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Are you in the club?

Date

Rachael Oakes-Ash

Zoom in on this story. Explore all there is to know.

If airline lounges are the coveted perk of the business traveller, then hotel club lounges are their best-kept secret - until now.

One of the rewards for frequently-flying business travellers is access to swanky airline lounges, with their comfy couches and open bars. Now Australia's five-star hotels are getting in on the act, with entire floors dedicated to "club" rooms and even-more-opulent lounges and bars squarely aimed at attracting well-heeled businesspeople.

What are sme of the perks for clubroom floor guests? Think free internet, complimentary meals and canapés, and cocktails at dusk. Oh, and the jaw-dropping panoramic views offered by many beat any airport lounge's hands-down, and are great for impressing clients.

In some respects, the club lounge is a bit like the pointy end of the plane.  

In some respects, the club lounge is a bit like the pointy end of the plane. While check-in for regular hotel guests means queuing at the front desk, clubroom guests can expect to receive their room key in the comfort of the club lounge, far from the pesky public.

Another similarity to business class plane travel are the entry requirements to this exclusive club - you can either pay up-front for a clubroom, usually found on exclusive hotel clubroom floors, or receive an upgrade through a hotel loyalty program. Clubrooms themselves may include free wi-fi, complimentary laundry services and similar business-focused perks for those willing to pay around 20 per cent more than for a regular hotel room.

However, once on the clubroom floor, the club lounge and its amenities are yours to enjoy. As with plane travel, though, some lounges are better than others.

For pure wow factor, Sydney's Club Intercontinental on the rooftop of the Intercontinental Hotel boasts the best harbour views in town with a wrap-around balcony. It's accessed exclusively by clubroom guests who think nothing of handing over the credit card, distracted by the views, when checking in. Expect to share this gracious space with visiting dignitaries and celebrities making the most of the complimentary food, drinks and cocktails come sundown.

The club lounge at Melbourne's Crown Metropol, '28', is also all about the view. Perched on the 28th floor with a five-metre floor-to-ceiling glass façade and views out to the Dandenong Ranges, 28 offers a dining area, lounge area, marble bar and outdoor terrace and includes complimentary breakfast, all-day tea, coffee and soft drinks, pre-dinner cocktails and canapés, and dedicated meeting areas.

The Sydney Hilton unveiled a restyled Executive Lounge by architect Mark Landini late last year as part of a $7 million upgrade to both guest rooms and the lounge. The lounge can seat up to 120 guests in private and communal areas, and a redesigned boardroom for up to 12 with built in audiovisual and teleconferencing has been added. To encourage interaction and networking, two larger communal tables are also found in the lounge. A coffee and juice bar, daily breakfast, all-day refreshments, and evening canapés and drinks are also available.

The Four Seasons in Sydney already has excellent service for business travellers, including complimentary overnight shoe shine and coffee and muffins in the lobby lounge to "grab and go" between 5.30 and 9am. The hotel doesn't offer clubrooms, however guests can pay a fee upon check-in, or purchase an executive package when booking. This gives them access to the Executive Club on the 32nd floor, hot and cold buffet breakfast, all-day refreshments and bar snacks, evening drinks and canapés, complimentary garment pressing, complimentary in-room and in-club internet, and daily newspapers and magazines.

The Marriott on the Gold Coast relaunched its club lounge as the Elandra Retreat Club in 2011 (above). Think of the three levels of guest rooms and a club lounge as a resort within a resort with ocean panoramas, private sitting areas, extensive reading library and seven complimentary food experiences each day (breakfast, morning tea, afternoon tea, canapés and cocktails, sweets and coffee) so guests need never leave.

Both the Perth Crown and the Melbourne Crown Towers club lounges have also undergone extensive refurbishment in recent times. In Perth, the 9 Lounge reflects an art deco style and offers free breakfast in the morning and tapas and drinks in the afternoon.

Guests at Melbourne's Crystal Club at Crown Towers (above) experience a dedicated private check-in service with concierge facilities, complimentary breakfast, snacks and evening canapés, free wi-fi, swanky lounge and dining area, a sun-drenched deck and meeting facilities.

Club Sofitel in both Brisbane and Melbourne afford some of the best city views in their respective towns. In Brisbane, the lounge is on level 30 and includes hot breakfast, pre-dinner drinks and canapés, plus "sweet dreams" hot chocolate and desserts before bed. The Brisbane club is Australia's largest executive club lounge over two floors and exclusively for guests staying in club accommodation.

Melbourne's Club Sofitel is for guests in clubrooms on levels 47 to 49. Expect private check-in and check-out, the usual all-day refreshments, open bar with canapés in the evening, wireless workspace, private meeting rooms, plasma televisions, electronic games and stunning views.

Not to be outdone, the Melbourne Grand Hyatt also has panoramic city views from its address at the fashionable end of Collins Street, also with exclusive check-in service, concierge, breakfast, all-day refreshments, evening canapés, bespoke furniture, international magazines, meeting rooms and complimentary wi-fi.

Have you visited a club lounge? Was it worth you or your company paying extra for?

Poll: Which hotel club lounge is your favourite?

  1. Please select an answer.
  2. View results
Hilton South Wharf Club Lounge

4%

Club Sofitel Lounge, Brisbane

16%

Crown Metropol 28 Lounge, Melbourne

3%

Hilton Executive Lounge, Sydney

4%

Crown Towers Crystal Club, Melbourne

6%

Four Seasons Executive Club, Sydney

3%

Marriott Elandra Retreat Club, Gold Coast

1%

Westin Executive Club, Sydney

3%

Crown Metropol Club Lounge, Perth

1%

Club Intercontinental Lounge, Sydney

34%

Club Sofitel, Melbourne

11%

Grand Hyatt Club Lounge, Melbourne

14%

Total votes: 412.

Would you like to vote?

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Poll closed 1 Jan, 1970

Disclaimer:

These polls are not scientific and reflect the opinion only of visitors who have chosen to participate.

15 comments so far

  • I love using hotel club rooms/services when I have the opportunity. My husband and I have done so at Melbourne's Sofitel and Adelaide's Intercontinental, both of which were lovely. But my favourite by far is the hotel club at The Trader's in Kuala Lumpur. All three have lovely lounges, tasty treats, complimentary beverages, free wifi and amazing views, but the Traders is a standout for me because their club rooms are within pretty much everyone's price range - 5 star comfort and service for a little over $200AUD a night, with magnificent unimpeded views of the Petronas Towers.

    The Traders also had a separate, dedicated check-in area for club guests, on the 32nd floor... On our first visit, that actually caused us more inconvenience than benefit, as we didn't know about it and queued first at the "normal" check-in area before being redirected upstairs. I don't recall the Sofitel or Intercontinental having separate check-in.

    Commenter
    Byrnesygirl
    Location
    Camberwell
    Date and time
    February 08, 2013, 1:27PM
    • The whole Shangri La brand is great. I think they are just behind the Ritz-Carlton as a whole

      Commenter
      eflord
      Location
      Dubai - Sydney
      Date and time
      February 18, 2013, 10:33AM
  • Good value in many cases especially when travelling o/s.Included internet, nice breakfasts on top floors of the hotel. I can't bring myself to pay for premium economy or the pointy end of the plane. But hotel club lounges I can.

    Commenter
    MelbMan
    Date and time
    February 08, 2013, 2:20PM
    • Spot on MelbMan.

      Commenter
      Byrnesygirl
      Location
      Camberwell
      Date and time
      February 08, 2013, 7:09PM
  • Stayed on the Club floors and therefore had access to the Club Lounge at the Harbour Grand in Hong Kong. Best hotel experience ever! Breakfast, afternoon tea, canapes and cocktails in the afternoon/evening were all included, all with a magnificent view over the bay and Kowloon.

    Stayed in the Club floors and had access to the Club Lounge at the Grand Hyatt in Melbourne recently. A bit 'meh' by comparison I'm afraid, and the offerings were a bit meager.

    Commenter
    OCD
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    February 08, 2013, 2:23PM
    • Australian hotels are an international embarrassment in this department and many others really. Most countries have been offering this for years. In fact Australia is one of the few countries where you can walk into a 5 star hotel, not get given at minimum a drink at check-in and quite often have to lug your own bags to your room.

      That and the fact that staff give the impression they're doing you a favour by checking you in and then send you off to the worst room in the building if you made the mistake of not wearing a suit at check-in. To be honest I'd rather just rent an apartment for the week.

      Commenter
      World traveller
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      February 08, 2013, 4:34PM
      • Funny, we've never had that problem. Many Australian hotels have had Club lounges for many years (15+). Not all 5* hotels, but the ones listed above and many more. No help with luggage? Phht, the trouble we've had is that sometimes the luggage is gone, ready to be taken upstairs, before you realise it.

        Not sure which hotels but we've always had that level of service in Australian 4-5 star hotels - the Crown Metropole maybe an exception, mind you.

        Some, not all, have Club level check in, and like the other traveller, if you are not aware of it then you don't experience it.

        Commenter
        LarryM
        Date and time
        February 10, 2013, 9:35AM
    • Stayed at the Ritz Carlton Hong Kong's Club rooms on the 116th floor of the hotel. There was a club lounge on the floor for the sole use of the guests staying in the club rooms. It was the best hotel i've stayed at so far....EVERYTHING was included (bfast, morning tea, lunch, traditional afternoon tea, canapes before dinner, dessert and all the booze you could drink!). If the doors were closed after hours, all you had to do was use your electronic door key and you could help yourself if you were feeling peckish or thirsty! The bonus was the harbour views of Hong Kong island as well as the surrounding areas. AMAZING!

      Commenter
      A
      Date and time
      February 08, 2013, 5:40PM
      • Club rooms are the only way to go, as a heavy weekly traveler I am a strong believer in their value and more than happy to pay, but it is amazing how patchy the clubs are in Australia - Sofitel Melbourne + Brisbane are light years ahead of Sofitel Sydney - So old and tired.

        Surprised you didn't include Shangri-la Sydney as it's club is amazing with great benefits - I chose there over the four seasons and have been doing so for more than a year of weekly travel to Sydney. Their Golden Circle loyalty program means I get free access for the price of a normal room!

        Commenter
        RojMugwump
        Date and time
        February 08, 2013, 9:08PM
        • Wait, wait... you still have to pay for internet in Australia in hotels? This is 2013, right?

          The US (who you so desperately try to copy) laughs at your 2004 ways of thinking.

          Commenter
          tz98
          Location
          Out and about
          Date and time
          February 09, 2013, 10:56PM

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