Review: CIP Orchid Lounge Da Nang Airport

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Da Nang Airport doesn't have many options, but the CIP Orchid Lounge ticks most of the right boxes for a contract lounge.

Da Nang is the third busiest airport in Vietnam after Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi. It opened a brand new 21,000 sqm international terminal in 2017 with capacity for six million passengers per year, but is still relatively small in the grand scheme of things- Changi Terminal 3 is 18X the size, for perspective. 

That means there’s only space for a handful of lounges. All non-Skyteam airlines use the CIP Orchid Lounge (Vietnam Airlines operates a Lotus Lounge for the Skyteam carriers), which we visited on our way back home.

🏨 tl;dr: CIP Orchid Lounge
Da Nang Airport doesn’t have many options, but the CIP Orchid Lounge ticks most of the right boxes for a contract lounge.
👍 The Good👎 The Bad
  • Decent buffet selection
  • Varied seating types, including workstations, TV pods and cubbies
  • Fast Wi-Fi connection
  • Shower “suite” is inside main toilet, and not very private
  • Only available alcohol is canned beer
  • A smoking room at the rear of the lounge allows odours to seep in
🇻🇳 Let’s Go Lang Co

Access and Operating Hours

For the avoidance of confusion, there are actually two CIP Orchid Lounges (imaginatively dubbed CIP Orchid Lounge & CIP Orchid Lounge 2) at Da Nang International Airport.

The CIP Orchid Lounge is the original and twice the size of the CIP Orchid Lounge 2, but apart from that I’m not aware of any differences in terms of catering or amenities. Passengers by default are directed to the CIP Orchid Lounge, which involves turning right straight after customs and immigration.

Orchid Lounge

Walk about two minutes, and you’ll see a sign for the Orchid Lounge on the parapet above. You can either take the stairs or the elevator up to the mezzanine floor where the entrance is located.

Lounge access

The CIP Orchid Lounge is open 24 hours daily. Access is available to all Priority Pass, Dragon Pass, LoungeKey and Diners Club International cardholders, as well as premium cabin passengers on airlines like Singapore Airlines, Asiana and EVA Air. Curiously enough, logos for Skyteam carriers like Korean Air, China Eastern and China Southern are also plastered on the board, despite the fact that passengers can access the Vietnam Airlines lounge. 

In theory, access is limited to a three-hour stay, but I didn’t see any active enforcement of the rule (or they might be turning passengers away at the door if it’s more than three hours before their flight). 

Lounge Overview

CIP Orchid Lounge entrance

The CIP Orchid Lounge’s reception is outside the lounge proper. A courteous staff member scanned my boarding pass (I gained access by virtue of elite status with Singapore Airlines) and welcomed me inside. 

Near the reception is an open-air seating terrace set on astroturf, which gave the feel of being in a garden. It’s a nice escape from the concourse below, not that the airport was particularly crowded when I visited. 

Seating area
Departures concourse

Just inside the entrance is the buffet area, which has a mix of dark leather armchairs and dining tables. 

Lounge seating
Lounge seating
Lounge seating
Lounge seating

The lounge then opens up into a bigger area, with more armchair seating and sofas. There’s a lot of natural light thanks to the full length windows, and most of the furniture was in very good condition. 

Lounge seating
Lounge seating
Lounge seating

Despite the full length windows, this lounge doesn’t have any tarmac views- you’ll be staring at a motorcycle parking lot, so leave those telephoto lenses at home.

View from lounge

A series of iMac workstations were set up in booth seats, together with some empty booths. I suppose this would be their version of a productivity pod.

Work stations
Work stations

The lounge also had individual TV viewing booths, inside futuristic-looking white space pods. The screen, however, was so small that it felt inadequate even for the close viewing distance.

TV booths
TV booths

One of the more unique aspects of this lounge are its yellow seating cubbies at the rear. These are meant to offer more privacy, but all the bright colours do is draw more attention to them. Moreover, they’re really uncomfortable to sit in, since the rear panel is so recessed there’s no back support. At most this might be a spot for a parent with an infant who needs to nap.

Seating cubbies
Seating cubbies

In any case, I’d advise you to steer clear of the rear of the lounge, because that’s where the smoking room is. The only barrier is a glass door, and every time it opens, smoke seeps through. 

Smoking room

Power & Productivity

The lounge’s Wi-Fi network clocked a very good 51 Mbps down and 75 Mbps up, making it more than suitable for video calls and movie streaming. 

Power outlets
Power outlets

Power outlets are scattered throughout the lounge on table tops and beneath tables. These accept Type A, C and F plugs. Travellers from Singapore (Type G) will need an adapter. There were no USB charging ports nor wireless charging mats. 

Food & Beverage

The buffet area was located near the entrance to the lounge, with two main displays. 

CIP Orchid Lounge buffet area

The first table had the lounge’s coffee machine and tea selection, fruits, cereals, bowls of pre-plated instant noodles (just add hot water), boiled eggs, and porridge. 

Breakfast cereals
Instant noodles
Eggs

I thought it was hilarious that in an unknowing nod to Oliver Twist, they’d labelled the porridge as “gruel”. 

Please sir I want some more

The second buffet table was perpendicular to the first, with various hot items in food warmers.

CIP Orchid Lounge buffet area

This included fried chicken, breads, dim sum, fried noodles, stewed beef and pork, fried rice, bacon and sausages, as well as a warmer with plain steamed rice. 

Fried items
Bread and pastries
Dim sum
Corn and sweet potato
Beef fried noodles
Fried rice
Beef and pork
Sausage and bacon

Drinks like juice, milk (apparently it’s a thing to add sugar to milk in Vietnam, who knew!), and bottled water were in an open chiller, together with fruit, salad and cold cuts. 

Drinks chiller

Another fridge contained the usual assortment of soft drinks, as well as canned beer. 

Drinks chiller

I did not see any wine on offer nor spirits, but that could be because we visited the lounge in the late morning.

Showers & Toilets

Lounge toilet

The lounge has its own male and female restrooms, which were kept very clean throughout.

While the publicity materials talk about “shower suites”, the reality is rather disappointing. There is a single shower cubicle in each toilet, located within the toilet itself.

Shower “suite”

There’s no dry place inside the cubicle to place your clothes or towel while you shower, which means that unless you fancy getting everything wet, you’ll need to come out and change in the toilet itself. How’s that for fancy living?

Conclusion

For a contract facility, the CIP Orchid Lounge has all the basics covered- fast internet, a decent buffet selection, and seating for a variety of purposes. Key weaknesses include the presence of a smoking room (I suppose for some that’d be a strength!) and the lack of alcohol options.

The miserable shower would be a problem too, but for the fact that Da Nang doesn’t see a lot of connecting traffic. I can’t think of too many people who would need a shower, unless perhaps you’ve got a late night departure and head straight to the airport from town. 

What do you make of the CIP Orchid Lounge?

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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Bruno

They have wine on request, it’s just not visible in the fridge. You didn’t miss anything though.

May

Did you have to download and use the Pc-covid app when in Vietnam?

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