MIAMI — Etihad Airways has experienced some major brand upgrading recently that included the introduction of a stunning new livery, the incorporation of the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner and Airbus A38 to its fleet, and a revamp of its cabin products, which included the launch of its famous ‘The Residence by Etihad’, known to be the ultimate First Class experience in the industry nowadays.

As part of the carrier’s premium experience, and together with the introduction of its distinctive Airbus A380 service to New York, the Abu Dhabi-based carrier has now opened a new lounge located at John F. Kennedy Airport’s Terminal 4, the second of its class in the U.S. after Washington Dulles.

IMG_0086As the lounge doors open to the brand-new 7,000 square feet (650 square meters), just one word comes to our minds… Elegance!

Etihad has stepped up to the plate and knocked it out of the park, by not just creating a top-quality lounge that stands out from the crowd, but also by creating a seamless and coherent passenger experience for First Class and Business Travelers, as the lounge has been designed in the Facets of Abu Dhabi corporate identity, already reflected in its livery, new aircraft cabin products and crew uniforms.

The luxurious hospitality of the lounge is evident, with custom furnishings that offer a range of different seating styles, floor-to-ceiling windows which allow the entry of natural light to the space (and for those lucky avgeeks, it also offers a view to the ramp!). Etihad has also included dedicated male and female ablution and prayer rooms, a library and luggage storage.IMG_0058Maybe one of the most distinctive features of this new lounge is a sculptural showcase bar, designed after a mix of geometric shapes and textures that mimics the corporate identity of the carrier and provides guests a preview of the palette they will find in the landscapes at the United Arab Emirates. But besides the stimulating visual experience, Etihad also offers an extensive list of signature cocktails. Today, we were offered the ‘New York’ — a bourbon-based cocktail with dried apples, and ‘Abu Dhabi’ — a non-alcoholic drink, based on cold brew coffee and a cardamom-rose infusion, perfectly complemented with a selection of canapés, including lamb chops, lobster bisque and baklava, reflecting Etihad’s culinary innovation and world class food and beverage. In the lounge’s dining area, guests will be able to select from a choice of à la carte and international buffet options.

Do you think that what we have described so far defines the concepts of exclusivity and luxury? Etihad has another ace up sleeve: a dedicated “Residence-only” guests area, located behind a hidden door. Usually, guests would have paid $32,000 to cross that door (as part of the fare in the Residence, one way, in the New York – Abu Dhabi service), but today we have the opportunity to take a look into this private luxury oasis. Devised as a “home at the airport” the Residence-dedicated lounge is equipped with its own complete private bathroom, dining area, couches and TV, decorated and furnished to provide a coherent passenger experience while waiting to board the Residence featured on Etihad’s Airbus A380s.Etihad Airways - Ribbon Cutting CeremonyJames Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways said “The opening of Etihad Airways’ new First and Business Class Lounge at New York’s JFK International Airport reinforces our commitment to investing in the travel experience and providing our guests with the highest levels of comfort, luxury and world-class hospitality at every point in their travel journey – on the ground and in the air.”IMG_0087And now… time for an ‘Abu Dhabi’ and gaze out of the window to spot the airline’s Airbus A380 waiting at the gate!