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

By David Flynn, November 23 2018

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

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

StarTeam

StarTeam

06 Oct 2018

Total posts 12

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.

koji

koji

Cathay Pacific - The Marco Polo Club

11 Jun 2018

Total posts 26

The short for HNA Group Airlines apparently.

Flying High

Flying High

13 Feb 2015

Total posts 38

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...

FrequentFlyer

FrequentFlyer

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Mar 2012

Total posts 212

What a niche thing to complain about.

johnaboxall

johnaboxall

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 735

This is great for VA, it introduces certainty for lounge use when leaving Australia. Also great to see Otway pork on the menu.

apacau

apacau

02 Jun 2013

Total posts 46

Sounds pretty impressive and a step up from most of the other SYD lounges (aside from QF F)

tonyw

tonyw

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Jul 2015

Total posts 20

had a long wait for a late Etihad flight on Tuesday. Couldn't get in until 7 pm. Was OK but that's all

spudseamus

spudseamus

25 Feb 2012

Total posts 78

Just another nail in the coffin . I will look elsewhere. Thank you Etihad for the Reimagined era it was the best in the sky .

stmaus

stmaus

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

20 Nov 2017

Total posts 103

Great for VA customers!

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