After my somewhat disappointing visit to the Qatar Al Safwa First Class Lounge, I was ready to take on the Etihad First Class Lounge that same evening.
Etihad is run by a huge number of British expatriates and there is a lot of British understatement here. For starters, the lounge entrance is hidden along all those duty free shops in the middle of the main walkways. We walked by twice without noticing it.
There was no dedicated ‘security’ team to drive away wannabees – just a simple boarding pass scan and that was it. The lounge is rather small – much smaller than the Etihad Business Class Lounge in the same terminal. To the right is the barber shop and spa and to the left is the sit-down restaurant and a much smaller ‘lounge space’.
There is also an exclusive space for Etihad Residence guests that needs to be opened for you by an attendant.
At the restaurant there is a dedicated ‘haute cuisine’ menu and a more down-to-earth ‘snack menu’ available. It was 10PM and we had tried too many dishes earlier so we weren’t hungry, but we were curious so started to order from both menus.
Now let me tell you – I’m certainly a picky eater and not easily pleased, especially by dishes I know how to make better myself than most chefs. So I had low expectations that day – especially after my experience at the Al Safwa Lounge. How wrong I was!
Every single dish we tried was fantastic, to a level of perfection that many restaurants rarely achieve. It was THAT GOOD. I’d be willing to just route via Abu Dhabi solely to try the food again properly without being so full.
At some point we just could not eat anymore and decided to finally get the free treatment. I had opted for a complimentary ‘classic’ 15-minute massage at the spa. The treatment room is small and the massage chair looks odd but the massage itself was excellent and I almost did not fall asleep 🙂
I took a shower in the brand new shower rooms to wake myself up for the pre-clearance drama to come (though there was no drama in the end).
All in all, this is likely the best lounge I have ever been to for lunch or dinner food, easily beating the Lufthansa First Class Terminal in style and friendliness. I love how Etihad has done understated albeit fantastic luxury. Come hungry and ready to be excited!