As the home base of Cathay Pacific (CX), Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) hosts no less than six lounges for this carrier alone. Sadly, due to the ongoing global health emergency, CX has had to temporarily close four of these lounges – including the subject of this travel report. For the moment, whilst waiting for the day when air travel can safely resume, let’s take a tour of this exclusive facility and see what we can look forward to when it reopens.
Welcome to The Bridge.
Note: The information and pictures presented here are drawn from my own experience of using The Bridge lounge on 23 January 2020. Operating hours, admission criteria, lounge facilities/services and other details may change at any time without prior notice.
As mentioned in this post, The Bridge is closed until further notice due to the ongoing global health emergency. It is very likely that some aspects of the lounge experience will change after it reopens, considering the pandemic’s long-term impact on travel habits and disease control standards.
Airport name : Hong Kong International Airport (commonly abbreviated as “HKIA”)
IATA code : HKG
Location : Chek Lap Kok, Hong Kong SAR, China
Major city served : Hong Kong
Lounge name : The Bridge
Operating airline : Cathay Pacific (IATA code: CX)
Location : Hong Kong International Airport, departures airside Level 5 (entrance on Level 6), west concourse (near Gates 35 and 36)
Operating hours : CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE due to the ongoing global health emergency. At the time of my visit, the lounge was open daily from 0530 to 0030.
Date of visit documented in report : Thursday, 23 January 2020
Lounge entitlement basis : Business Class ticket for Cathay Pacific flight CX 438 (HKG-ICN). Detailed lounge admittance criteria are available on the airline’s official website.
Related links : Official Site
The Bridge is located on Level 5 of HKG’s main terminal building. It’s within the airside zone – the restricted area after immigration and security – so you’ll need to check in and complete all pre-departure formalities before you can access the lounge.
Even though the lounge itself is on Level 5, you can only enter it from Level 6 (i.e., the main departures floor). Walk towards the western end of the terminal’s central “stalk” – past Gates 35/36 – and take the escalator down to reception.
There’s also a lift around the corner for those who need it (such as passengers with prams or bulky luggage).
Now then, let’s talk about what’ll get us through the doors … once the pandemic eases and it’s safe for them to reopen, of course.
Briefly: First and Business Class passengers travelling on Cathay Pacific (CX) or Cathay Dragon (KA) flights are entitled to use the lounge. Marco Polo Club members (Silver tier or higher only) are also welcome to enter.
There are other ways of gaining access – lounge pass redemption, high-tier status in the Oneworld alliance, etc. – but we won’t go into those details here. For complete information, please refer to the Lounge Admittance page of CX’s official website.
Right, that’s access all sorted. Let’s head inside.
The Bridge: South Wing
First, let’s turn left from reception and explore the south wing of the lounge.
Most of the floor space is dedicated to seating. There’s a good variety to choose from, whether you’re looking for an armchair to settle into or a couch to recline on.
There’s even a small cluster of CX’s signature Solus chairs towards the southern end, near the IT Zone and Coffee Loft.
This particular Solus chair has clearly seen a lot of service. I think it’s time for the seat cushion to be sent off into a well-deserved retirement. (Or at least flipped over if the other side’s less, er, deeply imprinted.)
The IT Zone consists of workstations fitted with a suite of office equipment, including computers and printers. Good news for those hoping to get a bit of work done during transit … or perhaps should I say bad news, as they’re deprived of an excuse to slack off on their business trips. 😉
A little further beyond the IT Zone is the Coffee Loft, which CX describes on their website as follows:
Visit the Coffee Loft in the south wing and try a frothy cappuccino or speciality tea made by one of our expert baristas. To accompany your drink we have a tasty selection of freshly baked muffins, pastries, and cookies.
After backtracking a bit, you’ll find the entrance to The Bridge’s showers. Tell the staff on duty that you’d like to wash down and they’ll lead you down a narrow corridor…
…to one of nine private shower rooms. Each of these is completely self-contained, with a toilet and vanity in addition to the shower booth. The room is also stocked with fresh towels and a range of toiletries.
Heading back towards reception, you’ll soon walk past The Bistro – one of the lounge’s two main dining facilities. CX’s website has this to say:
Located in the south wing, the Bistro offers a variety of exceptional dishes, from mouth-watering Asian pho and soups, to Western favourites and a buffet of cold delicacies. For a healthy choice, try our leafy salads with a mixture of different dressings—or, for an indulgence, there’s a selection of sweet desserts.
I can’t say much about The Bistro as I took my breakfast in the other dining facility – more on that later. I did take a peek in one of the fridges and saw bottles of CX’s in-house tipple: a craft beer named “Betsy” (after an early CX aircraft).
There’s WiFi of course, but if you’d rather catch up with recent events the traditional way, there’s a good selection of printed material from different countries (and in different languages).
Well, that pretty much covers the south wing. Time to go back to reception and take the right-hand corridor into…
The Bridge: North Wing
…where some things are different and others, mm, not so much.
Falling squarely within the “not so much” category are the actual lounging spaces, which are quite similar to those in the south wing. Mind you, that’s not a complaint: it just means more room to relax in if the other half is crowded (and of course that works the other way as well).
What sets the north wing apart from its southern sibling are the headline spaces listed on the reception sign. Similarly, the south’s signposted features are unique to itself and not duplicated here – not identically, anyway.
There’s the aptly named Long Bar, located all the way at the end of the north wing. The rather enticing description on CX’s official website runs thus:
Take a seat at our iconic Long Bar, located in the north wing, with scenic overlooks of the tarmac. Let our mixologists serve you our signature cocktails—exclusive to The Bridge—or a sip of fine champagne or wine. Accompany your drink with an assortment of canapés or freshly prepared tapas bites.
At the time of my visit, there was a mini-buffet of pastries spread out at one end of the Long Bar. I’m not certain if this is a permanent feature or dependent on the hour of the day (in this case, early morning = breakfast time).
Fancy something more substantial than bread and cookies? Not to worry, there’s a proper dining area close by.
The south wing has The Bistro, while the north wing has The Bakery. CX describes the space in these words:
Located in the north wing, the Bakery serves crusty bread and warm rolls, fresh from the oven. Try our savoury pizzas, baked on-site and to perfection, with tangy melted cheese. Accompany your meal with one of our sandwiches, pastries, soups, or salads.
I decided to have breakfast here during my visit to the lounge. A rapid march past the bread baskets, a quick raid of the counter for some delicious cold cuts, a surgical strike at the drinks dispensers, and soon the troops were all assembled for the morning parade into my waiting stomach. Yum.
The Bridge is easily my favourite amongst the Cathay Pacific lounges I’ve been to so far. It’s one of the largest at Hong Kong International Airport, and yet it doesn’t feel overwhelmingly huge. Indeed, for all its distinct seating areas and signature spaces, the whole place feels rather cosy.
One might note the absence of CX’s famous Noodle Bar – an almost iconic feature of the airline’s lounges, both at HKG (e.g.; here) and overseas (e.g.; here) – though I wouldn’t say it’s sorely missed. With a café at one end, a bar at the other, and two well stocked dining areas in between, we’re not exactly short on options here at The Bridge.
Ah, and the shower rooms (or should I say shower suites) … everything you need and then some.
It’s impossible to say when conditions will improve to the extent necessary for most non-essential air travel to resume, and consequently for facilities like The Bridge to reopen their doors. One must also accept that some aspects of the lounge experience will change in order to ensure the safety of the travelling public. (At least, until an effective vaccine and course of treatment render the new disease no more dangerous than, say, the seasonal flu.) For example, as we’ve seen elsewhere, the buffets might transform into à la carte establishments, with food brought out to order rather than heaped onto common serving trays. Access to printed material might be similarly curtailed, with newspapers and magazines handed out on request.
In any event, I look forward to visiting The Bridge again – once it’s safe to do so.