Inside the Hidden Spa at Sydney Airport

la prairie sydney airport

Like many, airports make me feel stressed. Ever since missing a flight to Bali in 2018 and having to wait six hours at the airport ‘til I could get on the next flight, as there was no point in going home and then coming back, I’ve felt anxiety sweep over me as soon as I set foot in an airport.

So, would visiting Sydney International Airport’s La Prairie Spa cure me of that? Could getting pampered at an airport help change my negative association with it? I was about to find out because I’d booked a Pre-Flight Caviar Indulgence treatment before an international flight.

After checking in and going through security in Terminal 1, I looked for the spa for 15 minutes. I scanned the signs overhead, pointing to gates and lounges, and even asked someone at the information desk. They had no clue.

Finally, I stumbled on La Prairie’s counter and an attendant there pointed me in the right direction. The spa was tucked next to the Heineman tax and duty-free make-up counters. I would’ve never noticed it had I not been looking.

La prairie sydney airport
La Prairie Sydney Airport

La Prairie Art of Beauty Lounge opened in March 2023, as the first permanent beauty lounge at Sydney International Airport. The spa offers treatments for 30 and 45 minutes, with glamorous names like Gold Radiance, Caviar Illumination and Platinum Haute-Rejuvenation. All are deliberately hydrating given your skin is likely to be dry when flying. None are harsh either, so you won’t experience any irritation while in the sky.

I opted for the Caviar Indulgent treatment, which lasts 45 minutes and costs $270. The treatment uses La Prairie’s Skin Caviar collection, applied alongside a facial massage. It promises a total transformation of the skin.

I booked online ahead of time (the service was complimentary for this story), but the spa also accepts walk-ins. When booking, a therapist will always ask you your flight time, ensuring you have at least a two-hour window between the start of your treatment and the flight.

“If it’s too rushed, we don’t do it,” my therapist told me. “So, no one feels rushed.”

La Prairie Sydney Airport

Once inside the spa, I felt worlds away from the hustle of the airport outside. I was offered a choice of Champagne or still or sparkling water. I went with sparkling, which I sipped as I was given an overview of La Prairie’s history and the Swiss brand’s products.

I was then led to one of the spa’s two treatment rooms where I took off my top and hopped in the bed, pulling its doona over me.

When the therapist came in, she put a band around my hairline and my hair into a hair net. I appreciated this as I wouldn’t have wanted to fly with hair greasy from skin products. She started with a double cleanse before applying the Skin Caviar products to my face and decolletage. She applied eye creams, then a day serum and finally, a face cream, with massaging between each step. A hot towel was also applied to steam my pores.

My favourite part of the treatment was undoubtedly the back-of-shoulder massages she’d do as she finished applying products to the decolletage. I didn’t want it to end, but it did eventually, and I was left alone to get ready.

la prairie sydney airport
Image: La Prairie Sydney Airport

In the waiting room, she gave me two finger-sized tubes of La Prairie products, a mask and a serum, that I could use throughout the flight. Though I could’ve stayed awhile in the waiting room, I decided to take my glowing, plump skin for a walk around the airport.

Did the spa visit cure my airport anxiety? Sadly, I don’t think it did — I still feel anxious before flights and don’t think that will ever go away.

I was surprised though that I was able to relax during the treatment. I felt calm in the grey-walled room, cocooned away from the airport chaos. The room’s chrome décor details made it feel luxurious.

I also loved using the products on the plane after. I massaged the serum into my skin several times on the flight, moving my fingers in circles on my face as the therapist had.

“It’s a different experience here,” the therapist told me before I left. “You forget you’re at an airport.”

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