Old friend, new face at Cathay Pacific's flagship lounge
Cathay Pacific's flagship lounge at Hong Kong International Airport reopened on January 31 after a major ongoing facelift.
Dubbed The Wing, the 14-year-old Cathay Pacific lounge has completed renovations for its business class section. Construction for the first class section will be complete by the end of the year.
Covering almost 3,000 square meters, the split-level space has been redesigned by London-based architects Foster + Partners. Everything is bigger, plusher and better-looking.
"When we first opened in 1998, it wasn't to universal acclaim," said Alex McGowan, head of products for Cathay Pacific.
"There was a water feature that passengers accidentally went paddling in and a noodle bar that was once described as a boarding school dining room. But over the years, The Wing became an old friend to frequent travelers and there was a real emotional attachment formed with the space. We want to retain the personality of the original -- to reinvent the old friend."
Features of the old lounge that were popular with passengers have been expanded -- see the old lounge here for a reminder.
It's basically the same old familiar lounge, but looking much more hip and luxurious with dark granite walls, warm bamboo woods and slick white Italian marble. It feels like a trendy, exclusive hotel.
Cathay would not reveal the exact cost of renovations for The Wing, but said it is "hundreds of millions of Hong Kong dollars."
Whatever the price, McGowan said it is a necessary spend as a decent airport lounge is high on the list of a business class passengers' criteria for airline choice, after on-board seat quality.
The most dramatic feature of The Wing is the expanded noodle bar, a self-service restaurant that specializes in fresh dan dan mian and steamed Chinese buns.
"Hot food is number one -- you've got to get that right," said McGowan. "Lots of food and a lot of variety."
That need will also be catered to in the future revamped first class lounge at The Wing. Its restaurant, The Haven, will grow from 30 to 100 seats, with waiter service, premium food and a wine list.
New private cabanas are also a highly anticipated feature of the first class lounge. The five rooms will have a bathtub, daybed, desk, rainforest shower and will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis.
The Wing is open to business and first class passengers of Cathay Pacific and Dragonair, Silver and above Marco Polo Club members, as well as Sapphire and above oneworld members.
The Wing is open daily, 5:30 a.m. till last departure. Located by Gate 2, Level 6 of Hong Kong International Airport.