The United Polaris Lounge in Houston (IAH) offers a tremendous upgrade to international business class passengers versus the United Clubs. I spent two hours in the lounge but could have easily spent much longer.
United calls this its “boutique” Polaris Lounge because it is far smaller than the other lounges. But crowding would not be a problem, at least during my visit.
Read my other United Polaris Lounge Reviews:
United Polaris Lounge IAH Access
Access is reserved for departing longhaul business class passengers on United or a Star Alliance partner. Arrivals access is permitted only for United Polaris passengers. Access is not permitted to Global Services or Star Alliance Gold members traveling in economy class.
Once you check in, you must take an elevator upstairs to the 4th level for the lounge.
United Polaris Lounge IAH Seating
When I arrived in the lounge at about 2:00 P.M., it was fairly crowded. I had no trouble finding a seat, but there were a lot of people. The restaurant was full. But by the time I left two hours later, the lounge had almost entirely emptied out. This surprised me, considering the bank of evening departures to Europe and South America that were approaching.
The lounge featured several clusters of seating and includes the oversized, semi-private chairs perfect for work or relaxation.
United Polaris Lounge Houston Shower Suites + Restrooms
The shower suites and restroom are more limited in number here than in other Polaris Lounges, but not a single shower was occupied when I checked out the shower suites. Amenities were available including hair curlers and dryers.
I was surprised the lounge only had eight (private, gender-neutral) restrooms. I did not have to wait, but used the last open one. Each suite is large enough to move around and includes a walk-in shower, toilet, and sink.
Both the shower suites and restrooms contain soap and hand lotion from Cowshed.
United Polaris Lounge IAH Quiet Suites (Sleeping Rooms)
Four sleeping rooms offer passengers with longer connections a place to relax and take a nap before or between flights.
United Polaris Lounge Houston Buffet
What impressed me most about this lounge was the buffet. It had a Latin-America flare with dishes like Brazilian empanadas, Argentinian picadillo, and chipotle Mac & Cheese. There was also a great selection of salads, soups, and sweets. It is clear that United put a lot of thought into this menu.
Nearby there was also a self-serve drink section with non-alcoholic beverages:
United Polaris Lounge IAH A La Carte Dining
I skipped the pre-arrival meal on my flight from Amsterdam to Houston in order to have lunch in the Polaris Lounge. The menu did not disappoint. Like the buffet, menu items have a Southwest and Latin America theme. But staples like the Polaris Burger with French Fries are available.
I began my meal with a chicken quesadilla, which was actually just a half quesadilla served with red salsa on a large plate. It was delicious.
For my main course, I chose Argentina chicken, served with white rice, black beans, plantains, and an exceptional chimichurri sauce. This choice was a real winner. Very, very tasty.
I also could not help myself and tried some of the chipotle mac & cheese, which unfortunately was not warm enough and frankly not all that flavorful.
For dessert, I enjoyed bread pudding, which was very tasty.
A server named Raven helped me out and was very pleasant, though handling too many tables to keep a close eye on me. That’s not her fault.
United Polaris Lounge IAH Bar
The alcohol menu closely resembles that of other Polaris Lounges, with a few Texas specialties thrown in. I tried one of them with lunch, a “caliente on the rocks” with tequila and jalapeños. I should have stuck with the delicious lavender-infused cocktail I enjoyed at the Polaris Lounge in Chicago.
Click here for the full drink menu.
United Polaris Lounge IAH Coffee + Barista Bar
The coffee machine is beautiful, the barista friendly, but the coffee…such a disappointment. I don’t know what it is, but I thought the coffee in the Newark and San Francisco Polaris Lounges was excellent and the coffee in Chicago and here in Houston was terrible. It’s all illy coffee, but I think the difference is that IAH and ORD use pods while SFO and EWR freshly grind it.
In any case, United also has a machine that creates latte art. I’d just prefer a nice leaf or heart…
United Polaris Lounge IAH Tarmac/Apron Views
You’ll enjoy some excellent tarmac views from this lounge.
I really enjoyed my two-hour stay in this lounge. Make time to visit this lounge before or after your United Polaris flight, as the food in here is better than what you receive onboard. I’m glad I skipped my pre-arrival meal for an extra half hour of sleep.