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Love your layover.

Jet lag doesn't discriminate based on sexual orientation, and neither do these sumptuous first-class and business lounges designed to ease the stress of travel. Airlines are investing millions to spruce up these exclusive enclaves to ensure their members and frequent fliers have comfortable places to put their feet up--on very expensive furniture, no less. Here's hoping your next business trip includes a stop by one of these new (or improved) lounges--brimming over with the latest technology. Experience firsthand the next generation of airport luxury.

TOKYO

American Airlines at NAA

Opened January 2007

The new Admirals Club in Narita International Airport is yet another example of an Asian airport pulling out all the stops to create Zen-like relaxation for its business travelers. The spacious, modern lounge, replete with bamboo and furnishings made of binchotan (white char coal), boasts two wide-screen 50-inch LCD flat-panel TVs and seven private work carrels. Gay travelers seeking some well-deserved R&R should veer toward the quiet area with comfortable recliners and a stone walkway beading to five spa-like shower suites. The blend of traditional and modern art throughout the lounge--from six-panel folding screens to woodblock prints and ceramics--adds to the calm, cool vibe.

SYDNEY

Qantas Airlines at SYD

Opened May 2007

It helps when internationally renowned Australian designer Marc Newson also happens to be your creative director. Qantas's new first-class lounges at Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport cost millions, and it shows. With curbside pickup, a Payor Paris day spa, oak sculptures, and imported Italian leather furniture, this lounge raises the bar in airport relaxation and luxury. An entertainment zone features plasma screens and PlayStation 3's and that's in addition to the individual marble-lined shower suites and the 48-seat open-kitchen restaurant. With an increase in flights from Brisbane and Sydney to LAX scheduled for 2008, look for Qantas's new first-class and business-class lounges (in partnerships with Cathay Pacific Airways and British Airways) at the Tom Bradley International Terminal in Los Angeles scheduled to open later in 2007.

NEW YORK CITY

American Airlines at JFK

Opened summer 2007

A serpentine art gallery leads from reception into AA's first Flagship Lounge at John E Kennedy International Airport, featuring 7,000 square feet of contemporary design with sycamore millwork and marble-and-limestone flooring. Business-obsessed travelers will find a cybercafe with Lenovo ThinkCentre PCs and 10 individual workstations. To ensure proper relaxation in one of the busiest airports in the United States, there's also a private lounge with two plasma-screen TVs, a buffet with signature chocolates, and seven spa-style shower suites for washing away the day's transportation dramas.

MUNICH

Lufthansa at MUC

Opened summer 2007

Lufthansa is investing over $130 million to revamp nearly 600 lounges now in its worldwide network. The Berlin-Tegel Airport lounges were among the first to get the extreme makeover; now the lounges at Franz-Josef Strauss International Airport in Munich (which U.K.-based Skytrax, a consulting company for the airline industry, named Best Airport in Europe in 2006) get the star treatment. The first-class lounge features personal assistants, gourmet buffet and a la carte dining options, white marble accents, and a cigar room, making it one of the most lavish lounges in Europe.
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Title Annotation:ORIENTATION
Author:Ortiz, Charlie
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Date:Aug 14, 2007
Words:526
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