Inside the New United Polaris Lounge at Newark Liberty

New at Newark Liberty: A beautiful United Polaris lounge

New at Newark Liberty: A beautiful United Polaris lounge

On June 4 (next Monday), United Airlines will open its third United Polaris lounge, this one in Newark Liberty International (EWR)’s Terminal C. Today, JohnnyJet.com was among the media group invited for a ribbon-cutting and preview. In sum, it’s a huge (27,000 square feet), beautiful, impressive space and a huge leap from United’s older lounges in Newark’s Terminal C. By many of today’s accounts, it’s already the best lounge at EWR. Here’s a quick look inside:

United VP of Marketing Mark Krolick cutting the ribbon to open the lounge this morning

United VP of Marketing Mark Krolick cutting the ribbon to open the lounge this morning

Basics
The newest United Polaris lounge is part of the airline’s investment in both its Polaris premium class product and its growing EWR hub. This United Polaris lounge is the third so far, following those already wowing guests in Chicago (ORD) and San Francisco (SFO). Two more Polaris lounges are expected to open by the end of 2018, in Houston (IAH) and then Los Angeles (LAX). In addition, it was reiterated today that United plans to add one aircraft with the new Polaris business class seat every 10 days through 2020.

Aesthetically, the space is clean and modern, a symphony of blue, grey and taupe. Lighting, at least during the day, is led by the sun’s own rays, which pour in through floor-to-ceiling windows that look upon the bustling tarmac outside. Above the rounded foyer at the entrance, meanwhile, hangs the glow of perhaps the signature piece: a light fixture twisted into the cosmos—specifically, the 12 signs of the zodiac—by Brooklyn-based Richard Clarkson Studio.

Above the entrance to the lounge

Above the entrance to the lounge

Where to find it:

  • Terminal C behind security, between Gates C102 and C120, just past the Starbucks

Hours:

  • Daily from 4:30am until 10:30pm (starting June 4)

Available to:

  • United Polaris first class flyers
  • United Polaris business class flyers
  • Star Alliance long-haul first class flyers
  • Star Alliance long-haul business class flyers

Among the vitals:

  • 27,000 square feet
  • 455 seats
  • 15 different types of seating
  • 570 power outlets
  • 450 USB ports
  • 1 buffet
  • 1 private dining room with table service (it’s basically a restaurant)
  • 10 private daybeds
  • 10 shower suites with rainfall showers
  • 4 private phone rooms
The private dining room, featuring a menu built by chef John Glowacki

The private dining room, featuring a menu built by chef John Glowacki

Food and drink
The offering begins with a fairly robust buffet spread, which includes three rows of hot and cold dishes (two side by side in the middle with one against the wall). The food is clearly not an afterthought. Today’s spread included tender cheese ravioli topped with parmesan, a chickpea curry, slices of a big tomato-based sandwich on crackly bread, a do-it-yourself bagel bar, curried salmon salad with cucumber raita, a charcuterie board, and a whole lot else. There’s also coffee and tea, some juices and a surprisingly extensive collection of hydrating drinks and waters (including what tasted and looked like a rosemary-grapefruit water).

Tasty cheese ravioli at the buffet

Tasty cheese ravioli at the buffet

Away from the buffet, in its own separate area, is one of the highlights of the lounge: a private dining area that seats 48. You can order as you like off the menu, which is a revelation considering the context. NYC chef John Glowacki’s menu includes a strawberry-mint açai bowl, crème brûlée French toast, slow-cooked meatballs in roasted garlic tomato sauce, Moroccan spiced lamb, and the United Polaris Burger (cheddar, lettuce, tomato, pickled vegetables, garlic aioli, bacon, and a fried egg). The full menu is below:

Private dining area menu

Private dining area menu

There’s also a bar that, if I may say so, makes some outstanding cocktails. This United says is “a nod to [New York City’s] recognition for preeminence in the world for craft cocktails.” The big four:

  • London Spritz: Pimm’s No.1, Amaro Nonino and blood orange sour with cucumber, citrus and mint garnish
  • Paper Plane: bourbon, Amaro Nonino Quintessentia, Aperol, chamomile honey, and lemon with a little paper plane garnish
  • Fernet About It: Fernet-Branca, Coca-Cola, and a lemon twist
  • United Polaris Old Fashioned: Riger’s Kansas City Whiskey, house simple syrup and Dale DeGroff bitters with a muddled orange wheel and a Luxardo cherry
The Paper Plane

The Paper Plane

There are also eight (I think) beers on tap.

Relax and refresh
As noted above, the 455 seats in the lounge come in 15 different styles. That means options, including some right beside the giant windows.

By the window

By the window

Around a bend from the buffet, or following the signs from most anywhere inside, is the way to the 10 “Shower Suites” and 10 “Quiet Suites.” The sleek “Shower Suites” (of which two are handicap-ready and therefore larger) feature rainfall showers, Soho House & Co’s Cowshed Spa toiletries and Saks Fifth Avenue towels. While I was wandering through them today, I overheard The Points Guy wonder aloud about whether the shower would pass the “Points Guy shower test.” I’m not sure what that refers to, so check out his write-up, I guess.

One of 10 "Shower Suites"

One of 10 “Shower Suites”

The 10 “Quiet Suites” are built around private daybeds, each softened with Saks Fifth Avenue linens. There are also two handicap-ready units. On my walk through, below a ceiling twinkling with starry lights, I was washed over in the noise of soothing sound machines.

One of 10 "Quiet Suites"

One of 10 “Quiet Suites”

Valet services like clothes steaming are also available.

Overall
What can I say. It’s a beautiful lounge. If you’re flying Polaris out of Newark, you can certainly justify building a little extra time into your airport experience to get in there and eat, and if you’re flying Polaris through Newark (but probably not if you’re flying Star Alliance partners, as most arrive into Terminal B instead of C), well, grab a United Polaris Old Fashioned and settle in.

Our HeliFlite helicopter after landing

Our HeliFlite helicopter after landing in Newark

And for an extra touch of gold…
This month, United introduced a luxurious and remarkable service to Newark flyers: transport to EWR by helicopter from Manhattan. It’s a United Signature Service and a healthy add-on at $2,099 for one to three people and $2,199 for four to six people. Via the W. 30th Street Heliport, it’s an eight-minute flight down the shoulder of Manhattan to the United Signature Service helipad, from which a driver will take you to your terminal. Pretty special.

Ian Livingston

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Inside the New United Polaris Lounge at Newark Liberty
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About the Author

Ian Livingston
Ian Livingston is a travel writer and regular writer based in Brooklyn, NY. In addition to serving as the editor of JohnnyJet.com, he is the chat manager for the weekly #TravelSkills chat and provides copywriting on request. He has spent nights in 60 countries. See more at iantlivingston.com.

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