Experience The Pier Business – Cathay Pacific Lounge at Hong Kong Airport
The chaos of an airport gets to me every time. Many a time I am always intimidated by these large and loud airports where life is constantly on the rush. The hostile security, the never ending queues at immigration, the labyrinthine network of terminals and the cold walls of the gates throw me into spells of anxiety. Add to that, everyone is a tearing hurry. But if there is one place which seems to be an absolute contrast to the frosty atmosphere , where you can seek refuge in the comfort and luxury, where silence greets you and a space which is welcoming and hospitable, then it is the airport lounge. There are several lounges in different airports and each one is an experience by itself. Personally my favourite is The Pier Business lounge, the largest in Hong Kong Airport for Cathay Pacific passengers that took me into a different world by itself.
Most lounges are an epitome of luxury, but The Pier Business lounge , located near Gate 65 in the Hong Kong International Airport is a class apart. Spread over 3306 sq metres and with a capacity of over 550 passengers, it is designed keeping in mind the very essence and flavour of Hong Kong. I was invited to Hong Kong by Cathay Pacific and after a whirlwind tour of markets, colours, temples, arts, crafts, old towns, islands, street food and even a currency museum, I was on a flight to Tokyo in Japan. As we had a long transit on our return, the Cathay Pacific team was kind enough to give us access to the lounge and we had a blissful break from the hustle and bustle of the airport.
Everything about The Pier Business lounge was an experience and it almost transported me to Hong Kong Island. The street life culture of the city came alive in this luxurious lounge. I could smell the delicious flavours at the popular Noodle Bar or sip a selection of teas at the elegant Teahouse. But it was wellness and relaxation that was the theme of the lounge and it was designed keeping in mind these pillars. I always thought that lounges were just spaces where one would nibble a bit while catching up on some sleep, enjoy the silence while escaping the chaos.
But in The Pier Business , it was designed to evoke the senses while ensuring a sense of well being. I was told that if the design was like a typical Hong Kong street, one could explore two different lanes here – the fast lane and the slow lane which created a mood on their own. As i navigated the fast street, I headed to various restaurants , nibbling on the food and then walked along to the area through a verdant patch where I could relax and even have a shower before my next flight. In the slow lane however I could just take in the silence, lounge in the solo chairs and take a short nap after replying to the pending emails a bit. The materials in the lounge were all natural – from timber to limestone with lush greenery adding a dash of colour. Even the furniture was designed and created with materials used in a contemporary Asian home , as it was inspired by the local lifestyle. There was a Relaxation Room which gently lulled passengers to sleep with soft lighting and lilting music.
I was however too hungry to sleep a bit. So I went to the Foodhall first. The kiosks were self service but the hostesses were kind enough to explain the vegetarian dishes on the menu. The experience is meant to be that of a fresh market but it also had a feel of a deli. Fish was the main dish here, keeping the island’s speciality in mind. But you had a bit of everything from fresh salad to even baked dishes. You could end the meal with a hot cup of coffee from the Coffee Cart brewed specially for you by baristas.
I was however more fascinated by the flavours of the Noodle Bar with its signature Dan Dan and Wonton Noodles and I even sampled a vegetarian version. Chinese dimsums were served throughout the day. The entire atmosphere was a throwback to the Old Town but in a luxurious setting.
There was a bar around but I went to the Tea House which was designed as a transition space between the fast and slow lanes. You could just have a light conversation as the tea is brewed and then head to the Relaxation Area and lose yourself in the silence. The atmosphere is very Chinese and the wooden tables and green ceramic tiles add to the colour. There were ten kinds of tea from Lemongrass and Ginger to Japanese Jade Sword to Traditional Iron Buddha but I chose a cup of Japanese Sencha.
I did not remember how seven hours whizzed past me in The Pier. I ate, showered, slept and even managed to get some work done. It almost felt like I was in a different zone as I forgot that I was in an airport. And The Pier Business Lounge managed to make me feel the essence of “a life well travelled” the very brand experience of Cathay Pacific Airlines while ensuring that it filled me with warmth and treated me to a world of comfort.
This post was written in partnership with Cathay Pacific Airlines who had hosted me at The Pier Business Lounge during a transit flight between Hong Kong and India. All photographs are courtesy the airline