Review: Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Hong Kong

Introduction
Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Lounge Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific 400 777-200 Business Class Hong Kong to Taipei
Mandarin Oriental Taipei
Cathay Pacific Lounge Taipei
Cathay Pacific 409 A350-900 Business Class Taipei to Hong Kong


When heading to the airport at 1 PM on Friday afternoon, I was giddy to try the new A350. However, at the check-in desk, instead of the seats I assigned us, we got different seats, scattered around. There had been an equipment swap, which I definitely was not happy about.

Still, I got through immigration and walked to The Pier, ready to try out what was in store for me at Cathay Pacific’s newest lounge.

I passed through a couple of aircraft on the way to the lounge (near gate 65, though I took the APM to save myself time), including a Cathay Pacific 777 in its sexy new livery, as well as one of their last 747s.

IMG_0085Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Hong Kong Airport

IMG_0086Cathay Pacific Boeing 747-400 Hong Kong Airport

The lounge is located near gate 65, past the First Class lounge at Hong Kong Airport. Quickly, I made my way down, ready to let off some steam after the equipment swap (thinking back I’m not that pissed, but the purpose of the trip was to try the A350, so I was certainly not ready for another equipment swap on the return).

IMG_0087Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Hong Kong Entrance

I went down the escalator with the family’s carry on, and made my way past the entrance with a gold-plated Cathay Pacific logo.

IMG_0088Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Entrance

I was checked in by the friendly lounge attendants, who gladly let me in.

IMG_0089Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Entrance

Now, first of all, let me explain my expectations of the lounge. I definitely expected this lounge to be a step up from The Bridge, and hopefully, the Qantas Lounge Hong Kong as well. That said, I still kind of expected this to have the normal “vibe” I expect from Cathay Pacific, which is mostly just being helped when I needed it. I didn’t expect anything to be particularly friendly, but I did think it would be a nice space to hang out.

Boy, did I underestimate the lounge.

I had a look at the signage and made my way into the food hall, which was located to the left of the entryway.

IMG_0091Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Entrance Signage

The food hall was a gorgeous space, and it was also really big, consisting of lots of seating, including high-top tables, bar seating and 1-1 chairs. There was a lot of natural light, enhanced by the bulbs on the ceiling, which didn’t emit much light at all.

IMG_0092Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Food Hall

It’s worth noting that the marble you see in Cathay Pacific’s lounges usually has been replaced by a more subtle gray hue, though the wooden finishes are persistent.

IMG_0094Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Food Hall Seating

The WiFi code was placed on most of the tables, in case someone forgot the WiFi code or needed it along the way.

IMG_0095Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Food Hall Seating

IMG_0096Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Food Hall

Whenever I ate, I did it at the bar tables, which were situated right beside the food spread, so I could just order whatever I wanted straight up.

IMG_0097Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Food Hall Seating

Speaking of the spread, it was very extensive. It featured a few tasty hot items, a few cold items and lots of high-quality pastries.

IMG_0098Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Food Hall Spread

IMG_0099Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Food Hall Spread

IMG_0100Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Food Hall Spread

IMG_0101Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Food Hall Spread

IMG_0102Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Food Hall Spread

There were also drinks, including lots of bottled water, some of which I nicked onto the flight with me.

IMG_0103Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Food Hall Drinks

During my time here I had some smoked fish, salad, gratinated cauliflower, and tried out their two proteins (chicken and what I remember to be sea bass). All of it was excellent – it’s not often that I say that about gratinated cauliflower, as I normally find it to taste somewhat like creamed cauliflower, but this was good.

IMG_0173Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Food Hall Plate

IMG_0174Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Food Hall Plate

In addition to that, there were also small bites positioned in the hall – as well as throughout the entire lounge.

IMG_0093Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Food Hall Small Bites/Cookies

Between most of the partitions was signage, as well as a departures board featuring all Cathay Pacific and codeshare flights. It was also nice to know that my flight was delayed, which meant more time in the lounge (not like we were planning to do anything in Taipei that night anyway).

IMG_0104Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Signage and Departures Board

Past the food hall was a bar, which wasn’t nearly as busy (the entire lounge was pretty quiet during the time I was in, but there definitely was a degree of “buzz” that existed only in the food hall during my stay). It featured, as well as traditional bar seating, some low tables (which you’d expect in an upmarket coffee shop somewhere), some seating around poles with tables, lots of square tables, and some sofas. It felt more like a modern cigar bar than anything else.

IMG_0105Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Bar

IMG_0106Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Bar

IMG_0107Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Bar

Apart from actual liquor, the bar also served some of Cathay Pacific’s signature drinks, though I didn’t have any during my stay.

IMG_0108Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Bar

IMG_0109Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Bar

IMG_0110Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Bar Seating

The bar was also stocked with food and drinks.

IMG_0135Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Bar Food

By food, I mean hot food as well – I didn’t rummage into what it was, but I think it was dim sum.

IMG_0136Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Bar Food

IMG_0137Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Bar Drinks

To the right side, partitioned off, was a long, partitioned, rather quiet space that faced the tarmac. People there seemed to be working more, but the views of the tarmac were also pretty good (I narrowly missed a picture of a British Airways A380 landing).

IMG_0111Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Partitioned Space Seating

IMG_0113Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Partitioned Space Seating

IMG_0114Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Partitioned Space Seating

IMG_0115Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Partitioned Space Seating

IMG_0116Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Partitioned Space Seating

Parked outside was one of Cathay Pacific’s repainted 777s, B-KPM, which I definitely didn’t mind looking at (if you enlarge the picture you’ll see the runway, but even though you can clearly see planes landing, I failed to take good pictures and soon gave up).

IMG_0112Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Hong Kong Airport

The area was really long and mostly uninhabited during the course of my stay in the lounge, especially the part near the bar.

IMG_0122Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Partitioned Space Seating

IMG_0124Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Partitioned Space Seating

IMG_0125Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Partitioned Space Seating

IMG_0126Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Partitioned Space Seating

IMG_0127Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Partitioned Space Seating

This area was also one of two areas that featured Cathay Pacific’s brand new Solo chairs, which are pods designed for working. I didn’t find them as “iconic” or special as the Solus chairs – they were pretty much just large chairs designed for working – but they were definitely very comfortable and handy for working.

IMG_0128Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Partitioned Space Seating

There were also drinks situated here. “Drinks stands” were featured in quite a few areas of the lounge.

IMG_0123Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Partitioned Space Drink Stand

Before I continue on inside the lounge, the bureau was located to the right of the entrance, and I spent the latter half of my stay skyping fellow to-be writer Nat (who still hasn’t got on to writing) in there. It was a place designed for working that stayed empty most of the time, and featured a few Macs with printers, lots of Solo chairs and 1-1 seating by the side.

IMG_0118Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Bureau Seating

IMG_0119Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Bureau Seating

IMG_0120Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Bureau Seating

IMG_0121Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Bureau Seating

IMG_0179Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Bureau Seating

While meant for printing, the paper proved handy for me to solve some equations while doing a bit of work inside the lounge as well.

IMG_0178Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Bureau Printer Paper

I didn’t use the iMacs during my stay (I have my own), but no one else in the bureau (two people?) seemed to have problems with them.

IMG_0176Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Bureau Macs

The power ports were located not only by the desks, but also by every desk and every Solus chair. This place is stocked with juice.

IMG_0177Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Bureau Power Ports

Back to the “main” part of the lounge, past the bar was the noodle bar, where Cathay Pacific’s signature noodles were served. By the noodle bar, there was also a lot of cafeteria-style seating, which really seemed very Hong Kong-style, elevated – it was the style I’d expect at a cha chaan teng.

IMG_0138Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Noodle Bar

IMG_0139Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Noodle Bar Seating

IMG_0140Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Noodle Bar Seating

IMG_0142Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Noodle Bar Seating

There were also a lot of communal tables, which I’d expect at a Chinese restaurant, which the noodle bar seemed to follow the theme of.

IMG_0143Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Noodle Bar Seating

IMG_0144Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Noodle Bar Seating

What differentiated this the most from a traditional cha chaan teng was that you could also juice up here. The Pier is packed with power ports, and it’s so convenient.

IMG_0171Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Noodle Bar Power Ports

During my time here I had some dan dan noodles, which were amazing. They were so good I pondered having another bowl, but controlled myself and went back to the food hall (more on the way I organised my stay here later). The broth was thick, the noodles were perfectly cooked and there was enough heat, unlike what I’ve had at Cathay Pacific lounges before.

IMG_0172Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Noodle Bar Dan Dan Noodles

The next full area past that was a teahouse (by this part the lounge was basically deserted, so I didn’t hesitate spending some time around this area). Apart from tea, there was also some juice that the lounge had, which I definitely didn’t mind. This part of the lounge still managed to fit in with the wooden hues, but seemed more Japanese than anything.

IMG_0145Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Teahouse

IMG_0146Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Teahouse

IMG_0147Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Teahouse

IMG_0149Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Teahouse

IMG_0169Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Teahouse

The actual food spread consisted of some Hong Kong local delicacies such as mochi. Tea and juice was available by the counter.

IMG_0148Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Teahouse Spread

IMG_0167Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Teahouse Juice

The grapefruit juice I selected was refreshing and delivered a punch.

IMG_0168Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Teahouse Juice

Past those are the shower rooms, which I took advantage of after my morning workout. Outside the showers was a small comfortable area to sit and relax, not to mention the friendly woman at the counter. More on the actual shower experience later.

IMG_0150Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Shower Room Entrance

IMG_0151Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Entrance

Past that was a relaxation room, with one large couch, possibly for short stays, and fourteen smaller daybeds.

IMG_0152Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Relaxation Room

The daybeds were decorated like what you’d see in a Japanese ryokan, except that it looked dark enough for sleeping. Unlike the First Class lounge these didn’t feature a view, but they were definitely more than enough for sleeping during a long layover. It wasn’t deserted, but most of the daybeds were empty, which made for good photo opportunities.

IMG_0153Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Relaxation Room Daybeds

IMG_0154Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Relaxation Room Daybeds

IMG_0155Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Relaxation Room Daybeds

That was the end of the lounge, so I backtracked, deciding to make my way back up, slowly, enjoying what I could. First I decided I was better off onboard fresh, so I asked the lovely shower attendant if I could take a shower. She immediately found me a shower room.

IMG_0165Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Shower Room Hallway

I was assigned room 7, which was pretty close to, though not directly facing the entryway.

IMG_0166Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Shower Room Entrance

Not only was the shower room beautifully decorated with gold knobs and wooden finishes, it was also incredibly clean and of a substantial size. It also featured a luggage rack, where I put my backpack.

IMG_0156Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Shower Room Door

IMG_0157Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Shower Room Sink

IMG_0158Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Shower Room Luggage Rack

IMG_0159Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Shower Room Toilet

While I can’t say I wasn’t expecting this, the shower also featured a rainforest head, and the controls were also really easy to handle.

IMG_0160Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Shower Room Shower Heads

IMG_0161Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Shower Room Shower Head

The shower room featured Aēsop amenities, which were awesome.

IMG_0162Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Shower Room Amenities

I didn’t need to use the toiletries provided on the sink table but I still found it a really nice touch.

IMG_0163Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Shower Room Toiletries

I took a quick shower, and water pressure was excellent. By the time I left the shower, I was all fresh, and approached by the shower lady. She asked where I was going, then wished me safe and happy travels to Taiwan. I also told her about the A350 fiasco, which she knew about and shared my disappointment with. I’ll lead this right into the service aspect of the lounge.

When I poured myself grapefruit juice in the teahouse after my shower, I was immediately offered help by one of the people at the counter, who finished off the pouring for me. I found this, also, a really nice touch – while there was no small talk, I did enjoy my drink, and when I thanked them they were really happy about serving me.

I then headed to the noodle bar, where the man serving was not only quick, but friendly as well – as was with every interaction I made at the lounge.

The lady serving me food at the counter at the food hall didn’t hesitate to give me some recommendations on the best food, all of which I took. She also recommended the sweet chilli sauce, though it wasn’t of my liking so I ended up skipping it while having my food there. A different man gave me (perfectly soft) ice cream when I asked, and he offered to give me one of their metal spoons as well.

IMG_0175Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Food Hall Ice Cream

When I asked for a good place where I could make a Skype call, a (younger) male lounge attendant suggested the relaxation room. When I started heading there, he not only checked the bureau to see if it was empty (it was), but also scurried after me to tell me so, which I really, really appreciated.

Lastly, when I was feeling thirsty during my Skype call, I asked if I could take some drinks inside, expecting a “no, sorry”. The lounge attendant said “no, no, no, feel free!” so I made my way to get myself a coke with ice. I think I saw him waving at Nat while I looked back to check that no one was stealing my stuff, but I’m not sure.

Enough said about the service – especially for a business class lounge in Hong Kong, I’m pretty sure you guys are convinced.

My parents finished their shopping, and under my suggestion they made their way to the lounge with about an hour to spare. They were all regretting not making their way to the lounge earlier, but really at that time all I could do was smirk, as that’s the first time my mother has ever said that. I don’t drink coffee, but apparently the barista service was great as well, according to my mother.

IMG_0180Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Hazelnut Latte

Bottom Line

There’s literally no way I can fault Cathay Pacific’s The Pier business class lounge in Hong Kong. After my visit I wrote a post entitled “Seven Reasons to Love The New Pier Lounge Hong Kong“, saying that it was beautiful, massive, had great food, had well designed nap rooms, had excellent service, was a good place to work/juice up and lastly, had awesome runway views. Even after a full month of processing I do stand by every single one of these points, and think that it ranks up as the best business class lounge I’ve ever visited.

I had to backtrack to gate 2 at the end of the lounge visit, and I really don’t regret visiting The Pier – no matter where my gate is, I would arrive early for the sole purpose of visiting the lounge.

I’ve heard a lot about Cathay Pacific downgrading their standards these days, and falling behind the other five-star airlines that Skytrax has rated – this lounge represents Cathay Pacific’s rebound, and shows why and how Cathay Pacific deserves their five-star rating.

The Pier also now serves as my go-to lounge in Hong Kong (unless time is limited, in which case I’ll use the Qantas Lounge) and completely changes my perspective of Cathay Pacific’s future.

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