Since its establishment in 2001, The Pier, Cathay Pacific’s First and Business Class lounge at Hong Kong International Airport, has redefined comfort and convenience for passengers. Aligned with Cathay Pacific’s brand changes and a novel design approach, The Pier underwent a complete refurbishment in 2014, led by Studioilse, the London-based design studio helmed by Ilse Crawford.
Spanning 22,184 sq ft, the new Cathay Pacific First Class Lounge at Gate 63 boasts a maximum seating capacity of 231. The refurbishment prioritises passenger well-being, immersing weary travellers in a sensory-rich environment to enhance their pre-flight experience.
A home away from home
The Pier’s First Class Lounge design draws inspiration from a contemporary apartment that creates a cosy and homely atmosphere. High-quality materials, including honed green onyx, walnut, limestone, bronze, brass, leather, and mohair, offer a sense of generosity and timelessness. The lounge’s warm, tactile, and timeless palette ensures a pleasant experience with repeated use.
Abundant plants add a touch of nature, promoting a healthy environment. Contemporary Asian elements, such as green onyx walls, walnut and bronze screens, and carefully curated lighting and art, further enhance the ambiance.
Real furniture pieces, rigorously selected for comfort and privacy, complement the lounge’s inviting and non-corporate feel. Unsurprisingly, the furniture and lighting are supplied by Knoll, Cappellini, Fredericia, Kalmar, and Roll and Hill.
Immersed in luxury
Venture further into the Cathay Pacific first class lounge and you’ll be greeted by a hallway wrapped in pastel green onyx as if you’re a visitor to the Emerald City. Here, eight Day Suites, each with a daybed, a reading light, a mirror, and blinds, along with heavy curtains for added privacy, promise welcome respite for the weary traveller on a long-haul flight. The suites also overlook the tarmac, almost as if framing the hustle and bustle of aeroplanes taking off and landing. It’s all very meta, if you ask me.
A foot massage service by THIA Wellness was recently introduced to meet passengers’ physical and emotional needs. Yes, nothing really is quite as emotionally satisfying as a good kneading of the feet by a seasoned professional. There are also neck and shoulder massages available to really put you in a mood for rest — ideal before a spot of shower at any of the fourteen showers duly furnished in natural limestone and timber, of course.
The first class lounge is flanked by a bar on one end and a dining room on the other. The Dining Room is furnished in walnut and dark green leather and offers table service with dishes made-to-order by the in-house chef. The same design aesthetic extends to the Bar where a walnut and onyx horseshoe counter allows visitors a quick tipple before boarding.
A scent to remember
Cathay Pacific’s worldwide lounges manager, Sabrina Klick, recognises the significance of scent in triggering memories. “The sense of smell stimulates the memory better than any of the other senses,” Klick shares. “We are trying to make use of that psychological phenomenon.” Collaborating with scent specialist Air Aroma, the airline aimed to align the fragrance with its brand pillars: contemporary Asian, heartfelt warmth, considered simplicity, and the joy of discovery.
The scent commences with refreshing notes of tea leaves and bamboo, representing Asian cultures. Subtle touches of cedarwood and white musk evoke the warmth of sincere service. Relaxing lavender adds purpose to the lounge experience, while juniper berry and jasmine inspire delight and vibrancy, reflecting the joy of discovery.
Still, Klick is aware that scent recognition will take time. “Some of the hotels that use signature scents have hundreds of properties, so the scent is more anticipated, while at the moment we only have 6,000 passengers a day who are experiencing ours.”
Few would be aware that British conglomerate Swire Group is a major shareholder of Cathay Pacific. In 2008, Swire Hotels was founded to create and manage small luxury hotels in Hong Kong and Mainland China.
In Hong Kong, two hotels promise the same levels of elevated elegance and luxury as the lounges of Cathay Pacific. A contemporary oasis nestled in the heart of the city, EAST, Hong Kong effortlessly blends modern elegance with urban vitality. The 345-room property is located in the thriving business and residential hubs of Taikoo Place and Cityplaza. Guests can immerse themselves in the vibrant lifestyle of Hong Kong while enjoying stunning harbour views, artistic spaces, and unparalleled service.
Over at The Upper House, luxury comes in the form of space. Here, guest rooms have a minimum area of 730 sq ft (about the size of a three-room flat) along with 366 sq ft bathrooms and a range of modern amenities and facilities. Completed in 2009, this modern luxury hotel was awarded Best Hotels in Asia by Ultra Travel Magazine and Best Independent Hotel by Monocle Magazine.