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United Polaris Lounge Houston Review – (IAH)

United Polaris Lounge Houston Review – (IAH)

WOW- United has really knocked it out of the park with their premium Polaris Lounges.  While they've been a tad slow to open – they just debut a new one in Houston this week and I had a chance to pop in for 45-minutes.

What a fantastic experience!  An absolutely show-stopping bar, fabulous full-service dining, uber mod seating, and an overall hip vibe!

Here’s a review of my visit – that took place just 60 minutes ago! My post is high level due to my limited time in the lounge - but I hope to return for a longer visit soon.

Admission

  Polaris Lounge  Houston - Entrance

Polaris Lounge Houston - Entrance

There’s a little bit of confusion on who can go into this lounge – but it’s quite simple.  You need to have an international (long-haul) ticket in business class or first class. It’s ok if you’re connecting to your international flight at another airport - as long as it’s the same day.

You can’t gain entry to this paradise if you simply possess elite status  – or if you’re on a short-haul international business class ticket (i.e Mexico or Canada).  You’ll have to go to the regular United Club when that’s the case.

Atmosphere

 Houston  Polaris Lounge  View - United Airlines    Photo: Calvin Wood

Houston Polaris Lounge View - United Airlines   Photo: Calvin Wood

Once I checked in, the elevator whisked me to the fourth floor.  I was so impressed when the doors opened:  Super hip!! I felt like I was at an exclusive club in LA and that Paris Hilton would be toasting her friends at the bar!

 Cool Tiling -  Polaris Lounge  Houston - United Airlines    Photo: Calvin Wood

Cool Tiling - Polaris Lounge Houston - United Airlines   Photo: Calvin Wood

The venue is magnificently designed. Great lighting, seating, and artwork on the walls. 

 Seating Area -  Polaris Lounge  Houston - United Airlines   Photo: Calvin Wood

Seating Area - Polaris Lounge Houston - United Airlines  Photo: Calvin Wood

There are several sections to the lounge:  the bar, the dining room, multiple break-out relaxation zones, and shower facilities.  I have to call out the ‘work-carrels’ as they look fab. I only wish I was employed in an office with cool desks like that!

 Mod Work Desks - Houston  Polaris Lounge  - United Airlines   Photo: Calvin Wood

Mod Work Desks - Houston Polaris Lounge - United Airlines  Photo: Calvin Wood

 Relaxing Seating -  Polaris Lounge  Houston - United Airlines   Photo: Calvin Wood

Relaxing Seating - Polaris Lounge Houston - United Airlines  Photo: Calvin Wood

I also loved all the detailing in the tiling and masonry.  The must have consumed half of the marble in Italy to built this temple of glam!

Beverages

 Bar -  Polaris Lounge  - Houston - United Airlines   Photo: Calvin Wood

Bar - Polaris Lounge - Houston - United Airlines  Photo: Calvin Wood

The bar, in one word, is spectacular.  I would have loved to spend a Saturday night there! 

Champagnes, a wide selection of wines, and imaginative/cutting edge cocktails (all complimentary) flow nonstop.  I tried their signature Polaris Martini that's made with anise infused vodka.  Super tasty!  If you are a fan of Mediterranean anise based libations you’re going to love this drink!

 Partially Consumer  Polaris Martini  - United Airlines    Photo: Calvin Wood

Partially Consumer Polaris Martini - United Airlines   Photo: Calvin Wood

I also admired (well actually coveted) the stemware and glassware options: slick, mid-century inspired crystal.

Dining

 Dining Area - United  Polaris Lounge - Houston   Photo: Calvin Wood

Dining Area - United Polaris Lounge- Houston  Photo: Calvin Wood

United rolled out all of the stops when it came to dining options in the Polaris Lounge.  I actually thought I was in an international first-class club - not a business class one.  

 Buffet Area - United  Polaris Lounge  - Houston     Photo: Calvin Wood

Buffet Area - United Polaris Lounge - Houston    Photo: Calvin Wood

To start, there’s a buffet that showcases a number of options including salads, snacks, hot dishes, and deserts.  All of it looked fresh and fab!

 From the Salad Bar - United  Polaris Lounge    Photo: Calvin Wood

From the Salad Bar - United Polaris Lounge  Photo: Calvin Wood

 Gourmet Toasts - United  Polaris Lounge     Photo: Calvin Wood

Gourmet Toasts - United Polaris Lounge   Photo: Calvin Wood

 Snacks - United  Polaris Lounge  Houston    Photo: Calvin Wood

Snacks - United Polaris Lounge Houston   Photo: Calvin Wood

 Sweets -  Polaris Lounge  Houston -United Airlines    Photo: Calvin WOod

Sweets - Polaris Lounge Houston -United Airlines   Photo: Calvin WOod

Where the lounge really shines though is on it’s full service options. 

The menu features a number of Light Bights, Small Plates, and Entrees.  Dishes included: gazpacho, chilled lemongrass shrimp, achiote chicken quesadillas, Argentinian chimichurri chicken, avocado & shrimp caprese salad, and a signature Polaris Burger just to name a few items.  

 Full Service Dining Area - Houston Polaris Lounge    Photo: Calvin Wood

Full Service Dining Area - Houston Polaris Lounge   Photo: Calvin Wood

I just had time for the delicious shrimp – but I can’t wait to return for a more extensive tasting.  This is an absolutely ideal spot if you are on a late-night flight.  You can dine (properly) in the lounge and go right to sleep as soon as you’re airborne!

 Lemongrass Shrimp - United Polaris Lounge    Photo: Calvin Wood

Lemongrass Shrimp - United Polaris Lounge   Photo: Calvin Wood

Restroom's & Showers

 Single Restrooms - United  Polaris Lounge  Houston    Photo: Calvin Wood

Single Restrooms - United Polaris Lounge Houston   Photo: Calvin Wood

I don't normally take pictures of the restrooms - but they were gorgeous - and private.   All of the facilities are single occupant/unisex toilets. And they come fully stocked with soaps and lotions from the British luxury brand Cowshed.

The lounge has full shower facilities – but I did not have time to review.  Watch this space in the future for photos!  

My Verdict

 I Love The Lighting!   Cool Shapes & Colors - United  Polaris Lounge     Photo:  Calvin Wood

I Love The Lighting!   Cool Shapes & Colors - United Polaris Lounge  Photo:  Calvin Wood

Marvelous!!  The Houston Polaris Lounge is a top tier international facility.  I was really impressed with everything I experienced. United has really put a line in the sand for other carriers trying to track lucrative business travelers.  Let’s hope they all try competing at the same level!

United also has Polaris Lounges in San Francisco, Chicago, and Newark .  I have yet to explore those – but I have read that they are all amazing!  I’ll be cheering from the sidelines as the open more down the line.

 

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