Last week I was lucky to snag an upgrade to J on CX635 with a minimum upgrade bid on the HKG-SIN leg back to Singapore. One of the best things when travelling on CX J is the abundance of CX fantastic lounges throughout HKIA. There are several articles about them which you can read here, here, here and here. While there were many worthy CX lounges that I could be getting my noodles and dim sum fixes, The Deck was the go-to for me to experience what this newest lounge had to offer.
The Deck took over the former Dragonair G16 lounge, giving it an all new refreshed look, combining chic and cosy into one luxurious lounge that gives passengers a great reason to arrive early for their flights. Drawing the similar famed designs of Ilse Crawford, this Sodexo managed lounge gives passengers a nice abode to relax at the eastern side of the terminal building through gates 15 to 19 (but the flight of yours truly was departing from 62!). By the way Sodexo, a French hospitality company, will be managing all the CX lounges in HKIA from 2018, taking over from Plaza Premium. And thus The Deck will be a showcase of how the French company will perform after lounge-goers complained of Plaza Premium’s declining food quality in Cathay’s lounges.
A brown iron wall with the Cathay Pacific logo and lounge name is the first thing you will see as the escalator ascends from 6/F Departure level to the lounge floor. The Deck’s Chinese name 玲瓏堂 (玲瓏 means cute) gives a good oriental feel like the rest of the CX lounges. Apart from the visual aspects, I was greeted by the airline’s signature lounge scent – a combination of lavender, jasmine and probably a few others. I like..
The Main Lounge
I read a few reviews of The Deck before this writing. Most of them raved about the luxurious design, the intimate clusters of arm chairs, spacious feel and so on in the main lounge. I have nothing to disagree with to be honest. But when one enters into an operational lounge versus one that is open and empty meant for media photographs and reviews, it is a huge difference. On the day I visited, which was just the second day of The Deck’s official launch, the main lounge was really crowded and noisy with the clattering of plates and dining wares from the buffet line.
Within the main lounge is a range of self service such as coffee makers, warm food, pastries and of course the chiller housing the bubblies and other beverages. On the right side of the lounge past the buffet line and towards the shower rooms and toilets, there is a relaxation room that houses bespoke extra large Solo armchairs, apparently for travelers’ solace before embarking on stressful flights.
The Noodle Bar
Similar to other CX lounges in HKIA, the Noodle Bar 风味坊 (not the Nicolas Tse restaurant) is the centerpiece of The Deck. This is where noodles are cooked ala minute and dim sums and baos are steamed upon order. Not surprisingly, this is the area that most people will be hanging out to place and collect their orders while the busy chefs behind the counter multi-task by preparing, cooking, steaming, taking orders and placing out food all at the same time.
After collecting your freshly cooked noodles and steamed buns, you can dine at the bar counter or at the nice dining booths next to the bar. I really do not recommend to eat at the bar counter despite what CX would like you to think ( see photo below), unless there are no other choices. Instead The Terrace is an ideal area to have a quiet meal and enjoy the view.
Things start to get much better when you move out of the main lounge to the outside. The Terrace is the unique part of the lounge that gives The Deck its distinctive name. The environment is bright and airy by the way of an L-shaped veranda that overlooks 16 to 19 and gives a magnificent view of the airport apron and the runway beyond. If your flight is departing from 16 to 19, you can basically lounge until your gate starts to board.
The Deck is a refreshing change from the other CX lounges in HKIA. It is not a big lounge but Cathay seems to have done a good job with a small real estate (823sq metres). For me, the Terrace area is the best place to lounge away, supplemented by the excellent dining offerings of the Noodle Bar. Now let me finish my dan dan noodles and char siew bao before rushing to 62!