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While our flight from Hong Kong to Kuala Lumpur was only at 4:05PM, we arrived at the airport plenty early, as I was excited to check out Cathay Pacific’s new Pier First Class Lounge, which opened in June. While Cathay Pacific has another first class lounge, The Wing, I’ve heard nothing but stellar things about The Pier, so was excited to check it out.
We arrived at Hong Kong Airport’s gorgeous check-in hall at around 11AM.
We headed to the first class check-in area. While we were only in business class to Kuala Lumpur (since there was no first class cabin), we could use the first class check-in area since I’m a oneworld Emerald member.
It’s one of the uniquer check-in setups, as you basically stand across from a representative as they check you in, and then are sent on your way to security and immigration.
While there are no priority queues for security or immigration, we were through in about 10 minutes, which was great. While The Wing First Class Lounge is located just past immigration to the left, this time we were headed to The Pier, which is located at the other end of the terminal.
The Pier is located between gates 61 and 63, so you’re best off taking the train to the far end of the terminal. There’s a train system within Terminal 1, though it only runs in one direction — you can take it from immigration to gates 40-80, but not the other way around.
The train runs every few minutes, and makes just one stop.
It lets off right where the terminal “forks,” right near The Bridge Business Class Lounge (which is also gorgeous). Then you just turn right towards gates 60-70.
About a third of the way down and to the left you’ll see the entrance to The Pier.
While The Wing is above the terminal and “open air,” The Pier is quite the opposite — it’s below the terminal and has substantially lower ceilings. There were two friendly associates at the bottom of the elevator who took our lounge invitations and welcomed us in.
Before I review the lounge in too much detail, here’s Cathay Pacific’s promotional video about the lounge, with commentary by Cathay Pacific’s general manager of products:
I think he sums up this lounge perfectly. The design of The Pier is flawless… absolutely flawless. It feels residential with earthy tones and perhaps the most thoughtful design I’ve ever seen in a lounge.
As you enter the lounge there’s a long hallway which connects the various spaces in the lounge. Everything about the design is impressive, from the lit-up ceiling panels to the art dangling from the ceiling to the wood table to the “squiggly” couch to the plants throughout the lounge.
The entire lounge, and in particular the entryway, feels like the entrance to the classiest imaginable condo building. It feels truly residential.
On the left side of the lounge is the horseshoe-shaped bar, with high-top seating, and then more intimate areas to sit down and relax.
The room features several types of seating, from comfortable couches to stylish chairs.
I also love how the furniture arranged, allowing you to comfortably sit alone, in a group of three, four, six, etc.
The seating design is one of the things which makes the lounge feel so residential. It’s not like other lounges, where the furniture is lined up in a single direction and feels more like a furniture warehouse. Rather it’s thoughtfully organized and not just intended to maximize lounge capacity.
Next to the bar area is another room with more seating, which perhaps is decorated a bit more like a yacht club, with warmer finishes.
Next to that room is an area with a selection of newspapers and magazines.
I can’t quite put my finger on what makes the decor of the lounge so great, but there’s something about the attention to detail and overall “residential” feeling which I love. I truly think this is the coziest lounge I’ve been to.
But it’s not just the general lounge area where you can hang out. The lounge also has about a dozen private rooms, called The Retreat.
You can pull the curtain and have a totally private space overlooking the tarmac.
The views are spectacular, especially if you’re an aviation geek.
If you prefer a bit more seclusion, you can lower the blinds.
While this perhaps isn’t a place to sleep for eight hours, it’s a great place to relax, work from your laptop, take a short nap, etc.
If you prefer to work in a more “formal” setting, there’s also a business center, which is one of the nicer ones I’ve seen in a lounge. Each station has an iMac and a comfortable office chair.
While The Wing probably has my favorite showers of any lounge anywhere, this one isn’t far behind. The shower rooms feature Aesop amenities, and couldn’t feel “classier,” between the brass and marble finishes.
The main restrooms are equally gorgeous.
The relaxation doesn’t stop there. The lounge also offers complimentary 10 minute foot massages. You can select between a tonic foot massage and a foot soak with a hand treatment or neck, shoulder, and scalp massage.
If there’s not availability immediately they give you a buzzer, and then you’ll be alerted when they’re ready for you. When I was there the wait wasn’t too long.
While it’s not the hour-long full body massage you get in the Thai Airways First Class Lounge Bangkok, it’s a really nice treatment which leaves you refreshed. The room in which you get a foot massage is a shared space, though there’s still some privacy between seats, and typically there’s at most one other person.
Now let’s talk a bit about the food & drinks in the lounge. There are Peninsula-trained servers roaming the lounge constantly, so regardless of where you sit you should be offered drinks.
The beverage and wine list read as follows:
There’s also a selection of signature cocktails:
I ordered a glass of the rose champagne and the specialty coffee, which was a chilled hazelnut grass jelly coffee. The coffee was out-of-this-world good.
If you’re looking to just have a light snack, the lounge has The Pantry, which is basically a self service area with snacks, drinks etc.
In the morning there was cereal, fruit, cake, muffins, etc.
As the day progressed the selection got even sweeter.
Then there was also a fridge with beer, soft drinks, water, yogurt, muesli, etc.
There was an espresso machine and beer machine, along with a water filtration system for both still and sparkling water.
Then there was a station where you could make a vodka mandarin, with Absolut Mandarin Vodka and mandarin juice.
If you’re looking for a more substantial dining option, there’s the Dining Room.
It’s gorgeous, and sort of feels like an old-school cigar bar meets yacht club in terms of the design.
You can sit at a table, or otherwise sit at the bar, where there’s also an espresso machine and the full selection of liquor.
The Wing First Class Lounge also has a restaurant which has both a buffet and a limited a la carte menu. In the case of The Pier, you have a full a la carte menu without a buffet (which is my preference).
The a la carte menu read as follows:
We met some friends in the lounge, so were able to sample quite a few of the options. The selection was fantastic across the board.
For the starter I had the prawn salad, which was excellent.
My friends had the seared tuna and fragrant chicken.
For the main course I had the salmon, which was crispy yet flavorful.
Ford had the burger, which he quite enjoyed, and another friend had the chicken clay pot, which looked good as well.
For dessert Ford and I shared the crumble with ice cream, which was incredible (and a huge portion).
Our friends had the cheese board and mango sticky rice.
To finish off the meal I had a Hong Kong milk tea.
At 3:20PM it was time to head to the departure gate for our flight to Kuala Lumpur, after an all too short stay in the lounge (even though it spanned several hours!).
I was expecting to be impressed by The Pier, but even with my high expectations I was blown away. What was so great about the lounge?
- The decor and sense of “home” — it’s tough to describe, but the lounge really brings the comforts of home to an airport; I really felt like I was in a super high-end home and not in an airport lounge, which is a feeling I don’t usually otherwise get, even in the world’s best lounges
- The Retreat — I loved these rooms for the privacy and the views; when you’re between long flights it’s nice to be able to pull a curtain and have some privacy
- The Dining Room — the a la carte menu in the lounge was fantastic, among the best meals I’ve had in a lounge
- The foot massages — while not the longest massage, they’re such a nice treat between flights
I far prefer this lounge to The Wing, and would even go out of my way to visit it in the future, even though it’s not that convenient if you’re leaving from the “lower” gates.
I actually also think this ranks among my five favorite lounges in the world — along with the Air France First Class Lounge Paris, Lufthansa First Class Terminal Frankfurt, Qantas First Class Lounge Sydney, and Thai Airways First Class Lounge & Spa Bangkok.
Kudos to Cathay Pacific on this spectacular lounge, which I find to be the most aesthetically pleasing out there. I can’t wait to return.
If you’ve visited Cathay Pacific’s The Pier First Class Lounge, what was your experience like?