After the nearly 15 hour Cathay Pacific Premium Economy flight from Chicago I had finally arrived in Hong Kong. I arrived just before 8PM local time. During my short stay in Hong Kong I remained on Chicago time so my body thought it was closer to 6AM. Since I slept for about 8 hours in total on the flight over so I was awake and ready to explore Hong Kong by night.
Even though I was mentally awake, I was still not quite ready to venture out into Hong Kong to explore. Primarily, I wasn’t ready to explore because I felt like I had just spent the past several hours on an airplane. Needless to say I was in desperate need of a shower.
Because I had such a short stay in Hong Kong during my HKG over MLK trip I didn’t want to was any time. I had plans to leave the airport and meet a friend out in Hong Kong. Since my schedule was so tight I didn’t have time to stop at my hotel first to shower.
Instead, I planned on visiting Cathay Pacific’s The Arrival lounge (located in the arrivals hall) to freshen up before meeting my friend. I thankfully had access to the lounge because I flew with Cathay Pacific and currently maintain OneWorld Emerald elite status. When I retrieved my boarding card in Chicago the gate agent also handed me a lounge invitation to The Arrival. However, to reach the lounge I first had to clear customs and navigate the massive Hong Kong arrivals hall.
Hong Kong International Arrivals Hall
After arriving in Hong Kong, all passengers had to head toward the arrivals hall. The arrivals hall is on the lower level of the main terminal. I really like how open and spacious this area of the airport is. In many international airports the arrivals hall is completely enclosed from the rest of the terminal.
Hong Kong International Arrivals Hall
The immigration lines weren’t too long, but either way the agents kept the lines moving quickly. After a few minutes the customs agent processed my tourist visa on arrival and handed me a receipt to enter the country.
After exiting the secure customs area you’re directed into the unsecured lower level of the main terminal. As I mentioned, this part of the terminal is absolutely massive and I did not know the location of the arrivals lounges.
After walking around the lower level for a few minutes I finally spotted a sign which directed passengers to the arrivals lounges.
I followed the signs until I reached a set of escalators which directed arriving passengers to ground transportation and transportation to mainland China. From there you enter a long hallway with low ceilings. As you walk toward the exit of the arrivals hall you eventually reach Cathay Pacific’s The Arrival lounge.
Accessing Cathay Pacific The Arrival Lounge
In general, access to arrivals lounges is little more exclusive than traditional international business class lounge and Cathay Pacific The Arrival is no exception. Only the following have access to Cathay Pacific The Arrival lounge in Hong Kong:
- Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon First Class passengers
- Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon Business Class passengers
- Marco Polo Club Diamond or Gold elite members traveling with Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon
- Cargo Clan Elite Members traveling with Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon
- OneWorld Emerald elite members arriving on Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon
Cathay Pacific prohibits those with access to The Arrival from brining any guests into the lounge. Only those listed above, without guests, can enter the lounge. Also, you must be traveling with Cathay Pacific to have access. If you’re a OneWorld elite traveling with another OneWorld carrier you will not have access to the lounge.
Cathay Pacific The Arrival Lounge
As you enter The Arrival lounge you quickly realize why access to this lounge is so restricted. The lounge itself isn’t all that large. The entire lounge is just one long and narrow room.
As you enter the lounge, to the left, just behind the check-in desk, is a small sitting area with a television set.
To the right is a long bar counter with several very uncomfortable square bar stools. In the middle of this bar area are three iMac desktop computers for guests to use. Behind the shiny faux wall of the counter are the shower suites, more on those in a second.
Located along the back wall of the lounge, beyond the magazine rack, is a beverage and snack station. Here you can stop for a cup of coffee or tea, bottled water, canned soda, or some fresh fruit. There were also a few desserts offered in this area of the lounge.
However, if you have time for a sit-down meal, The Arrival Lounge has a full sit down restaurant area.
Cathay Pacific The Arrival Restaurant
Located just behind the magazine rack are a few tables and chairs where guests can enjoy a meal before exiting the airport.
If there isn’t space available in the restaurant the lounge attendants will also serve food to the rest of the lounge. Although I didn’t plan on eating at the lounge during my visit I still requested to see a menu just in case something caught my eye. The server brought the menu over to where I was seated even though I wasn’t within the formal restaurant area of the lounge.
Surprisingly The Arrival lounge came with a fairly well-rounded menu. It surprised me to see just how many items the lounge offered considering the small the lounge is.
Cathay Pacific The Arrival Shower Suite
While I wasn’t interested in eating during my stay at The Arrival, I was interested in taking a shower. After looking around the lounge for quite literally a few seconds, I went back to the check-in desk and requested a shower suite.
The shower suites are located along the side of the lounge just beyond the bar counter top. As you enter the shower suite you’ll quickly notice the marble walls which is a continuation of The Arrival’s main entrance.
One thing I loved about this shower suite was the wall of the shower. The wall appeared as though it was made of several loose stones held together by some sort of resin. It was quite an elegant design.
The shower area itself however is a bit odd as there is no door and the marble bench runs from within the shower into the remainder of the suite. This design caused quite a bit of water to splash into the rest of the suite during my shower.
Next to the shower was a toilet, which I’ve come to expect in airport lounge shower suites. Near the entrance to the shower suite was a sink which was surrounded by a generously sized countertop.
Without asking in advance, the shower suite came complete with several complimentary amenities. It was nice to find these amenities waiting for me when I arrived in the suite since I didn’t have to go digging through my bag to find my own dopp kit.
As far as airport lounges go, Cathay Pacific’s The Arrival is by no means the most impressive lounge I’ve ever visited. In fact, Cathay Pacific has a ton of other incredible lounges within the Hong Kong airport which put this lounge to shame. However, The Arrival lounge is exactly what I’d want from an international arrivals lounge.
After a 14 hour flight the only thing I want to do is take a shower. The Arrival has very nice shower suites for arriving passengers to freshen up after a long flight. On top of that, The Arrival also has a full sit down restaurant with a pretty impressive menu. I also appreciated that the lounge offers guests desktop computers and, of course, complimentary WiFi. I loved the ability to get on the WiFi and download an offline version of Google Maps before heading into the city for the first time.
Overall, The Arrival from Cathay Pacific is a fine lounge. Thinking about using this lounge isn’t going to get my through my next 14 hour flight to Hong Kong, but I will definitely use this lounge again the next time I return.