Words by Carlie Tucker
Etihad's renowned hospitality has been extended to pre-flight services for select passengers departing Melbourne as a new Premium Lounge opened this week. This marks only the second Etihad lounge in Australia, with the first opening in 2014 at the Sydney airport.
“The new Premium Lounge at Melbourne Airport is in a class of its own – it is the airport lounge as it is commonly known, totally reimagined.
“Blending the best of a fine dining restaurant and a chic city cocktail bar, this lounge is a showcase of intelligent design and sophistication where guests will enjoy the highest levels of comfort and luxury, complemented by our world-class hospitality, culinary innovation and cutting-edge beverage technology," said Shane O’Hare, Etihad Airways’ Senior Vice President Marketing at the ribbon cutting ceremony.
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The lounge will be open to passengers flying in First Apartments and Business Studios as well as Platinum, Gold and Silver Etihad Guest members and eligible members of Etihad Airways Partners and partner airline loyalty programs. It also features a separate, private lounge for passengers of The Residence.
It is currently the largest lounge in Etihad's network outside Abu Dhabi with 800 square metres of floor space and seating for up to 133 passengers. All the hallmarks of the airline's distinctive style – geometric patterns and tones inspired by the UAE landscape – are accounted for, and custom furnishings are provided by Boss. The entire space is bathed in natural light thanks to floor-to-ceiling glass offering expansive views over the runway.
As you might expect, there are quite a few finishing touches that take this Premium Lounge to next level luxury. One of which is the 26-seat intimate dining area where guests can enjoy signature hospitality with a restaurant style a la carte menu and international buffet. Professional chefs prepare everything on site with fresh, locally sourced seasonal produce.
There is also a sculptural showcase bar, one of the centrepieces of the new lounge, stocked with wines provided by local Victorian vintners. Not fancy enough for you? How about a custom cocktail list provided by renowned London-based beverage consultancy Fluid Movement? With more than 70 premium spirits, champagne and aperitifs, guests can enjoy handmade one-of-a-kind cocktails before their flight.
There are plenty of other amenities to ensure the epitome of guest comfort, with many typical lounge features realised with impeccable attention to detail. This includes men's and women's restrooms and shower facilities with Scaramouche + Fandago products, prayer rooms, a children's play room and luggage room. High-speed WiFi is available throughout the lounge and there are plenty of multi-zone electric and USB power outlets to top up your devices pre-flight.
Located in Terminal 2 adjacent to gate 10, services open approximately three hours prior to the departure of Etihad's twice daily Melbourne-Abu Dhabi flights as well as A380 services commencing on the 1st of June. There are also plans for a new First Class Lounge in the Abu Dhabi International Airport as well as a new First and Business Class Lounge in Los Angeles.