Review scores are based out of a total 100 points. A 100 points score would represent the very best of anything in the world, for example the very best first class, or the very best premium economy.
Every airline – scratch that – some airlines, have things that they tend to do better than just about any other. For Cathay Pacific, that thing is “first class”, and that absolutely extends to their lounges. If the airport can offer a happy place, it would be difficult to think of a more enjoyable spot to kill some time at London Heathrow than the Cathay Pacific First Class Lounge in Terminal 3. Here’s a full review, and what you can expect inside.
How to get in: all Oneworld sapphire members flying on a Oneworld airline can access the Cathay business class lounge next door, but the Cathay First Class Lounge is reserved for Oneworld emerald members travelling on a Oneworld airline, or those booked in any Oneworld airline in first class. Here’s info on business hours and other features.
Everyone entering T3 must pass through duty free, but after you do, follow the signs and stay left towards the lounge signs. After passing through Prunier Caviar House and a sea of people, you’ll end up in the lane where all the lounges are, and presumably find yourself face to face with the Qantas lounge. When you do, turn left to find the Cathay Pacific lounge.
After going up the elevator, a lounge host will check your boarding pass, and if you’re eligible for Cathay First, you’ll be directed to make the first right into the first class area. When you do, you can’t help but feel at ease.
The lounge unfolds much like the beloved “Pier First” in Hong Kong, with soft tones, wood accents and beautiful statement piece plants. There’s a help yourself pantry, a quiet space for work, a full service a la carte dining room, and of course, the “throne” seats, which offer uninhibited tarmac views from the comfort of a reclining chair. Those seats, they go fast.
View this post on Instagram
So where does the lounge excel? Crowd control for one, quiet for another, and outstanding food to finish it off. The a la carte menu changes with frequency, while keeping a few staple dishes. The service is always professional and the Ilse Crawford spaces make it feel as if you’re tucked into a nice Soho restaurant, and not stuck killing time at an airport.
The Cathay First Lounge in T3 typically offers Laurent Perrier, a vintage option and often a Grand Cru Berry Bros champagne, in addition to a steady mix of red and white wines, a beer tap, canned beer and high end spirits.
If you want a cocktail, you can order one from a server, but bear in mind it will be brought over from the business class lounge, so if you favour that sort of drinking, you may want to relax over there. You can never go wrong with a mojito before a flight.
It’s not a big deal, but the one downside of Cathay’s First Class section is that there are no loos. If you want to use the restroom, you’ll need to exit the first class lounge, make a right, and then follow the appropriate signs. Not that it really makes a difference, but the bathrooms are exquisite and feature Aesop products.
Near the restrooms you’ll find the shower suites, where an attendant will put you on a list, if no suites are immediately available. These private shower suites are stunning, with plenty of space to rest your luggage, hang some clothes and stretch out. And crucially – the water pressure is very good.
Better yet, the Cathay Pacific First Lounge shower suites have all the amenities you may need, from shower kits to toothbrushes and even sewing kits at the ready! It’s not having to ask for these kind of details which really make it feel as if there’s real thought and purpose put into each element.
No one wants to scamper past the other suites wearing just a towel to ask for a toothbrush.
Thanks to these conveniences, I’ll often plot an extra 30 minutes to shower and change before a long haul flight, particularly one to Hong Kong. There’s nothing like feeling truly fresh and clean at the start of a flight, particularly knowing you never will 14 hours later! It’s the little luxuries, right?
It’s worth noting that Cathay doesn’t typically call boarding for most flights out of the T3 lounge, so do your best not to get caught up in the spoils of free pour, comfy chairs and shower suites; and miss your flight. Furthermore, some gates are a solid 15 minute walk away from the T3 lounge, with Cathay Pacific’s own gates also falling into that category, so do allow plenty of time. In other words, don’t leave the lounge during last call, or you may get called out..
This is a fantastic space which has been well thought out from start to finish. It’s not nearly as large or amenity filled as the Hong Kong options, but for an outpost there’s so much to love. These photos were taken during a night visit, but the lounge enjoys beautiful light during the day and the automatic blinds ensure you’re never blinded.
Basically, this isn’t Cathay Pacific’s nicest lounge, but it’s amongst the three best lounges at Heathrow and one of the two best in a terminal with very solid competition. It’s better than most lounges in the world, squarely in the company of Qantas and other top first class offerings, albeit without quite as good a culinary setup. Personally, i’m in two minds about the need to sit down in a restaurant to eat, which usually means giving up a better lounging space, versus having all food served in all areas, but it tends to work pretty well here. If you visit, you’ll be glad you did.