Editor’s Note: Departure Lounge closed its downtown location in July 2017. Owner Keith Waldon plans to open a new location in the airport.
It bodes well for a place that can make a woman with four kids recall the sensation that accompanies the words sleek and sexy. It took a departure from suburbia for me to embrace this opportunity to escape.
Once settled into your plush seat, you too may decide to linger. No flotation device required and you won’t find safety information in your seat back pocket. But this downtown destination may induce wanderlust you’ve been stowing in your overhead compartment.
Departure Lounge inspires your mind to open and – like a fine glass of wine – breathe. This isn’t your typical travel agency; Departure Lounge is a coffee and wine bar that happens to sell customized travel.
Pioneer in Travel
Owner Keith Waldon’s attire is crisp and clean. He speaks with a charming, languid Texas drawl, leaving no doubt to his origins. Calm, relaxed, and approachable are traits that help explain his 29 successful years in the travel industry. The only decoration he wears is a wooden watch that’s masculine without being overbearing. The timepiece and its owner have something in common. They both function in one direction: forward.
After traveling the world, Keith is propelling his industry forward and raising standards. Mediocrity has left the building.
Your Personal Penthouse Without the Expense
Sitting among the white leather sofas, modern chandeliers and mixture of acrylic and marble coffee tables inside Departure Lounge, I was transported to the penthouse of my childhood dreams. While the space is modern, it weaves in old world elements to soften the space, like wooden floors, Moroccan inspired alcoves and an ornately carved wooden panel the owner had shipped from Thailand.
For a nominal fee, the hidden area behind the panel is a room that can be rented for private parties. The interior is so comfortable and inviting, you may envision yourself packing an overnight bag and curling up on the plush, velvet circular lilac sofa that comes complete with a spot to perch your beverage.
Beyond Peanuts and Pretzels
There is no pressure to purchase travel when you walk through the door of Depature Lounge. As a matter of fact, you’re unlikely to see a specialist unless you’ve arranged a private meeting.
For those who are looking to stay grounded, Departure Lounge offers another type of flight – wine flights. You may want to buckle up and settle in because each wine flight is a palate teaser that introduces you to three countries. And don’t blink while consuming your beverage because there are numerous flat screen televisions around you, offering tempting travel scenes that almost make you forget the beauty that immediately surrounds you.
If your stomach rumbles, nibbles have been selected to accompany your glass of vino or coffee. They’ve chosen only the best from Texas artisans: truffles, cheeses, an assortment of fresh pastries and made to order sandwiches. For example, it took Keith 18 taste tests before he found perfection in a local roaster, Texas Coffee Traders. If you enjoy quality coffee, be prepared to leave with a new addiction (coffee is also sold by the pound).
Don’t be surprised when the steam from your cup opens your mind to a world of possibilities and entices your return. It’s up to you to choose your next flight….be it in a glass or a view from 32,000 feet.
While booking travel through Departure Lounge is optional, two things are certain: a visit is transporting and Departure Lounge is taking off.
Visit Departure Lounge online for information on upcoming travel-related events.
Website – 311 W 5th St, Ste 102
@theAustinot wants to know:
Have you been inside Departure Lounge at the corner of W 5th and Guadalupe?