United has been gaining momentum with their Polaris Lounge concept lately. United opened their first Polaris Lounge in Chicago in December 2016, and then for nearly 18 months didn’t open another lounge, which left a lot of customers disappointed.
However, there has been lots of great news lately when it comes to Polaris Lounges — United opened their Polaris Lounge San Francisco on April 30, 2018, and opened their Polaris Lounge Newark on June 4, 2018. We’ve known that United will be opening their Polaris Lounge Houston on June 29, 2018, in just a few days.
Since the airline had a media event today, they’ve also shared a press release with some pictures of the new lounge. The United Polaris Lounge Houston will be located in Concourse E behind security, next to gate E12. It will be open daily from 5:30AM until 10:30PM.
Here are the facts and highlights of the new Polaris Lounge, as United describes them:
- 191 seats
- 324 power outlets and 264 USB ports
- 2 private daybeds outfitted with Saks Fifth Avenue bedding
- 6 luxurious shower suites, featuring rainfall showers and Soho House & Co’s Cowshed Spa products
- Personal valet services, including steaming garments
- A private dining area with table service for up to 28 guests
- 11 pieces of contemporary art
This lounge is significantly smaller than the two Polaris Lounges United recently opened. For example, United’s Polaris Lounges in Newark and San Francisco are each over 27,000 square feet and have seating for around 450 people, while this lounge only has seating for 191 people and is about 12,000 square feet (a fact they leave out of the press release, interestingly). So this lounge is similar in size to the Polaris Lounge Chicago.
Amenities are also more limited, with only two daybeds, six shower suites, and a dining area for up to 28 guests. At least they’ve still incorporated these amenities, rather than cutting them.
United’s VP of Marketing had the following to say about the new lounge:
“We specifically designed this United Polaris lounge location to feel like a boutique hotel, with dedicated spaces for relaxation, refreshing and dining and we’re confident that our Houston customers and those connecting through this award-winning airport will enjoy a best-in-class lounge experience.”
Obviously United had serious space constraints with this lounge, given that it’s much smaller. So they didn’t specifically design it to feel boutique, but rather they did what they could with the space.
Here’s how some of the food and drink options are described:
Food highlights include a Texas breakfast skillet, Cajun andouille sausage and chicken étouffée, Argentinean roasted chimichurri chicken, tres leches bites and the United Polaris Burger, which will be on the menu at all United Polaris lounges. The cocktail menu includes the Caliente on the Rocks, which combines Casamigos® Tequila, orange juice and a homemade sour mix, garnished with a jalapeño for an extra kick and caipirinhas, the traditional Brazilian cocktail made from muddled lime, sugar and cachaça. The lounge also serves house-made star anise-infused vodka and oolong tea-steeped bourbon.
Here are the pictures United has provided of the new Polaris Lounge IAH:
And here are some pictures of the food and drinks:
Obviously this Polaris Lounge is less impressive than the two that they recently opened in Newark and San Francisco. There just isn’t that much real estate available at airports, and presumably United wanted to design this lounge without completely eliminating their United Club footprint. So this is the best they could do, though odds are that the lounge will be uncomfortably crowded during peak periods.
In order to access United’s Polaris Lounge you either need to be flying United Polaris same day (which includes international longhaul flights), or be traveling on a Star Alliance carrier longhaul directly from Houston. Air China, Air New Zealand, ANA, EVA Air, Lufthansa, Singapore, and Turkish, all fly to Houston as well. This lounge can’t be accessed on account of status or on domestic flights.
What’s your initial impression of United’s Polaris Lounge Houston? How much of an issue do you think crowding will be?