The Star Alliance Lounge Los Angeles: An Inside Look

The Star Alliance Lounge Los Angeles at LAX's Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) is a true standout among airport lounges when it comes to quality, award-winning design, and novelty. Few can compete with this bastion of comfort, tranquility, and relaxation, and even fewer can boast of a magnificent rooftop view of the Hollywood hills and the Los Angeles city skyline. With brands like Bulgari, Porsche Design, and Petrossian's Caviar and Champagne Bar occupying the premises, the Tom Bradley International Terminal has no shortage of luxurious, high-end offerings, and the Star Alliance Lounge Los Angeles fits in perfectly within this oasis of splendor.

Getting There

Having created this massive 18,000 square feet-space in consultation with Star Alliance, Air New Zealand continues to manage the lounge's day-to-day operations. To make your way to the entrance on the sixth level of the terminal, simply take either the escalator or elevator up from the main atrium area. You'll know you're in the right place when you see two lounge attendant lecterns out in front guarding the doors.

Should you find that neither of the stations are manned, feel free to walk right in and present your credentials at the reception desk. One special ornament to keep an eye out for is the Airbus A380 model painted in Star Alliance livery. After taking a couple of decent snapshots to share with your friends, your glamorous VIP lounge experience in Los Angeles awaits.

Inside The Lounge

Like many other high-end lounges, you'll find plentiful luggage storage space near the front. After dropping off your carry on luggage (if applicable), whisk yourself off to a stunning corridor with seating areas lining each side. Beautiful translucent curtains abound, heightening the sense of privacy for travelers who would prefer a bit more peace and quiet. This special feature also makes a massively enormous lounge easier to digest if you're prone to sensory overload.

Given the airport's location in the world's film capital, it's especially fitting that there's a little theater room for screening the latest releases. It's pretty much your home theater system away from home, complete with dim lighting and twelve comfortable seats. There's also a library space enclosed in glass. Here, you can sit down and enjoy some quiet reading.

Focus On Technology

Given the airport's proximity to nearby Silicon Beach, it's no surprise that they've done an excellent job in catering to technologically-minded travelers. You'll be able to enjoy fast, complimentary Wi-Fi signals throughout the lounge, making it easier to work from almost any nook or cranny. If you need complementary services like printing, fax, and copying services, these are all available at your convenience. Notably, you'll also have the opportunity to borrow an iPad for the duration of their visit.

If you're a frequent air traveler, there's a good chance that you'll have your fair share of horror stories when it comes to power outlet and USB port shortages in the gate area. Visit the Star Alliance Lounge at LAX, and this problem magically disappears. It's almost as if the lounge designers had overcompensated to make sure that this would not be an issue.

Friends Of The Environment

Gensler, the famed global design and architecture firm based in San Francisco, played a leading role in the lounge's design. As a result of their efforts to maximize efficiency and reduce energy needs, the lounge is LEED Gold certified. One important aspect of this environment-focused plan is an emphasis on daylighting, relying on outdoor light to illuminate the lounge. By making sure that windows are deliberately placed where they can provide as much illumination as possible, the amount of required artificial indoor lighting is greatly reduced.

The green design does not end there. Another example is the incorporation of low flow showerheads into the lounge's eight shower suites. If you're an elephant researcher, you may already know that these enormous mammals drink an average of thirty gallons of water a day. In comparison, each low flow showerhead saves an average of one thousand, nine hundred and twenty gallons per day. This amount of conserved water resources would be sufficient to help sixty four elephants quench their thirst for a day. This may not sound like much, but it certainly adds up when you consider the long-term.

Mid-Century Architectural Design

A signature influence on the lounge's design is the modernist Los Angeles architectural style of the 1950s and 60s. This timeless trend is synonymous with Los Angeles-based designers Charles and Ray Eames. You may recall this mid-century design concept as the inspiration for Los Angeles-based WESSCO International's Eames Foundation American Airlines amenity kits. The American walnut wood flooring, raked limestone walls, and artisan crafted ceramic tiles are some of the more prominent characteristics reflecting this architectural approach.

Food and Beverage Galore

The selection of food is more substantial than what you'll find in most US-based airport lounges. To get a better glimpse of what is on offer, head on over to the massive dining area, which hosts numerous types of seating and a large decorative wine wall. Depending on when you visit, you may find vegetable wraps, summer salads, garlic roasted potatoes, pasta, or hearty minestrone soup. For breakfast, a typical list of offerings would include granola, Greek yogurt, fresh fruit, muffins, pastries, frittatas, sausages, English muffin, cereals, and iron-rich oatmeal. When it's time for dessert, you'll discover a very extensive selection of delicious sweets, with items like brownie bites, fruit salad, toasted coconut ambrosia salad, and chocolate chip cookies.

If you're an aficionado of Vietnamese cuisine, you may be pleasantly surprised to discover a small selection of Vietnamese staples. In addition to banh mi, the prototypical Vietnamese sandwich, you may find pho, the signature Vietnamese noodle soup, at the noodle soup station. However, the choices at this station may vary. At other times, you may find alternative options, namely udon or yakisoba.

The extensive drink selection includes tea, sparkling wine, juice, and soda. You'll even find a full scale Cola fountain and a self serve coffee machine for cappuccino and espresso. If you feel inclined, grab a beer from the fridge or head on over to the bar. Wine is available either self-serve or at the wine bar.

The Indoor Balcony

One of the highlights of the lounge is the indoor balcony overlooking the terminal. This picturesque section is located near the bar, and allows you to observe all the activity and commotion of the terminal from a distance. While you're at it, take a look at the high-tech state-of-the-art video screens. All of this is located in what is termed the Villaraigosa Pavilion. It's named in honor of a well-known Los Angeles figure that local Angelenos may recognize.

The Main Attraction

Let's visit the famous outdoor al fresco terrace. Follow the trail of green plants leading the way, and you'll know that you're headed in the right direction. The terrace feels very much like a rooftop hotel bar, with fresh air, shaded seating areas, and excellent panorama views of the Hollywood hills. To make things even better, let's throw in a cool waterfall. After watching the sunset, you'll be able to sit around a long communal table to enjoy the beautiful fire pits. There's no better place to watch the sun go down past the horizon.

Flying High In First Class

While the greater Star Alliance Lounge is a business class lounge, there's also a smaller room that's reserved for first class passengers only. Straight ahead of the entryway to this area is a simple residential living room with a single Eames chair, sitting proudly on top of a circular rug. Within the first class lounge, there are two exclusive VIP rooms - these are typically reserved for the who's who among premium passengers types, including Hollywood celebrities passing through the airport.

The first class lounge hosts roughly 40 seats, compared to 400 for the business class lounge. Here, you'll find a smaller section of snacks, fruits, and drinks, though first class passengers can also take advantage of the business class offerings outside.

The highlight of the first class lounge is the special a la carte menu. There's a diverse smorgasbord of options, with items like bagel and lox, ham and eggs, brunch wraps, ginger lime chicken lettuce wraps, avocado Caesar salad, smoked gouda and turkey panini, or the LAX taco.

Closing Remarks

The Star Alliance Lounge Los Angeles is truly a marvel to behold. This lounge perfectly embodies the vibrant and cosmopolitan spirit of a global city that expresses itself in over 200 different tongues, offering a variety of different sections to appeal to all needs and expectations. It also exemplifies comfort, relaxation, and satisfaction. If these qualities are not enough to make you want to visit, the amazing outdoor terrace certainly will.

Star Alliance Lounge Los Angeles Recap

  • Capacity: 18,000 square feet, business class lounge has room for nearly 400 guests, 40 for first class lounge
  • Location: Tom Bradley International Terminal. Located on Level 6, accessible via escalator or elevator from the main atrium area.
  • Operating Hours: Open 7 days a week from first departure to 12:30 AM
  • Amenities: Newspapers and Magazines, Private Rooms, Showers (free), Printers/Copiers (free), Beer/Wine (free), Cocktails (free), Complimentary Snacks, Wi-Fi (free), Premium Food (free), Phones, Internet Terminals, Flight Monitors, TVs
  • Access Eligibility: Departing F/J ticket on a Star Alliance carrier from TBIT, Star Alliance Gold member flying with any other ticket on a Star Alliance carrier departing from TBIT

Additional Resources

The Ultimate Guide to Star Alliance

Star Alliance Lounge Los Angeles Official Lounge Page

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