Our Abu Dhabi trip had come to an end and we were on our way to the airport for our flight back to Dublin. After a fantastic experience in the Etihad lounge in London Heathrow we had high hopes for the flagship business class lounge of the Abu Dhabi based airline and couldn’t wait to check it out!
We arrived at the airport a few hours before our 9.15am flight and entered Terminal 3 through Etihad’s separate First and Business Class entrance.
We were travelling over the weekend marking the beginning of the religious holiday Eid al-Ahda and the airport was complete bedlam. While I loved the concept of the premium check-in area it was so busy we didn’t really get the chance to enjoy the experience.
There are business class counters and a first class check-in area with leather seating. We didn’t notice any of the luggage porters at the entrance but we did manage to pass through security and immigration relatively quickly.
The Etihad lounge is located directly across from the security exit.
After checking into the lounge our first stop was the Six Senses Spa to add ourselves to the list for a treatment before the flight. With the spa mission accomplished we entered the business class lounge to relax for an hour.
The lounge is divided into a dining area with tables and various seating areas with couches. There’s also a bar and a quieter area with computers.
The lounge was really, really busy and, after a bit of a hunt, we could only manage to find two seats in a corner under the television. Not exactly the relaxing experience we envisioned but we were just glad to find somewhere to sit!
Food and Drinks
It was breakfast time in the lounge and there was a selection of breakfast buffet items including meats, cheeses and pastries on offer. The food was nicely presented and replenished frequently but, due to the early hour, we didn’t sample very much!
Alcoholic drinks are served at the staffed bar. The on tap Guinness gave me a giggle, a little piece of Ireland in the Middle East!
We did manage to sample some of the Drappier champagne, I’m certain it counts as one of my five a day!
The 15 minute spa treatment was my absolute highlight of the lounge. I opted for a neck and shoulder massage and the masseuse did all he could to remove the knots in my shoulders in the 15 minute time slot. Commendable given it was quite a big job.
It was wonderful to have some quiet time outside of the hustle and bustle of the lounge and I was reluctant to leave the spa when the massage was over!
The treatment room:
Other facilities in the lounge included a business centre with Mac’s and printers, a children’s play area staffed with qualified nannies and shower rooms.
The business centre:
There are no boarding announcements in the lounge and the flight departure screens only showed the next fifteen or so flights. Luckily we checked on our flight at the information desk and, despite not showing on the departure screens, the Dublin flight was on last call resulting in a dash to the gate for boarding! It was fine as there was a big queue waiting to be transferred by bus to the aircraft and we were able to skip it with our business class boarding passes.
The Etihad Abu Dhabi lounge has the potential to be lovely but it is just too compact for the volume of passengers passing through although I’m sure that a portion of this can be contributed to the holiday weekend. The spa is a lovely addition and I was glad to secure a massage spot.
The lack of boarding announcements and not all boarding flights being displayed on the lounge departures board is a dangerous combination! Sure, it’s my responsibility to make it to the gate, but a helping hand wouldn’t go amiss! After the exceptional standard and luxury of the London Heathrow lounge it was a little disappointing that this did not carry through fully to Etihad’s flagship lounge in Abu Dhabi.