Review: Cathay Pacific's The Pier Business Class Lounge, Hong Kong

Overall Rating

By David Flynn, June 18 2016
Cathay Pacific's The Pier Business Class Lounge, Hong Kong

China - Hong Kong


Hong Kong


Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA)




Cathay Pacific



The Good
  • Superb design
  • Great food choices
  • Tended bar
  • Tea Room
  • Nap nooks
The Bad
  • When your flight departs on time and you have to leave this oasis
  • Cathay's flagship business class lounge


Just how good can a business class lounge be? Spend some time in The Pier Business Class Lounge – Cathay Pacific's flagship business class space at Hong Kong International Airport – and you'll almost certainly have to raise your expectations. Many airlines could pass this off as their first class lounge and nobody would be the wiser.

Location & Impressions

The Pier Business Class Lounge is one of a staggering eight lounges in Cathay Pacific's home hub of Hong Kong and is perched adjacent to Gate 65 at the far end of Terminal 1, past where the spine of the terminal splits into a Y shape.

Like its sibling The Pier First Class lounge, at gates 61-63, the entrance is tucked away downstairs and is almost easy to miss if you're not on the lookout.

And it's quite the haven from the busy bustle of the airport.

Like The Pier First Class – and most other recent Cathay Pacific lounge openings and refurbishments – The Pier Business Class has been shaped by Ilse Crawford and her team at London-based StudioIlse.

The vibe is warm, relaxed and unhurried; the look is the type of subtle style which doesn't need to try hard, because it just is.

Signature elements include high-quality natural materials such as limestone and cherry wood, with plants, gentle lighting and glazed timber screens creating a gentle contemporary space.

Speaking of space, there's plenty of it – with seating for some 550 travellers, this is almost one-third larger than the old business class lounge.

Just past the reception area are 20 luggage lockers, each secured by a combination code.

Stow your carry-on bags to lighten your load, and the rest of the lounge is laid out in front of you.

The lounge's spine begins with a dining area dubbed the Food Hall.

Further along is The Noodle Bar, which has become a fixture in Cathay Pacific lounges...

... and beyond that, a fully tended bar serving spirits, cocktails and wines.

If you'd rather sip green tea instead of gin & tonic, keep walking until you reach The Tea House.

Past that, nestled at the very end of this long space, is a relaxation room with low upholstered daybeds in semi-private nooks ...

... plus fourteen spacious and well-appointed shower suites.

What's interesting about all this is that you've walked in a straight line from the entrance of the lounge through five quite individual 'zones'...

... and each of those is carefully positioned so that the busier and noisier areas are towards the front, while things shift down a gear as you move further away from the entry.

There's also a smaller, secondary zone branching off the reception area, which opens onto a long sitting room with views over the airfield.

The overall effect is that The Pier Business Class Lounge inherits a delightful aspect of 'discovery', as well as letting regular travellers find their own preferred space to which they'll return on future visits.



The Pier Business Class Lounge is open to the following travellers

  • Cathay Pacific business class and first class passengers (although first class flyers really should head to The Pier First Class Lounge)
  • Business class and first class passengers on other Oneworld airlines
  • Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Gold and Silver card-holders
  • Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald frequent flyers (including Qantas Frequent Flyer Gold and Platinum)


The Food Hall is positioned directly past the lounge's entry so that even travellers on a tight schedule can grab a quick bite to eat.

There's an extensive selection of hot and cold dishes...

... and ample seating in a variety of styles, from small round tables to long benches and high bars.

There's also a coffee cart where travellers can enjoy a barista-pulled boost.

Of course, it wouldn't be a new-look Cathay Pacific business lounge without the iconic The Noodle Bar.

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:

Think of The Food Hall and The Noodle Bar as a bit of 'east meets west' (or 'west meets east', if you're pedantic about the order of things) – there's definitely something for everybody.


Old-school airport lounges have a dedicated 'business centre' zone decked out with desktop PCs or Macs but a paucity of AC power sockets elsewhere in the lounge – you've got to go searching for them.

Cathay Pacific hasn't done away with that business zone: The Pier features a working space dubbed The Bureau, with Apple iMacs and printers.

It also features a cluster of bespoke chairs called the Solo chair, 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 lounge blueprint (including The Cabin and The Wing at Hong Kong, as well as lounges in Paris and San Francisco).

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 plus AC power.

But the plushly padded Solo seats are noticeably more spacious and more comfortable.

Solo chairs can also be found towards in other parts of The Pier Business Class Lounge.

But your working options don't end there. 

See those lamp-bearing sidetables scattered around the lounge?

They're another Ilse Crawford gem: slide out the drawer to reveal two AC sockets and four powered USB ports.

You'll also find AC/USB power conveniently within reach at other parts of the lounge, such as under this marble bench in The Food Hall...

... and under those comfy booths in The Noodle Bar.

Now, nobody's saying you have to work at The Pier Business Class Lounge – but it's sure nice to have the option to do so wherever you want to sit, or at least to plug in your laptop, tablet or smartphone to charge it up before your flight. 


When we think of 'relaxing' in an airport lounge it's usually all about spas, quiet zones, daybeds and the like.

But there's something to be said for winding down with a good drink or two at the bar...

... or one of a dozen tea blends at The Tea House.

If you've got a good deal of time before your flight – especially during a long layout – The Relaxation Room offers 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).

Read: Inside Cathay Pacific's The Pier First Class Lounge Day Suites

Adjacent to The Relaxation Room are fourteen well-appointed shower suites...

... with room for your luggage plus all the amenities you need to freshen up...

... including Aesop products.


The Pier Business Class Lounge is a lounge without equal, and it'll probably have you wishing your flight could leave just that little bit later.

David Flynn travelled to Hong Kong as a guest of Cathay Pacific.


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Nov 2014

Total posts 362

Hi David:

I have a trip coming up on CX J TPE-HKG-BNE with only just under 2 hr transit time in HKG. With such a short time I can really just enjoy one lounge. Would you recommend the pier over all other HKG lounges?

Cathay Pacific - The Marco Polo Club - Green

18 Jun 2016

Total posts 2

If I were to visit one lounge only, it would be the QF one.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Feb 2014

Total posts 446

Well, going by the fact the review highlights no negatives, it goes without saying, the Pier....

I like the Bridge or the noodle bar at the Wing. But if you are short of time, pick a lounge that is closest to your departing gates. That's my opinion. 

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2556

Michael: two hours transit time really means barely 1h15m of lounge time, allowing for the transit process plus boarding time before your HKG-BNE flight – so in turn your choice of lounge is likely to be driven more by the location of your boarding gate: if your gate is up around the 'top' of the terminal, say gates 1-19, then you won't really have decent time to enjoy The Pier, maybe 45-60 minutes, and then rushing back to your gate (unless your inbound flight drops you off near a transit spot closer to those higher-numbered gates nearer to The Pier). All else being equal, the most relaxing lounge experience will be in a good loune that's fairly close to your gate.

I'd say The Pier First Class Lounge is the best, if you can access that via status; otherwise, depending on where your flight departs from, it's more a choice between The Pier Business Class Lounge down the 'far' end of the airport, and the very excellent Qantas Lounge at the 'top' (although The Wing Business Class Lounge is also good for its Noodle Bar).

Cathay Pacific - The Marco Polo Club - Green

18 Jun 2016

Total posts 2

With the amount of lounges CX have at HKG, they should just open this one up to GR members like me.  They have way too much capacity anyways.  

What's a GR member?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Aug 2014

Total posts 216

"Grouchy reader", from the sounds of it.

04 May 2015

Total posts 270

Didn't this lounge open just this morning for the first time? You must have been super keen to get that review!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Aug 2014

Total posts 216

Yes!! Highly ZONED lounge areas! Looks absolutely fantastic in my opinion.

(How hard is this to understand, Qantas?)

10 Aug 2015

Total posts 117

Great article - thank you. Very impressive set of features and the colour palate is perfectly on trend, the transition from hustle to harmony is so clever.

The question I have, in my soon visit to Hong Kong enroute to Paris, with a 6 hour connection and do I try all the lounges or do I hop into Central for an hour  then return  to enjoy perhaps only one or two lounges?


01 Aug 2012

Total posts 5

I am in the longe now, it really is very nice. They have done it well, it is the best business class lounge in HK now. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Oct 2015

Total posts 22

A carrier that knows how to do both excellent first class and business class lounges. Qantas should really look into upgrading their depressing international J lounges at SYD and MEL.

Air New Zealand - Airpoints

08 Apr 2015

Total posts 3

All Cathay Pacific Business Class lounges in Hong Kong can also be accessed by Air New Zealand customers, as part of the CX/NZ co-operation alliance for flights between Auckland and Hong Kong:

Airpoints Gold and Elite customers plus 1 guest, travelling on NZ80, or NZ4990 and NZ4994 (must be NZ coded/ticked by NZ with an NZ flight number) from Hong Kong to Auckland in any class (Economy or Business)

Airpoints Gold and Elite customers plus 1 guest, connecting to any CX/KA flights bound for Shanghai and Beijing only, after inbound on NZ87 or NZ4991, NZ4993 and NZ4995 from Auckland to Hong Kong in any class (Economy or Business), in the same day/on the same PNR.

01 Feb 2017

Total posts 2

I use The Pier every single time when I am at HK airport. Those Aesop products are beyond awesome!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Aug 2013

Total posts 6

Can you take a guest in not on a business class ticket

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