Etihad Diamond First Class Lounge Abu Dhabi
Earlier this year I had the opportunity to visit Etihad’s Diamond First Class Lounge in Abu Dhabi International Airport. I was flying in business class on an award ticket booked with AA miles from Abu Dhabi to Bangkok and then on to Hong Kong & eventually my destination of Tokyo.
My day started in Dubai where the chauffeur picked me up three hours before my severely delayed departure time. It seemingly took an act of god to get the chauffeur service scheduled, since I booked my flight with less than 24 hours notice and the chauffeur service requires bookings more than 24 hours in advance. Fortunately Etihad’s Twitter team stepped in and got everything situated.
The drive to Abu Dhabi’s airport took less than an hour and before long I was standing at a check-in desk being told I was rebooked on a Delta flight from Bangkok since I was not going to make my connection on Cathay Pacific. I politely requested that they book me on another airline since an old Delta 747 is a step down from Cathay. The agent said she would look into it.
After dealing with the chauffeur fiasco and now being told I was going to miss my connection, I politely asked the check-in agent if I could use the Diamond First Class Lounge. She made a quick phone call and I was in! She also told me that the lounge agent would be following up on the Delta flight situation.
Getting to the Etihad Diamond First Class Lounge
Etihad’s Diamond First Class lounge in Abu Dhabi has a number of amenities that you would expect at such a place. During my visit, there were only two other groups in the lounge, meaning it was very quiet and private. Given the small size of the lounge, this was a good thing.
Since it wasn’t yet time to eat when I arrived, I headed straight for the lounge’s Six Senses Spa. The spa provides a number of treatments in 15 minute increments. I was impressed with the service as they had three people working and only me as a customer.
Generally each person only gets one 15 minute treatment, however since the lounge wasn’t crowded, I was given my original choice of a shoulder massage along with a bonus facial. After two weeks in India, a crazy 24 hours in Doha, three days running around the Emirates and not knowing what the future would bring in Bangkok, I needed it.
I have to admit I was simply exhausted during my visit to the lounge and didn’t get many great photos. The Etihad Diamond First Class Lounge has a champagne bar, cigar lounge and shower facilities, none of which I took photos of. Following my spa treatments I headed over to the restaurant for lunch.
The restaurant had an extensive menu including Anytime Breakfast, Western foods & Arabic specialties. I had been traveling around areas with limited beef for quite some time and a nice steak sounded good, so I ordered the Australian Ribeye with a side of potatoes and artichoke hearts. My appetizer was the Japanese Sushi Platter.
I felt a little weird being the only person dining in the restaurant at this time. There were three servers and only me to attend to, meaning the service was over the top. As you can see from the photos, the steak was enormous and much too big for me to finish, although I tried. All of the other food was great as well. I passed on the dessert.
During the two hours I spent in the lounge, I peaked outside and checked with the booking agent twice and she assured me that she was working on the Delta flight situation. When it came time to leave the lounge to board my flight, I headed back to her desk and found another agent in her place. This new agent had no idea what was going on. At this point I didn’t have a boarding pass for either my Cathay flight or the Delta one, but I needed to get to the gate and on the plane.
To make a long story short, I landed in Bangkok 12 minutes before my Cathay flight was scheduled to take off. When I exited the plane, a man was holding a sign with my name. He rushed me from one side of the enormous airport, through security and on to my original Cathay Pacific flight which was being held just for me!
Overall I was impressed with the Etihad Diamond First Class Lounge in Abu Dhabi International Airport. While my visit came at a time of stress and exhaustion, the lounge provided a nice respite from the chaos and I truly enjoyed the food and spa treatments. Considering I was flying in lowly Business Class, it was a nice bonus. Let this be a reminder that it never hurts to politely ask.
The only down side to my visit was the situation with the lounge agent leaving me high and dry. Thankfully things worked out, but my experience isn’t one I would expect to have at a first class lounge. With that said, all of the other service was phenomenal and in my opinion Etihad provides one of the best first class ground experiences around.