The Pier First Class Lounge: Hong Kong International
The Pier First class lounge is one of those inspirational First class experiences many travellers have on their bucket list. It’s been on mine for a while and this year I decided to fit it in all as part of a trip to Japan for Cherry blossom season.
I was originally booked on Cathay Pacific First Class, but when I had to change dates, there was no availability on Cathay Pacific to Tokyo at all. So I flew Cathay Dragon First class on the Kong Kong sector. Both are essentially sister airlines!
You have to be flying Cathay Pacific & Cathay Dragon First Class, another OneWorld carrier First class or be a Marco Polo Club Diamond member.
Upon landing in Kong Kong, I wasted no time making my way to the lounge. Which involved a fair bit of brisk walking. The lounge is located near gate 63/65.
Take the elevator down and immediately you can sense the opulence and oasis awaiting you. There were several staff by the entrance to check guests through. A couple were just ahead of me, when I had about a few seconds to take a picture..
This turned out to be a rather funny moment, that I only realised as I am writing this! I don’t recall any guys even standing there!
My boarding cards and lounge invitation cards were scanned and I was in! Time for a quick tour around to get my bearings.
If you needed a place to work..
Wow! What a stunning place! I felt like I was in a spa retreat holiday away from a holiday! The decor is so warm and striking all at the same time. I’m not sure I’ve seen a more beautifully designed lounge. The elegant hallways lead to the various different spaces within the lounge, so where ever you are, you don’t see many people.
Each space has classy furniture thoughtfully arranged with different types of seating options if you are solo, in a group etc
What to do? decisions, decisions!
I had intentionally planned a long layover so I can really experience the lounge fully. Timings of the previous flight has meant I also really needed a nap, jolly good thing they have private day rooms!
First order of business was to book a massage, arrange a day room, and have a shower.
I headed to the Retreat, where I was greeted by two friendly ladies at the reception. There were a few massage options, but I didn’t get a chance to take a picture of it.
Anyway, the neck & shoulder massage seemed appealing so I booked a half hour slot 20 minutes later, giving me enough time to take a shower. I was informed that there were quite a few days rooms that were free so I did not need to book.
Both the receptions spoke English well enough, but it wasn’t clear if I should go back to reception for massage, if someone will come get me, or what, so when I asked, they handed me a buzzer.
It appears there are ample shower rooms, as I did not have to wait, unlike both Emirates First and BA First lounge experiences recently.
Shower room was what you would expect in any luxury hotel, spacious, bright with marble finishes and stocked with fluffy towels and Aesop toiletries. The rain shower provided good pressure.
I had about 5 minutes to spare before the massage.
The Retreat & Massage
Almost bang on time, the masseuse picked me up from reception where I just waiting and into the massage room just on the right.
Ordinarily I’m not sure I’d be keen on getting a massage with strangers beside me, as sometimes people make weird noises, but luckily I was the only guest at that time.
Again, not sure if this was a language barrier, or something else, there was very little verbal interaction, briefing about the massage etc she went straight into it
This was a clothed massage where I was seated upright. What was lacking was any forward support when she applied pressure. I felt like I was making some effort to stay upright! The massage was good otherwise.
The Day Room
After the massage, I felt suitably relaxed to take a nap, so I asked which rooms were free at the reception, and the lovely lady escorted me to one.
All the day rooms are adjacent to each other, with heavy curtains giving privacy and creating a corridor which essentially looked and felt like an extension of the spa.
Each room consists of a fairly large L shaped sofa, with a cushion, reading light as well as a bigger light, ample storage for luggage, and power points. The highlight of it is by far the full width windows with a view out into the taxi way. If you are lucky you can get really up close with some of your favourite aircraft.
I gazed out the window for a while, before I took a much needed nap. Oh and I requested a blanket and additional pillow to really get comfortable.
There is a shutter to bring roll the blinds down, to shut out the light and views.
The dining room
After my nap, I was hungry and ready to have some food. I was thinking breakfast, but they had already switched over to lunch menu by then.
The restaurant was fairly large and seemed most people in the lounge were actually here, even then I would say it was less than half full.
Much like a fine dining establishment, I was escorted to a seat and given a menu and asked what I’d like to drink first.
That particular day, I didn’t fancy anything spicy and I don’t eat pork. Have to admit, I wasn’t blown away by the main meal choices. I was after all in a super exclusive First Class lounge that has been consistently rates amongst the best in the world.
I ordered the Thai beef salad as a starter and braised beef cheek for main.
Looking back at the menu just now, I am wondering why I did not order the sesame prawns & fried tofu… it sounds delicious!
The salad was fine. Braised beef cheek was tender and mash and cabbage well done. Overall was a fantastic dish.
I finished off the meal with a raspberry sorbet.
Bar and Self Service food
After lunch, I wandered past the bar and refreshments area, but no longer had time to order a drink there. Will have to save this for end of year!
This is a very elegant and fine lounge to relax or eat before/in-between your flights. There is something quite homely about it, that you forget you are travelling. Whilst there are places where the service and touches can be further refined, such as placing more comfortable pillows and blankets in the day rooms. Perhaps a light mattress topper would make for a more comfortable snooze, as I’m not sure many people would like the idea of napping on a surface that others may have potentially had their feet/shoes up on.
Truth be told 3 hours is not long enough to spend here. I appreciate the retreat, it really enhances the experience of lounges and what they should be about. Its one of those places where you really feel like you need an extra stomach and an extra large bladder to appreciate it all.