Given that it’s the home airport of Cathay Pacific and an important hub for parent company oneworld, it comes as no surprise that Hong Kong International houses multiple outstanding lounges for passengers traversing the globe. Spread throughout one of the largest air travel terminals in the world (the largest when it opened in 1998) are a total of seven Cathay Pacific lounges: two first class, four business and one specifically for arrivals. Regardless of which class of service you’ve chosen for your trip, what part of the terminal your flight is departing from or your oneworld status, each lounge has been imbued with its own attractive qualities so you won’t find yourself feeling underwhelmed if you’re not posted up at the recently renovated first class lounge The Wing or the expansive 35,585-square-foot business class section of The Pier.
Take The Bridge for example, one of Cathay’s newer lounges. Designed by London-based firm Foster + Partners, the space is divided into north and south wings that each extend from a central welcome area. With plenty of natural light and warm tones throughout, The Bridge offers respite from the cold, stark environments that dominate the world of air travel. Brass and oak accents, wood floors, and bronze sculptures by Charlotte Mayer all contribute to the residential feeling of the lounge. Where The Wing feels very much like a public space trying to be exclusive, The Bridge feels understated and personal.
With The Bridge, the airline incorporates multiple zones into a single larger lounge rather than have separate lounges. This translates to an overall improved lounge experience for business and first class passengers alike. At one end, travelers will find the all-important bar, buffet and baked goods. The bar is a second iteration of Cathay’s iconic Long Bar found in the The Wing, and offers a great view of the goings-on of the tarmac. Adjacent to the Long Bar there’s a television lounge, general seating and (if you need a little more privacy) Cathay’s signature, curved Solus Chairs—also designed by Foster + Partners. These chairs feature an integrated power supply and small table surface. At the south end there are computer workstations, a second buffet (called The Bistro) and The Coffee Loft which offers fresh baked goods and various coffee options.
The Pier is perhaps the most impressive of the airline’s lounges at Hong Kong International. Comprised of two separate areas, The Pier is a relatively small first class section that carries over many of the themes from The Bridge—offering up an aesthetic that’s enticing and comfortable, thanks to plants, natural materials, mellow lighting and soft acoustics.
In the first class section of The Pier, the focus on relaxation and wellbeing is utmost. There are eight private day suites, 14 shower rooms (complete with Aesop products) and three private booths where travelers can book one of three complimentary 15-minute revitalizing treatments. From the Traveller Eye Revitalizer treatment to massages, the options are short but luxurious.
After a treatment, it’s all too easy to sink into a couch in The Library, but the noodle bar and tea house in the business class section of The Pier will also beckon. Having first installed a noodle bar at Cathay Pacific’s lounge at Tokyo Haneda Airport, Studioilse thought it only appropriate that Cathay’s largest lounge anywhere in the world should have one as well. While enjoying fresh noodles here, it’s very easy to forget you’re in a busy airport and not on a side street on Hong Kong Island. This state of mind is further amplified in the room next door, where an authentic tea house offers exclusive teas from all around Asia. At the end of the lounge lies a space for meditation, stretching and yoga that is appropriately dubbed The Sanctuary.
Cathay took many of The Pier’s standout elements and condensed them into their latest lounge offering: The Deck. Making the most of the 8,858 square feet it occupies, The Pier boasts seating for 180 people, a mini version of the signature noodle bar, eight rainfall shower suites and the same contemporary living room styling of The Library. However this wouldn’t be a Cathay Pacific lounge if it didn’t have one unique feature and in this case it is The Terrace, an open-ceiling balcony offering panoramic views of the northern runway, apron and taxiways.
The Deck is a microcosm of what Cathay Pacific’s overall mission: create travel experiences that allow people to relax and appreciate the journey a little more. With its many lounges and options, the airline is offering environments people actually want to be in. No small feat when it comes to airports.
Images by Andrew Maness