The Wing is one of Cathay Pacific's two flagship airport lounges at Hong Kong, with the upscale first class lounge unveiled five years ago this month in what was then Cathay's benchmark in 'luxury travel'.
Of course, both the first class and business class sections of The Wing now stand in the long shadow of their siblings at The Pier.
But this doesn't mean The Wing first class lounge should be shunned – especially when The Pier, situated at the far end of the terminal, isn't convenient for your flight's departure gate.
It's also handy to visit The Wing if you're flying with Qantas and enjoy Qantas Platinum status: The Wing is less than ten minutes stroll from the Qantas Hong Kong Lounge (which from March will be flanked by another Cathay Pacific lounge in The Deck).
The tail end of a recent business trip to Hong Kong saw me without sufficient time to pay homage to The Pier, so I ventured to The Wing first class lounge – for the first time in years, I might add – and found myself wondering if The Wing was getting an unjustly bad rap from the lounge lizard brigade.
Dining at The Wing first class lounge
Like The Pier, The Wing first class has a dining room (dubbed The Haven)...
... with an à la carte menu – although the menu is less extensive than at The Pier, there are still some pleasing options.
However, unlike The Pier, The Wing boasts a buffet with plenty of variety.
When I called by, the hot dishes included pork siu mai, chicken with lemon sauce and seafood chowder.
The dessert selection is noteworthy: sweet treats include banana chocolate mousse, lemon meringue tart, mango and sago pudding, Black Forest cake and Portuguese tarts.
A very different design
As you wander around The Wing, it's clear that this lounge and The Pier are diametric opposites in design. Shaped by Sir Norman Foster, The Wing is all about dominance: hard shiny surfaces, echoes, red and black decor, and even black marble.
The furniture – which does, admittedly, show the wear of five years of almost around-the-clock usage – is plush and padded, with Chesterfield sofas embodying a very English concept of class, while the Solus workstation pods are a modern sketch of 'business on the move'.
Consider The Pier, then: a relaxed residential feel instead of a fast-paced commercial one; softness instead of hard, muted sounds and even bespoke playlists instead of the echo of footfalls and cabin baggage.
Design aside, one thing The Wing delivers which The Pier does not is a sense of openness and a view to the outside world, even if this also means a bit of glare.
The Champagne Lounge
The tended bar at The Wing first class lounge isn't as impressive as that of The Pier, but it has the same selection of drinks.
A standout feature of The Wing, however, is The Champagne Lounge which takes pride of place just beyond the lounge's entrance.
It's the perfect place for a glass of bubbly – choose between Barons de Rothschild Brut, Veuve Brut and Moet Rose Imperial - and a social media selfie.
Finally, if you have enough time before or between your flights, make a beeline for one of the five cabana rooms.
Each of these private suites is decked out with a spacious shower, a comfortable sofa and an indulgent full-sized bath.
There's also a pressing service which offers a fast 10-20 minute turnaround for giving your shirt, trousers or dress a quick freshen up.
So while everybody raves that The Pier is so much better than The Wing, don't let 'Pier group pressure' turn you away from some of the better traits of this still-classy first class lounge.