When was the last time you flew and thought to yourself, “I would actually love to have a long layover at the airport?”. The answer is likely to be, never, but that’s probably because you haven’t experienced Cathay Pacific’s amazing First Class Lounge, The Pier, at Hong Kong International Airport. The Pier offers its travellers the finest unwinding experience and leaves you as ready as you will ever be for your journey in the sky.
The Pier, First
Situated away from the T1 entrance, The Pier is worlds away from the cold modernist setting of Hong Kong International Airport. I took the escalator down to the reception and was immediately greeted with warm and friendly faces at the front desk. The fresh notes of lavender and mandarin scent in the air helped me to relax while I produced my ticket for validation.
I was then ushered to a long marble-lined atrium, a corridor that connected all the parts of the lounge. The luminous ceiling lent it the appearance of being lit up from the sky, even though it was beneath the ground. Furnished with artful sculptural benches and brassware, the place exuded warmth and understated luxury.
Feeling rather hungry after a long transit to the airport, I visited the Dining Room first. This place is mid-century elegance, finished with shades of dark wood, brass detailing and olive leather seating upholstery. The kitchen serves up a menu curated by Peninsula Hotels Group, featuring Western and Eastern cuisines. It was not easy choosing between all the great sounding options but in the end, I ordered the char-gilled chicken and the wonton noodle soup. Both main courses were done really well, especially the wontons, which were cooked just right. The meal was an interesting mix of exclusive dining and hearty authentic street fare but the experience was all fine dining.
After a satisfying meal, I decided to go to the main lounge to kick back and have a drink. A horseshoe-shaped bar was the centrepiece of this area. The serenity of the atmosphere, the marble top shimmering in soft warm light and fine drinks from an attentive bartender made an incredible decompressing experience.
The Pantry was located nearby so guests can help themselves to some small treats and then conveniently return to the lounge. It seemed to always be well stocked with a selection of pastries, light snacks, seasonal fruit and drinks. Next to The Pantry was a small library, which felt like a private study where you could just settle in and enjoy a quick read. This cosy domestic atmosphere was conveyed through thoughtful details such as a clock on the wall, pot plants around the room and soft leather lounges that you could sink into. If you need to catch up on some work in a more focused environment, The Bureau, is a dedicated workspace in the adjacent room with private booths and equipped with iMacs and high-speed internet for you to get productive.
Any visit to The Pier, would not be complete without heading to The Retreat, which is made up of two sections. On one side is a corridor to eight individual day suites fully furnished with daybeds, reading lights, curtains and a view overlooking the runway. There’s enough space in here for one person and all the hand-luggage that you could carry onboard.
On the other side is a treatment room that offers foot and shoulder massages. This is a popular service so make it a priority to book an appointment upon entering the lounge. I opted for the foot massage which was very relaxing and then decided to take a shower to freshen up before my flight. There is a suite of self-contained bathrooms, each equipped with a generous supply of Aesop hair and body wash, Aesop moisturiser and all the expected amenities such cotton balls, shower caps, toothbrushes and toothpaste.
Cathay Pacific’s The Pier, is an extraordinary mix of Western and Eastern influences, brought together to offer the finest elements of the very city you’re in, Hong Kong. This first class lounge delivers what you need and what you never knew you needed for a restful and delightful journey.