cathay pacific

Style Inspiration: The Pier Business + First Class Lounges in Hong Kong

Cathay Pacific's The Pier Review + Photos

[trip style = luxury]

I'm not a fan of layovers. When possible, I minimize them in favor of direct routes and fast connections, unless I'm routing through Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific. In this case, long layovers are *highly* recommended because The Pier Business Class and First Class lounges are SO gorgeous, being intransit is a {trip styled} treat.

Over my trip styling tenure, I've had the opportunity to step into some of the world's most luxurious lounges in worldwide hubs from Tokyo to London to Dubai {to name a few}. While many of these flagship retreats were notable with their on-demand candy, relaxation rooms, mini manicures, and fresh-pressed juices, last week I found my muse in The Pier. Basically, it's my real-life Pinterest design inspiration board. {Seriously, I'm storing all of its decorating cues for the new home I'm moving into this summer.} 

With a complete refresh in mid-2015 by design star Ilse Crawford and her team at the London-based Studioilse, both Cathay's The Pier Business and First Class lounges were re-imagined with wellness, comfort and considered simplicity in mind. Here, Asian minimalism melds with midcentry in a space that brings the Jet Age back to travel {but without the updos, three-piece suits and formality}.

Take a peek into the peak of airline lounge style: 

DETAILS: The Pier, Business
Open to: First and Business Class passengers, Marco Polo Club Silver and above members, and oneworld Emerald members and Sapphire members.
Find it: Level 6, Terminal 1 near gate 65 in the Hong Kong International Airport.
Features: 14 Shower Suites, The Relaxation Room, The Food Hall, The Coffee Cart, The Bar, The Tea House, The Noodle Bar, The Bureau workspace. 
Trip Styler Tip: Once you put in your order for Dan Dan noodles at The Noodle Bar, head to The Tea House to breathe in and select a brew that befits your journey.

The 35,500-square-foot lounge is a bright, cherry wood-ensconced space with distinct areas for eating, relaxing and working. Imagine a modern rancher home cantilevered over the edge of a hill and you've got The Pier, Business.

The 35,500-square-foot lounge is a bright, cherry wood-ensconced space with distinct areas for eating, relaxing and working. Imagine a modern rancher home cantilevered over the edge of a hill and you've got The Pier, Business.

One huge difference between The Pier, Business and other lounges I've visited around the world is its focus on bringing the outdoors in. Terrariums and tropical greenery make you feel as though you're in the hills of Hong Kong versus in an airport waiting for a flight. 

One huge difference between The Pier, Business and other lounges I've visited around the world is its focus on bringing the outdoors in. Terrariums and tropical greenery make you feel as though you're in the hills of Hong Kong versus in an airport waiting for a flight. 

Part food market, part bakery, part deli, part coffee shop, the Food Hall is the kind of place you *wish* was down the street from your home.  

Part food market, part bakery, part deli, part coffee shop, the Food Hall is the kind of place you *wish* was down the street from your home.  

Oh, hello barista-run Coffee Cart.

Oh, hello barista-run Coffee Cart.

The Noodle Bar is a much-loved Cathay lounge 'darling' for its made-to-order noodles. Frequent flyers know their order before they even arrive, and place it as soon as they get there. 

The Noodle Bar is a much-loved Cathay lounge 'darling' for its made-to-order noodles. Frequent flyers know their order before they even arrive, and place it as soon as they get there. 

The moment I stepped into The Tea House, my brain activity went from racing to resting. The lightly fragrant smell of loose-leaf tea and the ultra-calm environs lulled me into a state of calm. If I spent all day at the lounge, this is where I'd hang my hat {once I'd selected a tea to match my mood}. 

The moment I stepped into The Tea House, my brain activity went from racing to resting. The lightly fragrant smell of loose-leaf tea and the ultra-calm environs lulled me into a state of calm. If I spent all day at the lounge, this is where I'd hang my hat {once I'd selected a tea to match my mood}. 

Relaxation Room: Soft light and plush lounges allow travelers to rest before embarking on their next leg. Zzzzzz.

Relaxation Room: Soft light and plush lounges allow travelers to rest before embarking on their next leg. Zzzzzz.

DETAILS: The Pier, First
Open to: First Class passengers, Diamond Marco Polo Club members, and Emerald oneworld members who are departing or transiting in Hong Kong. 
Find it: Level 6, Terminal 1 near gate 63 in the Hong Kong International Airport.
Features: 14 Showers, 8 Day Suites, The Retreat {a complimentary spa}, The Dining Room, The Pantry, The Bar, The Bureau work space.
Trip Styler Tip: Arrive early. As soon as you settle, make an appointment for a foot massage, or a neck, back and scalp massage, complimentary for all First Class guests.

With a focus on wellbeing, the 22,000-square-foot The Pier, First Class lounge engages the five senses with its soothing surroundings draped in earth tones, natural textures and local plant life.

With a focus on wellbeing, the 22,000-square-foot The Pier, First Class lounge engages the five senses with its soothing surroundings draped in earth tones, natural textures and local plant life.

Just putting this out there: I would like every piece and finish in this scene to be in my living room. 

Just putting this out there: I would like every piece and finish in this scene to be in my living room. 

Sipping Moët & Chandon Rose Brut at the 10-seat Bar. 

Sipping Moët & Chandon Rose Brut at the 10-seat Bar. 

The Beverage and Wine List at the Bar.

The Beverage and Wine List at the Bar.

One of my favorite features about The Pier, First is The Dining Room, a chic-come-comfortable eatery with made-to-order dishes. Dressed in walnut, green leather and brass, I half expected to spot Don Draper dining with his ad exec friends, but sadly, I missed him. 

One of my favorite features about The Pier, First is The Dining Room, a chic-come-comfortable eatery with made-to-order dishes. Dressed in walnut, green leather and brass, I half expected to spot Don Draper dining with his ad exec friends, but sadly, I missed him. 

The Chef-made meals in the Dining Room are beautifully prepared and well-liked by my frequent flying friends who visit this lounge regularly. Dishes such as seared salmon with herbed potatoes, green peas and asparagus, or greens with pomelo and watermelon fly MILES above typical airport fare.

The Chef-made meals in the Dining Room are beautifully prepared and well-liked by my frequent flying friends who visit this lounge regularly. Dishes such as seared salmon with herbed potatoes, green peas and asparagus, or greens with pomelo and watermelon fly MILES above typical airport fare.

With a view over the runway, 8 fully private and walnut-wrapped Day Suites mean that counting sheep is as easy as 1-2-3... 

With a view over the runway, 8 fully private and walnut-wrapped Day Suites mean that counting sheep is as easy as 1-2-3... 

Enter The Retreat, a Cathay first-of-its-kind guest spa offering complimentary foot or neck and shoulder massages. As soon as you arrive, book an appointment to seek on-the-go soothing. 

Enter The Retreat, a Cathay first-of-its-kind guest spa offering complimentary foot or neck and shoulder massages. As soon as you arrive, book an appointment to seek on-the-go soothing. 

If you feel like a snack, head to the Pantry for healthy and upscale bites that change throughout the day. Don't miss the fresh-pressed juices. My favorite was watermelon, a low-sugar and high-antioxidant drink that's perfect for a pre-flight pick-me-up. 

If you feel like a snack, head to the Pantry for healthy and upscale bites that change throughout the day. Don't miss the fresh-pressed juices. My favorite was watermelon, a low-sugar and high-antioxidant drink that's perfect for a pre-flight pick-me-up. 

First Look: Cathay Pacific's GORGEOUS New Lounge at YVR

New Cathay Pacific Lounge Vancouver, BC

[trip style = luxury]

See What it's like to fly aboard Cathay Pacific's latest-gen A350 aircraft on the Vancouver --> Hong Kong route

If you follow TS, you know Cathay Pacific ranks among my high-flying faves. Any airline that offers lotion in the Economy Class lavatories and has flight attendants who go above and beyond to ensure you have a pleasant flight—even to guests at the back of the plane—hovers at a Cloud 9-level in my trip styling books.

If the economy experience is this nice, imagine what it's like to jet-set in Business Class with Cathay {wonder no more, here's what it's like to fly + lounge in Cathay Biz Class}. 

Having experienced a taste of their Life Well Travelled experience around the globe, including the flagship lounge in Hong Kong, I was ecstatic to learn the Asia-based airline would be doing a top-to-bottom UPdo of their Vancouver lounge, including relocating it to a larger and re-envisioned space, in a nod to the market's importance and key role in the airline's growing business.

Last week I attended the grand opening of the 5,500-square-foot space, and I immediately felt at home with its sleek and woodsy design, floor-to-ceiling views of the coastal mountains, and Cathay's signature: The Noodle Bar.

Outfitted with shower rooms, food to fit every time-traveled guest and a zen physique, I considered asking if they needed an "artist in residence," but I decided I'd wait fly in Business Class again. Up, up and away!

Here's a peek: 

The edited artwork collection is a reflection of British Columbia's local culture.

The edited artwork collection is a reflection of British Columbia's local culture.

Jade-hued ceramic tiles and black harvest tables set the tone for the lounge's designer dining.   

Jade-hued ceramic tiles and black harvest tables set the tone for the lounge's designer dining.   

Wonton noodle soup, a key dish you can find at The Noodle Bar in many of Cathay's lounges around the world. 

Wonton noodle soup, a key dish you can find at The Noodle Bar in many of Cathay's lounges around the world. 

Shower rooms bathed in limestone and minted with brass fixtures and Aesop products offer a spa-like foray into flying.

Shower rooms bathed in limestone and minted with brass fixtures and Aesop products offer a spa-like foray into flying.

Details
- Hours: Open daily from 10.30am to 3pm and 8pm to 2am; adjusted seasonally according to the Cathay Pacific flight schedule
- WiFi
- Shower rooms
- The Noodle Bar {don't miss these Cathay signature dishes: wonton noodle soup, dan dan noodle soup and authentic Hong Kong- style fish ball noodle soup}
- The Pantry: serving tapas, meats, cheeses, salads, hot food, fruits and desserts
- The Bureau: Workstations with iMacs and printers
 - Get in: The Cathay Pacific Lounge is available to First and Business Class passengers traveling on Cathay Pacific and members of the Marco Polo Club with Silver Card status or above, and members of all tiers who earn lounge passes and/or their friends and family, including oneworld members with Sapphire status or above 

[photos by @CathayPacificCa and wonton noodle soup shot by @TripStyler]

Cathay Pacific: Vancouver to Hong Kong

cathay pacific plane

[trip style = luxury]

Also see 
*What it's like to fly aboard Cathay Pacific's latest-gen A350 aircraft on the Vancouver --> Hong Kong route

*A trip styled tour of the Cathay Lounge in Vancouver

With direct flights to New York and Hong Kong from Vancouver, flying Cathay Pacific has been a regular part of my life at 35,000 feet for the past 15 years. For both of these routes, I'm so Cathay-loyal, I won't fly any other carrier because the Hong Kong-based airline flies circles around its competitors when it comes to professionalism, graceful service and attention to detail—have you ever seen a red-suited Cathay flight attendant with so much as a hair out of place? 

While I've always flown economy with Cathay, the more I travel, the more I try and fly business class on transcontinental flights {as a frequent flier, the sleep-tential in fully flat seats is my sky survival}. Traveling to Hong Kong and Thailand in March, I did not have to go through my regular dance trying to sort out which points I could gather or upgrade fees I could fandangle to fly biz. Due to my four-year investment in Trip Styler, I was invited by Cathay to lie-flat in their business class and explore Asia. Obviously, I said yes because I'm already a fan of the airline. 

Before liftoff: Cathay's signature and antioxidant-enriching Original Breeze, combining sour plum tea and cranberry juice with honey, fresh lemon juice and rose water. It's as refreshing as it appears.

Before liftoff: Cathay's signature and antioxidant-enriching Original Breeze, combining sour plum tea and cranberry juice with honey, fresh lemon juice and rose water. It's as refreshing as it appears.

After nibbling on a few pre-flight bites in the Vancouver Cathay lounge for an hour, I boarded my bird in the wee hours of the night at 2.25am—the second of two daily, non-stop flights to Hong Kong from Vancouver. I dig this departure time because it fits nicely into the night-versus-day time-zone tango. You get on the plane tired, hopefully sleep, and arrive in Hong Kong 13 hours later at 7am as if you hadn't jumped a calendar day.

While I don't normally drink on flights due to alcohol's moisture-sapping effect, when in business class, you must celebrate with at least one flute of brut. So I did. After settling into pod 20c, cleansing my hands with a hot towel and placing my down comforter over my legs, I was ready to relax for night.

Since I was unable to take photos of myself sleeping, here's one to give you the gist

Since I was unable to take photos of myself sleeping, here's one to give you the gist

Knowing I wouldn't be able to sleep immediately, I clicked my TV button and a 15" screen appeared from the depths of my pod. Eyes fluttering in lala land, I half-watched two movies {Dallas Buyers Club and Diana} while nibbling on salad and fine cheese until my lids requested I manoeuvre my chair into the horizontal position. Almost asleep, I remember thinking my seat-bed was wide enough for my starfish-like sleep positions and long enough for a leggy supermodel; turns out it's one of the longest and widest provided on any commercial airline. 

Indulging in on-demand Haagen Dazs {obviously}

Indulging in on-demand Haagen Dazs {obviously}

As the lights came on, the cabin filled with the scent of coffee and a multi-course breakfast arrived at my pod starting with tropical fruit, a croissant, yogurt and a landing 'elixir' blending papaya, kiwi, honey and mint.  

Fully awake and well fed, I slipped into the lavatory to check for pillow marks on my face and get Trip Styled for touchdown. I was met by a vase of orchids and citrus-scented Jurlique products, which I slathered over my skin while brushing my teeth. Now I was presentable enough for Hong Kong, where I'd spend a few days before taking a flight to Chiang Mai, Thailand. 

Personal amenity kit by agnes b. with products from Jurlique

Personal amenity kit by agnes b. with products from Jurlique

If you have airline status or fly in business class on a regular basis, you know that airline loungesespecially the flagship locationsare an INTEGRAL part of the jet-set experience, and in some cases make you long for a lengthy layover. 

The Wing

The Wing

Such is the case with Cathay's The Wing lounge in the Hong Kong International Airport {one of six Cathay lounges at the airport}. At over 4,500 sf including the Business and First Class lounges, The Wing is a modern labyrinth dressed in Carrara marble, live bamboo, Italian leather, warm woods and 24 shower suites.

The Wing has many nooks and crannies. Trip Styler Tip: Explore the entire footprint before settling on a place to sit.

The Wing has many nooks and crannies. Trip Styler Tip: Explore the entire footprint before settling on a place to sit.

Shower Suite

Shower Suite

Three spaces that made me wish my flight was delayed were The Noodle Bar, The Long Bar and The Coffee Loft. The Noodle Bar feels more like a woodsy-sleek and sun-filled restaurant than an airline lounge, and therein lies its brilliance. Though, at a restaurant you pull out your wallet and wait for your food. At The Noodle Bar, you peruse the made-to-order menu and your ramen or char sui bao is prepared in about three-to-five minutes at no cost. 

Made-to-order ramen in The Noodle Bar

Made-to-order ramen in The Noodle Bar

The Long Bar is as it sounds, clocking in at 23 meters. Twenty five seats line the lengthy white-marble slab and when I perched myself at one of the leather bar seats, I found a stash of fresh-baked croissants to pair with my mimosa {it was 8am}.

The Long Bar

The Long Bar

The Long Bar morning croissants

The Long Bar morning croissants

Finally, tucked into the far back corner of The Wing, The Coffee Loft is the newest addition to the mega-lounge sporting Foster bar stools, Knoll armchairs, and butter imported from France for the pastry selection. In the morning, real coffee is ground and frothed by a barista, and in the evening, the lights dim and the environs shimmies from cappuccinos to cocktails. And for the record, like on the plane, you can request a Haagen Dazs here, too. Cheers.

The Coffee Loft

The Coffee Loft

The Skinny 

  • From Canada: Cathay Pacific offers 17 non-stop flights per week between Vancouver and Hong Kong, and more than 10 non-stop flights per week between Toronto and Hong Kong, plus daily non-stop service between Vancouver and New York {JFK}.

  • Approximate Fares: Vancouver/Hong Kong return, Economy Class $1,367, Premium Economy Class $2,321, Business Class $4,926, First Class $9,778.

  • From the US: Cathay Pacific offers daily non-stop service to Hong Kong from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New York {JFK & EWR}.

  • Once in Hong Kong, connect to destinations such as Bali or Thailand with sister airline: Cathay Dragon.

Other Dispatches in this Series
Flying Well :: Cathay Pacific's Revolutionary A350
Style Inspiration :: The Pier Business + First Class Lounges in Hong Kong
First Look :: Cathay Pacific's GORGEOUS New Lounge at YVR
Hong Kong :: Instagram Diary
My Most Beautiful Meal in Hong Kong
6 Hong Kong Hints {that will make you want to book a ticket ASAP} 

[photos by trip stylersome courtesy Cathay Pacific Canadataken while as a guest of the airline]