Review: Dragonair G16 Lounge Hong Kong Airport

Introduction
Cathay Pacific First Class 777-300ER New York JFK To Hong Kong
Qantas Lounge Hong Kong Airport
Dragonair G16 Lounge Hong Kong Airport
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SriLankan Business Class A330-200 Bangkok To Colombo
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SriLankan Business Class A330-300 Colombo To Male
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Domestic Maldivian Moonimaa Lounge Male Airport
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Park Hyatt Maldives Park Villa
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Park Hyatt Maldives Park Water Villa
Park Hyatt Maldives Breakfast & Diamond Cocktails
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Park Hyatt Boat Transfer And Maldivian Dash 8 Kooddoo to Male
Leeli Lounge Male Airport
Cathay Pacific Business Class A330-300 Male To Hong Kong
Regal Airport Hotel Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific Business Class 777-300ER Hong Kong To Newark


I’m all for checking out new lounges, even if I know they’ll suck. Since I had a bit of extra time and wanted to finish off my Hong Kong Airport oneworld lounge “bingo card,” I figured I’d check out the Dragonair G16 Lounge.

For those of you not familiar, Dragonair is Cathay Pacific’s regional subsidiary, and they operate a lot of their intra-Asia routes, both to major markets (Beijing, Shanghai, etc.), as well as to many secondary markets.

While Dragonair is a oneworld affiliate carrier (much like British Airways’ OpenSkies is), they have a separate lounge in Hong Kong. It’s (not so) creatively called the G16 lounge, because, well, it’s near gate 16.

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Direction to Dragonair G16 Lounge Hong Kong

It’s one level up from the main concourse, and takes up adjacent real estate to the Qantas Lounge.

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Dragonair G16 Lounge Hong Kong escalator

The entrance to the lounge is modest, and once inside I was greeted at the reception desk, where the agent promptly admitted me. Now I have to be honest, I’m not actually sure I get the lounge access policy here, even after Googling. I get that oneworld passengers have access to the Dragonair lounge, but I’m not sure if Dragonair passengers have access to oneworld lounges. Anyone know?

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Dragonair G16 Lounge Hong Kong entrance

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Dragonair G16 Lounge Hong Kong signage

Compared to Cathay Pacific’s otherwise excellent lounges in Hong Kong, this one really was pretty underwhelming. It was basically one large room with (slightly) mismatched furniture.

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Dragonair G16 Lounge Hong Kong seating

Most of the seating consisted of clusters of four seats facing coffee tables.

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Dragonair G16 Lounge Hong Kong seating

Then at the far end of the lounge were some dining tables, as well as some sets of lounge chairs overlooking the terminal.

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Dragonair G16 Lounge Hong Kong seating

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Dragonair G16 Lounge Hong Kong seating

Since this lounge is at the far end of the terminal, you have a great overview of gates 16-19 (since I was leaving from gate 17, I could easily see when my flight was ready for boarding).

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Dragonair G16 Lounge Hong Kong view

In terms of the food spread, there were a few buffet areas. The main one had an espresso machine and self serve soft drinks, wine, and liquor.

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Dragonair G16 Lounge Hong Kong espresso machine

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Dragonair G16 Lounge Hong Kong buffet

You know you’re in a classy lounge when the liquor is mounted upside down on the wall with those handles you twist to dispense a shot.

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Dragonair G16 Lounge Hong Kong booze selection

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Dragonair G16 Lounge Hong Kong drink selection

The food selection was quite limited. There were muffins, mini-cakes, and egg tarts (perhaps the only redeeming quality of this lounge).

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Dragonair G16 Lounge Hong Kong snack selection

Then there were a couple of types of wrapped finger sandwiches.

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Dragonair G16 Lounge Hong Kong sandwich selection

The buffet continued as you turned the corner, as there was some sort of a kitchen where you could order noodles, I believe.

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Dragonair G16 Lounge Hong Kong buffet

Then there was also some cheese and fruit.

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Dragonair G16 Lounge Hong Kong buffet

Then there was another fridge with soft drinks and beer.

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Dragonair G16 Lounge Hong Kong drink selection

At the far end of the lounge was a small buffet setup with a few hot dishes. These dishes included:

  • Double boiled pork and Chinese mushroom soup
  • Steamed egg custard bun
  • Fried egg noodles with beansprouts
  • Fried beef sausage with onion sauce
  • Fish dumplings with Chao Zhou chili oil

None of the dishes looked appetizing, especially after coming from the Qantas Lounge.

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Dragonair G16 Lounge Hong Kong hot buffet items

In terms of the lounge’s other amenities, back near the entrance was a newspaper rack.

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Dragonair G16 Lounge Hong Kong newspapers & magazines

Then there was also a surprisingly large business center, with a handful of workstations with PCs.

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Dragonair G16 Lounge Hong Kong business center

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Dragonair G16 Lounge Hong Kong business center

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Dragonair G16 Lounge Hong Kong business center

The lounge doesn’t have showers. It only has a rather depressing looking bathroom.

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Dragonair G16 Lounge Hong Kong bathroom

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Dragonair G16 Lounge Hong Kong bathroom

At around 5:30PM I decided to head down to my departure gate, which was gate 17. That was only about a one minute walk from the lounge.

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Fiji & SriLankan A330s Hong Kong Airport

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Walking to SriLankan departure gate Hong Kong Airport

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Gate 17 Hong Kong Airport

Boarding started at around 5:40PM with business class. I was excited to give SriLankan another shot, given that I haven’t flown them since they joined oneworld.

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SriLankan A330 taking me to Bangkok and Colombo

Dragonair G16 Lounge Hong Kong bottom line

I had low expectations of this lounge, but it still underwhelmed me. I get that Dragonair is Cathay Pacific’s regional carrier, but I can’t imagine this lounge portrays the image they’re trying to present of the airline. I was expecting the lounge to be a bit IKEA-ish, though instead it just felt run down, past its prime, and bland.

It’s definitely the most underwhelming Cathay Pacific lounge in Hong Kong.

Anyone have a different take on the Dragonair G16 Lounge than I do?

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Comments

  1. Lucky, KA is not a LCC…it was established as the premium carrier from HK to mainland China. CX ultimately bought them outright because, among other things, KA’s product is superior to CX’s and the local business community – ie, mainly finance professionals shelling out heaps for tickets – prefer KA. Now it’s CX’s feeder airline to smaller airports in CX’s network plus heaps of mainland Chinese cities. Any CX regular will tell you we generally prefer KA, not CX, to mainland Chinese cities, particular in J and F where catering is vastly superior on KA.

  2. Since Dragonair flies to regional destination, I am not surprised you may not find those food appetizing from its look. As a person in South-East Asia region, and from the food name you post I find those appetizing though, and I don’t find a lot of food you find in western lounge appetizing.

    Guess it is just culture difference and how the lounge is cartered to to its intended user.

  3. and by way of background, that lounge used to be called the “Dragonair Lounge”. It got changed to the (lame) name of G16 as Cathay doesn’t want to distinguish it as the KA lounge.

    KA flies the bulk of CX’s frequencies to PEK and PVG. Most of us in HK try to swap for KA on PEK/PVG flights – the KA flight attendants are far more used to battle stations with the mainlanders than CX FAs, and as mentioned previously catering is significantly better on KA than CX regionally.

    FWIW, they still serve Haagen Daaz in economy class.

  4. Hey Lucky

    “Dragonair is Cathay Pacific’s low cost subsidiary”

    are you 100% sure with that, I always thought that KA is a subsidiary for CX that holds operating rights for mainland China since originally CX was allowed to operate to mainland China.

  5. Ben, you’ll be pleased to know that CX is considering a make-over for the G16 lounge, although understandably it’s not highest priority.

  6. The main advantage to G16 is that it actually stays open until the last flight leaves. CX lounges close well before, and if you find yourself on a 2am flight, G16 may be your only choice, CX ticket or not.

  7. Lucky,
    As a KA passenger, you do get all the standard benefits like oneworld loung access like you otherwise would on any other OW carrier

  8. Lucky,

    I just happened to be in Hong Kong flying on Dragonair to Kunming! I didn’t even use the G16 lounge, as I went for the wing. So to answer your question, if you’re flying in business class on Dragonair, you can use any of Cathay’s lounges. In fact, they tried to direct me to The Cabin lounge when they gave me my boarding pass and I asked if I could go to the wing or the bridge, and they said “of course“。

  9. KA is very highly regarded by passengers from Hong Kong, Taiwan and mainland China. I suggest that you try a flight with them and compare them with CX. Their food and service tends to be superior to Cathay on the same routes. Their reputation was cemented when there were several accidents involvement CAAC planes in the 1980’s and 1990’s and many HK people would gladly (and still gladly) pay a premium to fly them.

    I agree that the G16 lounge looks dumpy but I do like their traditional Chinese offerings. They have really good noodles (try them next time) and their dim sum selection is different from the Wing. Authentic and tasty.

  10. Oh, and KA cabin crew have a reputation for being prettier than CX too. Another reason to choose them.

  11. Fwiw, when I flew KA F last year, I had access to the Wing or Pier F lounge. I forgot which lounge I visited, as only 1 of the F lounges was open due to construction.

  12. Dragonair passengers do have access to other OW lounges.

    And from what I read somewhere, the G16 lounge was ‘acquired’ when CX took over KA, but they just never got round to refurbishing it. They used to try directing KA passengers there instead of the Wing, but I guess that policy has now changed, it (probably) having been quite ineffective as everyone knew about the vastly superior CX lounges.

  13. One dispenses a measure of liquor by pushing up on the bottom plastic nozzle with their glass. Not “with those handles you twist to dispense a shot.”

  14. The lounge appears to be much like the other CX lounges, and has much the same food. There are minor variations from lounge to lounge, nothing big.

    But it is interesting to hear that KA is considered better than CX. I have only flown KA to/from Kolkata, and on this route they use their worst plane and serve the worst food, even in J. Both in Y and in J, they try to conserve their alcoholic drinks, you have to demand it.

  15. “The main advantage to G16 is that it actually stays open until the last flight leaves” I did an overnight @HKG last fall, and enjoyed this open-late lounge (after enjoying the Bridge) then had 3 hours in main terminal seating (I had a book) until the Wing opened up.

  16. @ Chuck Lesker — Surprised as well to hear that Dragonair is considered better than Cathay Pacific. I learn something new every day!

  17. I have flown KA many times PVG to HKG, very good service on all classes. Yes CX is great on long haul F and C but KA dominates regional travel. The noodles at the G16 lounge are great.

  18. @Lucky Calling the bathroom tired seems a little harsh, looked nice and clean to me. Is it because it has wood rather than marble panelling that caused you to say so?

  19. Opps – calling the bathroom depressing I mean (not tired) seems harsh. I like the lighter wood, brightens up the space more.

  20. The G16 lounge is an awesome place to wait for the late evening flights on CX. The Bridge, Wing and Pier are usually packed with people (even on the F side) waiting for the midnight departure bank. G16 usually has one or two people in the entire lounge. The noodles are the same ones you get in the other lounges and there is nothing wrong with the upside down booze bottles, I prefer a measured shot to eyeballing my pours. Sure the lounge is a bit out of the way from the gates where the long haul CX departures leave from; but it’s worth the extra walk for some peace and quiet before a long flight.

  21. No offense Lucky, but from reading your blog, it seems that you just don’t like Chinese food as much. This would explain many of the puzzling things I’m reading here. I’m ethnic Chinese, so I’ll explain things from how a Chinese person would judge the offerings:
    1) you dislike the food offerings in the KA lounge, whereasmany people here disagree – I haven’t been to this or the Qantas lounge, but from reading the menus, I’d like the KA selection very much. The Qantas selection seems very salad heavy, which many Chinese do not like.
    2) you dislike the Air China Lounge in Beijing – I agree it’s not a great lounge by any means, but you actually rated it below domestic lounges in the US?! That can’t be right. The Air China lounge has far better food compared to US lounges, like noodle soup and an extensive dim sum selection. I think just the fact that the food choices are hot places the lounge far above whatever cheese bits and cookies on offer in most US lounges.
    3) your reviews of Chinese airlines in general – Again, they’re not great, but I think they’re better than what you may give them credit for. Service-wise, the flight attendants are great when you speak Chinese. The Chinese food options are generally good. While the wine is usually cheap, the variety of teas available is a big plus. And for economy class passengers (the vasy majority of passengers), they’re better than American airlines hands down: free checked bags (2 bags in domestic!), meals on even short flights, recognition as an elite FFP member (flight attendant will find your seat and address you by name referring to your status), etc.

  22. @Jim I second your thoughts.

    Apparently he puts much more emphasis on the visuals (and prestige) than the substance, when it comes to Asian food and decor designs to say the least.

    But I still appreciate the reviews. I just can’t help laughing sometimes.

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