House renovations: Sydney's Etihad, Virgin lounge seeks room to grow

House renovations: Sydney's Etihad, Virgin lounge seeks room to grow

There's a not-quite-new lounge gracing the international terminals of Sydney and Melbourne, with the combined business and first lounges of Etihad Airways now rebranded as The House and also playing host to Virgin Australia's overseas flights.

Apart from a change in signage, Sydney's The House lounge looks little different to when it was opened in May 2014 by Etihad's then-CEO James Hogan.

The boomerang-shaped servery in front of the buffet has been removed and replaced by a cluster of casual cafe-like tables and chairs, but there are sweeping changes to come as No1 Lounges works to increase capacity by 50 percent.

A spokesman for the company tells Australian Business Traveller that the lounge's 662m² footprint contains many under-utilised areas, including 'back office' areas such as the kitchen and staff room, although many of these are small stand-alone pockets rather than swathes of contiguous space.

The prayer rooms will remain as a specific requirement of Etihad, but could be relocated – along with the showers – while the usually-empty 'business centre' nook near the front of the lounge may be converted into a private room.

Alongside a buffet of hot and cold dishes The House offers à la carte dining, with seperate breakfast and all-day menus.

When Australian Business Traveller visited The House mid-afternoon the buffet includes a tasty spread of Middle Eastern-inspired dishes such as chicken tagine, roasted spiced cauliflower, lemon couscous and roasted harissa vegetables.

The lounge sees a busy morning peak period with Virgin Australia flights to Los Angeles and Hong Kong, then things quieten until the afternoon and late evening departure of Etihad's flights to Abu Dhabi.

Although The House's sole airline partners are currently Etihad and Virgin Australia, a spokesman for No1 Lounges tells Australian Business Traveller that plans are underway to allow passengers on other airlines to pay their way into the lounge, along with becoming the designated lounge for some airlines which don't belong to the Oneworld, SkyTeam or Star Alliance groups.

Read more: Etihad rethinks the future of its airport lounges under The House brand

David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.
 

9 comments

  • Tony D

    StarTeam

    23 Nov, 2018 12:05 pm

    The expression "AND OTHER LEADING AIRLINES" sounds desperate in crying for attention. HOUSE should delete this last line and be specific about which other airlines' members are eligible to visit.
    No member give thanks

  • koji

    koji

    23 Nov, 2018 12:44 pm

    The short for HNA Group Airlines apparently.
    No member give thanks

  • Flying High

    Flying High

    23 Nov, 2018 01:13 pm

    I presume they don't want to have to go to the trouble/expense of having to change the sign every time they add/remove another airline...
    No member give thanks

  • FrequentFlyer

    FrequentFlyer

    23 Nov, 2018 03:06 pm

    What a niche thing to complain about.
    No member give thanks

  • johnaboxall

    johnaboxall

    23 Nov, 2018 01:03 pm

    This is great for VA, it introduces certainty for lounge use when leaving Australia. Also great to see Otway pork on the menu.
    No member give thanks

  • apacau

    apacau

    23 Nov, 2018 03:57 pm

    Sounds pretty impressive and a step up from most of the other SYD lounges (aside from QF F)
    No member give thanks

  • tony walker

    tonyw

    23 Nov, 2018 06:49 pm

    had a long wait for a late Etihad flight on Tuesday. Couldn't get in until 7 pm. Was OK but that's all
    No member give thanks

  • spudseamus

    spudseamus

    25 Nov, 2018 08:35 pm

    Just another nail in the coffin . I will look elsewhere. Thank you Etihad for the Reimagined era it was the best in the sky .
    No member give thanks

  • Stm Aus

    stmaus

    26 Nov, 2018 04:17 pm

    Great for VA customers!
    No member give thanks

Guest

24 May, 2019 05:27 pm

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