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The VIP lounge: Luxury extending from airports to other sectors

When Etihad Airways and No1 Lounges launched ‘The House’ recently, it solidified the intent of world-class airlines and companies to meet the needs of VIP clients, needs that are constantly on an evolutionary cycle.

But just because aviation/travel has fashioned the VIP lounge, the industry has no monopoly on the matter, as more and more sectors get into the VIP model.

What’s with Etihad’s announcement

According to Aviation Pros, Etihad’s newest VIP lounge begins at London Heathrow, where it will be rebranded ‘The House, home of Etihad Airways and other leading airlines’.

“No1 Lounges has worked closely with Etihad Airways to create a bold, contemporary and aspirational experience which will continue to deliver and exceed the service, hospitality and interior design expectations of the airline’s discerning customers, Etihad said in a statement.

Linda Celestino, Etihad Airways Vice President Guest Experience and Delivery, said: “This new venture will enable the airline to maintain its brand presence, and at the same time enhance and improve the overall lounge experience for our premium guests. It will also provide an opportunity for our Economy guests to upgrade their pre-flight experience.”

Complimentary entry will continue to be offered to Etihad Airways Business Class and First Class customers, Gold and Platinum members of the airline’s Etihad Guest frequent flyer programme and Business Class and First Class travelers ticketed on codeshare partner services operated by Etihad Airways. Other passengers on Etihad and other airlines will be offered paid-for access.

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Emirates Airlines lounges in Cairo

Dubai airline Emirates has opened a new dedicated lounge at Cairo International Airport for its first and business class passengers.

It is also open to the platinum and gold members of Skywards, the airline’s loyalty program.

The lounge, located at Departure Terminal 2, Level 2 of the airport, represents an investment of $3.6m, Emirates said in a statement.

Covering an area of 880sq.m, it offers seating for up to 152 customers along with amenities such as LED TVs, leather armchairs, bespoke artwork, and separate male and female prayer rooms.

Luxury spa products are also available in the lounge from Irish brand VOYA. The skincare line includes hair and body wash, conditioner, hand cream, and hand wash.

“Cairo is our first destination in North Africa with an Emirates Lounge,” said Mohammed Mattar – divisional senior vice president, Emirates Airport Services.

The lounge is Emirates’ 42nd dedicated lounge worldwide.

Overall, the lounges represent an investment of $381 million.

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VIP Sleeping facilities

Abu Dhabi Airports has opened a new transit sleeping facility at Terminal 3 of the Abu Dhabi International Airport.

It is the airport’s second such facility operated by Aerotel of Plaza Premium Group.

Open 24 hours a day, the facility offers flexible hourly booking slots including a two-hour day package between 9 am to 8 pm and a four-hour night package available from 8 pm to 9 am.

Prices for the day package range from Dhs89.25 (solo room) to Dhs198.45 (double squared), and for the night package from Dhs194.25 (solo room) to Dhs430.50 (double squared).

The airport also offers another sleeping facility in Terminal 1, which features 38 rooms also divided into three categories: solo room, double plus and double squared.

Video footage: The heart of Expo 2020 Dubai coming to life

EXPO VIP

Khaleej Times reported that the site of World Expo 2020 Dubai is estimated to cost more than $8 billion.

The UAE pavilion will cost approximately $96 million. The 15,000 square meters project will include exhibition areas, an auditorium, food and beverage outlets, and VIP lounges.

The Dubai government estimate suggests around 25 million people are expected to visit the Expo between its opening day on October 20, 2020, and its close on April 10, 2021.

Movie VIP

Cinemacity IMAX launched its new multiplex at Sharjah’s new Zero6 mall and featured the UAE’s biggest IMAX screen to date, along with an exclusive VIP lounge for IMAX ticket holders.

Inside, guests have the option of enjoying three different classes of seating – Deluxe Class, Club Class seats with semi-reclining chairs as well as extra legroom, and the luxurious full reclining VIP Star Class seats that come with in-theatre service.

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VIP workstation

According to ShareYourOffice.com, the shared workspace industry is expected to balloon to 30,000 coworking spaces with five million members by 2020.

A CBRE study discovered that workplaces are increasingly designed and managed less as static backdrops to work in and more as “hotel-style” facilities where “guests” demand a high level of service and experience.

This move to a “hotel guest” is likely intended to boost employee morale, the same way Google does through their colorful, engaging workspaces and facilities.

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VIP sports & cars

We are all familiar with owner cubicles overlooking soccer, basketball or other team sports, but Yas Arena, the main component of the first phase of Yas Bay development with an estimated investment o $3.3bn will host an 18,000-capacity multipurpose indoor arena to be used to organize large-scale and private events such as sporting competitions, cultural performances, concerts, and other activities.

It will feature a VIP lounge that can be modified into a grand ballroom and hospitality boxes for organizing events.

Private spaces also comprise terrace bars for hosting receptions and parties. Amenities such as food and beverage will be located adjacent to the arena.

The new Bentley showroom in Riyadh transforms the purchase experience of luxury cars.

It features enough space to display nine cars, includes 5 completely private sales offices, personalization bay, prayer rooms, and a dedicated indoor- airconditioned state of the art delivery area, and clients will enjoy a luxurious lounge area, heritage wall, and a merchandizing boutique.