Cathay Pacific's business class and first class lounge at Taipei's Taoyuan Airport doesn't merely cater for the airline's guests returning to Hong Kong: it also serves Cathay Pacific passengers flying direct from Taipei to destinations in South Korea and Japan.
Included on that list are the major business hubs of Seoul and Tokyo, joined by Nagoya and Osaka – so wherever you're headed, here's a look inside the Cathay Pacific lounge in Taipei, featuring the brand's signature Noodle Bar, among other amenities.
Location & Impressions
Located after security screening and immigration, head left after the checkpoint and follow the signs for the VIP lounge. It's up one level via escalator.
You'll enter a somewhat-dingy corridor that houses all the lounges in Terminal 1. Cathay Pacific's is the first you'll come across, which is next to the Plaza Premium lounge.
Designed by Studioilse, the London-based studio led by Ilse Crawford, the Cathay Pacific Taipei Lounge was one of the first to receive the refreshed 'home away from home' look.
You're greeted by elegant and warm brown tones, and turning right from reception, you'll uncover one big corridor, with different rooms branching off to the sides.
Directly in front of you, there's a communal area best-suited for families with younger children and those who prefer to socialise.
Moving on, you'll stumble across the popular Noodle Bar and its dining room...
... and then you'll enter the lounge room proper, with an assortment of furniture that wouldn't look out-of-place in an upmarket apartment.
There's seating for 245 passengers, considerably more than when the lounge originally opened. During my mid-morning stay, the lounge never felt too full, even though there were a number of Cathay Pacific flights departing during that time.
Cathay Pacific normally utilises the B-gates in Taipei – a fair walk from the lounge – so allow at least 10 minutes to get there comfortably.
- Business class and first class passengers of Cathay Pacific, Cathay Dragon, Japan Airlines and Malaysia Airlines.
- Marco Polo Club Silver members prior to Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon flights only.
- Marco Polo Club Gold, Diamond, Diamond Plus and Diamond Invitation guests plus Cathay Pacific Cargo Clan Elite members prior to flights with all of the airlines above.
- Qantas Gold, Platinum, Platinum One and Chairman's Lounge members prior to all Oneworld flights.
- Other Oneworld Sapphire and Oneworld Emerald cardholders travelling onwards with a Oneworld airline.
Marco Polo Club members can also earn lounge passes for one-off access in the case of Green members, to bring in a guest (Silver members) or to bring in extra guests or to share with friends and family travelling solo (Gold and Diamond members).
That said, Malaysia Airlines directs its passengers to the China Airlines lounge in the same terminal by default – as opposed to the Cathay Pacific lounge – as Cathay may restrict access to partner airline passengers during peak periods.
Japan Airlines, Cathay's other Oneworld alliance partner in Taipei, also departs from Terminal 2 and offers its own lounge to passengers there, so while the Cathay Pacific lounge may be useful for passengers in transit, and there's a free airside train between Terminals 1 and 2 in Taipei, most JAL flyers would simply head to the JAL lounge.
There's no hot food buffet in this lounge. Instead, the star of the show is the Noodle Bar, which offers made-to-order dishes. Simply place your order from the menu, and they'll give you a buzzer to let you know when it's ready to collect.
Everything comes in manageable bite-size servings, so you can sample multiple delicacies during your stay or preserve some of your appetite for the flight ahead.
I started off with some Dan Dan noodles, which came in a delightful peanut broth, but with none of the heat usually associated with this Sichuan dish (you can add your own spices afterwards).
Later on, I sampled the Taiwanese beef noodle soup, which was fragrant, and two different types of bao.
The average wait time for each order was only a few minutes.
There's also a small cold buffet near the entrance of the lounge, which features some salads...
... but more interestingly, an assortment of chilled Asian desserts, including puddings, puffs and mochi.
There are a few self-serve areas for drinks dotted throughout.
At the far end of the lounge, you'll find a tended bar with an impressive list of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
Throughout my stay, I tried a bubble milk tea, which was comparable to those I tried in Taipei's night markets...
... as well as a 'Bartender Special', which after quizzing me about my tastes, ended up similar to a refreshing mojito.
There are plenty of places to perch if you need to puff up your productivity.
The designated work area provides eight of Cathay Pacific's 'Solo Chairs', which come outfitted with a lamp, coat hook, power outlet and side table.
The table is wide enough for a laptop or some food and drinks, but probably not both. This part of the lounge remained fairly quiet.
If you need a computer or printing facilities, near the reception is 'The Bureau' where you'll find Mac desktop computers that can also run Windows, as well as a dedicated printer for each workstation.
If you'd rather work in the 'living room' area of the lounge, that's fine too. There are plenty of power outlets throughout, including at these lamps in a pull-out drawer.
WiFi was reasonably zippy during my stay, at 50 Mbps up and down.
Hopefully, you've got time to relax. The far end of the lounge, where the bar is located, is the best place to grab a drink and put your feet up – figurately speaking!
There are plenty of seating options here, so take your pick.
Reading material is never far away, which includes magazines and newspapers in both Chinese and English.
Being a lounge for relatively short and corporate-heavy flights, there aren't any nap areas or shower facilities here. The bathrooms are well-fitted out and provide Aēsop amenities.
Cathay Pacific has a great reputation with its new batch of lounges worldwide, and the Taipei lounge is no exception. Its design is a reflection of Cathay Pacific's flagship The Pier lounge in Hong Kong, resulting in a quiet, elegant space.
The lack of shower facilities is disappointing but also understandable, given the nature of Cathay Pacific flights departing from Taipei, and is pretty much the only negative for a business class lounge that is otherwise a standout in every measure.
Brandon Loo travelled to Taipei at his own expense using frequent flyer points.