- Complimentary snacks
- Complimentary cold buffet
- Complimentary hot buffet
- Complimentary soft drinks
- Complimentary house wine and beer
- Complimentary liquor
- Air conditioning
- Flight information monitors
- Newspapers and magazines
The Plaza Premium Lounge at Hong Kong airport near gate 1 is one of the several clubs operated by Plaza Premium, the world’s #1 pay-in lounge operator. The facility is open to all passengers for a fee. In addition it is contracted by several airlines including JAL and American Airlines, and also welcomes members of lounge access networks such as Priority Pass.
The rather discreet entrance is located by gates 1-4, close to the security checkpoint. There are two lines — one for invited airline passengers, and one for pay-in customers. When we visited we had to wait several minutes in the pay-in line while the line for airline guests was devoid of any customers, which made for a rather poor first impression.
Plaza Premium Lounge HKG design
Walk past the reception desk and you will find yourself surrounded by darkness. The cavernous Plaza Premium Lounge does not have a single window; a situation that the designers have embraced by creating a dimly lit space with sparse touches of light. While weary travelers may find the vibe relaxing and conducive to a nap, overall we found the ambiance to be rather oppressive, especially coming from the bright concourse with its ultra-high ceilings.
Close to the entrance are work cubicles with computers. Most seats have power outlets, with the unfortunate exception of those located in the dining area.
By the entrance is also an oval bar which functions at the centerpiece of the design.
Beyond the bar stretches a large seating area featuring the signature comfortable Plaza Premium chairs. Unfortunately, the space is often crowded and noisy — due to its location close to the security checkpoint, the Plaza Premium lounge by gate 1 is busy throughout the day.
In the very back is a cordoned off seating area reserved for airline guests, featuring a much more attractive design with additional ambient light, chandeliers, higher end finishes, low dividers, elegant tables, and a more spacious layout. While we appreciate the value of providing airline guests with a dedicated space, we can’t help but expect that paying customers will feel short changed given the blatant difference between the two seating areas.
Plaza Premium Lounge HKG amenities
The buffet at the Plaza Premium Lounge offers a choice of hot and cold entrees. Highlights include Hong Kong-style flour rolls with peanut and sweet sauce at breakfast time; Hong Kong-style fish ball noodles and XO sauce made to order throughout the day, as well as daily tapas in the evening. Overall, the emphasis is very much on local cuisine although pastries are also available for breakfast and some western dishes throughout the day.
Soft drinks are complimentary and available from self-serve coolers in the back, however there is a charge for alcoholic drinks – on top of the admission fee.
Amongst other add-on services, Plaza Premium also offers showers, massages, and napping rooms. While charging for massages is expected, and charging for napping rooms is understood – the individual rooms are completely private and well appointed – we find that the extra charge for showers is distasteful, especially for passengers flying long haul.
On a brighter note, Wi-Fi is complimentary and secure – a rare and appreciated feature.
Plaza Premium Lounge HKG bottom line
Overall, the Plaza Premium Lounge “East Hall” at Hong Kong airport by gate 1 is a mixed bag. The lack of windows, darkness and crowds can be rather oppressive, although airline invited customers benefit from a more pleasant seating area. The food is enjoyable, but with most amenities and drinks available at an extra charge, the offering may feel limited. Pay-in customers may consider the nicer Plaza Premium by gate 40 as an alternative, while we encourage airline invited passengers to use airline operated lounges (oneworld passengers can use the vastly superior Cathay Pacific lounges.)