Luxury Hotels


It has been a decade since Etihad Airways introduced The Residence, the only three-room first class suite measuring 11.6 square metres, but somehow the Sybaritic Single never managed to catch it. Etihad Superjumbos used to fly to several destinations in the past, but today it’s only London and New York.
A private lounge is reserved for the Sybaritic Single within the first class lounge at the new Abu Dhabi airport, where he finds white and rosé champagne and an enormous vase boasting every fruit and berry imaginable, except raspberries. However, lack of natural light makes the space feel like a claustrophobic treasure box, a significantly smaller version of what Air France La Première passengers enjoy at Heathrow.
He soon boards imperiously the A380 bound for London, two minders carry his bags and papers. Offered to board first or last, he chooses the former and, indeed, steps onboard a few minutes before anyone else, the entire top-deck crew there to welcome him.
Lately, the Savoy-trained in-flight butlers are cost-cut together with the enhanced dining. Today, the menu is exactly the same as in first class, presented with more sophistication on slightly tired Bernardaud tableware yet with Studio William cutlery and disappointingly unremarkable Haoliwen linen. The caviar is a not too inspiring 30gr portion of Russian Oscietra by Gourmet House but the champagne is pleasant: Duval-Leroy Femme de Champagne Grand Cru 2002, silky and elegant with great concentration and superb length.
The Sybaritic Single finds the extra-wide Poltrona Frau leather sofa perfectly comfortable but the double bed is a bit too small when shared though quite alright for one (the bedding is very respectable Duxiana). The fully enclosed bedroom is more private than on other airlines: nobody can ever possibly peek inside it. And the main luxury is the en-suite shower room, complete with full-size Acqua di Parma amenities, heated floor and waffle bathrobes.
Upon arrival at Heathrow eight hours later, another Etihad minder whisks the Sybaritic Single through the formalities and hands over to the Ritz team with the Rolls-Royce waiting. If only more airlines offered such smooth luxury!