Review: Cathay Pacific’s Arrival Lounge at HKG
My friend and I recently spent two weeks in Asia and our first stop was Hong Kong. After a 15-hour flight, we landed at Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) and headed straight to Cathay Pacific's Arrival Lounge.
You find The Arrival Lounge between Terminals 1 and 2 on Level 5 near the exit for public transportation. Because it’s — you guessed it — an arrivals lounge, entry is limited. It's open to first- and business-class and Emerald Oneworld and Marco Polo Club Diamond and Gold members arriving on Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon Flights only. Day passes are not available and you can't get in via any credit card.
Since I was flying Cathay Pacific First from New York (JFK) to HKG, I was able to gain access though I was not allowed to bring in a guest — Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon First and Business customers get one guest at departure lounges though. Fortunately, there’s a Plaza Premium Priority Pass Lounge located directly across the hall that also has shower rooms, plus access isn’t dependent on the airline or cabin you flew in on, so it's a win for everybody.
Since my flight landed just before 6:00am and I had a full day ahead of me — and little hope that I’d be able to check in to my hotel so early — I headed straight to The Arrival lounge for a shower. There was a low-key entrance at the end of the hallway on the lower level. One attendant welcomed passengers, though at 6:00am there wasn’t a ton of traffic so she quickly scanned my documents and waved me in.
The lounge was (surprisingly) basic and small. In fact, the Plaza Premium Lounge across the hallway was substantially larger, with even more lounge space and food and beverage options — I imagine it would be much easier to score a shower room at The Arrival during high traffic times, though, because access is limited.
Once you enter the lounge, access to shower rooms is directly to your right — it's the first thing you see — while there's a small luggage storage room to the left. Beyond that, you'll find one communal room with slight separations between spaces.
To the left was a small area with a TV and some comfy chairs. It was definitely snug, with limited tables, so I imagine eating, drinking or working here would be a little difficult.
Behind a mini-glass divider was a business center: a row of three computers with printers.
On the other side of the lounge, there was a high top counter with empty spaces and three Macs. Unfortunately one of the three computers was out of order when I visited the lounge.
A wall of international newspapers was also available to guests looking for reading materials.
Note that there’s no spa, massage space or sleeping area, and the only special amenity here is the shower room. The lounge has half a dozen shower rooms available by reservation, though when I arrived so early in the morning, I was able to walk right in.
While the overall amenities were pretty basic, the shower rooms were among the best I’ve visited, even rivaling the July 15 Heroes of Democracy Lounge (ie. the Turkish Airlines CIP Lounge). The shower itself was at the end of the room. Along one wall were a bench, a hook and a hanger to stash your clothes, which I thought was a nice touch.
Along the other wall was a vanity with Jurlique toiletries — the same brand provided in Cathay Business — as well as a hair dryer. A comb, toothpaste, toothbrush and various sundries were also available.
There was only one towel (and a small hand towel) though there were two attendants at the end of the hall who quickly offered to bring in more if needed. There was no time limit and I was able to take a leisurely shower and freshen up — the opportunity to do this was very much appreciated after the long-haul flight.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t connect to the Wi-Fi here and abandoned it completely after several attempts. My phone did eventually log on but still wouldn’t load pages. Since I had an offline map and a general idea of where I was going, I decided to head out without connecting.
Food and Beverage
The food and beverage options were limited compared to most other first class departure lounges. There was a small counter with some prepared foods, baked goods, fresh juices and fresh fruit.
There was also a small fridge with soft drinks and bottled water, and a tiny espresso machine — tiny given the number of passengers who could potentially be accessing the lounge at one time. An a la carte menu is available, but was not at the time of my visit, possibly due to the early hour.
Since I’d already eaten on the flight — and the food in the lounge didn’t look that appetizing — I just grabbed some fresh fruit and a bottle of water for my commute into the city.
Given the limited options for interaction — no bar; no spa; the limited number of staff, though this may have been because it was 6:00am — it’s hard to gauge the level of service in the lounge. In my experience, the shower attendants were attentive and casual, while the check-in agent was professional and friendly.
The shower rooms at The Arrival really make this lounge — it's otherwise a pretty basic space with relatively simple food and beverage options, no real private spots and limited areas to work. I honestly wouldn’t want to spend a large amount of time here. That said, the showers are everything — clean, modern, comfortable and greatly appreciated after a long-haul flight, especially when you're looking at a full day without access to a hotel room.
This review has been amended to indicate that the lounge offers a limited a la carte menu at some times during the day.
All photos by the author.