Cathay Pacific will reveal a five-star makeover for the first class section of The Wing lounge at Hong Kong airport when the flagship lounge re-opens in February next year.
New features will include a champagne bar and cocktail bar overlooking the airport’s atrium and with views to the runways.
Toby Smith, Cathay’s General Manager, Product, tells Australian Business Traveller the first class lounge is scheduled to make its debut in early February, ahead of Chinese New Year (which next year falls on February 10), after being closed for the better part of this year.
“There are a couple of new elements, which we’re very happy with and very excited by” Smith says.
The Haven restaurant has been enlarged and will have “more a la carte availability rather than a high-end buffet” Smith explains, “certainly a much higher standard of food and beverage than in the old one.”
Another star feature of The Wing First Class lounge, the private cabana rooms, have been renovated, although AusBT understands that the under-used library area has been axed, with Smith admitting that “it wasn’t a particularly good use of space.”
A 21 year veteran with Cathay and its parent company Swire, Smith was appointed as Cathay Pacific’s product guru in August this year, taking over from Alex McGowan, who is now Cathay’s General Manager for Sales and Distribution.
(That’s a step sideways on the corporate structure, but AusBT’s take is that the talented McGowan is being groomed for greater things in CX.)
Next on Smith’s lounge to-do list is a makeover for The Pier and Dragonair’s Gate 16 lounge, of which Smith says “we’re doing a refresh next year."
But the bigger project is the opening of all-new Cathay Pacific lounge at Hong Kong airport, which Australian Business Traveller first reported in July 2011.
“Those plans are now well-advanced and we’re now working with our design consultants to, I suppose, determine exactly what environment atmosphere we want to create in the new lounge” Smith says.
“Hong Kong Airport is getting pretty well utilized in terms of the available space (but) we think we’ve got a great space for the new lounge. It really also depends on where we can align it with our gates because the airport is quite large and the gates are quite widespread.”
“There’s a big distance between Gates 1 to 4 (The Wing) and 67 down to 80 (The Pier) so it makes a lot of sense to have lounges at either extremity” Smith explains.
“The Cabin works well for those gates around 23 to 30 as well as providing a slightly different lounge experience in terms of the environment.”
“We’re very happy with that, rather than saying 'Let’s have one monster lounge!' which could become a bit impersonal. It also gives us the flexibility to do things a little bit differently in each lounge."
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About David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.