The Air New Zealand Auckland International Lounge was revamped and opened up again in 2015. Last week I had the opportunity to try out this lounge before my flight to Guangzhou, China, transiting in Hong Kong, travelling on an Air New Zealand Boeing 777-200. I have to say the flight wasn't a very comfortable one but that is a completely different story. Air New Zealand kindly provided me with a complimentary pass to the Air NZ International Lounge.
Due to some difficulties while checking in, I got to the lounge at around 9:30pm, with my flight due to depart at 11:50pm. There were still quite a lot of passengers in the lounge when I arrived, but moving down to the back of the lounge revealed plenty more seating space. The International Lounge definitely has a lot more space than the Auckland Domestic Lounge I was in a few months back but that doesn't come as a surprise.
After settling into my preferred seating with the Australian Open tennis playing on the TV in front, I decided it was time for some pre-dinner drinks. Yes it was now just before 10pm and I still haven't had dinner yet. The lounge has a few long bar tables filled with self-service drinks and throughout the evening I sampled quite a few beers starting out with this Japanese (Australian) beer, Kirin. The drinks table consists of a fizzy drink machine, a self-serve coffee machine, a hot/cold/sparkling water tap, a couple of Keri juice bottles and two separate bar fridges under the table for alcoholic beverages. During the time I was in the lounge, there seemed to be never-ending staff maintaining the drinks table. I thought this was really good etiquette, and explains why the table was in immaculate condition with drinks and clean glasses never running out. The right machine in the picture above is an ice maker.
I had managed to grab a couple of plates of hot food quickly, before they were taken away signalling the end of the dinner service at 10pm. The hot food consisted of basmati rice/ beef, brocolli and black bean/ sweetcorn, beans and pepper/ and creamy garlic potatoes. Two of the four hot foods mentioned here were the exact same as in the domestic lounge so this suggests that they don't tend to have much variety or choice in their hot food section. I thought the basmati rice was nicely cooked to perfection and this went well with the beef, brocolli and black bean. As well as the hot food section, they would normally have a chef that cooks 'on demand' and when asking one of the staff, the chef cooked noodles tonight. Unfortunately I was too late to get to the lounge and the chef was already done for the night.
The cold food and snacks consisted of a variety of small wraps and sandwiches, muffins and scones, and a desert section. The sandwiches were a bit dry and I thought they could've added a bit more sauce in them. Fresh fruit and a big bowl of mixed fruit was also on offer. Everything (especially the deserts) were really exquisitely done. I also forgot to mention that there is an entree section, tonight consisting of pumpkin soup, croutons and ciabatta bread with spread.
The lounge itself is virtually split up into many different sections. When you walk in to the lounge, you are greeted with the main seating area which is open plan to the buffet section. A room to the left consists of the kids' play area and adjacent to it is the entertainment room filled with a huge flat screen TV. Each person gets to sit in their own extra-large comfy couch which is placed in rows just like in a cinema.
Further down the back of the lounge, there is more seating including some lie flat couches for a quick snooze. As much as I wanted to give them a try, after having a fair bit of food and drink, there was no time for a lie-down on those couches. Instead I opted to go for a quick shower before my long flight to Hong Kong.
The shower rooms are located near the entrance of the lounge and there are about 8 shower rooms in total. They were very spacious and will easily accommodate large tall people with ease. There are fresh towels wrapped in plastic bags and even has a hairdryer for your convenience.
By this time the final boarding call had just been announced for passengers in the lounge flying on the Hong Kong flight, so I again quickly ordered a Hot Chocolate from the barista and rushed out to catch my flight. I seem to leave boarding to the very last minute just like when I was in the domestic lounge, possibly because I just can't seem to get enough of the lounge! Nevertheless, the Air New Zealand Auckland International Lounge is quite a comfortable lounge preparing passengers for long-haul flights. Although I arrived a bit late, I was still able to try out the hot food from the dinner menu. I thought it could do with a bit more variety as it was basically the same food I had a few months back in the Auckland domestic lounge.
The next lounge I will be trying out is the Hong Kong Premium Plaza Lounge when I head back to Auckland via Hong Kong later on this month. I should be able to get around 11 hours in the lounge this time as that is how long the layover is in between.
For more information on the Air New Zealand Auckland International Lounge please visit: https://www.airnewzealand.co.nz/international-lounge-information#auckland
Other related posts:
[Review] Air New Zealand Auckland Domestic Lounge
Vehicle Reviews on NZ TechBlog
[Review] Auckland Airport's Emperor Lounge
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