- Video Tour
- Cigar Lounge
- Six Senses Spa
- Style & Shave and Nail Bar
- Fitness Room
- Relax and Recline Room
- Kid’s Play Room
- Final Thoughts
I visited the Etihad First Class Lounge & Spa in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates in late June. I arrived at the lounge from Etihad’s Chauffer service which picked me up from the Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi. Access to the Etihad First Class Lounge was available as part of my flight on Etihad’s First Apartments from Abu Dhabi to Sydney Australia.
Etihad First Class Lounge & Spa
Location: Abu Dhabi International Airport, Terminal 3
Hours: 24 hours
Access: Open to customers traveling in first class, Etihad Platinum members, Etihad Partner Airlines platinum members, and Virgin Australia Velocity platinum members
How I accessed: Etihad Apartment First class ticket
Etihad’s First Class Lounge & Spa recently opened in May 2016. The lounge is a massive complex on a separate floor in terminal 3 of the Abu Dhabi international airport. Etihad’s lounge is really like nothing I’ve ever seen before in the US. Some of the major amenities inside include: a full service restaurant, separate bar, fitness room, cigar lounge, the Six Senses Spa, Style & Shave barbers, nail bar, TV room, separate relaxation room, prayer room, and children’s play room.
Etihad describes the lounge design as, “Creating an aspirational luxury lifestyle space in line with our legendary inflight service.” In order to house all of those included amenities, the lounge area was sized at 1,700 square meters (roughly 18,300 square feet). With such a massive operation, Etihad has a full staff which includes a general manager, concierge, savoy trained butlers, chefs, and mixologists.
Passengers of the Residence, with a price range of between $20,000 to $30,000, have access to their own private section inside the lounge. This exclusive section has a dedicated Savoy trained butler, custom made Poitrona Frau Italian leather armchairs and sofas, a separate shower room, a prayer room, and a private dining room.
The largest area within the lounge is the main full service restaurant. The restaurant has a full staff which includes an executive chef, sous chefs, demi chefs, and a chef de partie. The food menu is available any time of day and includes Arabian and international dishes. Food from the menu is available as part of a customized five-course Emirati tasting menu or a la carte.
The menu from the restaurant was extensive. The restaurant’s signature item is a 5 course tasting menu developed from the Emirates Palace Hotel. I’ve included some of the more notable menu choices that were available when I visited the restaurant:
- Breakfast Bakery – Danish pastries, croissants, muffins, freshly baked breads and rolls with butter, jam, marmalade or honey.
- Breakfast Cereals – Various options.
- Smoked Scottish Salmon – mackerel and eel with horseradish cream.
- Shakshouka – Arabic poached eggs.
- Balalit – Vermicelli noodles, fried locally sourced egg, rose water and saffron.
- Eggs Benedict – Free range eggs, turkey bacon, sausage, tomato, mushrooms, beans, hash brown, and toast.
- Rice Porridge – Chicken breast, fried garlic, ginger, coriander, and scallions.
- Apple Crepes – Warm apple-cinnamon compote, vanilla-scented yogurt.
- Fruits – Rock melon, papaya, mango, kiwi passion fruit jelly, and berries.
- Arabic Appetizer – Chicken briouat, hummus, and tabbouleh.
- Lobster Sweet Corn Chilled Soup – Sweet corn sorbet and lavash bread.
- Confit Asparagus and Roasted Baby Beets – Mizuna greens, quinoa, glazed cinnamon pecans, and chia-yogurt vinaigrette.
- Foie Gras Terrine – Slow roasted plums, fig and ginger jam with bitter almond tuile.
- Pan-Fried Red Snapper, King Scallops – Spinach mashed potatoes, squash blossom, caviar sauce.
- Bharwan Pista Murg – Pistachio-stuffed chicken leg, mustard potatoes, mango chutney, saffron sauce.
- Marinated Grilled Venison Strip Loin – Celery root, baby carrot, young beets, and bone marrow sauce.
- Fontina Cheese Potato Ravioli – Black truffle, sage, and porcini mushroom sauce.
- Camel Milk Pannacotta – Passion fruit mango gel, candied kumquat, and mango powder.
- Chocolate – Steamed chocolate sponge, crumb and white chocolate powder with salted caramel ice cream.
- Coconut Crème Brulee – Caramelized pineapple and coconut sorbet.
- Fruits – Rock melon, papaya, mango, kiwi, passionfruit jelly, and berries.
5 Course Dining Menu
- Amuse Bouche
- Dates with Chami – Fresh dates with local homemade yogurt.
- Chicken and Barley Soup – Rice broth with tender poached pieces of chicken, onion, and fresh coriander.
- Scallops Mughrabia – Pan-fried scallops, mughrabia infused with saffron and herbs.
- Lamb Medfoun – Marinated roasted local lamb, saffron rice, and tomato chickpea stew.
- Batheatha – Layers of special dough made of dates, saffron, and cardamom, filled with fresh ice cream.
- Lobster Sweet Corn Chilled Soup
- Foie Gras Terrine
- Lemon Sorbet – to cleanse your palate
- Marinated Grilled Venison Strip Loin
At the left corner of the main restaurant is a full bar with specialty cocktails. The bar menu includes premium champagne, wine, beer, and liquor. I’ve highlighted a few of the choices from the drink menu included at the restaurant.
- Bollinger La Grande Annee 2005, France
- Duval Leroy Rose, France
- Laboure Roi Meursault Cru Clos Des Bouches Cheres 2007
- Dog Point Vineyard Section 94 Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand
- Riesling, Dr Loosen & Chateau Ste Michelle ‘Eroica’ Washington State, US 2011
- Leffe Blonde
- Somersby Apple Cider
- Red Breast 12 Year Old
- Ballantine 12 Year Old
- Chivas Regal 12 Year Old, 18 Year Old, and 25 Year Old
- Royal Salute
- Ballantine’s Finest
- Elijah Craig 12 Year Old and 18 Year Old
- Evan Williams Single Barrel 2000
- Fighting Cock 6 Year Old
- Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7
- Woodford Reserve
- Gentlemen Jack
- Parkers Heritage Collection 8th Edition
- Rittenhouse Bottled in Bond 50%
- Jameson Irish Whiskey
- Yamazki Distillers Reserve
- The Glenlivet 12 Year Old and 18 Year Old
- The Macallan 12 Year Old Fine Oak
- Glenfiddich Reserve Select Cask
- Hennessy V.S.O.P., X.O., and Paradis
- Martell V.S., V.S.O.P., X.O., Cordon Bleu, and Creation
- Otard V.S.O.P.
- Calvados Boulard Pays D’Auge
- Lecompte Calvados 5 Year Old
- Bombay Sapphire
- Bulldog Gin
- London No. 3
- Sacred Gin Original
- Sipsmith Sloe Gin and V.J.O.P.
- William Chase Great British Gin
- Appleton V/X and Estate 12 Year Old
- Bacardi Carta Blanca (Superior & Gold), 8 Anos, 151, and Heritage 1909
- Brugal 1888
- Gosling’s Black Seal and Reserve
- Havana Club Anejo 7 Anos
- Absolut Citron and Elyx
- Grey Goose
- Kauffman Premium
- Russian Standard Platinum
- Skyy Vodka
- Tito’s Vodka
- Wyborowa Vodka
- Conquistador White
- Herradura Plata and Anejo
- Patron Silver, Reposado, and Anejo
- Tapatio Blanco and Anejo
Etihad’s cigar lounge is located next to the main restaurant in the lounge. After eating, guests have the opportunity to stop in the cigar lounge for a cigar expertly paired with whiskies and cognacs. Premium cigar brands included: Hoyo de Monterray, Cohiba, Bolivar, Montecristo, Arturo Fuente, and Romeo Y Julieta.
I walked through the cigar lounge after dinner. The lounge was immaculate. The room had such powerful air ventilation, that I couldn’t detect even the faintest hint of cigar smoke in the room.
The cigar lounge layout included space for 10 to 15 people at one time with multiple leather padded chairs, a large flat screen tv, and an extensive cigar and drink menu. The lounge was staffed with a dedicated server that was well versed in the nuances of each cigar as well as the particulars for pairing with various whiskies and cognacs.
Six Senses Spa
The Six Senses spa is located on the right side of the main entrance corridor of the Etihad First Class Lounge. First class guests receive one complimentary 15-minute spa treatment and guests of the Residence receive two complementary 15-minute spa treatments. Available treatments include 7 different types of massages and 2 different types of facial treatments. Spa facilities include three treatment rooms and separate shower facilities.
Style & Shave and Nail Bar
If you’d rather not receive a spa treatment, guests also have the option of receiving one complementary shave treatment and shoe shine service. A nail bar is included within the same facility which offers hair and nail services. Women have the option of receiving a complimentary spa treatment or service from the nail bar. I utilized the free shave service at the Etihad Arrivals Lounge, but I didn’t have time to use the free service at the First Class Lounge.
The fitness room is located next to the Six Senses Spa in the main corridor. The facility includes a range of free weights, treadmills, and a separate shower facility. The room is compact but has plenty of space for a quick workout before your flight.
Relax and Recline Room
The relax and recline room is designed for temporary relaxation after a long flight. The room includes plush leather reclining chairs facing a video wall playing soothing sounds and imagery. I passed by the room when walking through the hallway, but didn’t have time to stop inside.
Kid’s Play Room
For passengers traveling with kids, the first class lounge includes a separate kid’s room staffed by a full time nanny. The room has a variety of activities and games including a TV and PlayStation. Healthy meals and snacks are also available for all guests inside the room.
- Lounge is open 24 hours a day.
- Large, modern open space with an amazing array of available amenities.
- Employees go out of their way to provide exceptional customer service.
- Wide range of premium food and drinks are available at the restaurant.
- Choice of a complimentary spa treatment or service from the Style and Shave or Nail Bar.
- Lounge access is limited to Etihad customers in first class, Etihad Platinum members, or guests of Partner airlines with equivalent status.
- Lounge access is available for just three hours prior to your flight which may not be enough time to fully enjoy the amenities inside.
The Etihad First Class Lounge is the best airline lounge I’ve visited so far. Every aspect of the lounge exceeded any expectations I had. The food and ambience were excellent, the facility was clean and modern, and the employees paid attention to every small detail of the experience to make sure you had anything you needed. My only issue was that I ran out of time in the lounge to experience the full facility before I had to make my flight.