I recently went to South Africa the long way. No I didn’t go up and over the North Pole, or down and under the South Pole, but I might as well have. It took me 4 days to get to Capetown, and a good amount of the time I was in planes or airports. Visiting Capetown has been a lifetime dream for me. As I wrote about here (see En Route to South Africa and a Layover in Paris), my journey began with an overnight flight from JFK to Charles de Galle Airport, with a long enough layover to take a train to Paris for the day. When I returned to the airport, I was hoping to visit a lounge before my overnight flight that night to Abu Dhabi. I was
fairly extremely exhausted – I wanted to relax and shower. It turned out, however, that the Priority Pass lounge was at another terminal and the American Airlines Admiral Club kept bankers’ hours. I was out of luck.
I’m not one to splurge on myself: the charge to visit the Etihad First and Business Class Lounge was 60 Euro. I pondered, but after speaking to Anthony at the front desk, I decided go for it. I am so happy I did.
I should add that I don’t ordinarily love airport lounges. I choose to use them because it’s better than sitting at an airport bar or by the gate. The food is often mediocre, and the decorations garish, but hey, the drinks are usually free, and there’s wi-fi. It’s a little oasis, even if a poor imitation.
The Etihad First and Business Class Lounge was the epitome of elegance and charm. It exuded distinction, in a subtle way. The staff was accommodating, but not doting. It was simply exquisite. It was amazing.
The lounge was divided into two rooms of many separate living room areas.
There was a separate restaurant and bar area, though in reality, you could eat (and be served) in any area of the lounge. It was simply divine.
I sat at one of the living room areas, and was greeted by an employee who took my drink order (a Chardonnay please), and handed me a menu. In addition to the lovely buffet in the restaurant area, there was also a full menu, all without any additional charge.
I ordered the Salmon, and then visited the buffet. Fabulous food. Beautifully prepared. Stunning. Just looking at the photos is making me hungry!
Here’s what my plate (or should I say plates) looked like:
And then the Salmon was served. More perfection.
With my stomach full, it was time for a shower. I brought both a glass of wine in with me! The attendants greeted me outside the restroom and handed me towels and toiletries. The room was very clean.
That was refreshing!
So, here’s my final thought. I will never forget my visit to the Etihad First and Business Class Lounge. It was worth every cent or, rather Euro, and I would go back there in a heartbeat!
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