China - Hong Kong
Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA)
- Superb contemporary design
- Made-to-order dishes from The Noodle Bar
- No tended bar or barista
- The chic cosy CX lounge
Cathay Pacific's The Deck lounge at Hong Kong is the old Dragonair G16 lounge with an all-new look, drawing on the same luxury residential vibe as The Pier as well as Cathay's latest lounges in London, Bangkok, Taipei and Vancouver. The result is a chic cosy lounge which also effectively replaces The Cabin, which will close from April 30 2018.
Location & Impressions
Cathay Pacific's The Deck lounge is located at the northern tip of Hong Kong airport Terminal 1, near gates 16 through 19.
This puts it at the opposite side to The Wing – in fact, the quickest way to get straight to The Deck is to use T1's northern security entrance, which is at the far end of the terminal to the Cathay Pacific check-in counters. An escalator across from Gate 16 whisks you to the upper 'mezzanine' level used by The Deck as well as the neighbouring Qantas Hong Kong Lounge.
The Deck will prove most convenient if your flight departs from gates 15 through 19, which includes many of the morning Cathay Dragon flights to China. If your gate is in the 20s there's no difference in lounge-to-gate time if you visit The Wing, which many first class or top-tier frequent flyers may wish to do.
(Of course, for flights departing any gate in the 30s and upwards we'd recommend you head to The Pier first class or business class lounges.)
The Deck's relaxed feel stems from the same Ilse Crawford-designed palette as with other recently-revamped or -opened Cathay Pacific lounges.
A central 'living room' is the heart of The Deck, with a variety of chairs, lounges and tables clustered into intimate groups.
Those handy tables between many of the chairs contain AC and USB power sockets in a discrete pull-out draw: but don't forget to pack your adaptor plugs, as the AC outlets accept only Hong Kong/UK-style pins.
One side of this living room faces the self-serve buffet; another is flanked by the long dining room and its high-walled booths.
But if this living room is the heart of The Deck, it's soul is the wide L-shaped terrace – 'the deck' from whence the lounge draws its name – which wraps all the way around.
This terrace opens into the terminal proper, with panoramic views across the airport's apron and, if you're there at the right time, to the sunset.
Those concrete benches visible in the photo above also include easily-overlooked AC and USB ports...
... but please take some time to look away from your laptop or smartphone and enjoy the verandah's vista.
The Deck has no dedicated first class area – it's one space for everybody, and that includes
- first class and business class passengers on Cathay Pacific, Cathay Dragon and Oneworld partner airlines (including Qantas)
- Diamond, Gold and Silver members of Cathay Pacific's Marco Polo Club
- Oneworld Emerald and Sapphire frequent flyers (such as Qantas Platinum and Gold members)
For the benefit of our many Qantas readers, let's emphasise that eligible travellers on Qantas flights can choose to visit The Deck instead of the Qantas Hong Kong Lounge, or you can spent time in both.
In fact, the far end of the Qantas lounge has a handy exit which faces across a tiled floor to The Deck's entrance – so you can enjoy some BBQ pork at the Qantas lounge and follow that up with dim sum from The Noodle Bar at The Deck.
The Noodle Bar is the centrepiece of The Deck's dining experience, and if you've visited any of Cathay Pacific's other lounges you'll know what to expect – local classics such as wonton noodles in a hearty broth, fish ball noodles, dan dan noodles and Japanese-style vegetarian noodles, along with dim sum and buns.
These can be enjoyed at the counter of The Noodle Bar itself, or in cosy dining booths...
Of course, you can also take them into the lounge's central 'living room' or out onto the terrace.
We'd definitely suggest the latter, to take full advantage of this unique part of The Deck's design.
For bonus points, if your flight leaves from gates 16 through 19, which are in view from the terrace, you can sit there with a drink until you see your flight start to board before you head down to the gate (this is doubly handy because Cathay Pacific doesn't make boarding calls in its Hong Kong lounges).
The self-serve buffet includes a variety of hot and cold dishes...
... and a small selection of desserts.
What's missing from the dining equation is a tended bar, although it's fair-minded to point out that there is precious little room for one. However, spirits are also noticeably absent from the self-serve drinks area - something that new lounge operator Sodexo tells us they will shortly rectify. Until then the selection is a half-dozen bottles of red and white wines plus Mumm Champagne.
Coffee is also a DIY affair.
The Deck has no dedicated business zone, although the 'relaxation zone' with its six Solo chairs should provide a quiet space to escape with your laptop.
The Solo chairs are a common feature to Cathay's new-look lounges: these bespoke chairs are extra-wide, very comfortable, and sport a table as well as integrated AC and USB ports and even a hook on which to hang your coat, jacket or handbag.
(They're a far more spacious take on the high-tech Solus chair, which is another made-for-Cathay piece.)
During our visit with the lounge in relatively modest use, download and upload speeds on the free (password-protected) wireless network clipped 20Mbps, so there's plenty of headroom there.
Of course, how the network caters for the lounge at its capacity of around 180 passengers hammering away on their laptops, tablets and smartphones remains to be seen.
Tucked away past the dining area and en route to the showers and washrooms, the above-mentioned relaxation zone is the place to go for some pre-flight quiet time – provided that bizoids in the Solo work chairs don't start yammering on their mobile phones.
To freshen up ahead of your flight, call into one of the eight shower suites.
These have the same thoughtful design as in The Pier: the suites are generously sized, with a rack for your luggage and ample room to change clothes and spread out your toiletries.
The showers and vanities are stocked with Aesop amenities.
In all, The Deck is a solid addition to Cathay Pacific's Hong Kong lounge portfolio. It's hard to fault either the design or the location, and the airline has done wonders with the limited space available. If you like The Pier but it's too distant to visit when your flight departs from the 'top' end of the terminal, The Deck will probably become your go-go.
David Flynn travelled to Hong Kong as a guest of Cathay Pacific