Review: Cathay Pacific The Pier First Class Lounge Hong Kong

After having a nice lunch with the manager at the American Express Centurion Lounge Hong Kong I guested him into the United Club which is the only lounge at the Hong Kong airport he hadn’t yet seen despite it being nearby (it’s the nicest United Club in the system in my opinion, but not impressive for the Hong Kong airport).

Then I bid him adieu and headed over to Cathay Pacific’s “The Pier” first class lounge near gate 63.

The Pier offers one of the best first lounges in the world. For instance I’d rank it behind Lufthansa’s first class terminal, largely on par with the Qantas first class lounge in Sydney.

It’s an easy walk from the Centurion lounge but if you’re just entering the airport bear in mind that Cathay Pacific offers two different first class lounges — The Wing (near gate 3) and The Pier. If you don’t have hours to kill you’ll probably just use the one nearest you. Both offer sit down dining, and the Wing has the nicer private shower rooms (“The Cabanas”).

However to reach The Pier you’ll take the train to gates 60-80. The train is one way only, if your departure is from a low numbered gate you’ll walk back.

The Pier is on the lower level of the airport:

At the bottom of the escalator there will be Cathay Pacific agents who will take your lounge invitiation for admittance, though they’ll also let you in based on a first class Cathay Pacific boarding pass or oneworld emerald status and same day oneworld flight.

That’s one of the great things about oneworld: top tier members having access to first class lounges, at least that’s true for the Cathay Pacific and Qantas lounges, American, British Airways, and Qatar have carved out their best premium ground experiences and excluded oneworld top tier elites. Which is why I’ve always assumed somehow this benefit wouldn’t last.

The renovated first class The Pier opened two years ago. It’s gorgeous and reminds me more of a Park Hyatt or a new St. Regis than it does an airline lounge.

When you enter you’re faced with a long hallway which connects the different offerings of the lounge.

On the far left hand side there’s a bar and other seating areas around it. As a proper first class lounge, there are really a number of different seating areas, with furniture creating a sense of space rather than just a sea of seat.

I spent most of my time in the lounge in one of the semi-private rooms in an area known as “The Retreat.” These are small cabanas of sort (without their own bathroom), just a little room with day bed and power where you can close a curtain for privacy. They overlook the tarmac offering direct view of aircraft, though you can also lower blinds to keep out the light.

I worked from one of these rooms for awhile, then set the alarm on my phone and let myself doze off for a bit. I found them to be great overall although the temperatures skewed on the warm side.

The lounge has a business center.

They have fantastic showers (with Aesop bath amenities) though they don’t compare to the cabanas in the wing. And they offer 10 minute foot massages though I didn’t partake.

There’s a self service snack area called The Pantry.

But the restaurant is a highlight, although there’s no buffet, it’s all sit down dining with another bar inside as well.

Here’s the menu while I was there:

Overall the ceilings are low, so some may prefer the open air feel of the Wing, but I really love the decor here and that it’s more secluded creating a private feel and it’s large enough not to seem crowded.

Ultimately the restaurant is fantastic. The private rooms (with curtains) are great, I just wish the temperatures there were more adjustable. The shower rooms are wonderful. And there’s modest spa service. That combines to make an incredible lounge.

That said I wouldn’t purposely go out of my way to spend hours here, but if I have to spend hours at the airport here is one of the few places I don’t mind doing it.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. BTW the walk back to the low gates is made much easier by moving walkways almost the whole way…kind of like what US airports had before they ripped all of them out for the scourge that is OTG.

    Not the point of the article, but you really think that UClub is better than LHR? I haven’t been post-renovation but I never thought it to be that special. Open air is a YMMV situation, can also get noisy w/announcements and can be humid too there.

  2. @UA-NYC the United Club in London is a better physical space, but gets so darned crowded, I don’t enjoy lounges that are as hectic as the terminal. The judgment probably says more about my own preference function than anything else.

  3. Couldn’t the Centurion Lounge manager gain access to the United Club as a matter of professional courtesy? I found it very odd that he had to be “guested” in.

  4. If the train is one-way only, could you stay on the train until it returns to the starting position then, exit closer to your gate?

  5. Perfect timing… I will be flying CX F next week and wanted to check out The Pier as I have always used The Wing.

    I just hope it doesn’t feel like I’m in a basement.

  6. Thanks for this. I could never find this lounge. It looks beautiful and I do favor solitude. HINT: Amex should raise the annual fee or charge for lounge visits

  7. 3 of the 4 HKG CX lounges (lumping in J/F ones together) are “below ground” so to speak, but they all have great views of planes / operations so I’ve never minded the lower ceilings.

    I did the Cabin yesterday and enjoyed it being mostly deserted…the Wing was a bit jammed.

  8. They keep the sleeping room area way too cold. I had to change into pajamas and beg for a blanket. Could’ve used another 2 to actually stay warm in there. But other than that, the place is fantastic. Also could’ve done a better job restocking the newspapers.

  9. Please oh please labels for the food plates.

    And many many thanks for the mention of walking so the mobility challenged can make note.

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