Thai Airways' Royal Orchid first and business class lounges in Hong Kong -- probably the best Star Alliance lounge options in the airport -- have been upgraded.
New sofas, Italian coffee makers, authentic Thai food, upmarket ice cream, and an expanded salad bar are among the new offerings.
The first class section of the lounge gets a Koro espresso machine for coffee, plus Häagen-Dazs ice cream, while the business class section gets a slightly more industrial Korinto coffee machine with Swiss Dreyer ice cream.
72 new sofas have been added in as well, which is a big plus for passengers with longer layovers. The lounge's previous chairs were fine for short visits, but for transits of more than an hour or two there was a distinct lack of comfortable seating for travellers to relax.
But the upgrade to the food in the lounge -- probably its weakest offering -- is the best news for business travellers.
At breakfast time, you'll find new utensils, the new coffee makers and a dessert station in the new self-service food corner.
During the rest of the day, there's a Thai chef preparing the airline's national cuisine. Traveller favourite Tom Kha Kai -- hot coconut soup with chicken -- is available, as is the lounge's signature dish, roasted chicken with papaya salad.
Location and access
The lounge, upstairs near gate 40, is open from 0600 to 2130 .
The lounge is light and airy, making it a good choice if you're crossing many timezones.
It's open to all Star Alliance business class passengers, even if your airline directs you to one of the other alliance lounges (including the United Red Carpet Club or Singapore Airlines Silver Kris Lounge). Star Alliance Gold frequent flyers are allowed in the business class section.
About John Walton
Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.