Cathay Pacific The Pier First Class Lounge, Hong Kong Airport

Review: Cathay Pacific The Pier First Class Lounge, Hong Kong Airport

City:
Hong Kong
Airport:
Hong Kong
Cabin Class:
First
Alliance:
oneworld
Airline:
CX (Cathay Pacific)

location:

dining:

work:

overall:

What's Hot

  • True first class dining
  • Distinct zones for working, relaxing, dining and drinking
  • Complimentary massage services

What's Not

  • We'd like to see more wine selections

X-Factor

  • Eight private Day Suites

Introduction

Although Cathay Pacific doesn't offer first class on flights to Australia, the airline's The Pier First Class Lounge in Hong Kong remains the home of Platinum-grade frequent flyers and those jetting off in style to destinations like London, Paris and New York.

There's everything we'd expect to see in a flagship home hub lounge from top-quality restaurant dining through to bartender service, massage facilities, private shower rooms and even new Day Suites for a snooze in between flights.

Combined, we'd rate this as the world's best first class lounge.

Location & Impressions

Once through security and Hong Kong passport control (or just transit security when connecting between flights), head towards gates 63 and 65 where you'll find the lounge entrance, as a Cathay Pacific check-in agent helpfully highlighted for us:

Keep your eyes peeled for these subtle escalators down to the lounge, which is tucked away below the departure concourse...

... and once inside, there's a 'homely' feel thanks not only to the man-made skylights and overall colour palette but also the separation between the various zones...

... accessed via an end-to-end hallway with bursts of colour – and in particular, greenery – as you walk down it.

Given its location you won't find sky-high ceilings here as you would in The Wing First Class Lounge at the other end of the terminal, but the absence of which didn't detract from the experience.

Access

  • Cathay Pacific and Dragonair first class passengers
  • First class flyers of other Oneworld airlines including American Airlines and British Airways
  • Marco Polo Club Diamond, Diamond Plus and Diamond Invitation frequent flyers
  • Other Oneworld Emerald frequent flyers such as Qantas Platinum (and above) prior to flights with Cathay Pacific, Qantas and other Oneworld airlines

Additionally, Cathay Pacific passengers who arrive in Hong Kong in first class but have an onward flight in Cathay Pacific business class are also invited to visit the first class lounge.

That's most useful when travelling between Australia and Europe as Cathay Pacific tops out at business class on its Australian flights, but offers first class to other destinations.

Dining

Make a right after entering and follow the walkway to uncover the dining room, complete with an array of tables split between several bays for use at peak times...

... along with a tended bar serving up a variety of cocktails, spirits, beers, tea and espresso coffee plus seven wines including three Champagnes:

On that list: Baron de Rothschild Brut, Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label (our preferred drop) and a Moët & Chandon Rosé Brut which goes perfectly with dessert.

That's a good Champagne selection for a first class lounge, although we'd like to see more variety across the broader wine list which currently offers two whites and two reds.

Whatever your choice, there's full table service available here with printed menus featuring six starters, eight mains, two signature noodles, a chef's special and seven desserts, with the food here very much more 'first class' than 'airport lounge'.

Beginning our meal, we chose the fragrant chicken with Chinese lettuce and a peanut chilli dressing which gave the dish a nice kick without being overpowering...

... followed by Dan Dan Mien (Shanghainese-style noodles in a spicy hot peanut sauce) – a favourite of ours when visiting China and which didn't disappoint...

... and the scrumptious and artfully-presented toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream and berries to finish, which a diner nearby noticed, commented on and then ordered two for themselves:

Just note that the waiters here respond faster to a raised hand or a quick wave, rather than eye contact as is common back in Australia.

Making a quick visit without time for a proper meal? Turn left instead of right at the entrance and you'll find a small buffet room...

... easy to overlook unless you know it's there, but filled with fruits, sweets and the odd bite...

... plus a Vodka cranberry station with assembly instructions if just you can't work it out yourself:

Walk past that room and you'll uncover another tended bar with its own drinks menu to match the dining room...

... with the staff capably mixing together an Espresso Martini for us – not found on the bar's regular cocktail list, but in the standard repertoire of most bartenders...

... and aside from the lack of a traditional coffee bean garnish, tasted just as expected.

Work

Working business travellers aren't forgotten here with a dedicated productivity zone in The Bureau...

... featuring desks with computers and laptop space that function as your private office at the airport...

... while more casual tasks can be completed in comfortable seats around the lounge, with handy AC and USB power ports disguised with the drawers of the lamp tables nearby:(You'll find the same design in Cathay Pacific's new Manila lounge too, pictured.)

Wireless Internet speeds came in at 2.46Mbps for downloads and 2.12Mbps for uploads – not lightning-fast for video streaming or large file transfers, but still more than usable for web browsing and email tasks.

Relax

There's really no 'wrong' area to relax here with any number of comfy seats found over by the windows...

... a library zone in the centre of the lounge with an array of reading material and its own small seating area...(There's a bit of foot traffic here, so quieter seats can be found elsewhere...)

... along with circular zones for larger groups and families, or for meeting new people:

But the highlights here are certainly the eight Day Suites which you can use to nap or simply relax and watch the world fly by...

... complimentary foot or neck and shoulder massages given on a first-come, first-served basis...

... and 14 well-appointed shower suites with brass fittings, supplied amenities and also private bathroom facilities:

Also read: Inside Cathay Pacific's first class Day Suites

All things considered, this now rates as one of our favourite first class lounges anywhere in the world – it's cosy but not crowded, (colour) warm but not dark and dreary and with food you'd expect of a high quality restaurant rather than an airport terminal.

Mix in the Day Suites and complimentary massage services and you've got yourself a real winner, but during peak times, just remember to reserve that Day Suite or a spa appointment time as soon as you arrive to avoid any disappointment.

For a further look through Cathay Pacific's The Pier First Class Lounge, sit back and watch this one-minute video:

Also read: Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge review

Chris Chamberlin travelled to Hong Kong as a guest of Cathay Pacific.

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT

Chris Chamberlin
Australian Business Traveller journalist Chris Chamberlin lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!
 

7 Comments

  • Keen Poon

    Keen

    11 Oct, 2016 11:44 am

    The lounge is one of the best I've been to; however, I don't think the food is deserving of 5 stars as I think it is lacking in refinement like what is being offered the Melbourne/Sydney Qantas First. Massage treatments are no where near as good either.
    No member give thanks

  • Packetman21

    Packetman21

    13 Oct, 2016 10:05 am

    Agreed, I think the older Qantas First Class lounges are still leaps ahead.
    No member give thanks

  • TheRealBabushka

    TheRealBabushka

    19 Oct, 2016 04:19 pm

    Agreed. The quality, variety and taste of offerings at the Qantas First lounge is much better.

    CX needs to stop trying too hard and serve soulful food. I don't get a sense that they know who they are by the food they serve.

    No member give thanks

  • tangatalaga

    tangatalaga

    19 Oct, 2016 04:08 pm

    The lounge is very good, although I agree that the food is not quite what it used to be in the buffet area. I spent some four hours there a few months ago and the buffet was still the breakfast items at 1700 that were there at 1400! And not the selection
    No member give thanks

  • Ian_from_HKG

    Ian_from_HKG

    20 Oct, 2016 04:44 pm

    I think you missed a couple of access options.
    Access should be available to any other oneworld incoming first class passenger connecting to an onward oneworld flight - regardless of whether they are arriving/departing on CX/KA and regardless of the class of the onward flight
    Oh, and the first letter of "oneworld" shouldn't be capitalised ;-)

    Edited for length.
    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    20 Oct, 2016 04:59 pm

    We included Oneworld first class in the access list, and didn't specify that this was only available on a departing flight as your post implies, or that it is unavailable when in transit.

    (We simply compile a list of who is eligible for access, while leaving the fine print and other things like guests and so forth for the airline and alliance to communicate.)

    We did, however, choose to highlight a common scenario that Australian travellers face: being able to fly in first class and arriving into Hong Kong from a first class flight, but then being constrained to business class on flights between Hong Kong and Australia where first class isn't offered.

    As a proper noun, Oneworld is capitalised in all of our stories as per grammar guidelines and 'house style'. We don't cater our text to brand whims. ;)

    No member give thanks

  • Patrick

    x2921294h

    7 Nov, 2016 05:23 am

    Did anybody notice the change from The Peninsula to Plaza Premium at Cathay's First Lounges? Has quality dropped?
    No member give thanks

  • spook156243

    spook156243

    28 Feb, 2017 02:04 am

    Visited today and noticed the drop in service and F&B.  The lounge itself is still beautiful but nobody came to welcome us nor offer a drink - you have to go to the bar yourself.  Also the restaurant food can not be compared at all to the offering when The Peninsula group ran it.  But it was the service in the restaurant that disappointed the most.  On our arrival we noticed many people waving madly to get attention.  Our mains arrived before our entrees had been cleared and then we had to join in the mad waving down of absent minded wait staff before we could get dessert.  A great shame that Cathay have let the standard drop so far.
    No member give thanks

  • Ben Shepherd

    BatteryBen

    8 Aug, 2017 02:11 pm

    I agree: one of the best lounges. Passed through last month. My partner was smitten with the 8 Aesop products in the showers (apparently that's a great thing... I just enjoyed the huge shower head). Food might not be quite as good as QIFL @ SYD but the club-like atmosphere of the dining room is lovely. My one peeve was how quickly the staff wanted to move us through the dining meal: we had a 4 hour layover (due to a delay) and wanted to linger over dinner not get moved on through. (And no, it wasn't busy.)
    No member give thanks

  • Serg

    Serg

    20 Aug, 2017 04:00 pm

    "Access:
    ...............

    Additionally, Cathay Pacific passengers who arrive in Hong Kong in first class but have an onward flight in Cathay Pacific business class are also invited to visit the first class lounge."


    And how about pax who arrived in F by CX, but flying to Australia in J on QF metal and with QF ticket?
    No member give thanks

Guest

17 Oct, 2017 10:16 pm

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