Airline lounges reimagined

Imagine starting your overseas trip, sipping on a Melbourne (cocktail) and relaxing over lunch or dinner, served a la carte. Sounds ideal, doesn’t it? Well, thanks to opening of Etihad new Premium Lounge at Melbourne airport, your journey will start in style.

Anyone who has been lucky enough to fly Business Class with Etihad from Melbourne will have been less than impressed with the facilities offered in an airline partner’s lounge, somewhere in the bowels of Melbourne’s international terminal. In a move that cements Etihad’s relationship with Melbourne, the opening of the new lounge gives passengers a real feeling of being a valued customer.

With clean lines, comfortable seating, luxurious finishes and a view that any city-centre bar would be delighted to have, Etihad has really stepped up its game for Melbourne travellers. Outside of Abu Dhabi, this is the largest lounge Etihad offers passengers and its bar, with 70 premium spirits champagnes and aperitifs, is the perfect place to go to help you get in the holiday spirit.

Seriously, I have been in bars that pride themselves on their cocktails but few can match the delicious drinks that flow from the Etihad shakers. The bespoke cocktail list has been created by London-based beverage consultancy (yes, it’s a thing) Fluid Movement – one too many cocktails and you certainly will be moving fluidly.  Melbourne, Sydney, Dublin and Paris are just some of Etihad’s destinations that have made it onto the cocktail list, as well as some fun flying-themed mocktails – Controlled Airspace and the Winglet will certainly quench your thirst.

And don’t worry Melbournians who don’t want to drink alcohol before your flight, the coffee is every bit as good as the one served in your favourite café.

Let’s not beat around the bush, this is luxury at the highest level but if you want a taste of how the other half truly live, then pop your head into the VIP area. From 1 June 2016 when the A380, with its The Residence, commences flights from Melbourne, this will become the domain of the one lucky guest who has paid somewhere in the region of $40,000 to fly in the three-room cabin with private butler. But if you’re passing through before then, you might just be able to rest on the divine soft, white leather sofa, custom created by Boss.

Of course, you don’t need to spend as much as this to enjoy the facilities on offer. Etihad’s fares offer tremendous value for money and with the chance to bid for an upgrade before you fly, travelling Business Class really is achievable. And it’s always worth checking with your travel agent before you book, as they often have the inside scoop on specials offered by airlines.

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