Tried & Tested

Lounge review: Cathay Pacific Lounge, Manila Ninoy Aquino

4 Jun 2018 by Craig Bright
Cathay Pacific Lounge, Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport

Background

The Cathay Pacific Lounge at Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) is a relatively new offering, having opened its doors back in May 2015. As such, it features the latest design developed by Studioisle that first appeared at the airline’s lounge at Haneda Airport in Tokyo.

Cathay Pacific has 46 flights per week that fly out of Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport, with a flight approximately every two to three hours.

Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport lounges

Where is it?

The lounge is located at NAIA’s Terminal 3, on level 4 just above Gate 114. After you’ve gone through security and immigration, you can see the entrances to the lounges on the balcony in front of you, though to actually access them you’ll need to head towards either the left or right hand side. There’s a lift that takes you up to the lounge just by Gate 114 (when I flew out of NAIA, it was from Gate 113 just next door).

Who can access?

The lounge is open to first and business class passengers flying with Cathay Pacific or other Oneworld carriers. First class passengers are allowed to bring one guest, while business class passengers are only permitted entrance for themselves.

Diamond members of Marco Polo Club can bring two guests and Gold members can bring one guest, when flying on a Cathay Pacific or Oneworld airline flight regardless of their cabin class. Silver members are allowed entry for just themselves, but only when flying Cathay Pacific.

Oneworld Emerald and Sapphire members each can enter along with one guest when flying on a Cathay Pacific or other Oneworld flight in any class.

For a full rundown of admission rules, click here.

What’s it like?

Cathay Pacific’s latest lounge design seldom fails to impress. The dark woods, leather lounge chairs and measured natural lighting give the space a truly relaxed feel. Add to that the smooth jazz that plays over the sound system and you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re in a trendy lounge bar rather than an airport lounge.

Along with the Studioisle design, Cathay Pacific’s lounge at NAIA is also almost twice the size of the airline’s former facility at Terminal 1. The space is separated into three distinct zones – lounge, bar and dining area – and while the majority of people were concentrated in the dining section it never felt as though there was a shortage of space.

The large windows that run the length of the lounge through the main and dining areas provide ample natural light and views over the tarmac, without the space feeling too harshly illuminated. And while there was some slight wear and tear visible – mostly around the drinks and coffee/tea area – the overall look of the lounge still feels modern and new.

Cathay Pacific Lounge, Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport

Starting with the main lounge area, you’re privy to about half a dozen different types of seating, ranging from high-back lounge chairs to long leather sofas with most centred about a small circular table. There are power points scattered about, though not all seats appeared to have one adjacent.

Cathay Pacific Lounge, Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport

To the right of the main lounge is the bar, with its own dedicated chair and bar stool seating. This space is somewhat more enclosed than the rest of the lounge, so you’re likely to get a quieter environment for having a cocktail – an ideal scenario, indeed. The bar itself is manned, and service is good. While it was only midday I opted for a gin and tonic – purely for research purposes, of course – though there are a number of other options available, including a selection of Twinings teas.

Cathay Pacific Lounge, Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport

Walking past the bar from the main lounge space leads to the dining area. While technically separated from the main area by a wooden divider, the fact this is only formed of large squares means you can still see from one end of the lounge to the other, further giving the lounge a spacious feel.

Cathay Pacific Lounge, Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport

Seating varies notably in the dining area, with large wooden benches in the middle and two-person cubicles along either side (these also include power outlets for charging devices making them ideal for solo travellers).

Cathay Pacific Lounge, Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport

The dining area itself comprises the airline’s signature Noodle Bar, offering dishes such as dan dan mien and wonton noodles along with select dim sum dishes including siu mai and barbecue pork buns.

Cathay Pacific Lounge, Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport

These are cooked to order – you get given a buzzer that will vibrate and light up once your order is ready – and the dan dan mien in particular is worth picking up.

Cathay Pacific Lounge, Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport

If you don’t fancy what is on offer at the Noodle Bar, though, your options are slightly limited. The lounge doesn’t have a true buffet offering, though there are some salads and small snacks around the corner alongside the soft drinks and tea and coffee-making facilities. You can also pick up some tapas-style snacks at the bar. Still, the fact that Cathay Pacific prioritises freshly prepared food over buffet is a definite plus.

Beyond the dining area are the toilets, which were very clean and comfortable. The downside is that there aren’t any shower facilities, however.

Wifi was quick and easy to connect to, and there are printing and photocopying facilities for those that require them. Alternatively, you can make use of the private work suites, which have iMac computers. Flight information screens are dotted throughout the lounge, and announcements are made for Cathay Pacific flights.

Verdict

This is a thoroughly comfortable lounge. The wide variety of seating options is particularly pleasant, and the focus on freshly prepared food is a definite bonus. While there are a few things the lounge doesn’t offer, namely a wider buffet dining option or shower facilities, the overall setup nonetheless makes this a good lounge to choose.

Fast facts

Opening hours 0200-2130 daily
Location Terminal 3, Ninoy Aquino International Airport

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BTUK June 2018
BTUK June 2018
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