Is Cathay Pacific’s The Pier lounge the best First Class lounge in the world? The Skytrax awards for 2016 were announced earlier this year and The Pier received their highest accolade in the lounge category. I made a point of sampling the lounge this year so let’s delve into the details and see if The Pier lives up to the hype.
The Pier is located at Gate 63 at Hong Kong airport and is easily found by looking out for the signage. You proceed down the escalator and run the gauntlet of smiling Cathay Pacific people decked out in crisp red and white uniforms. Once granted access to the hallowed halls, you find yourself in a bright corridor with plush carpet underfoot.
The carpet pile is deep and immediately soothing after the relatively stressful airport experience. The lighting has been well planned to be bright yet not harsh and I appreciated that. The feature table is made of wood and has a stylish light sculpture hanging above it.
The first place I found myself in was The Pantry. This room contains self-service food options for light snacks on the go. The room features a lot of natural material making it seem like you’re in a farm house. The food options were extensive.
The humidity in Hong Kong meant I avoided the food and headed off for a shower. The Retreat offers showers, foot massage and day suites. I enquired about a foot massage and made a booking for much later in the afternoon. I had arrived very early for my flight which was lucky otherwise I would not have received a massage appointment. The corridor leading to the showers is moodily lit and really quite inviting.
The lighting theme continues once you’re shown to your shower room. The lighting is low and relaxing and perfect for a shower which of course is a rain shower. There are a decent array of Aēsop products available, but my favourite surprise was the fact a toothbrush and toothpaste were provided.
Rain showers are always excellent and I was refreshed and ready to eat. In addition to The Pantry with self-service food, there is a full service Dining Room available. On arrival I was shown to my seat, handed the extensive menu and asked what I would like to drink. I ordered a Cathay Delight and a glass of Champagne.
There is plenty of seating with many tables available. There were only a few other people dining while I was there so I found the service to be fast and attentive.
I ordered the Fragrant Chicken to start, Dan Dan Mien noodles and I was torn on the dessert. I couldn’t choose between the Sweetened Almond Cream and the Mango Glutinous Rice. My server told me the Mango was very popular so who was I to argue with that?
You know those cartoons where the light comes from heaven and shines on a person? That was how this meal was. Utterly heavenly! The only bum note was my second glass of Champagne wasn’t the one I ordered and I had to send it back. That was sorted out with no issues and after I finished I floated on my cloud of happiness and went exploring for a place to sit and relax. I passed a living room area with a low wooden coffee table which was quite chic and eventually settled on a corner table in The Bar.
After dumping my things I went to the bar and had a look at the drinks menu. I ordered The Peak Tower cocktail and the bartender made it immediately. The bar staff seemed a little bit unhappy were not very welcoming which was the only time the service was not excellent. This did not bother me of course – everyone is human and people are allowed to have a bad day.
My little corner was very private and by the window. Outside was a Cathay Pacific 777 and who doesn’t like to look at aeroplanes while waiting for a flight? The table had a pull out drawer with two sockets for charging devices. The solution of having them in a drawer rather than stuck to the side of a console on view was pretty neat. I charged my devices, had some champagne and noodled around on my iPad using the blazingly fast Wi-Fi.
The bar also had music playing in the background and I thought it was particularly groovy. It suited the surroundings perfectly and was very much to my taste! Eventually it was time to head back to The Retreat for my foot massage. When I have a massage I usually go for a full body so I was interested as to how they were going to do the foot massage at The Pier. My name was ticked off the list at the desk and my masseuse guided me into the treatment room.
Three people can be seen at the same time and while I was there one other person was receiving his massage. You can’t see the person beside you as there are dividing walls beside where you sit. It is rather effective. I was instructed to remove my shoes and to roll my jeans up. Shortly after my feet were soaking in a tub of soapy water.
The masseuse sits in front of you with a towel over one of her legs, you put your foot up and off she goes. The treatment is about 15 to 20 minutes in total and is very relaxing. Once done I went to The Bar for one final Champagne before heading off to take my flight.
Cathay Pacific wanted The Pier to give the impression of visiting a private apartment and they have succeeded gloriously. Spending time in this lounge is an absolute treat! Everything about it is extremely relaxing, gentle and pleasing. The plush carpet underfoot and the well chosen furniture take care of your body. The lounge is deliciously designed and total eye candy to look at. It is climate controlled to that perfect balance of hot and cold which I found extremely comfortable. Music in the bar is well chosen for the space and I could have sat there happily for hours.
The additional amenities such as The Pantry, Dining Room and The Retreat really make this lounge a home away from home. Does it deserve the accolade of best lounge in the world? Absolutely yes. I enjoyed it that much that I am trying to get to Hong Kong again as soon as I can expressly so I can spend more time there. Make sure you visit if you can – you won’t regret it!