[dropcap size=big]V[/dropcap]irgin Holidays is planning to launch the world’s first seaside airport lounge, the Departure Beach, allowing travellers to enjoy the final hours of their vacation swimming in the Caribbean instead of at the airport waiting lounge or hotel lobby.
Located on Brownes Beach in Barbados, the Virgin-branded Departure Beach will have a private air conditioned lounge for keeping cool, a premium bathroom with showers, a beach bar and restaurant, and even Virgin Atlantic check-in desks.
Given the fact that most people have to check-out at midday and flights often aren’t until the evening, the final day of a holiday can be ruined when there is no where for people to refresh before the journey home or properly relax.According to Virgin Holidays, this “lost day” is expected to account for a total of 2.4 million hours of British holiday-makers time annually. As the average British long-haul holiday is ten days – it equates to a solid 10 per cent of holidays being spent hanging around in hotel lobbies or dragging heavy luggage around city streets.
While business and first class passengers can use dedicated lounges with showers and free champagne in the airport, the Departure Beach is the first of its kind worldwide for a tour operator, and offers access to the sea.
Customers who wish to use the facility simply need to add it to their booking any point prior to departure. A Virgin Holiday transfer will then pick holidaymakers up from their hotel after breakfast and take their hold luggage to the airport. They can then check-in for their flight at the beach, pick up their boarding pass and relax.
Free beach towels are provided, along with a plastic bag to put anything wet into, as well as premium shower facilities.
When it comes to boarding, dedicated Virgin Holidays staff will collect travellers for their transfer at the correct time for seamless processing through the airport.Nicki Goldsmith, head of Caribbean and worldwide product at Virgin Holidays, says: “Virgin Holidays has consistently launched ‘world-first’ concepts, and this latest innovation is no different.
“We believe that a holiday should be a pleasure from beginning to end and have been working hard to ensure we’ve removed as many pain-points as possible for our customers. We can’t wait to launch this very exciting development next year, and hope our customers are as excited about it as we are.”
Cheryl Carter of Barbados Tourism Marketing said: “Virgin Holidays is the largest British tour operator to Barbados with daily Virgin Atlantic flights departing from London Gatwick and multiple flights each week from Manchester and London Heathrow.
“We’re thrilled that they’ve chosen Barbados to pioneer such a revolutionary concept – and as it’s situated on one of the most picturesque beaches on the island why would you choose to waste that last day of your holiday?”
Construction for the Departure Beach will commence soon, with the facility due to open in May 2018. Entry is free for any customers staying at Savannah Beach in Barbados or those on a Cruise that terminates in Barbados. Other Virgin Holidays customers can add the Departure Beach to their booking for an opening promotional price of £20 per adult and £15 per child.
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