Air New Zealand has unveiled a new Business Class lounge at Melbourne Airport, with a self-service food buffet, barista coffee, and an upmarket bar.
Air New Zealand's Melbourne Airport lounge is now open, and it's a stunner. With 80 per cent more floor space, a funky new design, and a vast main dining area with a great new coffee bar, it's certainly impressive.
The new Air New Zealand Melbourne lounge is in the same location as the old lounge, but gone is the old 'Bach' (Short for Batchelor pad, complete with pool table), and in comes something like a designer cocktail bar.
Air New Zealand's Melbourne lounge is on the lower ground floor of the international terminal, next door to Singapore Airlines and Qantas' lounge. There are stairs or escalators on either side of the 'roundel' in the middle of the terminal.
The Melbourne Air New Zealand lounge is quite similar to Sydney and Melbourne, and was designed by architectural firm Gensler.
However, respecting Melbourne's coffee culture, there is a vast barista bar in the middle of the lounge, and you can order at your seat via the airline's mobile app or a tablet mounted on the worktop.
It has capacity to seat 250 people and offers a self-service food buffet, barista coffee and various seating options from lounge chairs to long benches and quiet nooks for users to work, rest or play prior to their flight.
The modern design is shown by the mains (240 volt) and USB power sockets at every seat. The big white benches also feature wireless charging beds.
In front of the reception desks is a 'short stay area' for those trying to confirm a seating change or upgrade, or indeed if you're only there for a short time.
There is a snazzy buffet along one counter, with salads, wraps, and three hot options. The cheese plates are worthy of note.
The real bar is all self service, unlike Sydney, with Kiwi wines, including a great New Zealand sparkling, and a small selection of spirits.
There is a small business area complete with wireless printer, however the computer room in the old lounge has gone, and now there are just work benches, without PCs.
If you need some quiet time, there is a small quiet area separated from the main lounge with large white glass screens. There is also a separate kids area, overlooking the runway. There are also eight large shower suites.
The upgraded Air NZ Business Class lounge at Melbourne Tullamarine follows hot of the heels of new lounges at Sydney and Brisbane, which opened in May 2015 and March 2016.
As the third of Air New Zealand's lounges in Australia to have been improved in recent times, it shows the Kiwi airline's investment in Australia as it seeks to attract more travellers from this side of the Tasman onto its long-haul services.
The Star Alliance member said in January it planned to open a new lounge at Perth Airport by the end of 2017.
The new Melbourne lounge is part of Air New Zealand's $100 million lounge development program.
Air New Zealand serves Auckland, Christchurch, Queenstown and Wellington from Melbourne. From Auckland there is a direct flight to London Heathrow, flying via Los Angeles. There are also flights from Auckland to Buenos Aires, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Vancouver.