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Review of Cathay Pacific’s ‘The Wing’ First Class Lounge in Hong Kong

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This is our review of Cathay Pacific’s ‘The Wing’ First Class Lounge at Hong Kong International Airport.

Two of the best regarded lounges across the oneworld airline alliance, which includes British Airways, are the two First Class lounges run by Cathay Pacific at Hong Kong’s Terminal 1 – The Wing and The Pier.

We have never reviewed these lounges on HFP.  Whilst we rarely run reader reviews of lounges outside the UK, when long-term reader and regular HFP commentator Cat offered to cover them we thought it was a good opportunity to highlight these two excellent facilities.   She will look at The Wing’s First Class lounge today, and tomorrow we will look at The Pier.  I edited the articles and any mistakes are probably mine.

You can find out more about both lounges on this page of the Cathay Pacific website.

Over to Cat:

Review The Wing First Class lounge Hong Kong Airport

“With The Wing and The Pier at diagonally opposite ends of the airport, your initial thought would be that, if travelling in First Class on a oneworld flight or holding oneworld Emerald / BA Gold status, you should choose the First Class lounge closest to your gate of departure.

The Pier’s reputation overshadows that of The Wing, however, and most reviews would encourage you to head to the former, irrespective of your gateI don’t necessarily agree.

There are situations when it makes sense to visit both lounges, despite the lengthy walk of around 15-20 minutes. You can also avoid the walk by using the automatic people mover which takes about 10 minutes, although this only goes one-way from The Wing to The Pier.

The Wing is conveniently located just after security near gates 1-4, just after the Plaza Premium lounge and Starbucks.

Click on any of the images to enlarge.  Some of these photos are official pictures used when it was not possible, due to the number of people around, to take our own.

First impressions

The Wing is an open ceiling lounge that overlooks the terminal concourse below.  You can see Norman Foster’s creation in all its glory from a calm, quiet spot, far removed from the bedlam of the terminal down below.

It is very clear that Cathay Pacific wanted very different visions for its two First Class lounges.  The Wing has light and good views out, which is a positive.  A negative, for me, is the more industrial design style.

Review The Wing First Class lounge Hong Kong Airport

The effect of the red leather Chesterfield sofas, black polished marble and black glass was certainly striking.  To be honest, the décor did not appeal to my sense of aesthetic. I can see how it might seem attractive to many people, but to me, all the glass and hard shiny surfaces made it feel a bit impersonal and uninviting.

The Wing First Class lounge Hong Kong airport review

There were a variety of seating options, and plenty of each, from the wide, comfy Chesterfield sofas to the Solus workstation pods.  I love these – see the photo below – especially the thoughtful little details, like the coat hook and the table for a laptop or a glass of something.  They are idea for for those travelling alone or with work to do.

Review The Wing First Class lounge Hong Kong Airport

The facilities in The Wing include:

a self-service Champagne bar with three different Champagnes on offer 

a full-service white marble bar

The Haven (the dining room)

a separate self-service buffet area with a wide range of deli meats, cheese, pastry items, fruit, salads and sweets

shower rooms and cabanas

a library area with a wide range of magazines and newspapers (enough to keep even Rob happy, I suspect) and

a well-equipped IT zone, if you need to work

Review The Wing First Class lounge Hong Kong Airport

Eating in The Haven

I began in the champagne bar, as you do, which is close to the entrance to the lounge.  There were three different bottles available – Thiénot Brut Vintage 2008, Deutz Brut Rosé and Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut – and I tried them all in the interests of research!

The WIng First Class lounge champagne bar review

The dining room in The Wing, which is called The Haven, features a reduced version of The Pier’s menu which I will cover in the review tomorrow.  It has all of the same main courses and’signature noodles’ but no starters, chef specials or sweets.  Given that both of the noodle dishes are also available in The Wing Business Lounge a few metres away, it would probably have been better to include the chef specials or the starters from The Pier’s dining menu.

On the upside, The Haven also has a buffet which the restaurant in The Pier does not.  This may suit you better if you are short of time.

If you want to see the menu, click on the picture below to enlarge:

The Haven menu in The Wing Hong Kong airport

Here is a stock photo of The Haven:

The Wing review Hong Kong

If you have a hankering for something sweet, there’s plenty to be had from the deli counter just outside the dining room.  I highly recommend the macarons, especially the chocolate and the pistachio ones.  If you want more choice than that offered by the menu below, head to The Pier instead.

Review The Wing First Class lounge Hong Kong Airport

The deli counter also includes a tea and coffee area with an impressive choice of speciality teas and an enormous coffee machine. The tea was delightful, but the espresso that I ordered had a very sad-looking crema and was not up to much.

Review The Wing First Class lounge Hong Kong Airport

The cabanas

The main reason I chose The Wing above The Pier on this visit was to use the gorgeous cabanas. I hadn’t had a shower in over 24 hours at this stage, having gone straight from work to (binge) drinking Champagne and gin in the various Heathrow Terminal 3 lounges and then to a 12-hour flight to Hong Kong. I was desperate to freshen up, and there aren’t many more beautiful places to do this than the cabanas in The Wing.

(Whoever designed the bathrooms and cabanas for the Concorde Room in Terminal 5 really should have used these oases of zen as their inspiration, rather than NHS hospital bathrooms.)

If you fancy a shower, you have a choice of three shower heads – the simple hand-held shower head, the rainfall shower from the ceiling, and a waterfall style one that will get the shampoo suds out of long, thick hair in no time. If you prefer a relaxing soak, there’s an enormous bathtub to use.

Review The Wing First Class lounge Hong Kong Airport

Here is a PR picture from another angle:

The Wing First Class lounge cabana hong kong

You also have a daybed at your disposal, Jurlique facewash and body lotion, unbranded shampoo, conditioner and shower gel (they are good quality though, my hair felt lovely and soft afterwards), dental sets, cotton buds, make-up pads and shower caps, a sink, a toilet, a hairdryer and a two-way wardrobe to hang your crumpled clothes in.

If you press the magic button in the wardrobe, some kind soul removes your clothes and returns them 20 minutes later, pressed and looking almost good as new.  I was still wearing my work clothes from the day before – Balinese lace trousers and a ruched Vivienne Westwood top (my outfit was chosen as much to put the pressing service through the paces, to see how they coped with the challenge, as for comfort, suitability for work and durability while carrying far too much luggage on my back!).

I had worn PJs for most of my flight, with my clothes hanging in my wardrobe, but my work clothes had a distinctly rumpled, rather than ruched, look to them. When my clothes were returned I was impressed – they didn’t do quite as good a job as my dry cleaners, but with such a tight turnaround, they did well.

I also put my wide-brimmed sunhat in the wardrobe hoping that they might work some magic with a starch spray (it had gone all floppy over time, and after four weeks in the Seychelles last summer, it was looking far more Blossom than Bardot), but they ignored it. It was worth a try though!

The cabanas are usually in high demand. It is worth heading straight over to the cabana area to book one as soon as you arrive at the lounge. You will get an electronic buzzer that goes off as soon as your cabana is available.  There is an upper time limit of an hour and a half in the cabanas, to keep the wait time down – I had to wait for just under an hour on my flight out, which wasn’t a problem as I was happy occupying myself with consuming champagne and macarons in the meantime.

On my return flight, I arrived into Hong Kong at a nearby gate to The Wing, and immediately went to sign up for a cabana, only to discover that there were six people on the list ahead of me.  I settled for a shower suite instead. These were also very pleasant, but didn’t have a bathtub, only two shower heads (rainfall and hand-held), and no magic wardrobe.

The Wing Business Lounge

I also had a quick look at The Wing Business lounge which can be accessed with oneworld Sapphire (BA Silver) and up or a same day Business Class ticket on a oneworld airline.

It was too crowded to take any good photographs, unfortunately.

The décor of the business lounge was similar to the First Class Lounge, but with less red, and more grey. It’s still pretty stark and not terribly welcoming, in my opinion.

The facilities in the Business Class are the standard ones you can expect to find in almost any Cathay Pacific lounge.  There’s the ubiquitous noodle bar (most people rave about the dan dan noodles, but I have a bit of an obsession with the wonton soup), the coffee loft (Hong Kong milk tea can be found here too), a smaller buffet area (no macarons here), a long white marble bar and some slightly less fancy (but still very nice) washrooms. There are a variety of seating areas here too – the solus pods (but grey, rather than red), as well as sofas and stools at the various bar areas.

On both visits, the business facilities at The Wing were absolutely swarming with people, so I found it difficult to get any photos.

Conclusion

The Wing Business and First Lounges are wonderfully relaxing places to kill time before or between flights in Hong Kong if you are flying in First Class or have a British Airways Executive Club Gold / oneworld Emerald card.

All lounges open at 05:30 and stay open until the final departure every day.

If your choice is between The Wing and The Pier First Class Lounges it depends on your needs and how much time you have.  If you want a bath, a snooze on a daybed, dramatic hard, shiny surfaces in red, black and grey or self-pour champagne, go to The Wing.  That said, The Pier has the reputation as the premier facility – in my next review we will see if that is true or not.

You can learn more about both lounges on the Cathay Pacific website here.

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Comments

  1. Michael says:

    Rob, i must ask – are you up at 3am each morning hitting publish on this articles or do you have some sort of auto post 😀

    • Stu_N says:

      Robot does it (or something like that).

    • marcw says:

      It’s programmed!

    • As one can sometimes notice, articles are published the night before and already arrive in the morning with a tail of comments!

      • They go up at 3-ish / 4-ish / 5-ish and are emailed on the dot of 4, 5 and 6am.

        However, we will post stuff earlier during the previous day if it is important, which will get emailed the following day. We don’t want to make a habit of this – the articles usually benefit from a longer gestation period and a bit of late-night editing – but there are often commercial or ‘limited availability’ reasons for running them the previous day.

  2. Scallder says:

    Couldn’t agree more about the Concorde Room bathrooms. Was in there 2 weeks ago and they are shocking – the upstairs toilets in business on an A380 are nicer than those in the CCR. They even have a sharps bin in them?!?! Clearly taken straight out an NHS catalogue!

    • I just don’t really understand what they were thinking wrt the bathrooms in CR. Why would you do that in your flagship first lounge?

    • Doug M says:

      Don’t have CR access. But the general standard of toilets and showers for BA is appalling. I don’t often agree with the general BA are crap at everything views, but one area they seriously need to address is the toilets in the lounges at T5.

    • Lady London says:

      Maybe the sharps bin is due some health & safety thing.
      Otherwise tacky short-life poor quality environment and fittings sums it up.

    • Peter King says:

      Lots of lounges have sharps bins, I saw them in 1903 at Manchester and the Austrian Air lounges in Vienna last week.

      As for looking like the ones in a NHS catalogue, what would you expect them to look like, kinda important they’re not mistaken for anything else I’d have thought.

      • David says:

        I think they mean the whole bathroom design is from an NHS catalogue, rather than the sharps bin specifically…

      • the_real_a says:

        I think NHS is too kind. They look like public conveniences in parks. You almost expect to find a grumpy council worker in wellies hosing down the cubical inbetween visits

  3. Stu_N says:

    I found The Wing F totally underwhelming in March, but our flight was going from
    gate 3 so made more sense than the long trek out to The Pier and back. I guess if you’re using the cabanas it makes more sense.

    On Concorde Room, the cabanas and bathrooms are indeed a bit grim and in need of a full refurbishment. We book a cabana after an overnight flight just to guarantee a quick shower, I couldn’t imagine spending much time in one. Last time we flew, they lost our booking so we had to wait ages for a shower at Elemis. I’d booked by email and was able to show it to Guest Services in the CCR; they complained on our behalf and we got 10k Avios each as compensation.

    Best cabana outcome ever!

    • John says:

      The quality, at least food-wise if not other areas too, has been going downhill ever since CX had to cut costs from their fuel hedging disaster and changed the lounge operating company initially from Peninsula to Plaza Premium then to Sodexo (known for hospital and school canteens… but also the LHR VS clubhouse).

      Every time I’ve eaten in Wing F since 2017 (that includes the PP days) there has been some sort of problem, either they simply never brought the drinks I ordered, or they forgot one of the dishes, or something was undercooked or really poor quality. As for the noodles, they are fine but as a Chinese person I know where I can get a better bowl from a roadside stall for HK$30.

      • I’d agree wrt food quality – still very good, but not what it once was.
        So, just for future reference, where should I go for noodles for HK$30?

    • 10K is far better than the cabanas themselves! Result!

      • Stu_N says:

        Agreed. It was 10 k EACH for me and my partner. I hope they mess up our cabana bookings more often.

    • Polly says:

      Wonder what we might get in compo for no capuchino machine working our last ret flight to HKG in F. Was thinking of putting in a cheeky claim!

      • Do it, and report back!

        • Hmm… I really should get better at complaining about these things instead of forgetting about them once I arrive at my destination. Looks like I’ve missed out on lots of Avios, miles etc from all the disasters I’ve experienced in J and F in numerous airlines, especially BA and VS!

      • Were you on the BA 031? They struggled 30 mins with my Cappuccino and gave up at the end. I was told that it happens apparently quite often….

  4. The Pier is an epic F lounge, probably my favourite in HKG, couple of photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bp6F9-vlTQX/

  5. Catalan says:

    Lovely detailed review Cat.

  6. Waribai says:

    Never been to the Pier. Been in the F part of the wing twice in 2014 and 2017. Looking at the photos not much seems to have changed really. Enjoyed the experience especially the Cabana but I wasn’t overwhelmed!

    • I really enjoyed myself too, but The Wing doesn’t make my top 5 lounges worldwide. The Pier, on the other hand…

  7. Generally a great review – however ( as a weekly visitor to hkia and emerald status) I wanted to pint out something that I think was missed RE the haven restaurant . It is primarily a buffet restaurant hence the smaller menu. At the end of the haven is a proper hot and cold buffet ( not to be confused with the deli counter outside the haven that was featured)
    The food in the buffet is wonderful.
    If you have a quick turn around it’s by far the better choice of lounge for a quick excellent meal.

    Also – personally I prefer the wing. I find the pier a tad drab and soulless – where as the wing with its open plan and modern feel is more lifting
    But of course that’s personal choice

    • Ooh, you’re right, I did miss that! I knew the menu was a reduced version of The Pier menu, so I went with the option with more choices and ate at The Pier both times. I knew there was a buffet too, but assumed the long deli counter was it. Thanks for pointing that out!

  8. Planeconcorde says:

    On Monday 22:40 I attempted to use the The Wing Business lounge at Hong Kong. It was very crowded. In all the different areas I couldn’t find a single free seat which had a back. The only available seating were bar stools or eating area stools. This was so dreadful I walked out, so can’t comment about any of the other facilities. I found the Qantas lounge which was near empty and had plenty of suitable seats.

  9. Frankie says:

    Great read. Liked the writing style. Thanks Cat.

  10. Frankie says:

    Great read. Liked the writing style. Thank you Cat.

  11. LukeM says:

    Thanks, Cat and HfP. We’re sitting in the Premier Lounge at Bali, heading to HK. Can’t wait until tomorrow! Still weighing the two options up!

    • Polly says:

      Try both if you can. Our fav lounges in the world.
      Great reviews Cat. Felt like we were back there, just reading your reviews. Buffet is v good tho. The luxury of the cabana w bath is heaven. Love the bit about the NHS bathrooms. V funny.
      Hope BA are reading this!

      • I echo Polly’s try both if you can. If not enough time for that, I’d personally go with The Pier, have fun!
        Thanks Polly! I absolutely love the Hong Kong lounges. On the way back I had 10 hours to kill, and they flew by. I was still sorry to leave. I can’t even tell you how much I loved the cabana bathroom.

    • Prins Polo says:

      Go for the Pier – definitely.

    • LukeM says:

      So we did go to both in the end! As we’d already eaten on the flight from Bali, and had less than three hours before the midnight flight to London, we didn’t really put either through their paces – we didn’t want to eat or drink much, or take a bath. We actually preferred going to the Bridge on the way out.

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