On Monday Etihad finally opened to the doors to its much anticipated First Class Lounge and Spa in Abu Dhabi’s International Airport Terminal 3. The new flagship First Class Lounge & Spa “showcases the airline’s commitment to providing unparalleled and aspirational hospitality experiences,” state the airline’s press release.
The lounge follows the residential and hotel influenced-design that has shaped the new look carrier. It features no less than 16 zones designed to “ensure that guests can relax, re-energise and be entertained in total luxury before boarding their flight.”
Like all Etihad lounges, there is an à la carte restaurant, the new signature showcase bar, as well as unique rooms such as a fitness room, cigar lounge, luxurious Six Senses Spa, ‘Style & Shave’ barbers, a nail bar, TV room, secluded relaxation room, prayer room and even a children’s play room, all paired with the premium service levels we have come to expect of Etihad.
The new CEO of Etihad Airways, Peter Baumgartner says on the opening, “Our new First Class Lounge & Spa is the jewel in the crown of our new lounge offerings worldwide and represents the best of our home city of Abu Dhabi. It is a showcase of intelligent product design, innovation, and superlative hospitality and service. This is not just a lounge but the ultimate airline hospitality experience and one which perfectly mirrors Etihad Airways’ evolution into the best airline in the world.”
The airline has won numerous awards, including from ourselves for their dedication and commitment to pushing aviation product and design. “Continuing our journey of innovation, this new dedicated First Class environment demonstrates our on-going commitment to developing world-class products as we continue to reimagine travel,” continues Baumgartner.
The new lounge is vast, measuring in at just under 1,700 m², and boasting expansive views of the airport apron, the new lounge is open 24hours a day, and only available for the exclusive use of guests of The Residence and Etihad First Class. Etihad Guest Exclusive, Etihad Guest Platinum members (plus one guest), Etihad Airways Partner (EAP) airline First Class guests, EAP ‘Invitation only’ members (plus two guests) and EAP equivalent Platinum members (plus one guest) also have access.
Catering for both First Class passengers and those who are guests of The Residence, the airline has created a separate space near to the entrance for their most prestigious A380 guests. Those travelling in The Residence have access to a dedicated Savoy-trained Butler, custom-made Poltrona Frau Italian leather armchairs and sofas, a private shower room stocked with a range of Acqua di Parma products, a prayer room, and private dining options.
Dining in the lounge is one of the signature traits of Etihad, and the airline has brought some of the very best chefs to work within the lounge. The Executive Chef has a long career with Ritz Carlton, Shangri-La, and Intercontinental. Menus are changed frequently and feature a choice of Arabian, Indian and international cuisine made to order at any time of day.
Guests will also be able to experience a unique five-course Emirati tasting menu, developed by chefs from Mezlai at the prestigious Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi. A casual dining and bar snack menu is also provided.
The signature sculptural showcase bar also makes another appearance, which is now a striking feature of Etihad Airways’ new collection of global lounges including the recently opened New York and Melbourne facilities. It is stocked with 75 premium spirits, champagne and aperitifs as well as signature Etihad cocktails and mocktails.
You Smoke? No problem. The cigar lounge provides a choice of nine carefully selected brands including Hoyo de Monterray, Cohiba, Bolivar, Montecristo, Arturo Fuente and Romeo Y Julieta from its own humidor and each has been expertly matched with a number of whiskies and cognacs.
It’s pretty evident so far, that spending something close to four hours before the flight still isn’t enough time to experience everything in the lounge. For those wanting some pampering should head to the spa, by Six Senses. It comprises three treatment rooms with shower facilities. First Class guests can enjoy a complimentary treatment, while guests in The Residence are offered two complimentary treatments. There is also a nail bar for those wanting a manicure or pedicure and a Style & Shave area that is staffed by talented barbers offering a series of hair and shave services, including one complimentary express treatment and a shoe shine service.
The airline is now embracing new technologies, and perhaps the most iconic part of the lounge is the new Relax & Recline area featuring a large video wall made up of 27 individual screens, soothing sound and lighting, and is furnished with six Poltona Frau leather recliners. Or if you are feeling a little more active, head to the fitness room which is equipped with state-of-the-art Technogym treadmills and cross trainers, and male and female washrooms and showers.
The new facility adds to the airline’s expanding collection of 14 Premium Lounges including those recently launched in New York and Melbourne in addition to Premium Lounges in Abu Dhabi (Terminals 1 and 3), Frankfurt, London, Manchester, Dublin, Paris, Washington DC., and Sydney. At Abu Dhabi Airport, Etihad Airways also operates a dedicated Premium Lounge within the unique US Preclearance facility, and a Premium Arrivals Lounge. A new First and Business Class Lounge at Los Angeles LAX airport will follow in the coming months.