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Qantas Not Lounging Around With New Hospitality Lounges

April 22, 2014 Airport, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Lounge is most probably an accurate description of the airline elite’s haven prior to a flight. These days the frequent flyer can sometimes act more a frequent freeloader.

Flyers who chalk up millions of air-miles maybe forgiven for wondering which airline lounge is hosting them. That is certainly not the case with the two new Qantas lounges in Singapore and Hong Kong.Untitled

These lounges appear to be designed as clones of each other but don’t despair that is good news.

Hong Kong is known for many things which we won’t go into here but one of them is the huge success The Hong Kong Rugby Sevens has had over more than 30 years. For the non-sports minded this contest pits seven rugby men against seven opponents playing for just seven minutes each way. This late March sporting extravaganza injects millions of dollars into the Hong Kong economy as Honkers becomes party central for a long weekend.

Don’t know how many teams play but they run on interminably during the course of the day and early evening and slowly build up to a crescendo for the finals on Sunday.  Attendees wear weird and unrecognisable outfits which sometimes makes one lose concentration on the game.  Waitresses weave through the rows of seats serving the obligatory jugs of Carlsberg, Bloody Mary, Gin and Tonic plus Rum and Coke, mostly by the two litre jug because the plastic glasses don’t last long enough. Eating at Hong Kong Stadium, well there’s the lamb pie, Mr Kentucky, pastries and other fare probably not quite as appealing as the G and T and Bloody Mary. Hong Kong does have many appealing places to eat, top of mind is Wagyu, 60 Wyndham Street, very elegant and the steaks are sensational. An Aussie owns this restaurant plus a number of others in South East Asia.  American Peking at 20 Lockhart Rd not as good as last time but very popular. Lamma Island boasts some of the great seafood restaurants and is only a 35 minute ferry ride from Central Hong Kong.  Make sure you book at all these restaurants if you can during 7’s weekend. I stayed at Mingle by the Park Hotel at 145 Wan Chai Rd, Wan Chai. There are two accommodation blocks ask for the “star” side, bigger and more modern, very obliging staff and competitive rates – but back to the lounge cloning.

I am heading home from the Sevens having had an extra coupla days to do some shopping in Shenzhen and get over the party Untitledatmosphere and dry out a bit. I finally find the new lounge on level seven at HKG airport and it is certainly based on the successful Singapore operation.  It is to be launched the next day (2nd April) I missed the launch, firstly as I flew out the night before, secondly I didn’t have an invitation.

Whilst architecturally similar to Singapore, this lounge has a shared roof space so the introduction of cooking stations which are a highlight of the Singapore operation is not possible according to the General Manager of both the lounges, Hun-Li Wan

Like the Singapore lounge this operation is a combination of Qantas, Sofitel and Neil Perry’s Rockpool food philosophy.

Qantas International CEO, Simon Hickey, said “the new multi-million dollar lounge delivers on Qantas’ ongoing commitment to creating the best travel experiences for its customers. The Hong Kong Lounge is stylish and contemporary, designed to reflect the colour, vibrancy and luxury of Hong Kong. It’s the perfect environment for our customers to relax and work before their flight. All of our flights from Hong Kong to Australia are overnight, so we know customers will enjoy being able to dine in the lounge before they fly so they can maximise their sleep onboard.”

Service and ambience are at a high with relaxing mood background music. Plane spotters have an opportunity for a front seat to witness the gate activity.  If you are interested in the food it’s like a small smorgasbord if there is such a thing.

Customers can enjoy a range of dining experiences from the Spice Temple BBQ Bar to yum cha trolleys, an extensive buffet or the locally influenced plate of the day. Spice Temple inspired cocktails will be prepared alongside a world-class wine selection and barista service, to be enjoyed at the bar area with panoramic views across the airport overlooking Qantas gates.

The fermented and spirituous liquors are available in many varieties with enough diversity to suit everyone including the most fastidious.

All up a great experience, even if I am not going to or via HKG I might go anyway to spend an hour or so in the lounge but make sure you have a QF ongoing boarding pass.

Many long – time frequent flyers believe that the lounge rules have fallen off somewhat and would like the management to enforce more propriety in all lounges; Don’t take your shoes off and put bare feet on the table. Don’t fill your plate to an un-eatable amount. Don’t pour yourself multiple drinks and leave some when your flight is called. Bring back some semblance of dress class, ban stubbies and thongs. This irksome behaviour unfortunately still exists even in these new lounges.

If you love (or even like) Rugby, a bizarre atmosphere, eating and imbibing, get on the Cathay Pacific sponsored Hong Kong 7’s extravaganza for 2015.

Written by : John Savage

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