Not every airport, nor every traveller, needs an arrivals lounge.
But for those times when I'm flying into Hong Kong on Cathay's CX138 from Sydney – which arrives at the crispy time of 5am, almost an hour before the HK's Airport Express makes its first dash to the city – The Arrival lounge is a perfect for a short stop-over before the day begins.
And as with any early morning arrival there's a good chance you won't be able to check straight into your hotel. So the lounge is perfect for freshening up (or just waking up) with a shower, enjoying a light meal and catching up with the news and email before your day really begins.
Location & Impressions
The Arrival lounge is easy to miss but worth the effort to find.
Make your way to the centre of the airport and follow the signs to Terminal 2.
You’ll soon be heading down a flight of escalators and into a passageway beneath the Airport Express station. The Arrival lounge is tucked away along to your right (across from the pay-per-visit Premium Lounge on the left).
The lounge is quite small - the dining area has just four tables tables with total seating for up to eight people, although there's always seating available at the long marble bench.
But once inside you’ll appreciate the cosy clubby feel of this private haven.
The lounge is open from 5am to midnight and due to its limited space, access is tightly limited to avoid overcrowding.
You’ll need to have flown in on a Cathay Pacific or Dragonair flight (Qantas flights don't qualify), in business class or first class, or hold oneworld Emerald status (which includes Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum).
Despite being such a small space The Arrival staff are relatively high in number, and also highly attentive – they’ll quickly stow your luggage out of the way and set you up with a drink and the daily menu.
There’s a good selection of freshly prepared light and medium Asian and western dishes on the menu.
These really hit the spot: sometimes all you want is wonton noodle soup or a small bento box as a morning pick-me-up and to stop your stomach rumbling before you head into town.
Also on offer is the usual selection of fruits, salads, soup, sandwiches, cookies plus hot and cold drinks (but no alcohol).
Need to hit the Net? There’s free wi-fi for your laptop, three Windows desktop PCs in their own cubicles, three iMacs on a tall bench and a laser printer.
The Arrival Lounge has eight combo bathroom-shower stalls with cleanser, moisturiser plus basic toiletries.
A small lounge area stocks the latest newspapers and a small selection of magazines, with CNN piped through a flat-screen TV.