Cathay Pacific will re-open its flagship The Pier Business Class lounge at Hong Kong on Satuday June 18 after an almost year-long make-over, with the new lounge taking the crown as the largest in the worldwide CX network.
Although not due to open until early June, Australian Business Traveller can present an exclusive sneak peek at the lounge.
With seating for 550 travellers, the lounge’s overall footprint occupies some 3,300m2 – making it almost one-third larger than the old business class lounge.
And Cathay Pacific will need this space, with the lounge expected to host upwards of 2,000 travellers each day.
The Pier Business Class is based on the elegant design template crafted by London-based StudioIlse and already seen to best effect in The Pier First Class lounge (below), which we now rate as the world’s best first class lounge.
Result? The rather tired-around-the edges business class bunker goes from drab...
... to fab.
At the same time, The Pier Business Class Lounge sports its own unique identity.
While The Pier First Class Lounge looks like an upscale apartment belonging to a friend with an abundance of money and good taste, Cathay Pacific explains that the long space of The Pier Business Class Lounge is modelled on a 'street' divided into seperate zones, which go from fast-paced to slow-paced as you move through the lounge.
"Travellers can feel a little bit disorientated and tired, and lounges often don’t help you by creating a big, big space with many niches" StudioIlse founder Ilse Crawford (below) told Australian Business Traveller ahead of the lounge's renovation.
"So we’re trying to create something that is more like a real space and has rooms, and also a connection of the rooms which makes sense, to create a layout that's intuitively easy to navigate."
The lounge's spine, or 'main street' if you will, begins with a dining area dubbed the Food Hall.
If your time in the lounge is measured in minutes rather than hours, this is where you can grab a quick bit to eat from an extensive selection of hot and cold dishes...
... along with a coffee cart where travellers can enjoy a barista-pulled boost.
There's plenty of seating...
... and if you park your bum at the marble bench, handy AC and USB power sockets are within reach.
Just beyond The Food Hall is The Noodle Bar, which has become a fixture in Cathay Pacific lounges.
The variety of signature noodle dishes and dim sum make for familiar fare.
And, as with The Food Hall, there's no shortage of seating:
Keep moving beyond The Noodle Bar, and this is where Cathay Pacific starts to shake things up.
First: a fully tended bar serving spirits, cocktails and wines.
It's the sort of stylish, classy space which you might expect to find in another airline's first class lounge.
Sit and sip wherever you want: there are couches for couples and groups, plus chairs and barstools for solo travellers.
If you're rather green tea than gin & tonic, keep walking until you reach The Tea House.
This is a 'first' for Cathay Pacific, created in conjunction with UK-based tea specialist Jing.
There are 10 teas on the standing menu plus one seasonal tea...
... along with a selection of sweet and savoury snacks.
After all that, how could you wind down ever further?
Nestled at the very end of The Pier Business Class Lounge is The Relaxation Room: a calm, quiet zone with 14 low upholstered daybeds and footstools where weary travellers can relax or nap.
Ilse Crawford describes as "a little bit more democratic" version of the Day Suites in The Pier First Class lounge (below).
Adjacent to The Relaxation Room are fourteen spacious and well-appointed shower suites stocked with Aesop products.
That covers the main part of The Pier Business Class Lounge, but there's a smaller, secondary 'street' branching off the reception area.
This opens onto a long sitting room with views over the airfield.
This includes the new Solo chairs, crafted specifically for Cathay Pacific by Crawford's team to mesh perfectly with the lounge's relaxed residential vibe.
The Solo is a rethinking of the Solus workstation which has become a hallmark element of Cathay's previous airport lounges blueprint.
Like its sharply business-minded predecessor, the Solo offers a high-walled nook where travellers can work or relax, and includes a side table, reading lamp and a coat hook.
But the plushly padded Solo seats are noticeably more spacious and more comfortable.
Final touches include The Bureau working space, with desktop computers and printers...
... and 20 luggage lockers, each secured by a combination code.
Located adjacent to Gate 65, The Pier Business Class Lounge will roll out the welcome mat to Cathay Pacific business class passengers, Marco Polo Gold and Silver card-holders and their Oneworld Sapphire equivalents (including Qantas Frequent Flyer Gold).
David Flynn travelled to Hong Kong as a guest of Cathay Pacific.
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