Welcome to the airport lounge that’s been designed to feel like anything but.
Cathay Pacific has always been a leader when it comes to airline comforts. Back in the ancient 70s they were one of the first to introduce computerised check-ins, followed by the early adoption in-seat choose-your-own-adventure video screens in the 90s.
If you can recall the days of sharing a single screen per 100 passengers then you’ll know how truly revelatory this little innovation was.
But while other airlines have recently banked on big-budget in-air apartments, Cathay has set its sights a little closer to home by upping the ante with The Pier, part of their flagship lounge in Hong Kong.
More like a luxury hotel than a glorified waiting room, the airline has made clever use of their 2061 square metre space near gate 63 at Hong Kong International, adding complimentary massages, 8 day bed suites, and 14 showers, along with a chef prepared a la carte menu.
It’s not just the added extras that make this VIP haven so special. Clever design by Isle Crawford from London’s Studioilse means that as soon as guests enter they immediately feel relaxed. An abundance of plants, low lighting and rich timber joinery helps with this but Crawford also cleverly managed to blend contemporary asian design into the mix.
The result is much like Hong Kong, a blend of east meets west in all the right ways. It’s also no coincidence that the rooms even smell luxurious, with the airline commissioning a signature scent of bamboo, lavender, green tea and jasmine.
Anyone who’s found themselves at the mercy of a long lay-over in a hub city will know the pains of trying to catch a few z’s in an airport armchair (basically impossible). We’re here to say that it seems Cathay understands your plight and has gone to great efforts to cater to this crowd with their 8 day suites.
Behind the heavy curtains, guests can opt to slip off their shoes and lie back, watching the planes take off in complete privacy. Or dim the lights, pull the curtain down and completely zone out until it’s time to board.
While Cathay Pacific prides itself on speedy check-ins and super streamlined boarding, at The Pier you’re encouraged to really take things slow. Arriving 3 or 4 hours before your flight would’ve been unfathomable before The Pier but we guarantee you’ll well and truly want to revel, cocktail in hand, taste testing your way around The Pantry. The buffet-style smorgasbord features grab-and-go treats ranging from breakfast classics to all-day sandwich and burger favourites.
By far the real star of the show is The Dining Room, a fairly unassuming name for what is essentially a five-star fine-dining experience, catered and run by the renowned Peninsula Hotels Group.
Great pains have been taken to remove diners from anything that screams airport. While you can stare outside at the planes taking off, clever use of blinds, wooden wall panelling and a cosy booth-style seating plan make you feel like if you squint you MIGHT be at any one of Hong Kong island’s prominent eateries. It’s so un-airport, we guarantee first-timers might feel slightly discombobulated at the option to dine on smoked duck breast with endive, baby spinach, walnuts and citrus dressing. Or, glazed pork neck with rice with egg and kale, topped with the choice between a glass of the Chateau la Bourgette 2008 or the Louis Michel and Fils Chablis 2012.
It’s almost enough to have you begging for a flight delay.
Available to First class passengers, Diamond Marco Polo Club members and Emerald Oneworld alliance members. Head to gate 63 at Hong Kong International Airport.