You may all remember the exemplary Cathay Pacific business class service we had on our way from Mumbai to Manila and back. Cathay’s philosophy of providing #Lifewelltravelled experience to their passengers could be discerned even in the smallest part of the airplane or the smallest activity of the staff. In this article we would like to talk about the Cathay Pacific lounges which we enjoyed a lot and premium economy class of travel on their long haul flights, a new service from Mumbai.
Cathay Lounges at Hong Kong Airport:
As business class passengers we had access to all the Cathay Pacific Business lounges of Hong Kong airport. There were several options while waiting for the flight. There are 2 first class lounges, The Wings First and The Pier First and as many as four business class lounges; The Wings, The Pier, The Bridge and The Cabin. There is also one at the arrival section aptly named The Arrival!
We had over 4 hours to kill after having landed from an overnight flight. We were received by one of the officials and were escorted by her to go to The Pier, Business near gate 65. I must say that became our base for the next 4 hours. This was not like any other business class lounge ever experienced by us. This was large and when I say large, I mean really laaarrge! Our hostess informed us that it was recently renovated and had many surprising elements and she left us to make those discoveries ourselves!
We checked-in using our business class boarding pass. Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Gold and Silver card-holders are also eligible to use these facilities.
The lounge was divided into several sections and it was up to us to select the ones where we felt comfortable. After the reception on the right are 20 number coded lockers for stowing large bags which would otherwise not be needed during the time in the lounge.
On entering the main lounge area we entered the Food Hall with ample seating. There was an array of hot & cold snacks and of course a coffee cart on one side for the most need cuppa at that hour. We particularly liked the location of the Food Hall as it was most convenient for those travelers who did not have much time, to quickly grab some food, drinks and rest before moving on to their gates.
The Bar, Noodle bar and Teahouse
Next in line was the well-stocked bar with lounge chairs and bar stools. Again there was no dearth of sitting spaces. At that point we were told that The Pier can accommodate over 500 passengers at a time! The ambience was such that one could, after a light meal, relax here with a drink of choice.
Should you prefer Chinese cuisine instead of international cuisine you may head to the Noodles Bar. There is an assortment of dimsums, noodles and soups to cater to everyone’s palate.
As avid tea-drinkers our own favorite space was the tea room aptly called the Teahouse! This was the place for authentic tea drinking experience. The range of tea available here can put to shame all other tea rooms in the city. Green, black, white, herbal, spiced, blended, honey et al, think of it and you will find it. Not only the range, but the tea specialists who make the tea are experts too. If there is something called a tea-sommeliers then you will find them here!
Relaxation, Showers and Workstations
With all these eating and drinking, can sleeping be far away? Not at all. The next section had the shower rooms and shhhhh…..the relaxation room. The 14 shower rooms are just awesome with Aesop’s bath toiletries & cosmetic supplementing the well-equipped showers. The relaxation room had many loungers with footrest for that well deserved rest between flights. In fact one could lie down flat and take more than those idiomatic forty winks. The ambiance was just for the purpose with dim lighting and silence.
After a snooze of half-an-hour we wanted to catch up on work and communications with our friends. So we grabbed our laptops and entered The Bureau, just the place. With several personal computers and cushy sofas with small desks this was an ideal place to spend productive hours. There were also individual, more private Solus work stations.
What we realized was that the lounge sections were designed from noisy to silence, the further you moved in. From our experience we could very easily say that, although this was a business lounge, it could have passed for a first class lounge too. Such was the facilities and luxury.
While we spent bulk of the time at The Pier, we also did an exploratory tour of the Cathay Business Lounge called the Bridge located near gate 35. Oh, wait a minute, was that a whiff of the aroma of an Indian dish? 🙂 There was a delectable array of international dishes at the Bistro and the Bakery food.
The bar area overlooking the airside of HK airport were manned by expert mixologists dishing out refreshing cocktails including Cathay’s Signature cocktail. The work space, the shower rooms, all looked super comfortable and luxurious and could put to shame some of the run-of-the-mill business lounges around the world.
We did not have the time to explore other lounges, The Cabin near gate 23 and the Wings near gate 1, but what we could discern was that the lounges were scattered around the departure gates strategically so that one was never too far from a Cathay Business Lounge from the their respective departure gates.
Cathay Pacific Business Lounge, Manila
On our return journey from Manila we were a bit too early for the flight and checked in to the comparatively new Cathay Business Lounge at Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. The design concepts were by Studioilse, same as Hong Kong Airport lounges. At 650SqM, it may not be as big as The Pier, but it was still overly spacious for the 135 passengers it could accommodate.
The luxurious looking cherry wood paneling and limestone floor gave an impression of being at the home of some celebrity and not at an airport lounge. 🙂 The natural light from the airside only accentuated the feeling.
The pull out power-sockets in the side-tables were well-appointed but a bit small. But work area and powerful Wi-Fi were some of the highlights. Food and beverages did not disappoint us although we did not consume much as it was much too early in the morning.
Return of the Premium Economy Class
Recently Cathay Pacific has come out with yet another reason to fly to Hong Kong from Mumbai. Cathay Pacific brought back its Premium Economy Class in October, 2017, with its Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. This provides an enhanced comfort in conjunction with its wide body and high ceiling design.
There are 32 seats in 2-4-2 layout in this class and has great legroom. In long-haul flights one could stretch out and use the padded footrest & the calf support for a more comfortable journey. Yet another reason for smiles is the huge 35KG checked in baggage limit. 🙂 And did I say there is a priority while boarding??
The welcome kit includes socks, an eyeshade, earplugs, toothbrush and toothpaste. The elbow room is more than adequate and the meal table is large. One could work or have meals comfortably. Snacks, wines and beverages selections are always at hand throughout the journey! One could nurse a drink while reclining, which goes farther back than economy.
The pillows and blankets are of business class quality too.
The state of the art inflight entertainment system, StudioCX with its touch screen and noise-cancelling headphones provides a totally immersive experience. Even before travelling one could check-out the collection online.
It does seem like worth the money upgrading from economy to premium economy which does seem to provide many business class services to the passengers including welcome champagne!
There are wider meal choices, a great menu and meals are served in a proper porcelain dinnerware and stainless steel cutlery which we are waiting to experience. 🙂
Looks like Cathay Pacific have been redefining luxury travel in this part of the world and hope to fly Cathay Pacific again!
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