Review: Cathay Pacific The Pier First Class Lounge – Hong Kong

a hallway with plants and a large round table

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Cathay Pacific does airport departure lounges very well (I’m not so keen on its arrivals lounge) but it’s been a long time since I’ve had the chance to try out one of the airline’s First Class lounges….so I was very keen to see what the Pier First Class lounge had to offer.

The Pier Business Class lounge and The Pier First Class lounge are very close together with the entrance to the Business Class lounge just past Gate 65 and the entrance to the First Class lounge just before Gate 65.

cathay-pacific-the-pier-first-class-lounge-1The Pier First Class Lounge Hong Kong

At the bottom of the escalators is a podium where a Cathay Pacific agent checks that you’re eligible for lounge entry before ushering you to the check-in desk just inside the lounge.

cathay-pacific-the-pier-first-class-lounge-3The Pier First Class Lounge Hong Kong

The entry criteria for the The Pier First Class lounge are pretty straightforward – First Class passengers + one guest or oneworld Emeralds + one guest.

Unlike most airlines Cathay Pacific issues guests with lounge invitation cards when you check-in so all you have to do is hand that over and you’re good to go.

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Just past the check-in desk is the main lounge hallway off of which are all the various different parts of the lounge.

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As you enter and look to your right the hallways stretches out ahead leading down to the lounge dining room…..

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…while to the left is “The Pantry” and the main lounge bar.

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The Pantry (to the left on the picture above) is a self-serve food area for passengers looking for something quicker and less formal than the dining room the lounge also offers.

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I was visiting The Pier in the evening so, as the food options change depending on the time of the day, you may not be offered the same selection as I was.

The main table in the middle of the pantry has a mixture of pastries (savory and sweet)….

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…sandwiches….

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…and cake and fruit.

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The areas around the edge of the room offer more of the same as well as a coffee machine….

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…and a selection of very nice teas.

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By the entrance to the Pantry is a large chiller unit with drinks on one side….

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…and chilled food on the other….

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The food in the chiller unit was definitely some of the the more exotic I’ve seen in a lounge and it included:

  • Sea Prawns & Green Papaya Salad
  • Marinated Black Fungus & Bean Curd
  • Smoked Tangini & Tuna with Capers and Horseradish Cream
  • Beetroot & Quinoa with Orange Salad
  • Coconut & Red Bean Pudding
  • Mango Mousse
  • Assorted yoghurts

Just past the Pantry is the entrance to the first of the lounges seating areas…and this one housed the bar:

cathay-pacific-the-pier-first-class-lounge-16-0The Pier First Class Lounge Hong Kong

Al, the drinks are complimentary and the selection was pretty good (click to enlarge):

cathay-pacific-the-pier-first-class-lounge-16-5The Pier First Class Lounge Hong Kong

As much as some travelers enjoy the super-expensive Champagnes I’m happy when I see Moët on the menu….so the Pier was an instant hit with me when I saw the Moët Rose 🙂

To the left of the bar is a seating area with large armchairs and Eames (or Eames-style) chairs.

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To the right of the bar the lounge opens up with more armchairs (of a different variety)…..

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…and more Eames chairs…

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To the right of seating area in the picture above is yet another seating area which is parallel to the main hallway of the lounge.

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There is a good amount of seating in the lounge but the designers have been clever with the use of space.

There isn’t a claustrophobic feel despite the ceiling being quite low and the chairs/sofas have been spread out just enough to give the feeling of space.

It’s also the small details that make a lot of difference…like the reclaimed wood that has been used throughout the lounge (I loved that) and the way the designers have incorporated the power sockets into the furniture:

cathay-pacific-the-pier-first-class-loungeThe Pier First Class Lounge Hong Kong

The ambiance and decor of the lounge is somewhere between a London gentleman’s club (no, not that kind!) and an upscale hotel bar but, during my time there, it was also fantastically peaceful.

Despite what the pictures may show there were enough people in the lounge to have made it pretty noisy, but guests chatted in hushed tones and all respected the overall feel of the lounge. It was very, very nice.

Leading from this last seating area I’ve just described there is a passageway lined with magazines, newspapers, periodicals (“The Library”)……

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…that takes you back to the main lounge hallway:

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On the right of the hallway is a small work area (“the Bureau”) which has a couple of desks with iMacs.

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And just past the work area are the lounge washrooms which, for lounge washrooms, look pretty great.

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On the opposite side of the hallway to the work area and the washrooms is “The Retreat” which, for me, was the highlight of the lounge.

At the entrance to the Retreat is a desk where you can choose from a menu of spa treatments or pick up an amenity you need (click to enlarge)…..

cathay-pacific-the-pier-first-class-lounge-29The Pier First Class Lounge Hong Kong

If you’re going to order one of the spa treatments then do so as soon as you arrive at the lounge – the wait times can be lengthy (sometimes 2 hours).

If you have to wait for your treatment you’re given a buzzer to take away with you (a bit like you get at some restaurants when a table isn’t yet available and you’re asked to wait at the bar)….

cathay-pacific-the-pier-first-class-lounge-30-1The Pier First Class Lounge Hong Kong

…and you can then take advantage of the best part of the lounge – the Day Suites.

The Day Suites are a series of rooms separated from a hallway within the Retreat by curtains. Each Day Suite has a sofa/bed you can lay out on….

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….and, as long as it’s not night-time, a great view out over the airport apron.

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You may even have an aircraft pay you a visit…like this Emirates A380:

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There are curtains on the windows so, if you decide to have a sleep, you’re not going to wake up to find the flight crew of an A380 staring down on you 🙂

You can even use the Day Suites to get some work done as there are power ports provided….just make sure you have an adapter if you’re not from Hong Kong or the UK:

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Guests are asked to limit their time in the Day Suites to 90 minutes although, while I was there, a lot of the Day Suites were free so the 90 minute limit was not enforced.

The final amenities the Retreat offers are the shower rooms.

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The toiletries are all by Aēsop…..

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…and although the shower cubicles are a little dark, the showers themselves are great.

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Once you exit the Retreat and continue down to the end of the long lounge hallway you come to the Pier’s dining room:

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The dining room is very much in keeping with the rest of the lounge…if a little darker.

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The dining room is large enough to accommodate more guests that I expect it ever has at any one point of the day but, just in case they run out of tables, there bar at which you can get food too:

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As for the food…..

There’s something about a menu without prices that I really like 🙂

cathay-pacific-the-pier-first-class-lounge-41Click to enlarge

I ordered the pan-seared Hokkaido scallops…..

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…with a glass of Champagne to start:

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And I followed that up with pan-fried salmon with white organic quinoa, beets, baby carrots and Harissa dressing:

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And for dessert I had the apple tart tatin with vanilla bean ice cream:

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Not only was that the perfect amount of food but it was very nicely cooked and presented. The scallops were cooked beautifully, the salmon wasn’t too dry and the dessert didn’t taste store-bought.

Bottom Line

I really liked The Pier First Class lounge and, aside from perhaps a little more lighting in the dining room, I can’t think of a thing I would change.

The staff were all very courteous and attentive without going over the top and the decor was stylish yet practical at the same time.

The Day Suite was definitely a highlight as it was a great place to relax but, thanks to the overall ambiance of the lounge, I don’t think there was an area where you wouldn’t have a great start to your trip.

Cathay has done a great job with the refurbishment to the Pier First Class lounge (and I’ve heard good things about the Business Class lounge too)…now I just with they’d hurry up and reopen the Business Class lounge at Heathrow!

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