For some context, this day came at the end of a three day trip to Hong Kong. Feel free to read that post if you want to know how I got here.
You may find yourself at Hong Kong International Airport one day staring down a very long clock as you await a flight home or transit elsewhere. In the event that happens and you have access to either the Cathay Pacific Lounges or the American Express Centurion Lounge, this “how to” guide will help you soak up the comfort/booze of each of Cathay’s travel lounges.
In order to get access to the Cathay lounges, you need to be flying First or Business class on Cathay Pacific or be a OneWorld Sapphire (American Airlines Platinum) member or higher traveling on any class of service. To get access to the American Express Centurion Lounge, you need to have either a Centurion (black card) or Platinum American Express to enter and you can bring in two guests without a fee. As of September 2017, the Points Guy reported that lounge access for non-Centurion or Platinum cardholders was revoked.
(Post-travel note: It appears I missed one of the lounges, The Arrival. This lounge is apparently good if you’re just landing in Hong Kong and need to clean up a bit but might not be the destination of choice if you’re departing).
Okay, enough context. Let’s go!
1:30 PM: Entering
After emerging from immigration/passport control, I pulled out my map and created my game plan for the day. Up first – “The Wing” – a lounge that my wife Caitlin and I had been to on previous flights and one I knew was super comfortable and luxurious.
1:45 PM: The Wing
Stepped into “The Wing.” This is the granddaddy of the lounges. Not the biggest, but the only one that has a section reserved for first class. It’s also the closest to where you come out of passport control (directly to the left, if you’re super elite or flying first/business class). If you’re not a super elite or in one of those two sections, you have to go downstairs and then loop back to the main entrance near gate 2.
- Go all the way to the back left to the restaurant for some soup noodles, dim sum, and pork buns.
- Go all the way to the back right for the café, some pastries, and a quiet seating area
- Verdict: A very comfortable area to spend an hour or five. Lots of natural light, good food and drink, and plenty of places to sit.
2:35 PM: “The Cabin”
Stepped into “The Cabin.” This one is a long, narrow lounge that literally rolls out a red carpet as you walk into the lounge.
- Turn right and you find the quiet area where you can nap or read in peace.
- Turn left and you’ll find a juice bar, deli, and cocktail bar for you to enjoy your time at.
- Verdict: Not my favorite of the four lounges. The service at the bar was excellent and the negroni I ordered was really good but it seems really small compared to the other lounges. But if you’re looking to be healthy, the juice bar definitely has your best options.
3:30 PM: “The Bridge”
Stepped into “The Bridge.” This one has the most dramatic entrance as you descend the escalator and are directed to go into one of two halves of the lounge.
- To the right is The Bakery, The Long Bar, and The TV Lounge with some pretty comfortable looking couches. A dining room provided me with some new food options, including a Japanese miso chicken, an XO sauce fried chicken, and a chicken mushroom siu mai. All were delicious, especially the miso chicken.
- To the left is the bistro, the coffee loft, the IT Zone (place to use computers), and the showers. This is the place you want to go if you’re seeking respite from travel stress. There were very few people on this side and it was quiet and calming.
- Verdict: Overall I liked this lounge as it gives you a ton of flexibility. Stay on the right and enjoy the energy and food. Stay on the left and chill out.
4 PM: “The Pier”
Stepped into “The Pier.” There are two lounges here, to be clear. One is first class, the other is business class. After getting rejected from the former, I came to the latter and was thoroughly impressed by its warm wood tones and multiple venues, including the Food Hall, Bar, Noodle Bar, Teahouse, and Relaxation Room (the Food Hall is the first one you arrive at and the Relaxation Room is at the back of this lounge). Though I did not get to experience it firsthand, apparently the Pier First Class lounge has private day-suites with views of the tarmac. Sweet!
- While the Food Hall had several buffet style items, I was already full from the previous three lounges’ worth of eating and drinking
- I decided to spent most of my time at The Bar, sitting in the plush chairs and watching episodes of Star Trek: Discovery (which, if you haven’t seen it, is awesome and available on Netflix outside of the United States)
- I did not stop in the Noodle Bar but the offerings looked tasty and there were plenty of open booths that can accommodate one person or small groups with ease
- The Teahouse offers a selection of small pastries and cakes along with, as you would have guessed, a number of teas. The green wall tiles give the room a nice relaxing vibe and the sweets are just right for a light snack
- The Relaxation Room is a paradise for those who need a place to put their heads down for a bit. Large, fluffy couches and ottomans invite you to set your bag down and catch a few needed zzz’s in a dimly lit room
- Verdict: I enjoyed this lounge most of all. It has a variety of themes in which you can eat, drink, sleep and probably be merry – so I would encourage everyone to visit this one.
4:30 PM: The Centurion Lounge
Stepped into the Centurion Lounge. This is part of AmEx’s global network of branded lounges and having been to the one in Dallas Forth Worth and the studio (smaller version) in Seattle, I had high expectations that sadly were not matched. The cocktail program is just as good as any other Centurion Lounge, but the food was underwhelming and it was surprisingly small.
And with that, I packed up my gear, walked to my flight and returned home to the United States. This post is simply ridiculous and over the top, but I had a lot of time to kill before my flight and I can now safely say that Cathay Pacific’s lounges are all impressive. Some are just better than others!
And AmEx, pick your game up!