More Like a Fancy Restaurant: A Review of the Cathay Pacific Lounge at Heathrow’s Terminal 3

May 25, 2019

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To The Point

This lounge represents an almost flawless take on a classic luxurious lounge experience. Pros: Everything. Cons: Nothing.

I had huge expectations when I learned I was to review the Cathay Pacific Lounge at Heathrow’s Terminal 3. Both friends and colleagues had all told me how amazing it was, and I couldn’t wait to try it out for myself.

Cathay Pacific operate several nonstop flights per day between the airline’s hub, Hong Kong (HKG), and London (LHR), with the majority of those serving Heathrow. The airline is renowned for having a great hard product with excellent service, and its lounge experience is included in that. Heathrow’s Terminal 3 is the airport’s main Oneworld hub, so it has a selection of great lounges by some of the world’s biggest airlines.

So how did Cathay’s lounge fare against tough competition?

In This Post

Access

The absolute minimum you need to gain access into the Cathay Pacific business-class lounge is Oneworld Sapphire elite status (British Airways Silver status), but you can then enter even when flying in economy on any of the Oneworld alliance airlines. It goes without saying that as a passenger flying in business or first class with Cathay or any of the Oneworld member airlines, you also get access.

It was open from 5:30am to the last departure Monday through Saturday and 7:30am to last departure on Sunday.

Location

Terminal 3 is probably the most well-organised at Heathrow in terms of its lounges. At the entrance to the main departure hall, there is a huge screen directing you to each of the lounges, which are spread out almost in a line one after the other. The lounge is in Zone C in the direction of gates 1 through 11.

The Space

What struck me right away at reception was the classic yet contemporary design. The dark woods and the soft lighting worked really well together throughout the lounge — you could tell there was some effort involved, and it very much felt like a high-end product.

I loved that the first main area of the lounge was a dining area complete with open kitchen, giving you a view of the chefs cooking up the à la carte food from scratch.

Next up was the food buffet, which also served as a more informal dining room, perfect for big groups. The space was clean and tidy and felt more like a cosy dining room than an airport lounge.

The main seating area was centred around a main bar. There was an abundance of seating for every eventuality, from squidgy leather sofas to more formal armchairs and all the way back to comfy reading chairs with ottomans. The dark woods and the mixture of grey, black and brown leather seating really worked well together. It was clear there was a lot of time spent on the layout and décor of this lounge, as it was so warm and inviting.

The luxury design and cosy feel of the lounge continued into the bar, with great, soft furnishing complementing the hard, dark wood of the bar.

Right at the back of the lounge was a small room with a large leather couch and a telephone, perfect for making a private phone call. Failing that, the couch would probably double up as a decent place to have a quick nap.

There was also an area with booth-style arm chairs with a reading lamp and side table facing right out onto the apron and then the runway in the distance.

My favourite spot was the comfy armchair where I could put my feet up and get some work done at the same time.

Amenities

The washroom and showers were absolutely spotless, complete with Aesop amenities — some of the nicest I’ve seen in an airport lounge.

The men’s washroom wasn’t made up of individual private rooms like is the case in many airline lounges. Instead, it felt like a fancy hotel washroom — much nicer than your average airport facilities.

Of all the lounges I have visited, I think this was maybe the first one that passed the TPG shower test with flying colours: I was on my tiptoes and still couldn’t reach the shower head!

Given that Cathay Pacific has everything pretty much spot on, I was surprised that the Wi-Fi wasn’t great. It worked well enough for me to send emails, but uploading photos would have taken ages (download was 4.76 Mbps and upload 3.19 Mbps).

Food and Beverage

If you are a foodie, then this is definitely the lounge for you. The à la carte menu items were made to order, and they gave you a buzzer to alert you when it was ready. You could order as much as you liked, and I can guarantee you’ll be back for more! The portions were pretty small, but they tasted amazing, so I would advise ordering one of everything to start with, especially if you’re traveling with someone.

The food came in the these cute little bamboo baskets, and the staff member who served me was polite and courteous. 

The hot buffet options looked and smelled great, but I didn’t even try anything, as the à la carte menu was just too good.

There was a decent little selection of desserts and cheese.

And a fully loaded fridge with more desserts and chilled cheese and cold meats. Safe to say, all culinary bases were covered here.

The selection of drinks was equally if not more impressive. There were fridges full of soft drinks and self-serve lager on tap — I love that in lounges.

The piece de résistance for me, though, was the bar — complete with a barman and his cocktail-making kit. You could choose from classics such as espresso martinis, Negronis and mojitos. If you wanted to take things down a notch or two, there was a good selection of spirits and wines.

I had an espresso martini (of course) with a side of dim sum and vegetable dumplings while watching the planes taking off — what more could you ask for in an airport lounge?

It was all simply delicious.

Overall Impression

I absolutely loved my first time in the Cathay Pacific Lounge and told pretty much everyone I know that if they’re flying out of Terminal 3 that they must come and visit this lounge. Everything from the design and cleanliness to the food and drink and even the runway views really, really impressed me. I’m not even sure there’s anything I could try to complain about. Nope. Nothing.

If I had to say something, the Wi-Fi isn’t great, but are you really going to be working when there are free-flowing cocktails? Probably not. Just be careful not to have too much fun in the lounge and miss your flight. Stay tuned to see how this lounge fares when I pit each of the Terminal 3 lounges against other to see which is best!

All photos by the author.

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