Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Best Airport Business Lounge - Cathay/Hong Kong

Writing a food review on an Airport Business Lounge may sound a bit odd, but when travelling abroad, unexpected surprises can make the difference between a ho-hum flight experience, and an exceptional one. The Cathay Pacific Business Class Lounge in Hong Kong is one of those exceptional places. 

Hong Kong International Airport was built in the early 1990s on a small island, much of which was man-made and took just over six years to complete. The cost — a staggering $20 billion! The airport itself is a modern and impressive complex. Home base for Cathay Pacific, the Business Class Lounge is a testament to the high standards employed by what is considered by many to be, the Best Airport in the World.

The Business Class Lounge features a fabulous Noodle and Dim Sum Bar with freshly made Har Gaw and Siu Mai which are kept warm in traditional bamboo steamer baskets — replenished on a constant basis. You can also choose from Seafood Wonton Soup, Steamed Pork Buns and stir-fried Vermicelli with spring onions and julienned vegetables. They even supply their own beautifully carved chopsticks, which are complimentary to guests. I'm almost ashamed to admit that I am now the proud owner of a set!

A white jacketed barman at The Champagne Bar serves chilled champagne in tall glass flutes, with or without a selection of over 10 fresh squeezed juices, including mango, watermelon, kiwi or any combination you desire, plus an enviable selection of red and white wines kept cool in a big bucket of crushed ice. Want a custom made Smoothie — he'll do that too! There's also a fresh Seafood and Raw Bar with smoked salmon, parma ham, french cheeses, assorted salads, exotic fruits and freshly basked croissants and dozens of other delectable warm pastries and home made breads.

As the first ones to arrive in the lounge at 5:30am, we had our pick of places to sit and relax within the 40,000 sq. ft. emporium to relaxation and gastronomy, and of course, we were also the first to sample the complimentary delicacies that beckoned us. With over four hours to wait for our connecting flight, we did just that and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast of champagne, fruit smoothies, dim sum and fabulous cappuccinos, custom made by the full time Barista!

The Cathay Pacific Business Lounge is doing everything right. From the array of comfortable seating environments suited to every taste — Private pods with a screened in banquette, desk and computer terminal to sumptuous leather sofas, leather clad bar stools and 'Quiet Areas', designed for those wanting to catch a little shut-eye — coupled with the high quality interior design and finishes, and top quality culinary temptations, it's a wonder Cathay passengers ever make their flights.