Hong Kong works hard and plays harder. Fast, busy, seductive and dazzlingly rich, it's the future unwrapped, the ultimate East meets West fusion city, a user-friendly window that will take you into the food, culture, manners and mysteries of the exotic Orient but also a totally wired financial heavyweight with wings on its feet.
One of the things that makes it great is Cathay Pacific, the airline that calls Hong Kong home. For its Business Class and First Class travellers especially, Cathay Pacific rolls out the red carpet with an unbeatable selection of lounges (The Pier, The Wing, The Bridge, The Cabin, The Arrival and G16 Lounge) at Hong Kong International Airport, each with its own features and style.
The Pier First Class Lounge
Cathay Pacific has spread its wings and created a showstopper. The work of London-based Studioilse, known for its stylish, warm and friendly interiors, The Pier features a glowing, onyx-green interior that unfolds like an exotic flower, even down to the lounge's signature green tea and lavender fragrance.
The a la carte menu in the Dining Room takes its cues from the pan-Asian menu and there is lots to like here – prawn salad with glass noodles, wok fried beef tenderloin with green chili and pepper sauce, barramundi with XO sauce and lychee, or a classic Angus beef burger.
The Bureau offers six private workstations with Apple iMacs with high-speed Wi-Fi. Need some downtime? Head for The Retreat, eight small private rooms with comfy lie-flat couches and views over the bustling airbridge and tarmac area.
The Pier Business Class Lounge
This is Cathay Pacific's latest and largest lounge in Hong Kong with a floor area of more than 3300 square metres and a warm, comforting style that underlines the airline's commitment to a life well travelled.
The Pier ticks all the boxes for a great lounge experience. There ares cooked-to-order dishes in the Noodle Bar, a deli-style food hall with a Spanish market-style buzz and a vast selection of foods – cheeses, tapas plates, salads, fish, desserts and fruits, and a teahouse, where fine teas and artisanal varieties are served in a refined and sophisticated setting.
The 14 shower suites are perfect for that pre-flight freshen up while the workstations at the Bureau come with iMacs, printers and high-speed internet.
The Wing First Class Lounge
Cathay Pacific's flagship lounge, The Wing First Class Lounge, is a tour de force among airport lounges, lauded as one of the world's finest. Excellence shows in every detail, from the plush leather furnishings to the exclusive Poltrona Frau chairs, the softly accented lighting to the sleek Foster + Partners design. Among the standout features is The Haven, a gourmet experience with a choice of buffet dining or an a la carte menu with suggested wine pairings. The Champagne Bar is polished and sophisticated and there is another quiet and intimate bar at the far end of the lounge. Need some serious downtime? Book into one of the five cabanas, mini suites with a king-size shower room, a full-size bath and bed. For those with less time there are 12 luxury shower suites.
The Wing Business Class Lounge
Set under the high arch of the terminal ceiling, this airy double-level club lounge makes a power play with glossy good looks from top to bottom and separate spaces with something for every business-travel taste. The designers have really gone to town in the food and beverage department, with high quality buffets in several locations and specialty dining areas.
The Asian-inflected Noodle Bar is a standout, with cooked-to-order favourites including dumplings, soups and wonton noodles, supplied from the steaming open kitchen alongside. Drinks at the Long Bar include champagne and a choice of French, Italian, Australian and Californian still wines plus a couple of fruity mocktails.
Head for the Coffee Loft for barista-made espresso and a range of freshly baked pastries, cakes and mini snacks. On the floor below is the IT Zone plus the showers, with 24 sumptuous private suites. The Wing is a star performer on any list of the world's best lounges, and it shows in every detail.
Casual, relaxed, warm and welcoming, all the good adjectives apply at this bright and airy lounge on Level 5, near gate 35 and the terminal passenger train. Zones create separate "rooms", complemented by natural lighting, timber floors and accented with contemporary art works.
In the south wing, the Bistro offers delicious Vietnamese pho soups as well as a range of western favourites and a buffet including fresh, leafy salads while the baristas work wonders in the Coffee Loft.
Time to freshen up? The nine shower suites in the south wing come with premium products and billowing towels. Separated by the spacious reception area with its plush seating and floor-to-ceiling windows, the north wing has a bakery with pizzas baked on site, crusty bread, rolls and pastries. In the same wing you'll find the Long Bar, serving champagne and cocktails, accompanied by tapas plates.
Light, bright and airy, The Cabin is a premium lounge for both First and Business class passengers, selected Marco Polo Club members and oneworld frequent flyers. Entered from Level 6 in the central concourse near Gate 23, this dazzling lounge comes with a generous serving of style. The aesthetic is muted and refined with floor-to-ceiling windows offering wide-angle views.
A neat touch is the pod-like Solus Chair, a purpose-built unit specifically designed for Cathay Pacific by Foster + Partners and crafted by Italy's Poltrona Frau, each with a mini shelf for a laptop and power point. iMac-equipped workstations come with high-speed internet.
Try a fresh salad, a made-to-order hot sandwich at the Deli or create your own meal from the Asian and western buffets, featuring a range of Italian antipasti.
An exclusive feature of The Cabin, the Health Bar brings wellness into the equation with fruit smoothies and Chinese herbal teas. Try the Morning Special Shake for a pre-flight energy boost, or a cocktail, shaken, stirred or however you take it.
Need to freshen up after your flight? Located past the arrivals hall, in the centre passage connecting Terminals 1 and 2, The Arrival is open daily from 5am to midnight for First and Business class passengers and selected Marco Polo Club members and oneworld frequent flyers.
Step inside and you're in a soothing, calm space with everything needed to send you on your way relaxed and refreshed – spacious shower rooms with premium bath products and fluffy towels, Asian and western buffets and workstations with high speed internet.
There is also a luggage minding facility if you're on a layover with enough time to head into the city.
The G16 Lounge is under renovation and will reopen in the second quarter of 2017.
With more than 70 flights a week from six Australian cities to Hong Kong, and onward connections to nearly 200 destinations around the globe, Cathay Pacific is the ideal way to fly, whether your final destination is Europe, North America or another Asian city.
Operating four daily flights between Sydney and Hong Kong and three from Melbourne, Cathay Pacific is also the preferred airline for Business and First Class flyers who value the comfort, service and amenities of one of the world's premier airlines. High among those amenities is the warm welcome that Cathay Pacific extends to its First and Business class travellers in the seven lounges the airline offers at Hong Kong airport.
For more information or to book, visit: cathaypacific.com.au
This article is brought to you by the Hong Kong Tourism Board and Cathay Pacific.