Travel is transformative. Getting there? Often far less so—unless, that is, you’re a fan of historically long TSA lines, “weather delays,” lost luggage, and the kid behind you who keeps kicking your seat. Thankfully, the options for de-stressing between flights have improved considerably in recent years, with the world’s best airport lounges offering not only full bars and back rubs—complimentary Wi-Fi these days is obviously a given—but also clean, contemporary design that rivals the chicest of hotel lobbies. These nine airport lounges can’t help you bypass security (except in one very posh case), but they can give you plenty of reasons to love a long layover.
Photo: Courtesy of Japan Airlines
Japan Airlines’ First-Class Lounge at Tokyo Haneda International Airport
Conceived by Japanese interior designer Ryu Kosaka around the Japanese minimalism concept of Ma, which celebrates the negative space between objects as much as the objects themselves, JAL’s showpiece lounge is divided by custom-made byobu screens into distinct rooms that include the library, playroom, sake bar (featuring sakes from Tokyo craft beer and whiskey haven Hasegawa Liquor Store), and the darkly cozy Red Suite, which features artwork by Japanese master plasterer Shuhei Hasado.
Photo: Courtesy of Qantas
The Qantas London Lounge at London Heathrow Airport
The brand-new bilevel London reprieve for Qantas passengers features an upstairs gin bar with runway views, a menu by Aussie celeb chef Neil Perry, and modern-minimalist design details like chevron wood flooring and a concrete cocktail bar.
Photo: Courtesy of Grupo Puntacana
The VIP Lounge Club at Punta Cana International Airport
Looking to savor every last vacation moment? Designed by renowned Dominican architect Antonio Segundo Imbert, PUJ’s new VIP lounge builds on the airport’s modern-tropics style—open-air terminals feature midcentury furnishings and thatched palm roofs—with an outdoor infinity pool offering elite travelers panoramic views of the airstrip.