Tried & Tested

Lounge review: Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport Business Lounge

14 Aug 2019 by Michael Allen
Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport Business Lounge / photo by Michael Allen

Background

Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport is split between a domestic terminal and an international terminal. I was flying back to Hong Kong from Hanoi on Hong Kong Airlines in business class, and so used the international terminal. Since Hong Kong Airlines does not have its own dedicated lounge in Hanoi, the airline granted me access to the Noi Bai International Airport Business Lounge.

Where is it?

Once you clear security, turn left and walk straight. You will soon come to an escalator and lift that lead up to the lounge. The escalator was undergoing maintenance when I arrived, so an attendant suggested I take the lift instead. The lounge, which is closest to Gate 31, is on the fourth floor.

Who can get in?

The Noi Bai International Airport Business Class Lounge serves passengers from Japan Airlines, Asiana Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Cathay Dragon, Korean Air, Malindo Air, Turkish Airlines, Vietjet Air, Thai, All Nippon Airways, Emirates, China Airlines, Qatar Airways, Hong Kong Airlines, Hainan Airlines and China Southern Airlines.

What's it like?

Large and spacious with a high ceiling and ample natural light coming in from floor to ceiling windows overlooking the runway. When I visited at around 4.30pm on a Wednesday, there were very few people using the lounge, so I had a large area all to myself.

The seating options are pretty similar: large, soft brown leather or cream leather armchairs with tables.

Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport Business Lounge / photo by Michael Allen

Though to the side by the windows there are brown leather armchairs with a slightly different design, the main difference being that the backrest is higher. These also offer a bit more privacy, partly also thanks to the fact that they are up against a tall wall, especially if you are visiting the lounge with a plus one.

Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport Business Lounge / photo by Michael Allen

Many of the tables are stocked with wet wipes, which saves you going to the bathroom to wash your hands before eating.

Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport Business Lounge / photo by Michael Allen

There is also an area with PCs that you can use if you want to get some work done and don’t have your laptop. No one was using this area when I visited the lounge.

Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport Business Lounge / photo by Michael Allen

From an English-speaker’s point of view, the newspaper and magazine rack is disappointing. The only English publications available were Vietnam News and The Korea Times (the latter not pictured below but available from reception). Still, the wifi in the lounge was reliable and, unlike China, Vietnam doesn’t block international news websites, so you can just go online and read your favourite publication there.

Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport Business Lounge / photo by Michael Allen

A nice touch is the amount of greenery in the lounge. Next to the lavatories, a huge potted plant with fronds about twice as long as my arm towers up. There are also at least a dozen other large potted plants spaced around the lounge, as well as a big pot of yellow and orange flowers. Without these, the lounge would risk looking somewhat drab with all the brown leather, but the plants liven the place up nicely.

The toilets themselves were clean and nicely decorated with some paintings and potted plants. At the back of the toilets is a door leading to the shower area. This area is not quite as luxurious as the showers in some other lounges I have visited, but it was clean enough and would certainly be ok for a quick shower.

Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport Business Lounge / photo by Michael Allen

Brown towels, as well as sachets of shampoo and body wash, are provided in baskets at one end of the shower area.

Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport Business Lounge / photo by Michael Allen

Food and beverage

I was pleasantly surprised by the food and beverage offering in this lounge. When I first entered, I only saw a counter with a few snacks and drinks, but towards the back of the lounge is another seating area with two long counters of hot and cold food.

I was surprised to find spaghetti bolognese on offer…

Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport Business Lounge / photo by Michael Allen

Here it is on the plate…

Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport Business Lounge / photo by Michael Allen

If you want something a bit more relevant to the country you are in, there is also a hot station where you can get chicken or beef pho. 

Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport Business Lounge / photo by Michael Allen

Other self-serve hot dishes on offer include vegetarian tofu with mushroom, roasted chicken in five spices, congee with basa fish, potato creamy soup, fried rice with corn and peas, steamed rice, fried chicken with BBQ sauce, and chana masala.

Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport Business Lounge / photo by Michael Allen

Cold dishes include sushi (salmon, kamikama sushi, egg and vegetable sushi, vegetables sushi), char siu pork summer rolls, fresh salad, sauteed beans and carrots, bacon and cream cheese canapes, egg sauce canapes and parma harm canapes.

Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport Business Lounge / photo by Michael Allen

There is also a “bread corner” with a selection of rolls, croissants and sliced white bread for toasting.

Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport Business Lounge / photo by Michael Allen

Interestingly, cereal (cornflakes or chocolate cornflakes) was still being served in the mid-afternoon, with fresh milk available in the fridge. Good for those who like to eat cereal at odd times of the day, or for those whose disrupted body clocks think it’s breakfast time at three in the afternoon.

Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport Business Lounge / photo by Michael Allen

For desserts, there is blueberry almond cake, tiramisu and carrot cheese cake.

You’ll also find a selection of fresh fruit, including honey melon, watermelon, dragonfruit and mandarin.

There is also a good range of snacks and small bites, including Lay’s crisps, crackers, and some Vietnamese snacks.

Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport Business Lounge / photo by Michael Allen

If you want coffee (cappuccino, espresso, latte macchiato or americano), you order it from a counter from lounge staff. Though there are also pots of Vietnamese coffee (to which you can add condensed milk) that you can serve yourself with, as well as tea bags and hot water.

Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport Business Lounge / photo by Michael Allen

To the left of the area with the tea and coffee, I found some sachets of Milo, a hot malted chocolate drink.

Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport Business Lounge / photo by Michael Allen

There was a reasonable selection of alcoholic drinks available, including two choices of red wine and two choices of white wine. There were also a selection of spirits, as well as Vietnamese and international beers.

Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport Business Lounge / photo by Michael Allen

Soft drinks including Coca Cola, Diet Coke, Schweppes tonic water and soda water, three types of fruit juice, Lipton iced tea, 7-Up, Pepsi and mineral water. There are also two types of Vietnamese beer in the fridge.

Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport Business Lounge / photo by Michael Allen

Verdict

I didn’t really know what to expect when entering this lounge, but I got a pleasant surprise. While it’s hardly as luxurious as some of the flagship lounges of major Asian flag carriers, the lounge was perfect for a stay of about one-and-a-half hours. The food and beverage selection is well above average and the size of the lounge and low occupancy rate meant that it was a great place to get some peace and quiet and get some work done.

It would be nice to see some international newspaper and magazines here. Also, there seemed to be a lot of staff in the lounge who didn’t seem to actually be doing too much. If they could be deployed to provide table service to guests during less busy periods, that would be a welcome additional service.

  • Best for… its quiet environment, ample seating and decent F&B offering
  • Don’t miss… trying the pho along with a Vietnamese beer
  • Opening hours 24 hours
  • Location International Terminal, Noi Bai International Airport
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