I had a chance to visit the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at Johannesburg OR Tambo Airport (JNB) prior to my flight and want to provide an updated review.
In short, this is still my preferred lounge at JNB. Unlike in January, the lounge was quite crowded this time:
A staff member warmly greeted me and presented a menu just moments after sitting down.
I began with a cappuccino and was pleased to see the lounge has a “real” coffee machine with barista. My drink was a bit weak, but still hit the spot after all meetings all day.
The “Virgin Redhead” cocktail is always enjoyable.
I was hungry and ordered an early dinner, asking for an ostrich filet before even looking at the menu. That, sadly, has been removed from the menu, so instead I ordered a ravioli, a chicken burger, and finally a fruit and cheese plate to complete the meal.
The ravioli, chicken burger, or cheese was all edible, though not amazing. Even so, I love the a la carte menu versus a buffet and appreciated the service.
While using the restroom before I left I confirmed that shower suites are still available:
In short, this is a great lounge for American Express Platinum and Centurion members as well as Capital One Venture X cardholders.
My original review, first published on January 15, 2022, appears below.
If you’re looking for the best lounge at O.R. Tambo Airport in Johannesburg, look no further than The Clubhouse by Virgin Atlantic, which offers a well-crafted menu of food and drinks and posh space to wait for your flight. Plus, if you are an American Express Platinum or Centurion card member, you now have complimentary access.
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse Johannesburg Review
While I slummed it in the Priority Pass lounges, my friend traveled back to the USA a few days later and sent me some pictures from the Virgin lounge.
Access + Locations + Hours
The lounge is located past security in Terminal A (mezzanine level) and open daily from 6:00am to 11:00pm, though hours may vary due to the pandemic.
Access is reserved for the following passengers:
- Passengers travelling in Virgin Atlantic Upper Class
- Passengers traveling on Virgin Atlantic in any cabin who are also:
- Flying Club Gold members
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Elite Gold members and PPS card holders
- Virgin Australia Velocity Club Gold, Platinum and The Club card holders
- Virgin Australia Velocity Club Platinum card holders
- American Express Platinum or Centurion card holders traveling on any flight
- Capital One Venture X card holders traveling on any flight
Those with access are permitted one guest, with the exception of Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer elites. Your guest must be traveling on Virgin Atlantic, Delta Air Lines, Air France or KLM.
It is my understanding (and please correct me if I am wrong) that Air France, Delta, and KLM elites or business class passengers do not have access to this lounge.
A La Carte Menu
What makes his lounge so attractive compared to the other lounges in the airport is an extensive a la carte menu of food and drinks:
My friend reports that you cannot go wrong with any of the cocktails and the food is great. He’s a vegetarian and there are many friendly options on the menu including arancini, halloumi (pictured below), quinoa salad, gnocchi gorgonzola, mushroom curry, and even a plant burger (pictured below).
Restrooms + Showers
Showers are available, even during the pandemic.
Like the excellent service at Virgin Clubhouses in London and New York, the staff are attentive and kind here.
Based upon the pictures and menu, this clearly looks to be the best lounge choices in JNB. It’s certainly on a whole different level than the South African Airways or Priority Pass lounges I visited.
I used the Virgin lounge for the first time in December 2021. I have utilized the Shongololo, Bidvest, and Slow Lounges at O. R. Tambo many times. I was very impressed with the staff and the general space. As your friend pointed out the food and beverage is the standout. The bar has top notch drinks, and the a la carte menu is great. I had a salad and ostrich filet that were both excellent. The toilet/ showers could use some updating but that is my only gripe. It will definitely be my go to lounge at JNB from here on out!
The grouting is pretty shoddy though.
your friend definitely knocked back a few 😉
So Im flying Lufthansa first from JNB next week. Looks like LH first passangers get access.
Wonder if its full VS lounge experience or its the off-hours experience like IAD or LAX.
It is the full experience. Enjoy.
Does this clubhouse have a smoking section at OR Thambo International
No smoking in this particular lounge, however there other Priority Pass lounges (plus the South African Airways lounge) which have smoking areas.
I have only ever been to the SAA lounge at JNB, but I can’t see how this one is better. While there’s no a la carte dining at SAA, the buffet selection is very comprehensive, the drinks offer is very decent, there’s also barista coffee, and the decor, showers, and apron views are among the best I have encountered anywhere in the world.
Looks like this lounge closed since today and for good. Removed from Amex website too