Lounge Access has been a very important feature for my travel life. The lounge has come handy many times, especially when flying economy on long-haul flights with stopovers. Last month, I was flying on a business trip to Tokyo and had four hours stopover in Hong Kong. This is when I got the opportunity to try out the new Plaza Premium First Lounge that had opened up in Hong Kong recently.
Plaza Premium is one of the largest lounge operators in the world and the Plaza Premium First is a brand extension which debuted in Kuala Lumpur last year. The second lounge opened in Hong Kong this year in August and now Hong Kong Terminal 1 has two Plaza Premium-operated lounges. The Plaza Premium Lounge Hong Kong Terminal 1 West Hall has accessibility via credit cards, Priority Pass, Dragon Pass, Lounge Buddy, and is used by many airlines including Jet Airways and the Plaza Premium First Lounge that is currently a paid lounge.
When I arrived at the West Hall lounge, my usual one, there was as a relatively long queue at 10 am, and I was tired from my late night flight from Mumbai. I joined the queue without thought, however, once I arrived at the reception after 10 mins, I took a peek inside the lounge, and it was crowded like a train station. There was a queue at the food counters, and I could not spot any open seating space.
I had a reasonably long layover, and I was in no mood to scramble for space. So I headed over to the Plaza Premium First Lounge which is located next door. Plaza Premium First Hong Kong is a fairly new lounge that opened its doors earlier in August 2018.
This lounge only has paid access at the moment or is used by some airlines such as Virgin Atlantic for their guests. While the regular charges to use the lounge is HKD 880/$90 for 3 hours, the hostess told me that as a launch offer, for Priority Pass members it was reduced to an additional 200 HK Dollars copay over whatever money they would receive from Priority Pass. Paying 1900 Indian Rupees for a larger, uncrowded space for 4 hours made sense to me. Additionally, the lounge also offers a complimentary massage and shower, something I could do with since I had another 5 hour-long flight to go.
I pulled out my Priority Pass and swiped my credit card, immediately booked my massage and shower slot and then headed up to the lounge area.
The hostess duly handed me time buzzers that would go in once the therapist was ready. Along with that, she gave me welcome gifts, a flask if I wanted to fill up a hot beverage and sip on my next flight, a gift voucher to enjoy some hand-sliced Iberico ham and a 50 HKD duty-free voucher.
The lobby opened into a bar which was quite spectacular looking. Half of the circular bar had alcoholic beverages, and the other half had speciality teas with a selection of petite desserts.
The hostess gave me a quick lounge tour and stowed my handbag. The lounge is divided into three areas. There is a central lounge seating with high back chairs and sofas. Next, to that, a private seating area with lounge chairs and table and chair seating and the third was a large dining area.
The bar was stocked with an array of whiskey and scotch. There were bottles of Japanese whiskeys, Amrut (the famous Indian whiskey), and a wide selection of scotch, Dalmore, Yamazaki, Laphroaig, Kavalan, all the Glens, Macallan.
I could count over thirty different varieties. Apart from whiskey, there was beer and bourbon. The bartender was a chirpy fellow who promptly offered to whip up a cocktail for me.
There is a limited selection of alcohol that is complimentary for guests. I chose to nurse a glass of Glenfiddich after lunch with some Iberico Ham.
The other side of the bar had a Lavazza machine, right next to it a selection of speciality teas and desserts laid out.
By the time I was done exploring the bar it was time for my back massage. The massage room could accommodate two people at a time. My therapist was excellent and the fifteen minutes of back and neck massage was so worth it.
After my massage, I headed up for a shower. The shower rooms were equipped with Elemis bath amenities. My only tip will be to carry the pair of changes separately. Space inside the shower rooms is limited and not sufficient to open a handbag inside. However, I did manage to squeeze in my bag.
It was noon by the time I finished my shower, and I was hungry. I headed up to the dining section of the lounge which was set up in a casual restaurant style and called Primo.
The lounge had a buffet laid out with greens, salads and fruits. There were two pots, one simmering with fish ball soup and another one with minestrone. There were also some Mexican options, and guests could request the chef to make them enchiladas or a taco bowl.
Apart from this, I could also order one hot entree off the menu. The menu had full breakfast options and mains to choose from.
I started off with some coffee then tried linguine with the spicy chorizo. The pork sauce was delicious.
Post lunch, I caught a cosy corner and caught up on some work. I spent three hours in the lounge and at no point in time did the lounge become crowded. There was ample space in the seating, bar and the dining area any time I strolled around.
It was relatively easy for me to spend 3 hours in this lounge. This is the first time I paid for lounge access in many years, and I was quite happy with my lounge visit. On the return segment, I visited the Premium Plaza Hong Kong West Hall lounge, and when I compared both, this lounge is elegant, far more spacious and has a wider range of food and beverages options available.