Bengaluru’s International Airport Has A Decadent New Lounge, Here’s Everything You Need To Know
- 30 Jan '23
- 12:48 pm by Nuriyah Johar
Luxury travel begins well before you check into your sprawling beachfront resort or your five star business hotel. For today’s discerning traveler, the experience starts at the airport itself. The new-age airport lounge has been a game changer for the luxury aviation industry. What was once a pit stop to grab a quiet bite or put your feet up has transformed into a sanctuary of restorative bliss, indulgence, and entertainment. Airport lounges now come with elaborate spas, sessions with celebrity mixologists, and private workspaces equipped with all the technological trimmings of 2023. The Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru is now home to the 080 Lounge – a remarkable new international lounge that exemplifies the first-class aviation experience. Our visit to the lounge confirmed one thing – we’re stepping into the next era for airport hospitality in India.
Built entirely during the pandemic, the 080 International Lounge is an ode to the Garden City – right from the name that borrows from the telephone code of Bengaluru to the green, flora-rich interior. It is operated by Travel Food Services, a travel and retail company with over 18 lounges across 15 cities in India. In addition to the 080 International Lounge, TFS has also launched a new domestic lounge and transit hotel at the Kempegowda International Airport.
Design & Architecture –
The 080 International Lounge has been designed by Mumbai-based Payal Khanna of Aura Dezyne, whose brief was to create a fluid space that emphasizes the harmony between the man-made and the natural. “We wanted to incorporate the essence of Bangalore into a modern, bespoke style, and that’s how we designed an absolutely free-flowing concept, creating defined spaces that give warmth through patterns and textures, implying movement while symbolizing organic and abstract relationships,” says Khanna.
Spread over 1000 square meters, the lounge comprises over 15 well-planned zones, from cocktail bars to workspaces. “The entire concept is driven by the dramatic use of gold, which is truly the brand identity of the design story,” Khanna adds. Upon entering the lounge, you are greeted by a stunning inverted garden that covers the ceiling, alongside a glass blown silhouette of a horse that runs along the passage wall. The passage opens into the fluid lounge where each area merges into the other while maintaining its distinct identity. Curved forms are championed over rigid angular lines, infusing the lounge with an ethos of relaxation in a subliminal way.
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Across the lounge, unique lighting elements from Klove Studio catch your attention. In the VIP Executive Lounge, a grand installation named ‘Boondh’ hangs over the round bar, taking inspiration from the Bangalore dew drops. In the Whiskey Bar, ‘The BeeHive’ features hand-blown glass cocoon lights in the colours of the sun, water, fire, and earth. In the Central Lounge, a light pink installation called Rose takes center stage, adding a hint of femininity to the space. Art by Bengaluru-based artist Shunnal Ligade adorns the walls – an endeavor to patronize local talent. Customized furniture pieces from Shearling and handcrafted silk rugs woven by artisans in Kashmir by Shaw Brothers by Mifi & Mubi have been used throughout the lounge interior.
The food and drink experiences at the 080 International Lounge helmed by award-winning chef Abhijit Saha are diverse, all-inclusive, and truly exquisite. Apart from multiple bars to choose from (depending on the ambience you’re looking for at the moment), the lounge houses a buffet area as well as a self service cafe delineated by a remarkable parametric structure. The lounge regularly schedules special events around dining, so if you’re lucky, you might catch a food tasting session by a celebrity chef!
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Things To Do –
Apart from several well-appointed areas to unwind in, work from, or just get some shut-eye, the lounge comes with a full-fledged spa. This Wellness Zone is imbued with a heady feeling of calmness. A dramatic backlit curved wall clad in Italian mosaic creates a backdrop for the massage chairs. The three therapy rooms feature elaborate hand-painted murals of women alongside flowers that bloom in Bangalore. One of our favourite details is the mini airline-announcement board in the spa reminding you of the fact that you have a flight to catch!
Conscious Hospitality –
Khanna tells us, “The most significant aspect of our design is the ‘Make in India’ initiative. Different artisans across India have handcrafted the furniture, parametric structures, hand-blown glass lights, fabrics, and rugs.” As part of its long-standing commitment to ensure a greener future, the lounge follows thoughtful sustainability principles with respect to its culinary offerings- using organic produce cultivated in the villages around the area. The airport has also tied up with the NGO Feeding India to pick up all consumable remains on a daily basis.
The Verdict –
The 080 International Lounge raises the bar for airport lounges in India, redefining luxury travel in an exciting way. I, for one, can’t wait to be back!
– The unique lighting installations that delineate the different areas
– The a la carte lunch prepared by Chef Abhijit Saha
– The elaborate spa offerings