Qantas International First Lounge, Sydney

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The Qantas First Class Lounge in Sydney threw its doors open to guests just over a decade ago, and on my recent return it was clear that little, if anything had changed.

  • The Airline: Qantas.
  • The Lounge: The Qantas International First Lounge, Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport.
  • Location: Terminal 1, Airside, on Level 4. 
  • Other Airlines: Emirates and oneworld airlines, travelling in First Class.


More Champagne is said to be consumed in the Sydney International First Lounge than anywhere else in Australia (per capita) on a weekday night. With that in mind, it is no surprise celebrities like Justin Theroux, Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift have graced the Qantas International First Lounge in Sydney. I first experienced the lounge back in 2007, a year after it first opened, and in the 11 years which have since passed, very little changed. The large space, which is spread over 2000 square metres, offers a range of zones for guests to sit in comfort and relax before a long flight out of Australia. The original design was conceived by the internationally acclaimed Australian industrial designer, Marc Newson, using top quality furnishings, and encompassing ultra-contemporary design and materials from Australia. The vertical garden, which took more than three years to complete, consists of over 8,400 plants, and was designed by tropical botanist Patrick Blanc, which welcomes guests along with the concierge who ushers guests upstairs to be greeted again with Qantas staff. There are custom designed lounge pieces from Italian manufacturer Poltrona Frau, and dining room features also by Marc include Italian craftsmen Cappellini for the seats and tables, and Noritake and Alessi for cutlery and crockery.

Food & Drink

The main focus of the lounge is a 48-seat restaurant which offers cuisine from the Aussie chef and Qantas partner, Neil Perry. Perks include chair-side waiter service throughout the lounge, however, during busy times, food can take a long time to appear, and it can be difficult to find a table for breakfast. The menu is extensive, offering typical Aussie café favourites like smashed avo on toast, corn fritters and also quinoa bowls – all prepared well, as expected under Aussie celebrity chef, Neil Perry. I was in the lounge for breakfast and although it is a fully-functional kitchen, some of the items did seem pre-prepared; the mushrooms were soggy, but that’s being super picky. The food is very ‘clean’ which is a nice surprise for mass-catering kitchens – not heavy on grease or oil. The coffee takes a long time to come to the table so be prepared to wait for your soy-latte with extra foam.  


The lounge was designed using Feng Shui principals, and having no corners from floor to ceiling is a bit of interesting trivia. The library is stocked with newspapers, luxury magazines and plasma televisions line the lounge area. There are also 11 PC workstations and complimentary wireless internet access. Private rooms can be reserved in advance, as I was told to leave one of them to make way for a VIP guest. There is also an onsite spa which offers complimentary 20 minute treatments, but on both occasions when I visited, a small note at the front indicated there were no appointments available, which stopped me from enjoying this amenity. Loves 

  • The restaurant-like dining options.
  • The Feng Shui design.
  • Access to a mini-bar – free of charge, although there are no interesting snacks.

Insider Tips  

  • Be sure to book your free spa treatment in advance so you don’t miss out.


About Our Guest Writer

Michelle Tchea is the bestselling author of four books on travel, food and culture, and her work has been published in over 100 international magazines. She is also the owner of the Organics Company, Healthy Spoon, in Australia and a consulting firm in Europe, PopIntel Group, a luxury strategy firm in F&B. Michelle was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, and has a steady stream of followers on social media reaching millions. Michelle's new book, Chefs Collectiveis out now. 


Guest Writer, Michelle Tchea