It appears that Etihad is now selling access to a VIP room within the Abu Dhabi First Class lounge for $100usd. Access is based on a first come first served basis and does not appear to be able to be booked.
The VIP Room
Based on the photos it looks like it is the smaller Residence lounge that Etihad have set up for when there are flying on the exclusive Residence product available on Etihad's A380's. The residence has gotten lots of press since launch as it is a private three-room apartment in the sky with a dedicated lounge room, double bed and bathroom equipt with its own shower.
Etihad has a dedicated Residence lounge at Abu Dhabi and also dedicated VIP rooms out outstation lounges such as Melbourne and London. They recently began selling access to the VIP rooms at the outstation lounges, so this is not really a surprise.
It should be noted though that the VIP room at Abu Dhabi is not the main Residence lounge but the smaller overflow lounge for when multiple passengers are flying the Residence at the same time, and I am sure it doesn't come with the same butler and service that Residence customers get.
The Main Residence Lounge
Per Etihad's Website the VIP room comes with:
"You can now pay and upgrade to a VIP Room within our First Class Lounge & Spa at Abu Dhabi International Airport.
Treat yourself to the luxury of a little extra space, comfort and privacy before your flight. Unwind and relax in your own, private lounge and TV area, and allow our dedicated host to serve you refreshments in your exclusive dining area for up to four people."
I will be flying through Abu Dhabi later this year, and I may just have to give this a go.
Tip of the hat to FT user SFOFlyer747
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