UPDATE | Cathay Pacific's The Pier First Class lounge will re-open on June 19 2015 – click here for full details
PREVIOUS | Cathay Pacific has a full roster of lounges lined up for 2015 – with new and refreshed lounges in Manila, Bangkok, Taipei and Vancouver on the cards – but the high point will be the mid-year re-opening of The Pier First Class at Hong Kong.
“The Pier hasn’t been renovated in the 12 years since it opened” says Toby Smith, Cathay Pacific’s General Manager Product (below), but he's confident the tired old bunker can be catapulted to new heights of glory.
Construction on The Pier First Class “should finish in late May 2015”, Smith tells Australian Business Traveller, with an official ribbon-cutting in June.
Travellers will discover a warmly welcoming lounge following the ‘home away from home’ design cues of Cathay’s Haneda Airport lounge (below), but with several new elements befitting the lounge’s flagship status.
Naturally enough, The Pier First Class will feature its own version of Cathay’s iconic Noodle Bar, along with an a la carte restaurant and what Smith calls a “grab-and-go area for travellers in a hurry.”
Smith also reveals The Pier will have “a full bar, with a lovely semi-circular design.”
These fully-tended drinks bars will also appear in other Cathay Pacific lounges, “space permitting,” Smith says.
“In a similar way to The Noodle Bar it will offer passengers some interaction along with flexibility. If they just want to grab a drink they can do so, but they can also sit at a bar and engage in conversation… again, it’s about adding a more personal touch.”
Unique to The Pier First Class will be private daybeds or ‘nap nooks’ with raised cushions which will overlook the runway.
“Sleep is a pretty basic human need” explains Ilse Crawford, who heads London-based StudioIlse and has been entrusted with Cathay Pacific’s lounge design portfolio.
“And we thought, if you have the luxury of space – which you do in the First Class lounge – then why not create somewhere where you can actually have a really lovely sleep between flights?” Crawford tells Australian Business Traveller.
The Pier First Class will also have what Ilse Crawford described to Australian Business Traveller as a ‘well-being area’, although this won’t feature a day spa.
“This is one of those things that looks great but the reality is that there’s three therapists, so only three people can get a treatment and they’re probably booked up a month in advance."
What The Pier will have, Crawford promises, are “amazing showers.”
We know what you’re thinking – how can a shower be ‘amazing’?
“By thinking about how people really use them and what they do, (you can) make the ordinary extraordinary," she responds.
Travellers arrive at the lounge tired and sometimes stressed, Crawford says, a state not helped when "you’re struggling to find the (shower) switch, you don’t got enough space to hang your stuff."
“So if you find yourself in an environment where somebody’s really anticipated your needs and thought about them, to me that’s amazing.”
Bathrooms appear to be a hot topic for Crawford, who in an interview with The Wall Street Journal described the washrooms in airports and offices as her "design pet peeve."
"Doesn’t it seem that these places, with bad lighting, ugly materials and nowhere to put your stuff, are given too little thought?"
In the same article Crawford cited the work of set designer Ken Adams in early James Bond films as "inspiring interiors", so perhaps The Pier will be part classy airport lounge, part evil villian's underground lair... we'll find out in June!
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