At thedesignair.net we are great fans of Cathay Pacific’s product. The seamless experience is effortless and well considered. From their onboard product to their lounges, attention to detail seems paramount, and it’s this design ethos that has put them at the top of the Lounges 2013. We take a closer look at their lounges, and give you a first hand experience of the product.
Perfect for those missing home
The Bridge, Cathay Pacific’s latest lounge, is situated at the far end of the airport, can be accessed either by the train, or 5-10 minutes down the departure hall on the multiple conveyor belts (Which can be worth the slightly longer trek, as there are a few art exhibitions on route, that are worth a quick stop-and-look.) On arrival, you are presented by a long white marble desk, similar to that of all the other lounges. The biggest decision on arrival is either left or right. Right, and you head to a long champagne bar, a Bakery and a TV lounge, turn left and you can sit at the bistro or take a shower, in both wings, you can enjoy the homely comforts of the main seating areas.
Although the full review here gives a detailed description of the lounge, it doesn’t impart our personal experience from our trip to Hong Kong last month. When we visited the lounge, it had just turned night-time, and the space feels just like we would want our house to be if we were extremely wealthy: comfortable, intimate and luxurious. The ‘lounge style’ furniture here isn’t just style over substance, the seats were very comfortable, the lighting intimate, but perfect for reading or relaxing by. The sectioning of the areas meant that you never felt like you were in a crowded lounge, and apart from the two dining areas, the bistro and the bakery, you would feel like there were only a dozen other souls in the lounge.
The views from the two wings of the lounge are great as well, giving a great view of aircraft coming and going from the airport. By far, the quality of the lounges, the art-works, the service and the dining (which throughout the lounges was of a similar proposal and level of quality) meant the Bridge was our favourite lounge, but to be honest, it was difficult to choose a favourite, as each had its merits.
Perfect for travellers running short on time
By far the most conveniently located lounge of all, The Wing, which is also the airport’s largest, is situated just after passport control on entering the departures hall. The lounge which can be accessed from the same level for First Class passengers, or the lower level for business class passengers, is perhaps the older brother of The Bridge, but it also has the same level of service on offer. Situated over two levels, the lounge is large, and feels open to the elements with the large arching canopy of the airport’s terminal still on display, but the openness helps give the lounge passengers the chance to relax and embrace the space on offer.
With a wealth of grey granite, white marble, bamboo and off-white leather, the upper levels can appear cold, and probably best enjoyed in daylight, rather than the sterile airport lighting, but for those looking for something cosier, especially at night, head to the downstairs lounge (whose view isn’t great), with it’s own buffet bar, art gallery, workstations and showers, it’s almost worthy of being its own lounge in its own right. Upstairs though, the myriad of zones, buffet stations, noodle bars, and the most ridiculously long marble bar mean that any passenger can find the perfect spot for themselves to sit, relax and do some last minute emailing before the flight.
It’s fair to say, The Wing serves a good purpose, and is in so many ways, far more superior to most airport lounges out there and its convenience is perfect, situated near the shopping area, and train terminal to take you to most of the gates. Whilst great for business travellers who need some space for a meeting, or who are travelling in a group larger than two, the lounge’s uber-cool sterility, on reflection meant we were more drawn to the other lounges on offer.
Perfect for travellers with a loved one
Noted for it’s position in our top 10 lounges 2012, ‘The Cabin’, which was new at the time, hasn’t even come close to showing its relatively young age. The subterranean-feeling lounge is accessed mid way on the left hand side of the main departure hall, located near the Dragonair lounge, and is accessed by lift or staircase. Once down in this almost secretive getaway, you are greeted by the familiar looking white marble desk and a view of the airport apron. Once in, right takes you to a business lounge, which at night is light dramatically by a blue backlit wall, which is vibrant and energising.
Head left and you will experience the rest of the lounge, a series of spaces situated in a long and thin lounge, connected by a ribbon of lush red thick carpet, and with a seamless view of the aircraft and hills in the background. Inside the lounge is a dining area on the back of lounge, and lounge seating at the front. It’s very dimly lit in here, and almost romantic in nature. Some of the seats by the windows look out and are perfect mini-sofas for snuggling up to a loved one, whilst watching the world go by.
Or if you are a solo traveller, some of the laid back retro-recliner chairs are perfect for sitting with a drink and checking your emails before a flight. We liked the den like nature of the lounge, and it’s layout and design reminds us slightly of the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse in San Francisco. This is definitely the quietest of the lounges, and that may be of appeal to a great many travellers in the rather hectic Hong Kong Airport.
Perfect for those who don’t want a long walk
Another lounge that’s under the main concourse, and situated on the north pier of the airport’s departure hall, the deceptively large lounge was remarkably busy for being so far away from the passport control. The reason for this, is its size and location is perfectly suited for Cathay (and OneWorld) departures headed from the far end of the airport. The lounge, which is split into three clear areas, a champagne bar, a main relaxing lounge and a dining area. Part of the lounge was sectioned off for First Class passengers only.
This lounge offers all the creature comforts of the other lounges, and it’s popularity made it a buzzy atmosphere. Although the ceiling is the same height as the lounge in The Cabin, the larger nature of the lounge makes the ceiling feel a little low, but this does help to make the space a bit more intimate. A lot of the passengers here seemed in fairly large groups when we arrived, perhaps this is a good location to hold meetings, but we saw no more merit to this lounge over the others to support that fact.
To be honest, it’s a lounge that was successful, and whilst we would be happy with any of these lounges for a long period of time, it felt more like an outstation lounge, one that you would see away from it’s home base, and this may be reflected in the fact the newer lounges have upped the ante.
The perfect quick fix-me-up before heading off into the Blade Runner capital of Hong Kong.
The Arrival on the land side of the airport is a small, but perfectly formed lounge which will be the perfect place to have a shower and a quick bite to eat before the long trek into town. The seating area is small but this isn’t a waiting room, the lounge focusses its attention on showers and giving passengers a decent meal to complete the business class experience.
The showers are by far some of the best we’ve had. Hot water is instant and the showers powerful. The shower rooms are also amazingly spacious, giving plenty of space, and meaning we don’t have to do the changing room shuffle to get changed. Once refreshed, heading to the dining table, being presented with a hot food menu, was a surprise, as the buffet bar looked more than ample. The Bento Box we received was tasty and really another mouth watering treat after the excellent breakfast onboard.