I Bought Access To The Etihad Residence Lounge For $100

Filed Under: Etihad, Travel

After flying Etihad 787 first class from Washington to Abu Dhabi, I had access to Etihad’s first class lounge before my connecting flight. My connection was about four hours. I’ve reviewed Etihad’s first class lounge before, so this time I wanted to try something a bit new.

Now, it goes without saying that the Etihad first class lounge is lovely, and it wasn’t even full when I was there. So I would have had a very nice layover there.

In order to generate more revenue, Etihad has been selling access to some of their “Residence” lounges around the world when they’re otherwise not occupied. They started doing so earlier this year at their hub in Abu Dhabi.

The Residence is Etihad’s outrageously awesome three room suite with butler service on A380s, which I reviewed last year between Abu Dhabi and Sydney:

While you don’t get the enhanced service when you pay to access just the lounge, I wanted to see what it was like.

Once inside the lounge I visited the customer service desk, and inquired about buying access to one of the “VIP rooms” (what’s what they call them). The attendant swiped my credit card for $100 in no time, and brought me to the room.

Each of the Etihad Residence Lounges is private. There’s one main one, though sometimes you’ll have two Residence guests passing through the airport at the same time, so there are a couple of extra rooms, which are referred to as “VIP rooms” when not used.

Here’s what my room looked like:

On one hand this is completely unnecessary. On the other hand, I was giddy as a kid, because it immediately brought back memories of my experience last year flying the Residence. Ah, good times!

What’s cool about this room is that you can eat and drink in here, so an attendant brings you a menu, and then checks on you every so often. No, you don’t get a private butler like you’d get if flying the Residence, but they really do take good care of you. I ordered a cappuccino at first.

The lounge has a la carte dining, so later on I ordered dinner, including a mezze and an excellent tandoori paneer.

So, was it worth it? This is of course completely unnecessary, but I couldn’t help but try it out.

I’d say if traveling alone it’s isolating, for better or worse. However, it is nice to have access to a private bathroom (including shower), and I could see this being a great option if you’re traveling with someone else (especially family), if you have important phone calls to make, or if you just want to experience a tiny part of the Residence experience for a tiny fraction of the cost.

Would you pay $100 for a VIP room in the Etihad first class lounge?

  1. This is good to know! Is it $100 per person or just a flat $100 for the room (for the entire family/party)?

  2. Nice report Ben. What a shame Etihad has gone down hill so far that it now sells off even the “ Crown Jewels “ for $100. Having said that I’d pay it in a heartbeat:-)

  3. I would pay $50. Which is about what you paid. And get $5000 back which is what you will get for writing about it. Yeah I would take that deal.

    So yeah your situation is entirely different.

    Btw I have a lot to unload against white Republican males after recent events but I will wait for your next race baiting post. When is one due?

  4. sounds like our resident adult entertainment specialist selling up back door entry for a couple of bucks more. This screams desperation on Etihad’s part.

  5. Hi Ben –

    Thank you for this! My 93-year-old mother and I will be traveling in EY apartments in August, and I think the VIP room would take even more stress out of the long trip for her…and make her feel extra special.

    Our flight takes off at about 10:00 am, and we’re planning on arriving at AUH at 7:00 am. Do you think that’s enough time to experience the lounge, and can you tell me what the food offerings are like at that time of day?

  6. @Lucky: I have been on The Residence for a couple of flights (and enjoyed it tremendously, except for the cheap wine selection). When arriving in Abu Dhabi from a Residence flight and connecting to a flight with no Residence, I was not allowed to use that lounge, which felt so cheap and stupid (both rooms where empty each time). Are you telling me that now I am “allowed” in as a connecting guest coming from Sydney when paying an extra 100 bucks??

  7. I agree ban Debit. this is a venue about travel not to make bigoted rants against those you don’t like.

  8. I’ve already have enjoyed the room. For RTW18 I had a long overnight layover from Sydney with trouble sleeping because the lights in the unoccupied Apartment Next to mine keep coming on. I asked to be comped the Residence space but no deal However after trying the relaxation area with no luck getting comfortable, I paid the $100: 🙂

    It was well worth it. I slept on the couch and order food and drink Had private shower sweet!

    Very lovely for 10 hours. <3

  9. Sounds great if you have the time to enjoy what it offers. Shower etc without feeling rushed, pre-meal drink, a la carte dining, time for email and phone catchup over a coffee or another drink, a lie-flat nap. Sounds good to me!
    One question for Lucky: is there time slot you have allocated or is it open-ended to fit in with your onward flight?

  10. I used 115k AA miles for First Class on Etihad LAX/ABU/COL.
    ABU/COL was configured without First Class.

    The usual blank stare when I produced my ticket and was denied access to the First Class lounge
    and then heard a mumble directing me to the Business Class lounge.

    Does Lucky or anyone know have a better version of their answer?

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