The Luxury Boutique Hotel Room in the Sky
If you're looking to fly in style, look no further than Etihad Airways new private three-room cabin The Residence.
Going far beyond traditional first class features, the Residence is really a boutique hotel room on the upper deck of the UAE-based airline's fleet of double-decker Airbus A380s.
Years in the making, it's the world's first multi-room private cabin on a commercial passenger aircraft. The 11.5 square metre (125 square foot) space features a living room, double bedroom and an en suite bathroom complete with shower. How civilized!
The living room features a two-seat reclining sofa upholstered in Poltrona Frau leather, two dining tables and a chilled mini-bar. There's a 32 inch LCD TV with games, movies and live TV. Plus Wi-Fi throughout the cabin.
A touchscreen system allows passengers to control lighting, window shades, seat position and firmness. There's also a built-in massage unit.
The master bedroom features a Poltrona Frau upholstered double bed with a custom-made natural fibre mattress, wardrobe and under-bed storage. There's also a 27 inch LCD TV and broadband internet. The sheets are made of Egyptian cotton and there's a selection of pillows on which to lay your weary head. You can even order breakfast in bed.
The private bathroom features a shower and lit mirror. You'll also find exclusive toiletries and a bathrobe for your use.
But there's much more than that. The Residence also comes with a dedicated butler. That's right: your very own Jeeves to take care of your every need. And not just any old butler – one trained at the Savoy Butler Academy in London and dressed in a uniform designed by Italian fashion designer Ettore Bilotta.
The luxury service extends to the kitchen where your gastronomic needs will be taken care of by the inflight chef.
"The Residence will set Etihad Airways apart from the rest of the industry and allow us to provide the complete range of world-class products and services to cater for the individual tastes of every VIP traveller," explained Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways’ Chief Commercial Officer.
"This is the culmination of five years of intensive effort and research into how Etihad Airways can provide an unparalleled VIP experience. Without doubt, we are ushering in a new era of luxury travel in commercial aviation."
How much will it cost? About $20,000 one-way (Abu Dhabi-London, for example). But in many cases, that's cheaper than hiring a private jet.
Doug Murray is a journalist and traveller. Based in Vancouver, he's been to more than 50 countries and lived in West Africa, Mexico and Guatemala. Over the past decade, Doug has written for all of Canada's major media outlets (Global, CTV, CBC) and dozens of international publications on a variety of topics including travel, business and daily news. When not on the road, he's looking for the next best place to explore. Follow him on Twitter @borderfilms