I arrived at the Hong Kong airport at approximately 1:30AM immediately following my flight from Ho Chi Minh. At that hour there wasn’t much open in the airport. Most of the airline and contract lounges remain closed over night and wouldn’t open until 5:30AM.
I didn’t exactly feel like waiting in the empty gate areas so instead I pulled out my American Express app. American Express offers a handy “find a lounge” tool within the membership tab of their mobile app. Once I launched the tool Amex provided me with a list of lounges I could visit thanks to my American Express Platinum card. When I reviewed the list I found two lounges within the secure area of the airport and luckily both are open 24 hours a day. I ended up visiting the Plaza Premium Lounge East (Near Gate 1) as it was closest to where I was standing when I launched the app.
Accessing The Plaza Premium Lounge East (Near Gate 1)
After clearing transit security and entering the main terminal I found myself near Gates 1-4 of Terminal 1. This is also the side of the airport you will be on if arriving by car or train. Since I was already on this side of the airport I decided to visit this particular Plaza Premium Lounge. The entrance to the lounge is located near the duty-free shops on the lower departures level (level 7). As I rounded the corner which directs passengers to Gates 1-4 I found the entrance to the lounge.
The Plaza Premium Lounges in Hong Kong airport are all members of the Priority Pass Network of lounges. That means if you have a Priority Pass membership or a complimentary membership from a participating credit card you will have access to this lounge. All you need to do is present your Priority Pass card and same-day boarding card.
All passengers traveling on any airline to any destination may purchase access to the Plaza Premium Lounge. The lounge offers several different “packages” which may be purchased upon arrival or in advance. For starters, 2 hours access rates begin at $580 HKD ($75 USD) and 10 hour access can be purchased for $900 HKD ($115 USD). If you instead only wish to shower, you can purchase a “Shower Only” package for $200 HKD ($25 USD). I personally love this shower only option as I often only wish to use a lounge for the shower facilities.
A complete and updated listing of prices can be found here.
Plaza Premium Lounge Hong Kong East Dining Room
Although the entrance to the lounge is rather dull and not very welcoming the interior of the lounge is quite nice. As you pass through the entrance to the lounge you immediately walk into a large dining area with ample seating options for guests. This area of the lounge offered several different seating options which could easily accommodate a wide variety of guests. Families traveling together could all gather around one of the large communal dining tables while guests traveling alone could opt for a single table against the wall or one of the more private dining booths.
If the primary dining area is full there is also an additional dining area in the second room of the lounge.
Smaller, more private, dining booths surrounded these large communal tables.
The lounge is open 24 hours, but only serves hot food after 5:30AM. Within the dining room during my visit there were sadly no food options to choose from.
Plaza Premium Lounge Hong Kong East Seating
Since the lounge wasn’t serving any food during my visit I opted to find a seat within the second and much larger room of the lounge.
As you enter the second room, adjacent to the second dining area, you’ll find a small section of the lounge which reminds me of a coffee-house. In this section of the lounge there is a large drink station where guests can choose between coffee, tea, juices, water, and soda.
At the far end of this coffee house area is a second “grab-and-go” food station. This area of the lounge offers noodle cups and assorted breads and juices 24 hours a day.
During peak travel hours there is a lounge attendant behind this bar that serves draft beer and prepares more complex handcrafted coffee drinks. However, as with most of the lounge at 3:00AM this station was deserted during my visit.
Plaza Premium Lounge Hong Kong East Lounge Seating
As you can see, much of the lounge up until this point is setup for those hoping to get a bite to eat or finish some work before boarding a long flight. If you’re visiting the lounge just to escape the busy terminal your best bet is to find seats toward the very back of the lounge. In the back of the lounge you’ll find an area that more closely resembles what you’d expect from an airport lounge.
Just next to the secondary dining area you’ll find a series of comfortable lounge chairs. On either side of this open area you’ll find series of private lounge cubicles.
These small private cubicles are perfect for anyone looking to escape the crowded terminal. They are fairly comfortable, but I had one small issue with them. The issue is that the little table doesn’t move at all. It’s impossibly uncomfortable to try to sit and work within one of these little cubicles. If you put your laptop on the table you have to sit awkwardly to type, but if you put your laptop in your lap the screen constantly hits the table. It’s a classic lose lose situation.
Plaza Premium Lounge Hong Kong East Shower Facilities
Lucky for me during my visit I didn’t intend on getting any work done. Instead, I visited this lounge with one thing in mind; a shower. It had been well over a day since my last shower and I was in desperate need of one. After familiarizing myself with the lounge I immediately proceeded toward the shower suites located in the very back corner of the lounge.
When I arrived at the shower attendants desk I nearly had to beg to use one of the shower rooms. For one reason or another he seemed reluctant to allow me to use one of these shower suites. After a few moments however he granted me permission, but informed me that I only had 20 minutes. I thought it was a bit odd to impose such a short time limit on a shower suite considering there were only 5 other guests in the lounge.
Either way I was extremely happy to even have 20 minutes to finally take a hot relaxing shower.
The shower facilities were actually surprisingly nice. The shower was large and featured both a traditional shower head and a handheld shower head. Most importantly the water was hot and remained hot throughout my shower.
Located just next to the shower was a toilet which I apparently didn’t feel the need to photograph (looks like I have to go back to get a proper photo). Then, next to the toilet was a sink.
Overall, the shower facilities were in line with or ahead of those you can find at most airport lounges.
Perhaps the most surprising part of this lounge is that the above is only about 60% of the entire lounge. Apparently there is a second area of this lounge with a full service bar and entirely different finishings. However, like most things during my 3:00AM visit that portion of the lounge was closed.
Overall this lounge was well above average for a contract lounge in an airport. The design of the lounge reminded me more of a coffee-house than an airline lounge. It was an extremely nice place to be in the very early morning hours when most people were instead trying to sleep on the airport floor or wedged in an uncomfortable position along a row of unoccupied seats.
I was happy to have access to this lounge thanks to my Priority Pass membership from the American Express Platinum card. Otherwise, I’m not sure that I would have paid $75 to access the lounge for just two hours. That being said, if I was in desperate need of a shower (which I was) I would have happily paid $25 for that privilege.