By Jill Robinson
April 25, 2018
Drinks at the Polaris Lounge.
Credit: Courtesy of United

After an eight-month renovation, the United Polaris lounge at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) will open to customers on April 30. This is the second United Polaris lounge, following the lounge at Chicago O’Hare (ORD) that opened in summer 2016. (Two more will follow this summer, at Newark (EWR) and Houston (IAH).)

The renovation of the San Francisco lounge took the existing United Club in the International Terminal near Gate 92 and expanded it to 28,120 square feet. The design and features are intended to boost the premium cabin travel experience, with elevated comfort and service from lounge to landing.

Seating at the Polaris Lounge
Credit: Courtesy of United

Throughout the two-level lounge, white Calacatta marble walls and Turkish marble floors imported from Italy are part of a contemporary color palette that includes gray suede, fabric, and leather furnishings from B&B Italia. A lighting fixture intended to mimic a meteor shower is present throughout the space, and a curated collection of art on loan from SFMOMA lends a distinct northern California aesthetic.

Large windows let in natural light, as well as sweeping views of the airport and Bay Area, and a special viewing area with standing binoculars lets airplane buffs watch domestic and international flights take off.

The United Polaris Lounge at SFO
Lounge seating at the Polaris lounge at SFO.
| Credit: Courtesy of United

A custom scent called Landing (a blend of orange peel, bergamot, cypress, fir balsam, black pepper, black tea, violet wood, sandalwood, cedar, amber, leather, and patchouli), a curated cosmopolitan music playlist, and subtle mood lighting all combine to complete the sensory experience.

A variety of seating areas are available, and travelers won’t have to search for power outlets in the lounge — there are 492 UBS ports and 492 power receptacles in all.

The quiet suite at the Polaris lounge.
The quiet suite at the Polaris lounge.
| Credit: Courtesy of United

The Library provides a quiet area to focus and relax. A service desk is available for guests to reserve Quiet Suites and/or Shower Suites during their visit. The five Quiet Suites, furnished with day beds, Saks Fifth Avenue pillows and duvets, and white-noise machines, allow for a removed space to rest. The eight Shower Suites, complete with Soho House & Co’s Cowshed Spa products, are roomy enough to fit luggage, so guests can keep personal items at hand. A valet will steam clothing items upon request.

Food and drink selections provide a sense of place of the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as some of the popular destinations United serves from SFO. Chef Tritia Gestuvo has developed the menu to include comfort foods — such as traditional Chinese congee breakfast, a noodle bar, and hand-cut pappardelle pasta with mushroom ragout — as well as popular staples, such as the United Polaris Burger, on the menu at all United Polaris lounges. Dining opportunities include a buffet, a 40-seat dedicated a la carte Dining Room, and The Studio — an interactive space for auxiliary food program offerings, from sushi to wine tasting.

The shower suite at the Polaris lounge
Credit: Courtesy of United

Regionally inspired cocktails at the bar include the Mai Tai (invented in Oakland in 1944) and Pisco Punch (a favorite during the California Gold Rush). Other signature cocktails include the United Polaris Old Fashioned and The Paper Plane. A house-made vodka infusion, oolong-steeped bourbon, and house-made vermouth are available, as well as a selection of wine and beer.

Beginning April 30, 2018, customers in United Polaris first or business class may visit the lounge on departure, connecting, or on arrival. Customers in first or business class on Star Alliance member airlines may access the lounge before departure on their long-haul flight.