Review: Ethiopian Airlines / Star Alliance Gold lounge in Addis Ababa
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This is our review of the Ethiopian Airlines Star Alliance Gold lounge in Addis Ababa.
Next door to the Ethopian Airlines Cloud Nine business class lounge, which I also reviewed today, is the Star Alliance Gold lounge.
This is the lounge for anyone who has lounge access via elite status, rather than their booked cabin. If you’re flying in economy but have Star Alliance Gold, this lounge is for you. If you are flying in business class, head to Cloud Nine.
Where is the Ethiopian Star Alliance Gold lounge?
Addis Ababa Bole Airport is a relatively modern airport with a new-ish main building (Terminal 2). It’s a fairly easy terminal to navigate with quite an open design.
The Star Alliance Gold lounge is close to gate A14. This is centrally located within the terminal building and very close to where you’ll exit secondary security after your arriving flight.
Fortunately it is well sign-posted so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding it.
Inside the Star Alliance lounge at Addis Ababa Bole airport
The entrance and footprint of the Star Alliance Gold lounge is almost identical to that of the Cloud Nine lounge reviewed here.
You’ll be greeted by one of the lounge staff first, who will scan your boarding pass and check your eligibility for the lounge.
Like the Cloud Nine lounge, this lounge features a series of rooms. It does feel slightly more spacious thanks to a wider floorplan. In some cases it feels slightly empty, with a lack of furniture leading to some wide-open areas.
Stylistically, it is almost identical to the Cloud Nine lounge. It has a similar looking Ethiopian coffee area:
…. plus the same big skylights which really help to brighten the lounge up, especially in the areas further away from the far windows:
Speaking of the windows, I watched the sun rise over Addis Ababa during my visit:
Seating is decent, although the Star Alliance Gold lounge seems to have slightly older furniture which wasn’t as comfortable (or in good shape) as in the Cloud Nine lounge next door.
There is a slightly odd long bar with a stage and baby grand piano on it!
At the far end you’ll find the buffet and dining area:
Whilst there were a lot of plug sockets dotted around, I found that most of them were not operational which was a bit frustrating. I had to move a couple of times to find one that would work.
Despite there being plenty of signs around describing lounge etiquette (no sleeping, no taking food or drinks from the lounge) there were a fair few people asleep across the lounge furniture so it is clearly not enforced.
Food and drink in the Ethiopian Airlines Star Alliance Gold lounge
Despite having a huge area dedicated to the buffet, only about a third of it was actually being used and the food and beverage offering is more basic than what was available next door.
Hot food was limited to rice, hash browns, scrambled egg and various meats:
There was a small selection of pastries, some dried fruit and cuts of meat available as well:
Ethiopian coffee was available, plus orange and apple juice and some cans of soft drinks (not self-serve). Whilst there was a bar in the lounge this was unstaffed during my morning visit.
One oddity I did notice was that drinks were served in plastic airline-style cups, which I thought was a bit unnecessary.
Showers and other lounge amenities
This time I did manage to grab a much needed shower. There are a fair few – probably 30 or more split between a male and female side. I’m not 100% sure why they are split, given that all of the showers feature their own little cubicles.
The showers were very compact and featured a toilet, wash basin and the shower itself:
I ended up using the toilet lid as somewhere to put my clothes whilst I showered as there really wasn’t space anywhere else. It is a bit of a squeeze.
A single (wrapped) bar of soap is provided – there is no separate shower gel or conditioner. You get a rainfall and normal shower head:
Despite its size the shower was smartly done for the most part although I could see above the false ceiling because someone had left open the servicing flap!
Whilst not quite as comfortable as Ethiopian’s Cloud Nine lounge, the Star Alliance Gold lounge in Addis Ababa is remarkably similar in both shape, size and style.
Key differences, as far as I could see, were the range of food and drink available, as well as some of the furniture which was getting a bit longer in the tooth. Otherwise they are almost mirror images of each other.
Food is particularly limited with just four hot options available, two of which are rice and hashbrowns. I’m not sure if this is covid-related because the buffet area is vast and has clearly been designed with a far bigger spread in mind.
You can catch up on my review of flying Cloud Nine business class between London and Addis Ababa here, as well as my review of the Ethiopian Airlines Cloud Nine lounge here.