BACKGROUND The first class lounge of Cathay Pacific reopened in 2015 following extensive refurbishment. It is located at Gate 63 in the North West concourse of Hong Kong International Airport. Passengers have to complete immigration and go two storeys below to take the train to the gate of the lounge.
WHAT’S IT LIKE Designed by Studioilse, a London-based design studio, the 2,061-sqm lounge emanates the feel of an opulent residence. With rich materials like onyx, dark woods, limestone and bronze used to decorate the space, it is a comforting retreat away from the bustle of this incredibly busy airport. It cocoons you with comfort and elegance, keeping you updated at the same time with announcements and television screens that display boarding information. As you walk into this lounge, an evident fragrance with Asian notes of cedar-wood, bamboo and tea-leaves delicately whiffs past. This signature symbolism is created for frequent flyers of the airline to relate to, every-time they enter a Cathay Pacific lounge in Hong Kong and London. The entrance is slick and modern with dim lighting and avant-garde light installations. Straight ahead is The Library, an expanse for passengers to pick up a magazine or newspaper from the entrance and enjoy some quiet time. The Pier also has The Bureau, with six iMacs alongside personal printers for travellers looking to wrap up some work before boarding their flight. I preferred to plug in my laptop beside the window at The Bar as I relished nibbles from The Pantry — the cafeteria of the lounge. A socket slides out of the table, where devices can be charged at a power socket or USB port. The ambience of this space is extremely relaxed and welcoming. I booked a foot massage at The Retreat, the spa-like zone of the lounge that offers eight suites with curtains overlooking the runway, 13 shower rooms, and four massage booths. The spa there is managed by Gentlemen’s Tonic, a London-based barbershop. A quick shower followed at the elaborate shower room fitted with Villeroy and Boch fixtures, a rain-shower, vanity chair and Aesop products. After a built up appetite, I went towards The Dining Room, where a curated a la carte menu is offered to travellers looking to devour a memorable meal before they fly.
FOOD AND DRINK The Pantry has a buffet set up with fruits, croissants, cakes, canapés, cold salads, soft drinks and a coffee machine. The spinach quiche, bacon puff and pesto vegetables salad were quite delectable. The bar offers an interesting collection of beverages, including Moet & Chandon Rose Brut, Chateau Bonnet Blanc from France, signature drinks like Cathay Delight, Hong Kong style milk tea, JING teas and a crème brûlée speciality coffee. For appetisers at The Dining Room, I picked fragrant chicken that comes with Chinese lettuce and peanut chilli dressing. Next up was Dan Dan Mian — the lounge’s speciality that is much talked about. This is a soupy noodle dish cooked in Shanghainese-style, simmered in a spicy, hot peanut sauce. The rich flavour of the soup is enhanced by red chillies and Chinese onions — a highly recommended item. To finish, I picked my favourite dessert — crème brûlée. The smoothness of the custard along with the crispiness of a perfectly blanched caramelised layer created magic in my mouth. It comes along with a thin biscuit that I used as a spoon to scoop out the pudding.
WHO CAN ACCESS IT First class passengers, Diamond Marco Polo Club members and Emerald oneworld frequent flyers transiting through Hong Kong.
OPENING HOURS Daily open; 5.30am-12.30am
VERDICT A sophisticated and convenient space for passengers looking to spend a few quality hours at Hong Kong Airport. Waiting for your flight is effortlessly made enjoyable at The Pier, First.
Contact Level 6, Terminal 1, near Gate 63; cathaypacific.com