Singapore - Changi
- Noodle Bar
- Elegant warm design
- No shower suites
- No staffed drinks bar
- Cathay's first dedicated lounge at SIN
Cathay Pacific's move to Changi Airport's new Terminal 4 provided the airline with the opportunity to build its own dedicated lounge rather than use a contract lounge in T1.
That decision wasn't just about branding: it's about providing passengers on its busy roster of Singapore-Hong Kong flights (nine per day, at the time of writing) with a more consistent lounge experience, especially with The Pier lounges at Hong Kong and other new-look CX lounge openings including Tokyo's Haneda airport, Bangkok, Taipei, Manila and London Heathrow.
Location & Impressions
Cathay Pacific’s Singapore T4 lounge sits on the upstairs mezzanine level of the departures floor.
(Unlike Changi's other terminals but in common with most other airports around the world, T4 separates arrivals and departures across two floors.)
It's a relatively straight line walk from the security and immigration zone entering T4 to the escalators which whisk you up to the lounge level – and, handy for passengers, the T4 gates used by Cathay Pacific (gates 18 through 21) are between five and eight minutes' walk in the same direction.
If you've visited any of Cathay's new-look lounges, you'll find no surprises here – and if you haven't, you're in for a treat.
The airline hired feted English designer Ilse Crawford and her StudioIlse team to re-imagine its lounges, a project which took form with the December 2014 opening of the CX lounge at Tokyo's Haneda airport.
Crawford's design carries a strongly residential vibe, albeit with the most upmarket materials such as walnut and cherrywood, limestone, bronze and brass which all bring warmth, elegance and a sense of calmness to the space.
Even the music comes from a curated playlist which varies in mood depending on the time of day. It's all part of a very considered and deliberate approach to designing a lounge as one part of the travel experience.
There's a wonderful variety of seating – overall, there is room for over 200 people, with almost half of that in The Noodle Bar...
... so although the lounge is generally one large space apart from the dining area, there's still ample choice for travellers in not only where they sit but the type of seating they prefer.
The lounge follows a tear-drop shape which tapers out into a seating area with views over the airfield and brings natural light into that end of the lounge.
Two notable absences: there's no tended bar, which would have been a cool touch, nor are there any showers.
Both of those are not common to all of Cathay's non-Hong Kong lounges, but in a key destination like Singapore you'd probably expect to find at least one of the two.
Cathay Pacific’s Singapore T4 lounge is open to the airline's business class passengers and, for those in economy:
- Marco Polo Club members holding Diamond Invitation, Diamond Plus, Diamond, Gold or Silver status (and Cathay Pacific Cargo Clan Elite members)
- Oneworld Emerald and Sapphire members, such as Qantas’ Platinum One, Platinum and Gold frequent flyers
However, only passengers holding a boarding pass for a T4 flight will be allowed into the terminal, even if you're using the airside bus transfer.
This means that travellers on Oneworld airlines flying out from Terminals 1, 2 and 3– such as Qantas, British Airways, Malaysia Airlines and Qatar Airways – won't be able to do some lounge-hopping and visit Cathay's T4 lounge.
The Noodle Bar is a signature element of Cathay's business class lounges, and here it is in Singapore...
... with plenty of places to sit while you slurp those noodles.
There are morning and all-day menus, with fixtures on the all-day menu being the airline's favoured dan dan noodles, wonton noodle soup and 'Singapore laksa'.
Cathay is also considering adding other local items when the menu changes roughly every month – chicken rice is already being considered, and we've put in a vote for Singaporean-style kopi and toast with kaya jam.
A nook at the end of The Noodle Bar is where you'll find a coffee machine which produces quite a drinkable cuppa...
... along with Jing tea and some sweet treats such as a very light and airy pandan chiffon cake.
Just outside The Noodle Bar is a self-serve area with more seating...
... a trio of hot dishes...
... salads and snacks...
... and drinks, from soft drinks and fresh juices to Tiger beer to a small selection of spirits.
(Yes, we know there's a bottle of Moët peeking up from the chiller in the photo above, but that was served only during the exclusive media preview of the lounge ahead of its official opening).
In common with other Cathay Pacific lounges, a Bureau zone has been set aside with desktop iMacs running both Apple and Windows software, and a laser printer.
But most travellers today bring their own tech, such as a notebook or tablet, and are more likely to plonk themselves down anywhere in the lounge and take advantage of the fast and free WiFi.
The most work-friendly chairs are the handful of Solo chairs clustered together at the far end of the lounge.
This bespoke design created by Ilse Crawford for Cathay Pacific is her take on the older Solus pods (below) which Foster & Associates conjured up for the previous generation of CX lounges such as The Wing and The Bridge.
The basics are still the same – AC and USB ports within reach, a reading light and a coat- or handbag-hanger on the side – but Crawford's plush and roomy Solo chairs are much more comfortable.
But no matter where you sit, you won't have to hunt around for AC or USB power: those coffee tables next to most of the seats contain a pair of both ports in the slide-out drawer.
Short on time and want to nosh while you work?
The cubicle seating at The Noodle Bar has AC and USB ports tucked away beneath the table...
... with more of the same under the raised bench in the self-serve buffet area.
If you're not a local, just remember to bring a universal AC adaptor in your carry-on bag as local regulations required that Cathay's lounge design team install only a standard Singapore AC socket (the same as used in Hong Kong and the UK) in the lounge, rather than the multi-port socket used on aircraft and in many hotels.
Given the limited space which Changi Airport made available to Cathay Pacific in T4's mezzanine lounge zone, and the peculiar tapered shape of that space, the airline clearly couldn't outfit this lounge to a higher spec.
That's a shame, as either showers or a tended bar would have been welcome – but by any measure, Cathay Pacific's new Singapore T4 lounge is leagues ahead of its former T1 digs.
David Flynn travelled to SIngapore as a guest of Cathay Pacific