YAY: Etihad’s New First Class Lounge Is OPEN!

Filed Under: Etihad

The moment many of us have been waiting for has finally arrived. As expected, the new Etihad First Class Lounge Abu Dhabi is finally open. Check out the press release and the webpage dedicated to the new lounge for more information.


I’ll quote what I consider to be the most interesting parts of the press release. I apologize for perhaps oversharing, but I know many of us are very curious about all the details of the lounge:

The lounge features 16 unique zones designed to ensure that guests can relax, re-energise and be entertained in total luxury before boarding their flight. An à la carte restaurant, showcase bar, fitness room, cigar lounge, Six Senses Spa, Style & Shave barbers, nail bar, TV room, secluded relaxation room, prayer room and children’s play room ensure that all guests receive a highly personalised experience and intuitive service.

Measuring just under 1,700 m², and boasting expansive views of the airport, the new facility is open round-the-clock for the exclusive use of guests of The Residence, 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).

Guests of The Residence enjoy the exclusivity of their own private space discreetly located adjacent to the main lounge entrance. The secluded area boasts a dedicated Savoy-trained Butler, custom-made Poltrona Frau Italian leather armchairs and sofas, its own shower room stocked with a range of Acqua di Parma products, a prayer room, and private dining.

Guests of the First Class Lounge & Spa will be attended to by a number of expertly trained staff – all of whom have undergone a rigorous selection process. The lounge features a General Manager, Concierge, Maître d’Hotel, Savoy-trained Butlers, chefs and mixologists among its highly trained lounge team.

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. Each has been expertly matched with a number of whiskies and cognacs.

The Six Senses Spa 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.

In keeping with a focus on health and wellbeing, the Relax & Recline area features a large video wall made up of 27 individual screens, soothing sound and lighting, and is furnished with six Poltona Frau leather recliners. The fitness room is equipped with state-of-the-art Technogym treadmills and cross trainers, and male and female washrooms and showers.

The Style & Shave area is staffed by talented barbers offering a series of hair and shave services, including one complimentary express treatment and a shoe shine service. The nail bar provides hair and nail services, including nail art, and one complimentary express treatment.

Here are a couple more pictures Etihad has shared of the lounge so far:




The lounge looks promising, and I suspect it will rank on my list of the world’s best airline lounges. Whether it is in fact “not like other lounges” and an “opportunity to experience a different level of service and hospitality” remains to be seen. 😉

What are my initial thoughts? I’m actually not terribly impressed by the design, as it almost looks a bit outdated. But perhaps the pictures just don’t do it justice. However, I am very impressed by the amenities, including the complimentary spa treatments and complimentary shave, fitness center (which I’ve only otherwise seen in the Dallas Admirals Club), media room, etc.

What are your initial impressions of the new Etihad First Class Lounge, and who’s going to be the first person to check it out?

  1. Interesting… I still rate Qantas and the Cathay Pier lounge (as far as I can tell) way above this .. Kinda of disappointing considering how long they have had to build it

  2. Passing thru AUH twice next week, looking forward to testing.
    One time with Y booking and Plat status
    One time with F-Apartment booking
    Let’s check if i get access twice 🙂

  3. @roger, don’t count on it with your Y fare and status, these aren’t lounges they let you in with status, you have to be flying the product.

  4. That’s suck. I was travel first class early this month and yes, it still not ready…

  5. Lucky, thanks for the reply~ wish I could enjoy it, since my route is Bom-Auh-Jfk . Only 3hrs for transit:(

  6. @lucky What are the hours? We have 8 hours there overnight and we may enjoy all 8 hours in the lounge instead of staying in a hotel.

  7. If you come in on a F flight and depart the next day on a J flight (same ticket), do you get access on the departure?

  8. This doesn’t look like it can hold a candle to the Qatar Airways First Class Lounge in DOH.

  9. @Roger.If you are traveling with EY in Y class and you are holding a Platinum Etihad Membership, yes you are eligible to access the First Class Lounge and have additional guest with you.
    @Yan. First Class Lounge is located after immigration in Terminal 3. Before U.S. pre-clearance you can have the opportunity to explore and enjoy the First class Lounge,but be mindful that you have to be at the Custom Border Protection within 1h and 30 minutes before departure. After you clear the U.S. immigration process, we will be delighted to invite you in our U.S. Lounge, witch will facilitate your journey. \

  10. @RCB: According to the release there is some admission by status, but it has to be top-level status on Etihad itself or one of the “Etihad Airways Partners,” which are Etihad Airways, Alitalia, airberlin, NIKI, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, Jet Airways, and Etihad Regional. No US airlines.

  11. While I love the concept of a gym in a lounge, what does one do with their stinky workout clothes? I doubt they’ll be enough time to wash and dry them.

  12. The Rest and Relaxation area, being in front of a video wall, would be rather annoying I would think if you were looking for a quick snooze. The brightness and shifting light would make it difficult.

    Pleased to hear about the mixologists at the bar.

    The last thing I’d want to do at an airport lounge is to work out in a gym, it’s an odd choice (nap rooms would be the better use of that space).

  13. @Lucky: maybe they are still working on some parts of the lounge, but they decided to open it now as they can not afford any further delay. 😉

    At least that’s what I am hoping. Will have a 20 hour stop in Abu Dhabi in late August.

  14. Will be there Thursday morning! 2 in first, 2 in business. Hopefully they will let us all in together…

  15. Auh LHR in November in first. All because of your blog OMAAT
    Thanks and looking forward!

  16. From the wording of the press release, I should have access from my 9W Platinum. And I can also guest my girlfriend in. Am I right or did I miss something?

  17. Finally! Have to wait for my honeymoon in the Maldives in July. Better honor the platinum status for entry. Wifey better watch out if their mixologist and cocktails are as awesome as MEL…couple of those should get us up to flying speed pretty quick 🙂

  18. @trup. Let me know if they let you all in, my sister and I will be there for a layover, I’ll be flying in first and she’s going to be in business. I’m guessing I’ll be allowed to use the business lounge in case she can’t come into the new one.

  19. So general consensus here seems to be that you’re all disappointed. Let me remind you of two things:

    1.) This entire terminal building is being replaced by a new complex in a few years. It doesn’t make a lot of business sense for Etihad to add a lounge on the scale of Qatar’s Doha lounge if it will be in service for a few scant years. That’s why you don’t see soaring ceilings and spectacular architecture in the existing J lounges at AUH, either. Expect something more in line with Doha when the midfield terminal opens.

    2.) Fully half of the posters here are hoping to get access with status. Whether or not the airline winds up letting you in, perhaps that’s why it’s not as exclusive and luxurious as you were hoping for.

  20. TARA: Why would a female Travellers have any problem or feal uncomfortable alone in the lounge. It’s the UAE, not Iran. Females go out to clubs on their own, go shopping, wear swimwear when walking to/from the beach in the UAE. You won’t have any problem at all

  21. Was there July 2 (departed early the next morning), spent about four hours there. My thoughts:

    – Location in T1 is ok but not ideal – it’s just after the security check that transit passengers go through. But it’s a bit further away (in a different terminal) from most of the A380 gates, unlike the T3 business (formerly combined biz/first) lounge.
    – Restaurant was very good, food was tasty and refined in presentation, drinks also excellent. (Champagne was Bollinger La Grande Annee 2005 if I’m remembering correctly).
    – Generally the staff were excellent, helpful and very polite.
    – I was told I could have a 15-minute massage treatment OR a shave/haircut, not both unless I paid extra. My last time (May 2016) in the combined business/first lounge I got both without payment. One 15-minute treatment does seem rather stingy when Thai offers its F passengers a full hour. The treatment itself was very good though.
    – The rest area (with the six recliners) is a miss, I really wonder what they were thinking. Its location in the lounge is too central – incredibly, right next to the TV viewing area and too close to the primary “restaurant” area, making for some noise from plates and glasses. When I was there there were people in the TV viewing area were watching a UEFA soccer match, and they got a bit loud. I imagine it won’t be like that all the time, but still it’s rather silly that they put the rest area where they did, instead of in the back, the secondary “restaurant” area, which is much quieter (and saw almost no use the entire time I was in the lounge). This noise issue is exacerbated by the fact there isn’t really anything to separate the “Relax and Recline” area from the rest of the lounge – there are some glass panels but nothing (e.g. glass door) to really provide sound insulation. One of the (very comfy) chairs was already broken (it would not recline). And based on my time there (when the lounge as a whole wasn’t all that busy, but the recliners were all taken for much of that time) they could have used more of them. Finally, I’m not all that big a fan of the 32-screen (or however many it is) giant display that’s supposed to be relaxing. What does it say about our society that we need that many screens to be relaxed? And – totally nitpcking here – the Etihad route map that’s one of the rotating displays is deceptive, they draw multiple lines between the same cities, to make it look like EY has a much more impressive route network than it does (it’s a good network, just not as dense as suggested by the display).
    – Overall, a good lounge, maybe top-10 or -15 among first class lounges worldwide but definitely not top-5.

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