HKG: Hong Kong Qantas Qantasclub
Australia and UK flight depart late at night, and so everything in the new Qantas Hong Kong Lounge is designed around getting you ready for as much sleep on the plane as you can get. Seating 300 passengers it's quite big, but at the crucial 'pinch point' around 7pm it can get very busy indeed.
However, there is no doubt that the new international lounge concept looks amazing when it is first up and running, and indeed it's almost a perk that this is a joint business and first class, replacing the previous two lounges, plus the two BA lounges. Indeed, this lounge is on the site of the old Qantas First lounge, which in turn was on the site of the British Airways two lounges. It is sad indeed to see them go.
Once past security and then passport control, the Qantas and British Airways Hong Kong lounge is a sharp right and along the balcony: this is level 7, and it is one of two main entrances into the lounge - right at the far end, next to the Cathay lounge, is another entrance, next to near Gate 16.
Reception is just a couple of small round stone tables, where the staff come out and greet you - and take your mind off the geometry of the Chinese floor tiles, which are eye-popping to say this least, rather like a wartime Dazzle design. Directly behind and on the opposite side of this wall is a feature wall which follows the same design cues, with geometric tiles.
From the entrance desk you can see the whole Qantas Hong Kong lounge spread out in front of you, in a long 'shelf' like balcony configuration. Mostly the seats are for travellers on their own or for a few couples, but the banquette works well for large groups, and there is a family zone at the end. The lounge was designed by Felice Carlino from Sumu Design, who noted that in an airport lounge most people like to sit on what are called 'park benches', and so he put plenty of these in the lounge, in the form of sofas with back cushions that are angled to mirror the relaxing recline of a real park bench.
The Qantas and British Airways Hong Kong lounge is done up with new Qantas style seating, and there are half a dozen different zones embracing different moods: indeed it's almost been planned that you walk in, get a drink at the bar, with a brief stop on the stools, then walk over to the food area for a bite, before slumping in a chair on the balcony to look at the view before your flight. It is very well designed, with a subtle style that is heavily influenced by the lounge's location in Hong Kong.
As you walk in there is that famous feature wall, and a small comfy area if you want to slump down: mind you the main stand out feature here is the bar, and the Spice Temple BBQ, which is what sticks first in most passengers mind. It looks very impressive whether running in the pre-8pm Qantas mode as an a'la Melbourne esq noodle stall, or post-8pm in a British Airways G&T bar mode.
Behind the bar are plenty of fairly rigid upright chairs & dining tables, in a long strip behind the bar, which features stunning panoramic photographs of the Hong Kong skyline, on a balcony overlooking the gates.
Inside of this area opposite the bar is the quiet area, in an enclosed area with several banquettes and chairs: this is the coolest area in the lounge: most of the Hong Kong Qantas Club is cooled by the airport aircon, which is set rather high, but in here it is much cooler, rather like the Thai Airways 'cool room' at the other end of the airport.
Qantas Hong Kong lounge reviews always mention the famous 'park benches'. Carrying on from the bar, right ahead of you is the first of the famous 'park benches' from lounge designer Felice Carlino, with padded seating backed onto planters, which add a natural element to soften the lounge.
Further along there are round windows that seem as if they look onto a restaurant: in fact they are mirrors reflection the round stone tables in the lounge, but it is an impressive illusion. This restaurant area, with long stone tables, surrounded by 2+2 seating, and a solitary large round communal dining table, for the 'plate of the day' (Qantas flights only).
'Inland' from here is the main - indeed the only - self-serve buffet.
Carry on from here there are two high work tables with bar stools - with power sockets running up the middle - and another 'park bench'. On the right are squashy armchairs near a telly, usually on the Australian Network.
Qantas Hong Kong lounge reviews often talk about the snack bar - well here it is. There is a service desk on the right (Qantas flights only - they can't deal with BA flights) and on the left a self-service bar area, with soft drinks, wine and beer. There are a few nibbles left here too.
On the other side of the snack bar is another 'park bench' set into the wall, on which is a mural of large neon signs which hang overhead in Hong Kong everywhere.
Finally, at the far end of the Hong Kong Qantasclub is the Family Zone, although there is little here other than a child's table and a few toys.
The other option is open both before and after 8pm, and it's a standard buffet, but a pretty good one. The Qantas Hong Kong lounge has a large buffet area on the right half way along the lounge. There are two large tourines with rice and curry plus two hot dumb waiters.
Under the hot counters are slices of pizza (grab them when they are put out or they go a bit manky) plus a large salad bar.
BarThe Bar in the Qantas and British Airways Hong Kong lounge also operates in two modes.
There is also a self-service bar at the other end of the Qantas Hong Kong lounge. All the booze is pour-it-yourself, with wine in a square hole on the counter top, with two whites, two reds, and a Sparkling Aussie wine.
There is a similar hole in the worktop for the 10 bottles of spirits, including Jim Beam, Southern Comfort, Chivas, Bacardi, Campari, Baileys and Tia Maria. Next to this is the beer fridge. In the Hong Kong Qantas Club there are cans of Guinness, plus bottles of Tsingtao, and Heineken. Further along are jugs of juice.
You can get a towel, toothbrush and razor at the desk, but all other amenities are down to an industrial sized tub of Molten Brown shower gel and conditioner in each shower.
Business FacilitiesThere are a few computers in the Qantas Hong Kong lounge: alas, these are macs and aren't the best, but they do get through to the internet (look for the Safari icon at the bottom of the screen).
A few of them have a private printer, but for most you have to use the large photocopier which also doubles up as a fax.
There is free wifi in the Hong Kong Qantas Club, along with a few network ports sprinkled throughout the lounge. Power ports are however easy to find - just check out of the bottom of each table.
Newspapers are pretty good in the Qantas Hong Kong lounge, with a few English papers (The Times, Mail and Telegraph) and a full selection of Chinese and Australian ones). Magazines are a bit spartan, however if you go to the newspaper rack at the rear of the lounge there is often a better selection here.
AccessThe Qantas Hong Kong lounge Hours are 3pm to Midnight, and the lounge operates in two distinct sections. Before 8pm is Qantas Time, when Neil Perry's famous Spice Temple BBQ Bar is open. After 8pm - and with a bit of a lull at this time - is British Airways Time, when the bar becomes just that - a bar, and there are fewer eating options, and the lounge becomes a whole lot more alcoholic.
The new Qantas Hong Kong lounge is a very different beast from the old Hong Kong lounge.