After spending most of the morning walking around Hong Kong and having dim sum in the city, we took the Airport Express train back to the airport. Since we already had our connecting boarding pass, we collected our hand carried luggage from the Cathay Pacific Arrival lounge and then proceed past security and passport control to enter the first Cathay Pacific lounge.
Champagne bar at The Wing First Class lounge
Naturally the first one we visited was The Wing First Class lounge since we arrived via First Class. As our credentials were checked, I enquired if they have any cabanas available so my Dad could get a nap. Our first priority was also to get a shower.
Private cabanas with a bathtub
The private cabanas at The Wing has been renovated and while it already features a bathtub previously, Cathay Pacific has given each cabana a clean slate of life. Inside the cabanas, the furnishings gave it a polished feel and would not be out of place in a 5-star hotel.
For those that do not need the cabanas, the shower rooms are slightly more spacious than that of the Business Class sections. Though in all fairness, Cathay Pacific lounges in Hong Kong has some of the best managed shower rooms, and they are all nicely equipped. After all it was these lounges that showed me how wonderful it was to be able to clean up after a long layover or before a red-eye flight.
Vanity counter in the shower room
For some reason, the amenities inside the shower rooms and the cabanas in The Wing First Class section is by Jurlique. Though the amenities in The Pier which was recently opened, was by Aésop which is more in-line with the offerings onboard the flight.
After the shower, I went to walk around the lounge. The nicest part of the lounge is perhaps the Champagne bar with the bright red sofa that gives a nice contrast to the black marble floor tiles. The ambience in the First Class section is more grown-up and feels like an exclusive club, which befits the status. The other section of the lounge also features the individual cubicle chairs that is unique to Cathay Pacific lounges and I do enjoy relaxing or just working inside those chairs at times for the privacy they offer.
The Wing First Class lounge in Hong Kong
Other amenities in the First Class section includes a sit-down restaurant with a full menu for guests to order from. There is also a couple of workstations behind the wall in the section overlooking the atrium for guests wanting to get some work done.
Menu at The Wing
Workstation area in the lounge
I actually liked what Cathay Pacific has done to make The Wing lounge more up to date and giving it a different feel compared to the Business class lounge. However I would be even more pleased by what they accomplished with The Pier First Class lounge, which I visited as I left my Dad to rest in the cabana.
Entrance foyer to The Pier First Class lounge
One of the main difference is that The Pier is located one floor below the main departure concourse while The Wing is located one floor above. This means that The Wing usually have a better view over the terminal and feels very airy. In order to minimize the feeling of the low ceiling, the lounge has been redesigned to feel like a boutique hotel lobby.
Plush central walkway
There is a main central walkway that is covered in plush carpets and golden marble wall panels, while being furnished with warm wooden accents. It makes it feel like a luxurious abode. The amenities in the lounge are spread around the main central walkway.
Wooden accents and marble walls
On one corner there is a row of cubicles with Apple iMacs and the dark wood panels makes it feels warm and cozy like a library.
Another section is the main lounge area where there are plenty of comfortable and oversized loungers. Instead of using the usual individual chairs, the designer used wingback leather armchairs. This gives a more open feel and certainly makes the space feels more intimate. Dispersed through the area, there are also trays filled with dried fruits and nuts along with small plates for guests to obtain some snacks.
Lounge area at The Pier
Reading and relaxation space
At the other end of the walkway, there is a very nice horseshoe-shaped bar counter with stools making the area feels really like a hotel bar. Around it there are designer chairs with potted plants. The space does not feel monotonous like most airport lounges with the variety of design themes and that was what stood out for me. I could really laze all day in this lounge and feel comfortable.
While the lounge might have open spaces, the partitions comes in the form of magazine shelves with benches that creates a feel of a library. These partition leads to the main lounge area where guests can read a book or just get a bit of a shuteye.
Library area in the lounge
Speaking of taking a nap, the lounge actually features several private daybeds. Guests could obtain access to these daybeds, the shower room and the complimentary massage via a reception counter along the central walkway. The daybeds does not have an attached bathroom but it features a view of the tarmac and has a curtain to keep the space private.
Daybed with a view
Beside the daybed area, there are several shower rooms and these are also beautifully designed, featuring Aésop amenities. That certainly makes it a better lounge to shower in compared to The Wing.
Shower room at The Pier with Aésop amenities
Similar to The Wing, there is also a sit-down restaurant at The Pier located beside the bar section. The dining area features tarmac views as well and has a long bar section for solo diners. An interesting thing to note is that both First Class lounges have different menus.
The Dining Room sit down restaurant
While both restaurants have food supplied by The Peninsula Hong Kong, the menu at The Pier is more comprehensive and includes more Asian dishes. As such, I decided to return to The Wing to pick my Dad up since our connecting flight is due to depart from the gates nearer to this lounge. During this time I also booked the appointment for a complimentary 15-minute foot massage.
A La Carte menu at the Dining Room
There were 2 standout dishes amongst the several that we ordered from the dining room and they were the glazed pork neck that came with a bowl of rice and some vegetables. For dessert, I absolutely loved the mango with glutinous rice and this version came with purple glutinous rice instead of the usual sticky rice. The recipe works and with that we actually had a full dinner such that we could skip the dinner onboard our next flight.
Glazed pork neck main course
Mango sticky rice dessert
From the moment I stepped into The Pier, I instantly liked the decor and furnishings. Perhaps it was the non-conformist design of the lounge that makes it feel like being in a boutique hotel, or maybe it was the fantastic cuisine served in the restaurant, or that complimentary massage that adds a touch of luxury. All in all, I really enjoyed spending my layover in The Pier and would really recommend First Class passengers to skip the cabanas at The Wing and head here instead, for this just might be the best First Class lounge in the world.
Even though we arrived at the gate slightly past the scheduled boarding time, it has yet to proceed. There seems to be a delay of some sort so we just had to wait by the gate. When they did proceed with boarding, it was also a bit of a mess with all premium passengers, even Premium Economy and those needing assistance being called to board together.
Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300
CX797 Hong Kong HKG - Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta CGK STD-STA: 1910-2235 Actual: 2004-2220 Airbus A330 B-HBE Gate 44 Seat 14C
Needless to say, it was a far cry from a premium experience after our First Class experience. Furthermore, Jakarta is one of the destinations that is sometimes served with a long haul configured airplane. Though this time it was not be the case. This would mark the first time I would fly with the new regional Business Class cabin so that was something.
These seats were an upgrade to their old regional Business Class and features a smart-phone holder on the middle along with USB charging ports so that does make it convenient for travellers. I find Cathay Pacific to be thoughtful in creating storage spaces just like the tray underneath the monitors they have in Premium Economy and Economy class.
Seatback monitors and smartphone holders
As passengers got settled in Business Class, the cabin crew came around with a tray of welcome drinks. There was a mix of water, orange juice and the Oriental Breeze drinks. I got the latter for my Dad and myself but that meant the crew needed to return to the galley to re-stock on the beverages as only water and orange juice were left. Hot towels were also distributed by the crew members but there was not much pleasantry as the boarding process was ongoing and it turns out to be full in both classes today.
With boarding completed, it was a full flight in business class as earlier flights were also over booked, according to the crew member. My guess is that there might also have been some mis-connection or perhaps just a busy schedule back to Jakarta due to the end of the Hari Raya holidays.
Then there was further delay in pushback too as they were waiting for a plane to clear the tarmac. After that a long queue for the runway exacerbates the delay and by then it meant my Dad has already fallen asleep on his seat after the tiring excursion out to Hong Kong.
Tray table in compact form
As we reached cruising altitude after the take-off, I went to discover the other thoughtful design placed into the seat. First off was the tray table that was ejected from under the monitor. As it comes forward, it functions as a semi convenience table purposed for nuts and drinks. The other half will open out to become the full meal table.
Fully extended tray table
The cabin crew went on with the service by offering nuts and beverage of choice prior to the meal service. I got another milk tea and a glass of water. They were served with a ramekin of cashew nuts. Though not warm nuts this time like they have in First. I know these are first world problems but having been on one of the best flights of my life, a ride on this flight even in Business Class was a lot of steps down, so pardon me if I sound like an entitled brat here.
Milk tea, water and nuts
Service onboard Cathay Pacific Business Class
From the start, I had already planned to skip meal service here and just went ahead to watch a movie. Thank goodness for StudioCX, as I always enjoy a flight with great entertainment options and in this regard, Cathay Pacific is still at the top of the game along with Singapore Airlines. While they were serving the salad and appetizer tray, I just asked for a photo of the tray since I had no intention of eating them. The fact they were not that appealing made me think dining at the First Class lounge was a good idea. The salad was a common garden salad while the appetizer was some cocktail prawns with tempeh, which is a fermented bean cake staple in Indonesian cuisine.
Salad and appetizer tray
Instead I just asked for the fruit platter and the dessert to be served earlier for myself, as I helped my Dad to recline his seat to the most comfortable position for sleeping. He had earlier mentioned that he would skip all the meal course altogether. Dessert was a Häagen Dazs ice cream but the twist here is that it is a Milk Tea flavoured ice cream. While I still prefer the beverage rendition, it was nice to get these special flavoured ice cream once in a while for a change.
Fruits and Häagen Dazs ice cream
The main courses for this flight includes a vegetarian option along with a Chinese steamed fish or an Indonesian beef rendang, both of which are served with rice. Again, nothing really appealing here.
Main courses on the tray
Besides the meal, the rest of the flight was uneventful. The cabin crew on this flight were cheerful and friendly so it was easy to ask for beverages. They also had stewardess that was well versed in the Indonesian language. Prior to our descent the cabin crew also came around to offer beverages to passengers and my Dad got some water to quench his thirst as he woke up during this time.
Business Class cabin during the flight
The landing was quite smooth and we were able to disembark in an orderly manner, which was much better than the embarkation. Fortunately after the long flight from Europe, the immigration queue in Jakarta was not that long as I had to queue up since the e-passport counter was faulty yet again. Luggage claim and the customs also was not that much of a hassle so the arrival did not make the disappointing flight that bad at all.
Cathay Pacific The Pier - First Class Section
Hong Kong - HKG
Jakarta - CGK
Aside from what I thought was the lacklustre meal offering, the cabin was also nothing to shout about even if it was well thought in terms of amenities. The seat is not even angled flat at its most reclined position. In fact it was more of a cradle form that would be alright for a few hours at most. A red-eye flight on these would be a huge disappointment. In fact Cathay Pacific should be ashamed of offering such a Business Class seat, for even my Dad said the seat was horrible. With such a comment, do you think anyone would be willing to pay for intra-Asia business class?
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