November 15, 2016

Review: Etihad Airways First Class Lounge & Spa, Abu Dhabi Airport T3 (AUH)

Trip to Guangzhou in Turkish Airlines Business Class & Guangzhou to Mumbai in Qatar Airways & Etihad A380 First Class

A few months ago, I came across some tips on Flyertalk about a cheap business class fare from Vilnius to Toronto on Turkish Airlines and since I wanted to earn Elite status in the airlines' Miles & Smiles program by the end of this year, I did not hesitate and booked the flight. Unfortunately, a schedule change forced me to cancel the flight and look for another option. I had some miles left on my American Airlines Advantage account so I thought I could redeem them flying from Guangzhou to Mumbai in first class. Flying from Mumbai to Bangkok was easy since Air India flies direct between these two cities. After thoroughly planning the trip, I ended up buying an open jaw ticket in Turkish Airlines business class, from Stockholm to Guangzhou and back from Bangkok to Stockholm. It actually turned out perfectly well as I was able to fly Qatar Airways A380 first class from Guangzhou to Doha and then to Abu Dhabi. In Abu Dhabi, I was able to visit the newly opened Etihad First Class Lounge & Spa and from Abu Dhabi, I flew on Etihad's A380 to Mumbai. It was 8 flights in 6 days which was really tiring but who cares when you're flying in first and business class ๐Ÿ˜‰



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Etihad Airways First Class Lounge & Spa Abu Dhabi

Date of visit: November 4, 2016
Last updated: November 17, 2016

Location: Terminal 3, by gate 35
Access: 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)
Opening hours: Daily, 24 hours

Lounge Entrance

Etihad Airways First Class Lounge & Spa Abu Dhabi entrance

Private lift to the lounge

ร la Carte Restaurant

Restaurant

Restaurant

Restaurant

I've heard about the famous five-course Emirati tasting menu before my visit here so I thought I'd try it. Angelica, a very nice Czech lady working in the restaurant welcomed me as she presented me the menu.

ร la carte menu

Five-Course Emirati Tasting Menu

Amuse Bouche

Dates with Chami

Soup

Chicken and Barley Soup

Appetiser

Scallops Mughrabia

Main Course

Lamb Medfoun

Dessert

Batheatha


Five-course Emirati tasting menu

Five-course Emirati tasting menu

Table set up

Dates with Chami
Stuffed fresh dates with local homemade yogurt (chami)

From the bar, I got my mocktail, "Winglet" as recommended by Angela.

Chicken and Barley Soup
A rich broth with tender poached pieces of chicken, onion and fresh coriander

Palate cleanser

Lamb Medfoun
Marinated Roasted Local Lamb, saffron rice and tomato chickpea stew

OMG, the lamb was so tender it was one of the best I've ever had ๐Ÿ˜‰

I had previously informed Angela that I would be skipping the dessert as it would be too much. Looking back, I wished I had ordered it anyway since I'm not sure when I'd be able to visit this lounge again ๐Ÿ˜ž

A cup of green tea and a hot towel to end the meal

Bar in the รก la carte restaurant

Bar

Open kitchen

Snacks area

Dining area near the snacks area

Showcase Bar

The sculptural bar stocked with 75 premium spirits, champagnes and aperitifs is definitely one of the main features of the lounge.

Family Room

One of the two family rooms

Fitness Room

Fitness room

As fas as I know, this is the only first class lounge featuring a fitness center so kudos to Etihad for this genuine idea! I don't think it really matters if guests are using it or not, right ๐Ÿ˜‰

Male washroom

Complimentary Wifi Access

Wifi access is complimentary and was quite fast.

Children's Playroom

Interestingly, they also have nannies who were trained at London's Norland College so you don't have to worry about your kids while you spoil yourself with a complementary spa treatment.

Six Senses Spa

Six Senses Spa

Six Senses Spa

Nail Bar

Style & Shave

Massage room

Male first class passengers get a complimentary facial, massage or one express treatment in the Style and Shave and I opted to have a 15 minute facial. The facial treatment was done by Emelie, a very nice lady from the Philippines who has been doing this job for 10 years now. Needless to say, it was one of the best facial treatments I've had ๐Ÿ˜‰

Shower Suite

Aside from the shower suite in the fitness center, there are two more shower suites located in the spa area.

Shower suite

Toilet

Cigar Lounge

As you enter the cigar lounge, you will immediately see the humidors where the nine carefully selected brands including Hoyo de Monterray, Cohiba, Bolivar, Montecristo, Arturo Fuente and Romeo Y Julieta are being kept.

Each cigar has been expertly matched with several whiskeys and cognacs.

Cigar Lounge

Among the complimentary cigars are Arturo Fuente, Cohiba Panatellas and Montecristo #4. When the lounge opened in June, all the cigars were complimentary until Etihad decided to make it to just three. Well, at least there' still 3 of them ๐Ÿ˜‰

TV Room

TV room

Smoking Room

Smoking room

Relax and Recline Area

With six Poltrona Frau leather recliners featuring a panoramic video wall made up of 27 individual screens, this is your place of tranquility.

Gentlemen's Toilet

Gentlemen's toilet

Gentlemen's toilet

Gentlemen's toilet

View

Partial view of the runway

CONCLUSION

This lounge had been on my "must visit lounge list" since it opened in June this year so you could just imagine my excitement when I finally got to visit it. As soon as I entered the lounge, I was greeted by friendly staff who all seemed to be happy to see guests arrive. Since it was my first visit, I was given a tour of the lounge by Crystal, a lovely Filipina who gave me almost every detail of the lounge's features. First, I was offered to leave my luggage in one of the lockers after which I was given a luggage claim check. Crystal was very enthusiastic as we toured the lounge and needless to say, was very proud of it. I really love the design of this lounge with it's "Facets of Abu Dhabi" branding (and all the new lounges of Etihad for that matter) as I personally think it is unique and very modern. The dining experience where I got to sample the Emirati tasting menu was simply the best I've had. This lounge may not have the stunning architecture of Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Lounge but Etihad can surely teach them something when it comes to ร la carte dining ๐Ÿ˜‰ Of course, just like any other lounge, this lounge is not perfect. I wished they had a quiet room since the lounge is open 24 hours and most passengers are only transitting in Abu Dhabi. There is no business center either although you could always ask the concierge desk if you need to print out something. At the same time, I understand that this lounge should not really have all the best features of a first class lounge since by December 2017, they would be opening the new  Abu Dhabi Midfield Terminal where we could expect only the best! I was really glad I was able to visit this lounge because this is no doubt one of the best first class lounges I've been to (if not the best). And in case you would be visiting this lounge soon, make sure you enjoy one of their complimentary spa treatments ... and do the five-course Emirati tasting menu. It's definitely worth it. To all the staff of Etihad First Class Lounge & Spa in Abu Dhabi, Shukran!

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