What it's Really Like Inside Etihad's 'The Residence'
Etihad's The Residence cabins are the height of luxury : plusher than First Class, akin to a 5* hotel in the sky. But what's it really like on board? Lauren Burvill finds out.
I’m lying down on a soft double bed, nuzzling into a plush duvet. A 27-inch TV shines softly at the end of the bed. If I close my eyes I could easily be in my bed at home in London. Instead, I’m lying in one of the best seats money can buy in the sky: Etihad’s legendary The Residence.
Sadly, I’m not about to take off in complete luxury. Instead, I’m actually in a mock-up plane inside Etihad’s Innovation Centre in Abu Dhabi. It’s here where Etihad staff take part in training, new designs are developed and tested, and Flight Centre staff like me come to learn about the airlines impressive offering and dream about what it’s like to stretch out on a double bed in the sky.
For all of the impressive details and perks of Etihad’s cabins, it's The Residence that is ultimately the best seat money can buy. It’s a step and a leap above First Class. A 125-square-foot apartment featuring a lounge room, ensuite bathroom with full-height shower, and a bedroom complete with double bed and full-length wardrobe.
Etihad offers The Residence on all 10 of its A380 aircraft; the super big and spacious planes featuring cabins across two stories. I’ve flown on an Etihad A380 in Economy before and was amazed by the space and legroom. Their Economy cabin almost feels like Premium Economy compared to other airlines (Etihad doesn’t offer Premium Economy). Which makes their Residence feel like nothing else available in the sky.
While flying to a destination tucked away in a double bed sounds like pure luxury, the features and details in The Residence take it to a whole other level. The seat in the lounge room is actually a two-seater reclining sofa with electronic controls and in-seat massage. In front of the sofa is an ottoman with a chilled mini-bar inside. There’s another TV in the lounge with dual controls and Bose noise-cancelling headphones. And all of this lies behind private full-length doors.
A stay in The Residence also comes with your own personal in-flight butler, as well as five-star dining served upon Bernardaud gold plates, accompanied by Vera Wang crystal glassware and personally monogrammed linen. You can enjoy in-flight dining in the lounge or request to be served breakfast in bed.
Clearly, there's no expense spared when it comes to flying in Etihad's The Residence. Accordingly, a one-way flight from London to Abu Dhabi for two people can cost around £7,000. The price may seem steep, but when you're offered an unforgettable experience in the sky, we can't think of a better way to splash your cash on that special holiday...