This luxury airport lounge has a hidden room for its most exclusive customers

Over the past decade, New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport has made a concerted effort to improve customer experience and integrate a higher level of luxury amenities. One of the most recent and impressive additions is the Etihad Airways Premium Lounge located inside JFK’s Terminal 4.

“Everything we do at Etihad is about providing unparalleled luxury,” Etihad senior vice president for the Americas, Martin Drew, told Business Insider during a tour of the facility. “We don’t necessarily benchmark ourselves just against other airlines, but more so against some of the finest hotels and restaurants in the world.”

Opened at the end of 2015, the lounge extends the Etihad’s premium service beyond the aircraft — putting the airline in a prime position to attract highly lucrative business and high-class leisure travellers. In addition to the lounge, the Abu Dhabi-based airline is ramping up its New York operation with the adoption of the Airbus A380 superjumbo on its JFK-bound flights.

Here’s a closer look at the JFK Terminal 4’s Etihad Lounge.

As the frosted glass doors slide open, we were immediately greeted by an Etihad Airways employee.

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Once inside, the lounge features a fully stocked bar,...

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... An assortment of fine dining options, as well as plenty of places to ...

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... Drink and ...

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... Eat.

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In addition, there's also plenty of space to simply sit back and relax or,...

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... To have a pleasant conversation.

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Custom furnishings found in the lounge are courtesy of Boss.

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A glass wall not only bathes the lounge in sunlight, but...

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... Also offers passengers a front-row seat to the day-to-day ground operations at JFK.

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Overall, the lounge is elegantly designed -- punctuated by Abu Dhabi-inspired geometric styling cues.

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Examples of this include the bar's prominent light fixture and...

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... Intricate series of latticework.

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However, the lounge's piece de resistance can be found behind a carefully hidden secret door.

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Here, Martin Drew shows us the location of the hidden door. Inside, you'll find a private lounge for passengers travelling on board the 'The Residence'.

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Available only on Etihad's A380 fleet, The Residence is a 125 sq. ft. flying home. It's the most exclusive first-class seat in the world. Which means the accompanying lounge must be top notch.

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It certainly doesn't disappoint. The 500 sq. ft. Residence lounge offers unrivalled privacy with two discrete entrances along with plenty of space and entertainment options.

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The eye-catching light fixture at the center of the Residence lounge is inspired the by the desert dunes that dot the Abu Dhabi landscape.

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Other features include a prayer room as well as fine dining for two. (Martin Drew points out that the Bernadaud charger plates are 24 karat gold.)

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In addition, there's a private ensuite bath and shower featuring...

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... toiletries from Acqua Di Parma.

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The hot and cold buffet is fully stocked with full meals and light snacks.

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For bleary-eyed morning travellers, fresh juices, coffee, fruits, and cookies are available.

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Salads, greens, fruits, and grains are also put out...

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... plus a Middle Eastern inspired mezze with hummus, baba ghanoush, and tabbouleh.

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Plus, three hot entrees are put out, including a 48-hour marinated tandoori chicken which is also available from the dining menu.

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The beautifully appointed bar, resplendent in geometric shapes and facets, serves up some impressive drinks.

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The signature cocktails are named after major cities serviced by Etihad Airways.

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The 'New York' is built off a Big Apple theme -- applejack, walnut-infused bourbon, apple juice, and maple syrup make up the bulk of the flavour. It's sweet and cidery -- dangerously so, as it packs a punch.

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Of course, if 'New York' packs a punch, then the 'Los Angeles' is a two-punch wallop. It's a flashy and fun drink, with tequila, coffee, rice milk, chilli liqueur, cocoa, and bitters topped with a dense puff of candy floss and a delicate dahlia blossom. It's incredibly sweet and incredibly boozy.

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The main dining menu is small but well-crafted. Whether you're looking for a full meal or a light snack, you'll find something that suits you.

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An elegantly plated beef brisket is surrounded by an odd, vegetal parsnip puree, roasted zucchini and beets, and a slick of rich au jus. The meat is impossibly tender, while the parsnip puree falls flat amongst the lustrous beef.

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The New England shrimp risotto is rich and velvety, thick with savoury corn custard and small, succulent shrimp. The lightest hint of truffle lends an aromatic twist, and Parmigiano cheese adds a welcome salty note.

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The tandoori chicken, while inconsistent, is still good overall. The chicken itself is tender, juicy, and fiery -- after marinating for 48 hours, it had better be. The rice, however, is dry, and the cabbage coleslaw is forgettable.

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The dining area is spacious and well appointed, although the walls are curiously bare. For better or worse, Etihad's decor errs on the side of spartan in lieu of overstated flash and opulence.

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In addition to Etihad ticket holders, premium cabin passengers travelling with Air Serbia can also access the New York lounge.

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