Cathay Pacific’s The Pier – the airline’s flagship business class lounge in Hong Kong International Airport – has got to be the one of the most varied airport lounges in the world. Measuring an unbelievable 3,306 square meters and comprising multiple themed zones, The Pier functions more as a destination rather than just a place to rest and grab a quick bite before proceeding to one’s next flight.
While I was transiting in Hong Kong during my trip from Osaka to Singapore, I managed to check out The Pier. I had something like 2 hours of transit time and initially, I thought that was more than enough to have a good grasp of the lounge. By the end of my transit, I felt like I only managed to scratch the surface of what The Pier has to offer. If you are flying from Hong Kong in Cathay Pacific business class, I strongly suggest coming at least 3 hours before your flight in order to fully enjoy this exceptional lounge.
The Pier Business Class Lounge is located near Gate 65. If you are flying regionally, you might have to walk a bit to get here. The Wing, another Cathay Pacific lounge located near Gate 1, is nearer for flights to Southeast Asia, Japan, Taiwan, etc but I assure you the walk to The Pier is definitely worth it.
The following passengers get to have access at The Pier as well as other Cathay Pacific business class lounges in Hong Kong International Airport:
- Cathay Pacific business class passengers
- Marco Polo Club Silver, Gold and Diamond members
- Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald members
- Marco Polo Club members who don’t fall in the above tiers and use their Asiamiles to redeem for lounge access
I transited in Hong Kong International Airport during Diwali and it was a public holiday across several Asian countries. As such, much of the outer areas of the lounge was packed and I wasn’t able to take good photos as I had hoped. Upon entering The Pier, the first zone one encounters is the welcoming Food Hall. Think of it as a contemporary cafe filled with western dishes such as pizza, salads, cold cuts, cakes and sandwiches. There is even a coffee cart where an experienced barista whips up specialty coffee.
This is followed by the bar area. In terms of seating, this is where you’ll find the plushest furnishings. Cathay Pacific made a deliberate effort in making this section look like a classy apartment. Passengers can come here to have a drink in style while relaxing on a piece of designer furniture. One thing to note about this lounge overall is the presence of a multitude of seating options ranging from bar stools to armchairs and even more intimate booth-style arrangements.
If food is what you are after, I wholeheartedly recommend prioritizing tummy space for what’s on offer at the next zone – the Noodle Bar. Here, you’ll find a couple of Cantonese specialties including the ubiquitous dimsum as well as many types of noodles. While the Wanton Noodles beckoned, I chose to have Dan Dan Noodles instead (a dish originating from Shanghai). One bite at the nutty broth and I was hooked. I certainly didn’t expect something so delicious from a business class airport lounge but I simply have to say, this was the best food I’ve had in an airport lounge if taste is any measure. You might not get any lobsters here – this is not a first class lounge – but this was the yummiest assortment of dishes by far.
In this section, you’ll find more proper dining tables including a number of private booths for couples and families to gather. This is also a relatively busy area of the lounge especially during peak hours so if you prefer silence, you might wish to bring your food elsewhere.
One surprisingly quiet area is the zone next to the Noodle Bar – the Teahouse. Functioning much more than one of the usual Cantonese teahouses, this zone emphasizes tea appreciation and passengers can sample a wide variety of sensory and artisanal teas from Jing. The teas can even be infused with honey or spices for an extra oomph.
Walk past the Teahouse and you’ll find yourself at the shower reception of The Pier. While most lounges see their showers as mere utilitarian affairs, The Pier’s looks like it came straight out of a spa. If you ever find yourself having to wait – there are 14 showers here after all – you can sit in one of the inviting couches with a book in tow.
The shower rooms themselves look more in keeping with those in other airport lounges I have been. However, I thought the toiletries brand being used by Cathay Pacific at The Pier Business Lounge was notable. They use Aesop products – one of the more upmarket toiletry brands out there.
Finally, for those looking to get some shut-eye, they can stay at the Relaxation Zone which is at the far end of the highly elongated lounge.The zen-inspired area has a number of wide armchairs with a great recline plus a footstool with generous size. This part of the lounge is understandably rather dark. At the time of my visit, it was hardly being used although I could imagine it getting busy late at night.
This is one rare instance where I actually wished I had a longer transit time. Needless to say, this lounge is impressive. In total, I had about 90 minutes to spend at The Pier Business Class Lounge which was definitely not enough. In that span of time, I was only able to grab a few bites at the noodle bar and have myself a cup of coffee. If time permitted, I would have loved to sample the specialty teas and perhaps grab a drink from the bar. But there’s always next time!