We were delighted this month to be invited to experience Cathay’s latest airside lounge, situated in Tokyo Haneda, which we reported on late last year. Situated airside in Tokyo Haneda’s International Terminal, the brand new space, on the very highest passenger floor commands unparalleled views of not just Haneda Airport, but Tokyo’s dramatic and iconic skyline.
On entering the lounge it is obvious to see a dramatic change in direction for Cathay’s lounges, in part due to the introduction of Studioisle’s interior design signature style. It’s also very evident how large the lounge is considering its schedule operated from Tokyo’s more appealing of airports. With only three flights a day, there is no problem finding a space to claim as your own. Measuring in at 990 square metres, it is one of the largest Cathay Pacific lounges outside Hong Kong, with capacity for 189 people including a standing occasional bar area that can cater for approximately 40 people.
The general impression of the lounge is that of space, light, and warmth. Split into a variety of areas with differing personalities, there is a real feel of a grown-up ‘Soho House’ vibe to the space. Inside the lounge is a sultry bar area, a large comfortable relaxing area, a dining environment and centrally located a stand-up bar and bistro area for a quicker pop-in and out experience. Helping tie the whole space together are key retro-inspired furniture pieces effortlessly mixing with the warm and rich finishes and textures employed throughout the lounge.
Supporting the lounges main areas is both a well appointed business centre featuring macs and printers, as well as washrooms that unfortunately don’t feature showers (although considering the usual 3-4 hour flight to Hong Kong, there is probably little need for a shower – and those that need them can head downstairs to the newly opened JAL lounge, accessible to fliers too)
In our recent conversation with Toby Smith, head of product for Cathay Pacific, we learnt about the introduction of a new Iconic noodle bar installation, with more emphasis on the interaction between chefs and passengers – one of the key changes in the new lounge concepts. The result is brilliant, with glossy tiles framing a large and expansive counter, where staff take orders and prepare a wide array of dishes including Dan Dan noodles and fresh Japanese inspired noodle dishes.
The main lounge area is the best place if you have some time on your hands, with copious comfortable seats and the best views of the apron and major runways at Haneda.
The lounge, which is a very impressive step in the right direction for the carrier, showcases understated and considered design details. We love the designer side tables that decorate the lounge, each with pull out drawer with charging points, and zero cables or wires anywhere to be seen. In fact, wherever you sit, there are bound to be USB and power sockets within arms reach.
Food is of good quality in the lounge, with a variety of options, including a bistro style counter, served by lounge staff, the main noodle bar, but also the very beautiful cocktail bar, hidden behind cherry wood panels, and (perhaps ironically) situated next to the business centre.
Speaking with the team in the lounge, we found out the lounge really comes into its own at night, and we can understand that. The lounge has a lot of atmospheric lights, that will really set the scene for a really sexy and intimate lounge. It’s just a shame that there’s only one flight in the evening and operated by Cathay’s sister airline Dragonair. Being an A320 too, it has just a small business class cabin, meaning the lounge is virtually empty, giving you even more space to stretch out. That said, even on our midday flight on a high-density premium cabin 747, the lounge still felt spacious, but with a great vibe from the comings and goings of the passengers.
Bravo Cathay, you’ve set the benchmark very high for your future lounges, and have certainly conquered what used to be a very corporate and vacuous experience, adding warmth, design appeal and individuality, things that all lounges work hard to achieve. You may very well see one of us propping up the bar on a regular basis, and if you aren’t headed to Tokyo anytime soon, Manila, Bangkok, London and even Hong Kong’s new First Class lounge will give you a very similar aesthetic in the very near future – or just immerse yourself in our picture gallery below. Don’t forget to stay tuned to TheDesignAir for the latest Cathay Pacific Lounge openings.
The Big Picture