Cathay Pacific has reopened its lounge at Shanghai Pudong International Airport Terminal 2 that was temporarily closed from October 29 last year for renovation works.
On Wednesday, Business Traveller Asia-Pacific joined a pre-opening media preview of the lounge. The lounge has opened for customers today.
The newly renovated lounge occupies a space of 970-sqm and has seating capacity for around 305 guests. The design follows the style developed by Studioilse, the London-based studio led by British designer Ilse Crawford, seen in Cathay Pacific’s newest lounges across its global network.
Where is it?
The lounge is located near departure gate D69 in Pudong Airport’s Terminal 2.
Who can access?
The lounge is now open from 5:30am to 9pm daily. First and business class passengers, Marco Polo Club Silver and above members, Oneworld Emerald and Sapphire members, as well as members of all tiers holding a valid lounge pass, all have access to the lounge.
What's it like?
Upon entering the lounge, you will see the bronze reception desk with a brass railing attached to the front to your left and, to your right, an artwork depicting clouds (which can also be found in other Cathay lounges). A device on the reception desk is busy spraying the entranceway with Cathay’s pleasant signature scent made of lavender, bamboo, green tea and jasmine.
To the left, past the reception desk, is an area with lockers that are available on a first-come first-served basis to store your belongings. There is also an area to the right of the lockers where you can keep your luggage, though this is open and has no locks or a door, so it would be better not to leave valuables in this area.
A particularly pleasant feature of the entrance area is a table on which a variety of potted plants are grouped together.
Sitting room area
The lounge is divided into four distinct sections: a sitting room style area, a dining area divided into two parts (one called the Food Hall and the other Noodle Bar), and The Terrace. In the sitting room area, you will find a row of comfy low armchairs lining the left-hand side of the space, which is well-lit with natural light thanks to most of the left-hand wall being glass. The armchairs face each other, with a coffee table in between upon which a lamp is placed. A sliding drawer in the coffee table can be pulled out to reveal four USB charging sockets as well as two-pin plug sockets and one three-pin socket. These won’t work for all countries’ plugs, but adaptors are available from reception.
The right-hand side of the sitting room area, whose walls are made of cherrywood panelling sourced from China, is divided into two sections by a newspaper stand.
Each side has a similar mix of seating, ranging from sofas to so-called “womb chairs”. I sat myself down in one and couldn’t argue with the appellation.
You will also find “metre chairs”, which can be found in some of Cathay’s other lounges, though the design has been tweaked slightly for this lounge to make them more comfortable.
The main difference between the two sections is that the one closest to reception features a long rectangular artwork by Hong Kong artist Stanley Wong inspired by an ancient Chinese artist.
And the other section features an artwork designed to look like aeroplane windows.
First dining area (Food Hall)
The dining area in this lounge is split into two sections. The first section features a row of stool seating along the left-hand side. It’s worth noting that it can get quite hot sitting here in the late afternoon, as the sun beams through the glass window in front of the seats. I sat here for about an hour to do some work on my laptop on Wednesday afternoon and, although I was wearing only a thin shirt, it felt a bit too hot.
In the middle of the area, there are three long wooden dining tables with wooden chairs with cushions and back support. There are also a few wooden stools without back support. Each table has golden-coloured arch that looks a bit like a badminton net dividing each table. It seems to be mostly for decorative purposes, though it offers a small amount of privacy, and I suppose it could also be used as a mirror to check your appearance.
To the right of the space, there are two food counters. At the end of this area, you can find a flight information board which, interestingly, Cathay has for the first time installed vertically rather than horizontally. This is so that more flights can be displayed at one time than on a horizontal display.
Second dining area (Noodle Bar)
The second dining area is larger and, while somewhat darker, still generously lit from the windows that surround three of the four walls and open out onto the concourse. Here you will find a hot station in the form of Cathay’s famous Noodle Bar (Cathay calls this whole area Noodle Bar also), where the usual dishes found in the airline’s other lounges are available, though Seafood Soup is an exclusive dish for this newly refurbished Pudong lounge.
To the right of the serving counter of the Noodle Bar, you will also find a shorter self-service food and beverage counter, including a water dispenser tap that can dispense hot and cold water, as well as carbonated water.
The seating selection here includes stool seating without back support on four rectangular tables in the centre of the area. This is then surrounded by a selection of booth-like seating for two, with one seat facing the other and a table in between. This seating arrangement clearly benefits solo business travellers or couples, rather than groups.
A notable feature of this area is the presence of ceiling fans, which mean the air conditioning does not need to be turned on as strongly. This section was notably cooler than the other dining areas as a result.
The Terrace area can be accessed from one of two doorways from the second dining area. You will also find a food and beverage counter here. Among the food and beverages on offer, I saw a jar of Sichuan spiced peanuts, which are exclusive to this lounge.
The Terrace has a generous amount of seating, including the same long wooden rectangular tables found in the first dining area. There are also raised seats for two people facing each other over a table, which would be perfect for enjoying a coffee with your companion while enjoying views over the concourse and of some of the aircraft outside. Behind the food and beverage counter, there is a further space with counter-style seating.
On the other side of the terrace, there are six “Solo Chairs”, which will be familiar to those who have visited other Cathay lounges. These are large green comfortable armchairs that are equipped with a reading light, side table and power sockets.
If you want to use these to sleep, however, I recommend bringing noise cancelling headphones and an eye mask. You can hear a fair bit of noise from the second dining area while sitting in the Solo Chairs, and during the daytime there will be lot of sunlight from the large windows overlooking the concourse. The reception does not have eye masks or earplugs to give out to guests.
However, unlike some of Cathay’s lounges in its Hong Kong hub, this lounge is intended more as a place for guests to eat, drink, relax or get some work done before their flights, rather than a space to spend many hours and sleep.
“We have got a flight every two hours out of here, so they [customers] probably won’t be here for extended periods of time. We have not got the space for that long layover. Hong Kong is different in that sense,” Simon Large, director customer at Cathay Pacific told me on the sidelines of the lounge opening event.
It will be interesting to see how Cathay manages capacity on the lounge, given that flights out of Shanghai are notorious for delays.
“It may be that this [lounge] is so attractive that people come earlier – then you have challenges to manage,” Large said, adding that Cathay has some flexibility and space to add additional seating depending on demand.
He also noted that Cathay has to take into consideration demand from non-Cathay customers who may also have access to and be attracted to use this newly refurbished lounge.
“We found in other parts of the world that our lounges are popular with British Airways and American Airlines customers so we have to factor that in to the capacity,” he said.
For a visit of a couple of hours, this lounge is very comfortable. The range of seating is diverse enough so as to appeal to everyone, though the bias is towards solo travellers and couples rather than larger groups. Pleasant touches like the artwork and numerous plants located around the lounge give the space a relaxing feeling.
While the food and beverage offering doesn’t have the diversity of some of Cathay’s lounges in Hong Kong, such as The Pier, there is still a decent selection and the presence of the Noodle Bar will surely delight many customers.
The Terrace is a lovely feature where you can soak up a lot of natural light streaming through the windows surrounding the concourse. The overall design of the lounge is warm and elegant, and if you enjoy Cathay’s other major lounges then you’ll feel right at home here.