There was a time not long ago that I had pretty amazing airline status.
Then a couple of things happened — British Airways changed its executive club membership rules and I got a new job that means I can no longer fly in fancy seats — and it all went to pot.
During that sweet, sweet time in my life, I was a lounge regular. I’ve seen the best and the worst there is on the circuit, but when all is said and done, there is really only one lounge that sticks out in my memory.
Say hello to The Pier, Cathay Pacific’s First Class lounge at Hong Kong Airport.
Head down the escalators and the attentive staff will greet you like you’re a genuine VIP. Inside, there’s a real lightness of touch to the design that makes it feel like a high-end spa.
I stopped by one morning after an overnight flight from Perth on my way back to London. Feeling exhausted from flying, my first port of call was The Retreat, where I managed to snag one of the eight day suites available.
Cocooned in my own private pod, I felt cut of from the world. Silence prevailed. I wrapped myself in blankets and watched Cathay jets trundle past the window. It’s a good job I only had a short layover, as I could easily have nodded off and missed my flight.
I fantasised about it briefly — what it would be like to wake up to see the light fading over Hong Kong in the distance. Clutching my now-defunct boarding pass for a plane that had departed hours before, I would shrug my shoulders, grab something sweet from The Pantry (a buffet of treats ripe for raiding) and book myself in for a foot massage…
Curse my inflexible schedule.
Rather thank let my daydreams lull me into a full-on slumber, I decided it was time to wake myself up for the day with a hearty breakfast and coffee in The Pier’s dining room. There is no buffet here — instead everything is cooked to order.
And Moet & Chandon Brut.
It’s how I start every day (I lead a rich fantasy life).
I absolutely could not let the opportunity pass me by to have authentic char siu bao one last time before leaving Asia.
And then remembered my pledge to myself to try and be healthy while travelling and so ordered bircher muesli on the side.
With a little time still left before my flight, I retreated to The Bar and tried one of Cathay’s signature cocktails. The Ginger Forest incorporated mint, ginger and lime and was perfect for relaxing with as I soaked up the ambience.
Before leaving, I realised I had not tried anything from The Pantry after all. I grabbed a muffin for the road/runway and legged it to my Heathrow-bound flight.
Sadly, I haven’t had a chance to fly Cathay or return to Hong Kong since this trip, which is a shame, as I had an amazing time on whistlestop tour of the city and I would love to spend more time there. If I do return, I can only hope and pray that somehow I’ll be allowed back into The Pier.
Until next time, HKG! I hope we meet again soon.