Cathay Pacific was the first airline lounge that truly wow-ed me when I was upgraded once to their Business Class cabin. Since then, I have had the pleasure of experience other nicer and more extravagant lounges, including Singapore Airlines’ Private Room, Lufthansa’s First Class Terminal, Thai Airways Royal Orchid First Class Lounge and Cathay Pacific’s own The Pier First Class Lounge. The lounge I will talk about in this post is a tad ordinary when compared to these stellar examples listed above since it is a Business Class lounge that grants entry to oneworld premium passengers and frequent flyers.
Cathay Pacific has 2 main lounges – The Wing and The Pier, located near gate 3 and gate 63 at each ends of Hong Kong Airport respectively. Both of these lounges have a First Class section as well which I have covered before. There is a smaller lounge called ‘The Cabin’ near gate 25, though the airline has continued to invest in new lounges and have opened ‘The Bridge’ located near gate 35. Occupying a prominent space in the middle of the Y-fork of Hong Kong’s terminal, this has become the largest and central of Cathay Pacific’s Business Class lounges, and seems to sign towards a shift towards Business Class considering the new A350s and some of its 777-300ERs have no First Class altogether.
A bright reception area in the middle is accessed by escalators and plenty of staff are there to check your credentials. From there guests can proceed to either left or right where there are dining areas and reading lounges. An enclosed luggage storage room monitored by CCTV are situated on both sides before entering the lounge proper. These enclosed rooms are very cold too since they are mainly closed and none of the guests seems to be placing their luggage inside due to the flushed doorway.
On the right section, guests are greeted with a beautiful lounge space with shelved partitions. There are magazine racks by the wall and toilets for lounge guests. Private shower rooms are available at the other end (ie. left section) of the lounge and I will write about them later.
This section of the lounge has its own dining section that comes with its own Noodle bar. That meant guests could order a selection of noodles and they will be handed a disc that lights up when the noodles are ready. They have become a classic hit with guests since their introduction and are now even available in their overseas lounges in San Francisco too! Guests who prefer something else could also choose food from the buffet section.
This dining section is perhaps the noisiest section of the lounge and the busiest as well.
Past the dining area, there is a small TV lounge with some comfortable furniture and armchairs. The decor here certainly makes it feel like a modern contemporary living space, making it like a friend’s living room.
Across the TV lounge, there are a couple of Solus chairs that was designed by Norman Foster’s architecture firm specifically for Cathay Pacific, and a long bar lines the window that opens out to the tarmac. The long bar is of one of my favourite features in the old The Pier lounge and I am glad they have transplanted it here.
Opposite from the lounge bar, a louvred screen creates a separate lounging space that makes it more conducive for quiet conversations. The darker ambience of the room makes it more comfortable for resting with a couple of bar drinks as well.
That makes up half of this lounge and because I have a couple of hours, I head over to the left section of this vast lounge. Over the other side, guests enter a brightly lounge space with the same beautiful shelf partition. Refined decor seems to be hallmarks of Cathay Pacific’s lounges and I like the fact they put in effort to hire a designer instead of just creating a standard lounge space.
With the long layover, I took the opportunity to refresh myself. Private and well appointed shower rooms are another great feature of Cathay Pacific’s lounges in Hong Kong. I remember the first time getting on a plane refreshed after a shower in The Wing and it showed how to make long haul flying even more comfortable.
The bathrooms in Cathay Pacific’s new lounge follows the design of the First Class cabanas in The Wing with wood accents. It creates for a comfortable and luxurious space to shower. Jurlique amenities are provided on the countertop for guests to use also with fresh towels, toothbrush, comb and essential toiletries. A spacious space for luggage with all the hooks and hangers to hang your clothes makes it practical as well to change and freshen up.
The left section of the lounge seems to have less people when I visited as I noticed a lot more people heading to the right section. One reason could be that the left section of the lounge has no Noodle Bar though it does have its own dining space. Right outside the shower area, there are more Solus chairs for guests to work and relax in.
Beyond that, there is another lounge area dubbed as The Bakery and Cafe where pastries, cookies and cakes are served. A small nook has countertop space where these cakes and cookies are presented. Guests could help themselves to wines and drinks from the machine here too.
A small bar section at the end serves made-to-order coffee and specialty drinks, including Cathay Pacific’s signature drinks served onboard. The drinks list includes a variety of wines and alcoholic choices too!
After refreshing myself, I relaxed in one of the Solus chairs and obtained for myself a cup of mocha along with some cookies. Both the coffee and cookies are excellent and something that I would order in a cafe to enjoy. Great snacks and wifi certainly helped to pass the time in the lounge, and the fast wifi was great for Skype and Facetime on the smartphone to keep in touch with family too!
Guests that needs to get some work done could also use the private work cubicles that did not have any workstations. However there was printers on the ready allowing transit passengers to get some work done while waiting. The omission of desktops was a nice touch since many people travel with laptops and tablets nowadays.
With another hour to go before my flight, I head towards the dining space in this section of the lounge. This dining area lacks a noodle bar but it does have a full buffet option. The space caters to a smaller crowd but it was respectable with plenty of seats.
The buffet selection was good enough for guests to have a full meal since there are a good variety of salads on offer with various condiments. Soups are available along with a variety of steamed dumplings. For the main course, there was several stir-fried dishes including vegetables and steamed rice.
To end the meal, diners could get some cheese and crackers or a selection of small cakes. Fresh fruits are also available for a quick snack to bring onto the plane. I have not seen any problem with guests grabbing a couple of apple or banana to bring with them to the plane, though I do not expect guests to fill up their bags with these snacks.
For what it’s worth, I had a full dinner at the lounge since the food served coincided with dinner. Being Hong Kong, there was small casseroles of pork ribs with rice that I always enjoy. Couple that with soup, some assorted stir-fry and I get a meal similar to that in a HK-style cafeteria. It even tastes good that I did not miss the usual Dan-dan noodles that I normally order from the Noodle bar.
In ending this review, I did enjoy the facilities and amenities provided by Cathay Pacific’s Business Class lounge at The Bridge. In fact I think this is the best Business Class lounge that I have been too, even when considering Singapore Airlines’ fantastic Silver Kris lounge in Changi Airport. The multiple segmentation of the lounge creates its own distinct space that can cater to travellers whose needs might differ. The flyer that has a long layover can have a nice shower, read some magazines, do some work, relax with coffee and have a nice meal, while the short transit traveller could grab snacks or just have a nice space for a quick phone call. With plenty of seats and private work spaces along with places to unwind and get comfortable, I do not mind the long layover at all. The white marble decor works very well with contemporary furnishings to create a modern living environment with plenty of natural light facing the tarmac. This makes it feel like being at home, and who doesn’t like that?