You are in pursuit of the Etihad Airways Premium Lounge as you exit the Digital Clock Tower elevator on the sixth floor of Tom Bradley International Terminal.
You turn right onto a marble floored promenade with a view of the busy concourse below. Within a hundred feet you notice a glass walled dining room with an elegant, minimalist design.
You make a mental note to find out the name of the restaurant so you can book a table the next time you are flying out of Bradley. A few more steps and you realize the error in your thinking.
The upscale restaurant is part of the Etihad Airways Premium Lounge.
Checking in and getting settled
The lounge is available to Etihad Airways Business and First Class passengers, Etihad Guest Platinum, Gold and Silver members and Etihad Airways Partner (EAP) airline Platinum and Gold members.
Once you have checked in at the reception desk, you will certainly sit down in one of the plush leather chairs located through out the lounge, in the Library, VIP Room and the dining area. You will quickly notice that the décor reminds you more of a boutique hotel than an airport lounge.
If you take a seat in the dining area, a uniformed attendant in a smartly tailored suit will ask if you would like to order from the à la carte or the beverage menus. She will encourage you to read through the à la carte menu, because the on-site chef prepares the dishes with the same care as in any Los Angeles farm-to-table restaurant.
The attendant will also point out that the nearby buffet has been replenished with fresh salads, cheeses, olives, cookies and fresh fruit.
If you have settled instead onto one of the ten stools at the bar because going through security made you thirsty, the mixologist will show you the wine and cocktail menu. Flipping through the pages, you will see lists of non-alcoholic mocktails and carefully crafted cocktails.
Designed by the London-based Fluid Movement, the well-considered cocktails are inventive and entertaining. There is the “Los Angeles,” a tall cocktail featuring tequila, spiced rice milk, cocoa nibs, chili liqueur and topped with a puff of cotton candy. Among many other cocktails, there is also the “New York,” an alcoholic riff on the flavors of a Waldorf salad with Apple Jack, infused bourbon, cinnamon, pressed apple extract and maple syrup.
If you need to work, the barman will make espresso beverages to order. And since there is complimentary high speed Wi-Fi in the Lounge and USB ports under the bar, you can charge your laptop or smart phone and write emails or go web surfing while you sip your cappuccino.
When you compliment the barman on the lounge, he will tell you that the premium lounge at LAX, the first on the West Coast, joins those already open in New York and Washington, D.C., as well as twelve others in Europe, Australia and, of course, Abu Dhabi. More lounges are planned for other airports as Etihad Airways pursues its goal of elevating the quality of passenger service both on the ground and in the air.
After a light snack and a second cappuccino, you are caught up on emails. You check your watch. Time to walk to the departure gate. As you leave, the receptionist wishes you a good flight. You look back into the lounge and realize your flight began here and that was a very good beginning indeed.
Visit website: www.etihad.com
Photos by Anthony Collins
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