Lounge Review - Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse @ New York City JFK

If you’ve caught me at all on our Twitter lately, you’ll know I’ve been traipsing my way around Western Europe for the past few weeks. What started as a plan to check out the 2016 Euro Cup with friends evolved in to a visit to the French Open, a week in Croatia, and nearly a month away from home. I guess that’s not so bad? Plus, its given me quite a bit to write about!

It all started some 6+ months ago (it was 2015), when I realized the tickets my friends and I nabbed for Euros were going to align near perfectly with the French Open. An avid tennis fan, and clay court fanatic, I had long dreamed of making it to Roland Garros for my favorite major. So, I went for it! Using a surplus of Delta SkyMiles (or SkyPesos, depending on your mood), I booked into Virgin Atlantic Upper Class for 62,500, and just $5 in additional fees/taxes. Can’t beat that! I’d be flying over to London, meeting a friend for breakfast, then head back to the airport to catch a quick one to Paris.

Since I booked into Upper Class, I’d have the chance to visit the much-lauded Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at JFK, located in T4. Tough to say if I was more excited for the product on the ground or the one I’d soon experience in the skies!

Dedicated check-in for elites at JFK Terminal 4.

Dedicated check-in for elites at JFK Terminal 4.

Flying UC, you’re able to use the Sky Priority check-in area at T4, though as a Delta Diamond, this wasn’t anything new for me. A nice touch though, as always, is the free water given out there. Having just come from the AirTrain, I appreciated a quick hydration stop before security!

Once inside, T4 is a short walk in the “other” direction, what I refer to the A block of gates as, since I usually break right and head to the Delta wing. 

The VIrgin Clubhouse is located in the same area as The Emirates Lounge, and the Air India Maharaja Lounge, near the end of the wing. I neglected to take a photo of the entrance, but it's an open entryway with check-in desk, where you;re greeted, checked-in, and given a brief tour of the lounge (if a first-timer, like myself).

In size, the lounge is smaller than what I’m used to at JFK, but that’s because I spend much of my time at the SkyClub, one of Delta's flagships. However small it may actually be, this lounge ends up feeling quite large, as it’s rarely, from both my experience and word from others, quite crowded. The decor is modern, includes a pool table, and a plethora of seating options. Indecisive, I moved around three times.

Virgin lounges are probably most well-known for their spas, and I was absolutely going to take advantage of that opportunity before my journey. Much sleep was lost in the days and nights leading up to my trip, but I finally settled on the facial as my pre-flight treatment (you’re entitled to one, select free treatment). It was a relaxing reprieve before the flight. Without a doubt, go immediately to the spa upon your arrival to the club. Appointments book up quite quickly, and you don’t want to miss out!

Of course, I wasn’t just there to relax, but also begin a month’s worth of poor eating habits. This proved to be more difficult than I imagined, thanks to the paradox of choice. Just look at the menus!

I opened my drinking games with a West Side, which was better in theory than execution. It didn’t do much on the palette. 

One of the signature cocktails, The West Side.

One of the signature cocktails, The West Side.

On the food side, I paired this with the bone marrow (one of my favorite things!) poppers and fried squid. 

Top: Crispy squid with capers and lemon. Bottom: Bone marrow poppers!

Top: Crispy squid with capers and lemon. Bottom: Bone marrow poppers!

To close out the first portion of the meal, I went with the chicken korma. Yes, the truffled grilled cheese was calling my name, but I thought that might be a step too far before sitting on a plane for 6-7 hours. And not to worry, there was plenty of champagne to go around.

After dinner I had my spa appointment, which blended in to a nap as I get few moments of serenity in daily life. I think the technician delivering the treatment was quite proud I was relaxed enough to fall asleep during our session! Did the facial make any difference with how "hydrated" my skin felt during the flight? Absolutely not. Did I enjoy it nonetheless? Of course.

After the spa, I opted to forgo a proper dessert, in favor of the cheese plate and a bloody mary. My full satisfaction was foiled though, as one of these cheeses is my kryptonite. Care to fancy a guess?

Hint: it's at the top.

Hint: it's at the top.

And that was that! As I topped off this beverage and finished my cheese plate, it was off to my gate for the flight.

All in all, this was a top-notch lounge experience, and one of the finer ones I’ve ever visited. Highly encouraged if you ever have the chance while transiting at JFK!