United Polaris Lounge Review - San Francisco (SFO)
What a stunning lounge!
United Airlines has pulled out all the stops with their marquee Polaris Lounge in San Francisco. I was completely wowed at the décor, amenities, food and bar that greeted me as I ascended the escalators to the club at SFO.
There’s a lot of buzz around this facility – and it is all well deserved.
It’s more like an international first-class lounge vs a business one. United has really upped the game for the competitive inter-continental premium traveler!
It’s not easy to get into this lounge. Several people ahead of me in line were turned away.
You need to be booked on a long-haul international flight, in business class, on a Star Alliance carrier. Gold Status, flights to central America or Canada, and United Club cards won’t get you in (anyone with those credentials will be sent to the United Club down the hall).
I understand why they make admittance so strict – the place is a stellar facility!
The Polaris Lounge in San Francisco is massive: spread over two floors and multiple wings. The ambiance is mod, sleek and luxe!
There’s plenty of seating – although I found that most people turned “right” when they entered (towards the bar) – and that the left wing was completely empty. If you don’t mind trekking to get your cocktails, I would definitely plant myself on that side of the club.
The lower floor was even more deserted. That’s where the showers are located, along with a number of workstations and a coffee bar area.
There is plenty of seating no matter what section you want – and no matter what mood you are in. I actually felt a bit like Goldie Locks: “Did I want to sit at a table, on a recliner, on a cushy sofa etc?”
All of the seating looked really cool (and new).
I was most attracted to the hip ‘desk-units’ that had a chic accent chair coupled with a space-age-inspired work-table! The chair was almost too comfortable as it was sleep inducing – especially after I drank one of the lounge’s signature cocktails: The Polaris Star (an Annice infused martini!)
A hip hangout with powerful, premium cocktails and libations is how I would describe the Polaris Lounge Bar.
What an amazing bar!! I would book a night flight over a morning one just to have time in it.
To start – they have real champagne (not just Prosecco): Piper-Heidsieck Cuvee Brut. Bright and fresh! Based on the number of champagne flutes I saw in people’s hands, I am going to guess that this is a popular drink in the lounge.
Next in line for accolades are the cocktails. Truly in a league of their own. The bartenders mix both the classics and a number of original concoctions: Mai Tais, Margaritas, Old Fashioneds, Negoroni’s, Pisco Punch and a list of other favorites that are right out of Mad Men!
Wine lovers are looked after as well – with a selection of over 15 different vintages!
If you’re not into the hard stuff, there are lots of other options – coffees, teas, infused waters, and juices.
The dining is first class all the way in this lounge. There’s a wonderful buffet near the bar with salads, sandwiches, sushi, cheeses, and lots of hot dishes (there was a run on the fired chicken during my visit).
If you have time though – you must experience their sit down restaurant at the back (I’m not sure if it has a name). On my visit, there was a selection of appetizers, mains and desserts that would satisfy most fine dinners.
I decided to have a wonderful snack prior to my flight to Paris: a tasty shrimp cake appetizer and a spicy seafood cioppino (a stew of shrimps, mussels, and scallops). The presentation was exceptional – and both were super flavorful!
If you are coming off an overnight flight – or if you just want to indulge in ultimate relaxation, don’t forget to visit the showers on the lower level.
The rooms are gorgeous. I felt like I was at an Arizona spa! The marble, tile and masonry are outstanding. I wish the bathroom in my apartment was as dreamy!!
Each unit has a rain shower, Cowshed products, and Sak’s Fifth Avenue towels. United is clearly set on pampering their premium passengers.
United’s Polaris Lounge at SFO is astonishing and breathtaking!
I loved every minute of my experience and can’t wait to come back. It definitely elevates the whole experience of flying business class on United. It was a magnificent place to visit before my flight – and set the tone for my whole journey.