One of my favorite aspects of traveling in premium cabins when I fly actually happens before I ever board a plane – the airline lounges. Relaxing in a peaceful environment, enjoying a snack or just checking email in privacy – these are all reasons to love spending time in any airline’s lounge. But not all lounges are made the same and vary widely from just OK to over-the-top experiences that make them destinations in their own right. As one of the world’s great premium airlines, Cathay Pacific has created a wonderful group of lounges in its hub airport of Hong Kong. Instead of just one, large lounge as so many airlines use, in Hong Kong Cathay Pacific has created several world-class lounges servicing different areas of the airport, making sure passengers can enjoy a high level of comfort and relaxation before their flight without racing to get to their gates in time. Over the last few years I’ve had the chance to spend time in many of the Cathay Pacific lounges, and rather than just write a description of each one I thought I’d share a few of the overarching characteristics that make them all fantastic places to decompress and provide yet another reason to love flying with Cathay Pacific Airways.
My most recent trip to Hong Kong and China was in cooperation with Cathay Pacific Airways who sponsored my trip as part of the #MyChinaExperience campaign to show how I travel to and around both Hong Kong and China.
The Wing, The Pier, The Bridge, The Cabin, The Arrival; at first I thought they were secret Dharma Initiative stations from “Lost”, but in reality they’re the Cathay Pacific lounges in Hong Kong International Airport. While many airlines only have one amazing lounge at their hub airport, Cathay Pacific has diversified in order to better meet the needs of their premium travelers. Hong Kong International Airport is a large place, and by spreading out the lounges Cathay Pacific guarantees their guests the comfort of these luxurious lounges no matter where in the airport their gate may be located.
This is one of the areas where the Cathay Pacific lounges truly excel and set themselves apart from many others around the world. Just as food is, I think, at the core of the Hong Kong travel experience, so it is with Cathay Pacific and their lounges all demonstrate this commitment to making sure that we’re all well fed as we travel the world. One of my first introductions to this outstanding culinary tradition was in the Business Class side of the Wing lounge, located near the security checkpoint as you enter the airport. Snacks are always available of course, but there’s also a dedicated coffee bar with freshly made pastries – a personal favorite. The real star though is the restaurant-style Noodle Bar where you can order up freshly made bowls of dan dan noodles or my choice, Hong Kong’s iconic BBQ pork buns. On the First Class side of The Wing is something truly extraordinary, a full restaurant. Not something that sort of looks like a restaurant but is really just a seating area, but a full-fledged, sit-down restaurant with menus, servers and everything else you would expect. The Haven Restaurant offers an a la carte menu, including wine pairing, that changes weekly. Western and Asian dishes are featured and there’s also a selection of traditional Hong Kong dim sum and desserts to add to your dining experience. It’s truly extraordinary and sets this lounge apart. These are but a couple of examples of the great food found throughout all of the Cathay Pacific lounges in Hong Kong.
I don’t think anyone would deny the fact that the trip to Hong Kong from the US, particularly the East Coast, is a long journey. Thankfully Cathay Pacific’s amazing Business Class helped make that a comfortable and even fun experience for me, but upon arriving into Hong Kong I was thankful to have a couple of hours before my next flight to take advantage of some of the services available in the lounges. I made a direct line once again for the Wing Lounge where an attendant helped me into one of the private shower suites in the lounge. There is nothing more restorative than a hot shower and the ability to get clean, change clothes and just feel more human is a tremendous luxury in its own right. That’s one of the major perks for me found in the Cathay Pacific lounges, but of course it’s only the beginning.
Each lounge offers plenty of food and drink choices, bars and seating areas with great views, high-speed Wi-Fi access, plenty of staff members available to help with whatever needs you might have, luggage storage areas, showers, resting areas and the list goes on. The Cathay Pacific lounges have everything you could possibly need as you travel the world. For me, they’re all wonderful havens; places to set down my bag and gather my thoughts before starting the next great adventure.
First Class Lounges
I’ve mentioned a few of the perks available in the First Class lounges, but they’re so remarkable I wanted to devote a little more attention to them. I spent the most time in the Wing First Class Lounge, found immediately after you pass through security. Right away I felt my blood pressure drop as I walked in. The space is elegantly designed, luxurious but not fussy with colors and fabrics all meant to put stressed out travelers at ease. The exclusive Champagne bar was the first thing I noticed, a specially created feature with 6-8 different Champagnes offered – the perfect way to welcome guests to the First Class experience. Showers and even private Cabanas are also available here, giving passengers the ultimate in pampering after a long flight. The Cabanas are a quiet, private sanctuary with bath, rain shower, day bed and even working space. It doesn’t get more luxurious than that. The Haven Restaurant is dedicated to the First Class lounge and offers three different meals a day, with individual and specialized service. There’s also a dedicated bar area and even snack area, with pastries, small bites and light meals offered throughout the day. Most importantly, there is a lot of space. I went through the lounge several times and never once was it ever close to being at capacity. The result is a quiet, reflective space that feels exclusive because, well, it is.
Overall, the Cathay Pacific lounges in Hong Kong International Airport are special places. I love the fact that Cathay has 6 different lounges found throughout the airport. Too many other airlines only focus on one impressive lounge for all premium travelers, the result of which is a crowded space with diluted amenities. Since Cathay Pacific has so many options, it is rare to feel like “just another number,” and instead the service feels personalized and special. Ultimately that’s what we look for in premium travel, to be pampered for sure, but also to be recognized. That goes a long way and it’s this one-on-one service where Cathay Pacific excels.