Regional Running: Trip Planning
Singapore Airlines SilverKris Lounge Terminal 3 MNL
Singapore Airlines B777-300 Regional Business Class MNL SIN
Cathay Pacific Business Class Lounge SIN Changi Terminal 4
Cathay Pacific A350-900 Business Class SIN BKK
Cathay Pacific Business Class Lounge BKK
Cathay Pacific B77W Business Class BKK SIN
Having only started on this miles hobby about 4 years ago, I have been quite unadventurous in my award redemptions thus far, sticking mainly to SQ and some Star Alliance airlines. I also hardly travel for work, so opportunities to venture out to other airlines and alliances have been scarce. Having flown most of the available SQ products, it is only natural to start desiring new experiences.
Prior to the Krisflyer devaluation almost 1 year ago in March 2017, we did not have a single CX trip report on this site. Things have changed a lot since then, with Aaron putting up reviews of CX business class, and their lounges in HKG. Louis has also been invited to visit the beautiful First Class lounge ‘The Pier’ at HKG. Closer to home, Cathay Pacific opened their very own lounge in Terminal 4 in October last year, and you can find a detailed review on that right here.
All that CX action my fellow writers were getting only served to fuel my desire, and so when I noticed some attractive fares on the UOB Travel site for the SIN BKK route I needed to fly, it didn’t take long for me to decide.
Cathay Pacific’s operation in Singapore has since moved to the new Terminal 4. Having just recently flown out of T4 on a budget carrier, I was interested to see how the ground experience would differ, given that everything is supposed to be automated. Does being served by a cold, unfeeling ticketing kiosk diminish the premium feel?
Call me old fashioned, but I actually think it does. When I was flying out of T4 on Cebu Pacific just 2 weeks prior to this trip, all the automated kiosks in that row were down, and I had to get my ticket manually from the ground staff. We had a short conversation about how the new automated system doesn’t seem to make the check-in process any more efficient, and was sent on my way with a smile and a quick ‘have a good flight!’.
The kiosks were working at the CX row 2 weeks later, and I had my ticket and baggage tags printed out with no human contact. Thereafter, I had to make my way to the manned counters to deposit my check-in bags. There were 4 dedicated Business Class counters, but there was still a small queue. The ground staff had to check my ticket, passport and baggage tags again before sending them along the belt, so the whole system must have only saved all of 30 seconds (give or take) for each passenger.
A large part of what you pay for when flying premium is the intangible soft product or human touch, and it is hard to differentiate products when the process is uniform and robotic for all classes of travel. I hardly had any interaction with the CX ground staff as compared to my prior budget experience.
Random musings on robots taking over the world aside, I made my way past immigration to the lounge. There are only 2 lounges in T4, the contract Blossom Lounge (which accepts Priority Pass now), and the Cathay Lounge. They are both found on level 2, with the Blossom on the left and CX immediately to the right.
The T4 CX Lounge sports the similar theme seen in their flagship lounges in HKG, designed by London based firm Studioilse. Although it has not been marketed as such, the understated and informal tones created by the use of natural materials like cherry wood, bronze and leather exudes a stately, residential feel to the lounge.
I can’t help but make comparisons with SQ’s SilverKris lounges. While the new theme for the SilverKris Lounge refresh is beautiful, its modern slant is quite similar to the current interior design in vogue for home renovation. The sleek angular lines and heavy use of metal and chrome is a theme I’m seeing more and more in alot of my friends’ new flats. You would think this would fit right into its ‘Home away from Home’ inspiration. Surprisingly, I found myself feeling more ‘at home’ in this CX lounge. I wonder if it is because what makes the design of a lounge feel homely is not so much its actual resemblance to one’s home, but how much its like the home we desire. I’m sure not everyone will agree with me though, so here’re some more pictures of the small but cozy lounge, you can judge for yourself!
The lounge is divided into 3 main areas; the Noodle Bar, a general dining area, and the lounge / seating area. The small hot food buffet together with the self-serve drinks are found in the general dining area, whereas the Noodle Bar only serves noodles and Dim Sum. Both areas have plenty seats for you to choose from.
The selection of food here is not wide, but it was pretty good. The Lotus Soup in particular was amazing. I’m pretty nit-picky when it comes to Chinese-style boiled soups, so I was pleasantly surprised by its quality. There was the usual selection of alcohol, and in particular there were 3 bottles of Moet in the refrigerator available for self pour. I was definitely not the only passenger helping myself to liberal portions of bubbly!
I’ll backtrack a little here because the Noodle Bar is actually the first thing you will see upon entering the lounge.
This feature is a CX signature, and you have several options which the attending chef will prepare for you on the spot. I absolutely love the vibrant jade-green tiles and granite bar-top used in this area; the feature catches your eye straight away and draws you right into the culinary action. It also clearly demarcates the area while still maintaining the overall distinguished air of the lounge.
I had the Wonton Noodles and some Siew Mai. The noodles were absolutely great with just the right texture and consistency coupled with a tasty soup and plump dumplings, but I felt the Siew Mai were average at best.
There was also a long counter in the Noodle Bar area itself with an assortment of nuts and other finger foods. I found this rather awkward though; wouldn’t this be a better place to place the hot food buffet, and have the finger food / snacks outside with the self-serve drinks?
The small but functional Business centre is just adjacent to the Noodle Bar and sports a couple of iMacs and printer available for use.
Moving back out to the lounge proper, the seating area has an assortment of armchairs and couches, all set out in warm tones of fabric and leather. The best seats in the house has to be the large armchairs right at the far periphery of the lounge, where each has a footrest, a small side table with charging docks, and great tarmac views.
The lounge was relatively empty when I entered as there were only 2 flights scheduled to leave around then, so seating was not a problem. Its quietness was a refreshing change to the usual hustle and bustle of the SilverKris lounge at Changi T3 and T2. This CX lounge definitely benefits from being in a terminal physically separate from the other terminals, so premium passengers on other OneWorld carriers will not be able to access it.
All in all, my first experience with premium travel on Cathay hit off on a great note. What do you think about this new CX lounge at T4? Do you personally prefer the SilverKris lounge design, or the understated luxury feel here? Do share your thoughts in the comment section below!