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“Small but perfectly formed” is the ideal way to describe the Etihad lounge at Heathrow Terminal 4. For those of you that have never been to an Etihad lounge, I can assure you they are fantastic. In fact, as airline lounges go, they are up there with the very best.
So, the Heathrow Terminal 4 Lounge may lack space, but it packs quality. The lounge was very, very full when I visited, so did feel a touch “manic”. However,while it perhaps lacked tranquility, it provided me with high quality food and drink, a place to sit comfortably, connectivity and magazines, Ohm, and a spa – so there’s little more that I could have asked for from an airport lounge.
The Etihad lounge at Heathrow Terminal 4 has that rare quality of genuinely making you feel like an airline has gone the extra mile to provide a high quality, premium product, rather than doing the bare minimum necessary to tick the boxes. It’s a small point, but something like genuinely freshly squeezed orange juice says a lot to me about the focus on quality of a lounge.
While small (and, during my visit, packed) the lounge has a variety of seating options: essentially two relaxing areas, and one large dining area with neighbouring bar.
The lounge areas are well equipped with televisions and newspapers, and there’s also a wide selection of quality magazines (the Economist, Time etc). All-in-all, plenty to occupy you, should the high speed wi-fi not suffice. Seats are comfortable and well spread through the lounge, so you do not feel overly close to neighbouring visitors, although obviously the limited space means these seats are sometimes at a premium when it’s busy.
There’s also a separate dedicated spa area, run by Six Senses.
So, when you’re tired of your three course gourmet meal, and the free drinks from the beautifully laid-out bar, you can head off for a relaxing massage in the spa – again at no extra cost.
I went for a 15 minute massage although, or the avoidance of doubt, that’s a stock photo above. I’m not quite as pretty (and a man).
The massage room is secluded and comfortable, with the standard “relaxing” music playing. The time obviously shoots by, to the extent that it’s bordering on being a little bit token, but certainly a pleasant little perk of the lounge.
There’s also some beautifully clean bathrooms and shower facilities, with a dedicated cleaner constantly working away to keep them glistening.
The shower is powerful, large and you are offered a range of quality soap products.
Indeed, the was areas are really a pleasure to visit, and put a number of similar facilities at other premium lounges to shame.
The food and drink
The lounge bar is an obvious focal point. The hardened drinker can bed in at a seat at the bar, while those looking for some food or a bit of relaxation can order drinks from the staff, who will prepare it at the bar then deliver it to you.
Food-wise, the key focus in the lounge is on a-la-carte dining, with a quality menu available to order. You simply sit down in the dining section and your order will be taken.
While portions are somewhat lacking in size, there’s nothing to stop you asking for more!
The food I had arrived suspiciously quickly, but was excellent. It tasted good and came very well presented, as the photos demonstrate.
In addition, a reasonably stocked buffet is always laid out, so for those that aren’t satisfied after the dining room, it’s a short walk over to a dedicated food bar. While the buffet gets criticised occasionally for a lack of choice, you need to bear in mind that there’s a full a-la-carte option available in the lounge, so it’s clearly not the principal focus.
I visited at a particularly busy time and yet, whilst dining, l regularly had attentive staff members asking you if I needed anything. Full marks for service.
I just love this lounge. Yes it is small and gets busy, but at no point did that undermine the consistent quality delivered by Etihad here. The food and drink is plentiful and good quality, and the spa option is a great add-on.
In short, this is a lounge well worth heading to the airport early for. Plus, if it’s the precursor to a flight in Etihad Business Class, as it was for me recently, you are in for an ongoing treat.