It’s been over a year since Cathay Pacific shuttered its lounges at London Heathrow Terminal 3 for a complete transformation, which was scheduled to take nine months. After a three-month delay—somewhat typical for an airport construction project—the new lounges officially welcomed their first visitors today, November 28th, as part of a “soft opening.” The official opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony are scheduled on Wednesday, December 7th.
The new Cathay Pacific Lounges at LHR are inspired by the Hong Kong clubs
Cathay Pacific operates no less than five daily flights between the British Capital and their Hong Kong (HKG) home base. In September, the schedule will be further reinforced with the launch of a new route between Hong Kong and London Gatwick (LGW.)
With tough competition in London and a market that supports premium fares, Cathay Pacific has chosen to maintain distinct First and Business Class lounges at Heathrow airport, making London an exception within the airline’s network: Hong Kong is the only other destination where Cathay Pacific offers separate services for First Class passengers.
Cathay Pacific has naturally modeled their new lounges after the flagship Hong Kong Facilities, The Pier Business Class Lounge and The Pier First Class Lounge—it’s entirely fitting that the new London lounges boast a design created by British designer Ilse Crawford’s Studioisle. Premiered at Tokyo Haneda airport in 2015, and also featured at Bangkok, Manila, Taipei and Vancouver airports, the design concept embodies Cathay Pacific’s “life well travelled” brand.
The delicate alliance of natural materials—gorgeous cherry walls, limestone floors, hardwood ceilings—along with indoor plants, green ceramics, brass highlights, and Asian touches such as the delicate hanging light fixtures and artwork by Chinese artist Han Feng, gives the space a cozy, sophisticated and intimate touch. Luxury abounds, but it’s exquisitely understated—a masterful combination of sophistication and authentic residential simplicity.
The attention to detail is second to none—while power outlets are available at every seat, they are embedded in the furniture, discretely tucked in little compartments so as to not distract the eye from the smooth shapes and exquisite appearance of the ensemble.
More space and bigger views at the Cathay Pacific Lounges at London Heathrow airport
The addition of an adjacent space vacated by Singapore Airlines—which has moved to Terminal 2 (“The Queen’s Terminal”) along with fellow Star Alliance members—has allowed Cathay Pacific to increase the size of the combined Business and First Class lounges to 130,000 sq.f. (1,200 sq.m.), a 30% increase over the previous footprint.
The expansion is welcome, though the space remains limited overall and the lounges are bound to be popular. Fortunately, the furniture arrangement and layout aim at maximizing privacy with oversized coffee tables, elegant dividers, and side tables between seats. There are also eight “cube chairs”—the latest incarnation of the Solus chair, a wrap-around, high backed chair with a built-in side table, coat hook, power outlet, and USB port.
Floor to ceiling windows reveal exciting views of the tarmac and North runway. Cathay Pacific capitalizes on the vista, with highly private individual chairs with ottomans facing the windows.
Cathay Pacific London Business Class Lounge amenities
Cathay Pacific offers a strong line-up of amenities which is consistent with their worldwide lounge product.
The highlight is probably the famed noodle bar. Patrons may order from a variety of specialties including wonton noodle soup, dan dan noodle soup, and Hong Kong-style fish ball noodle soup. All dishes are cooked to order in the open kitchen and served in gorgeous tableware on traditional trays.
Passengers in search of a quick bite or a broader international selection will find the Food Hall, which offers a variety of snacks, salads and hot dishes, including traditional British fare.
A staffed bar is also available, and offers a wide range of wines, liqueurs and spirits.
The Cathay Pacific Business Class Lounge at London Heathrow airport also features eight elegant and well appointed shower suites decked in limestone, with a large walk-in rain shower, toilet, sink, and luxurious Aesop bath products.
The Bureau, Cathay Pacific’s vision of the business center, offers several computers with printers in a serene environment. Complimentary Wi-Fi is also available throughout the lounge.
Cathay Pacific London First Class Lounge amenities
The smaller First Class Lounge features a more intimate environment.
First Class passengers benefit from a complimentary restaurant, where they may enjoy a full menu with table service. With booths, wood accents, smooth angles, and hanging light fixtures, the space effortlessly bridges the gap between tradition and modernity.
A lower key alternative, The Pantry, offers a buffet style selection of tapas-like dishes that rotate throughout the day.
The new Cathay Pacific Lounges, an alternative for LHR Terminal 3 oneworld passengers
The arrival of the new Cathay Pacific Lounges shakes up the rather dormant lounge scene at London Heathrow Terminal 3.
The Cathay Pacific Business Class lounge welcomes Business Class passengers departing on Cathay Pacific and oneworld flights, Marco Polo Club members with Silver status or above, and oneworld Sapphire and Emerald customers. The smaller and more exclusive First Class lounge welcomes First class passengers as well as oneworld emerald members.
With extended opening hours—from 5:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. from Monday to Saturday, and from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Sunday—the new Cathay Pacific Lounges offer oneworld passengers a fresh alternative to the more vintage British Airways and American Airlines lounges. The Cathay Pacific First Class lounge is overall superior to the British Airways Galleries First Lounge and American Airlines Flagship Lounge, although the Elemis Spa remains an amenity exclusively offered by British Airways for their own customers.
In March 2017, oneworld passengers will benefit from an additional option with the planned opening of the new Qantas lounge, adjacent to the Cathay Pacific Business and First Class Lounges.
Pictures courtesy of Cathay Pacific.