Airport Lounge Review, Plaza Premium Lounge at Hong Kong International

Plaza Premium Lounges are paid-in lounges for airline passengers that don’t have access to their airline’s Business or First Class lounge. There are several of them at Hong Kong International Airport. Here’s a quick look at what they offer, how much they charge, and if they are worth the price. 

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Plaza Premium Lounges at Hong Kong International Airport offers complimentary food. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

On a recent trip from Hong Kong to Bangkok, I arrived at Hong Kong International Airport early for two reasons: I didn’t want to rush and I wanted to take advantage of my complimentary access to one of the airport’s Plaza Premium Lounges.

Free access to the lounges is one of the perks that my credit card offers. As long as I charge a minimum amount within a given period, I gain complimentary access. But the rules keep changing.

Originally free access was unlimited. Then it was four times a year. Now I’m not sure exactly how it works, but I don’t travel often enough for it to be a problem.

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When I arrived at the lounge near gate one of Hong Kong International Airport, there was a long, slow-moving line. I must admit, I was starting to get impatient.hong-kong-bangkok-flight-6-july-2017-2 (8)

Just when I was approaching the front of the line, someone in a uniform approached me and a couple of other passengers and informed us that there was another Plaza Premium Lunge just a few steps away.

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When I reached the other lounge, I was surprised to see that there was no line.

I’m assuming that it was newly opened and was installed to relieve crowding at the original lounge, which I have used on countless occasions.

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The ambience of the new lounge and TOTALLY different from the ambience at the old lounge.

The new lounge was brightly lit, whereas the old one had very subdued lighting.

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The new lounge seemed conducive to working (note the outlets on the tables) whereas the old lounge seemed more conducive to relaxing – maybe even catching a few winks.

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Finding an empty seat, I put my stuff down and went back to the food counters to make myself a snack and get something to drink.

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Several hot dishes were laid off on a buffet table.

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There was a noodle station.

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If there was a salad bar, I don’t recall seeing the kind of bar that serves cocktails.

At the original outlet at gate one, there was a full-service bar, where I could order a glass of wine.

The wine wasn’t complimentary, but the price was much lower than at the airport’s conventional food and beverage outlets.

There are currently five lounges at Hong Kong International Airport and another one is coming.

Hong Kong Airport Lounge Overview

All but one of the Plaza Premium Lounges at Hong Kong International Airport are designed for departing passengers and are located on the departure level.

One of the lounges is designed for arriving passengers. It is located on the arrivals level.

Lounges offer seating, buffet style food and snacks, recharging stations, high-speed Wi-Fi, VIP rooms, Internet workstations, shower rooms, and baggage handling.

Keep reading for a quick guide to the Plaza Premium Lounges at Hong Kong International Airport.

  • Plaza Premium Lounge (near gate 1) on the departure level – suitable for passengers whose flights are departing from gates one through 29. It is located close to customs.
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (near gate 40) on the departure level of Terminal One – suitable for passengers whose flights are departing from gate 30 or above.
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (near gate 60) on the departure level of Terminal One – offers a full range of spa services with an emphasis on targeting travel fatigue and common airplane ailments.
  • Wellness on the departure level of Terminal Two – offers seated massage, foot massage, manicures, and pedicures (express service available), blow-dry, haircuts and a series of salon services. An advanced telephone booking of six hours is recommended. Otherwise, go directly to the lounge as a walk-in guest.
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (in arrivals) on the arrivals level of Terminal Two – designed to accommodate arriving passengers who either need a place to freshen up before heading into town or passengers arriving in the wee hours needing a place to rest until check-in time at their hotel.
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (near gate 35) on the departure level of the departures/transit area of Terminal One – COMING SOON.

Pricing

I have complimentary access to Plaza Premium Lounges at Hong Kong International Airport thanks to my Citibank Platinum VISA credit card.

Free access includes food, beer, and soft drinks. It does not include wine or spirits, but prices are generally much lower than at conventional food and beverage outlets at the airport.

Paying customers are charged HK$580 for two hours, HK$780 for five hours, and HK$900 for 10 hours.

It costs HK$200 to take a shower. A shower and breakfast package with a maximum stay of one hour is available for HK$270.

Other Services 

Plaza Premium also offers a meet-and-greet service, taking passengers to and from the gate, handling baggage, arranging limousine transfers, and buggy services. There is also a  concierge service to deal with special requests.

Plaza Premium Lounges 101

The first Plaza Premium Lounges were launched at Hong Kong International Airport and Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malasyia in 1998.

They were the first independently operated airport lounges, open to passengers of any airline flying any class on a paid-in basis.

There are now more than 150 lounges in 36 airports around the world.

There will soon be six lounges at Hong Kong International Airport, including four lounges in Terminal One and two lounges in Terminal Two.

There are also lounges at three airports in Australia, one airport in Brazil, two airports in Cambodia, four airports in Canada, four airports in China, Macau International Airport, three airports in India, one airport in Italy, four airports in Malaysia, Velana International Airport in the Maldives, two airports in  Oman, Mactan Cebu International Airport in the Philippines, two airports in Saudi Arabia, Singapore Changi Airport, Taipei Taoyuan International Airport, Abu Dhabi International Airport in the United Arab Emirates, and London Heathrow Airport in the United Kingdom.

The Verdict

Because I have complimentary access to Plaza Premium Lounges at Hong Kong International Airport, I often arrive at the airport early so I can chill in one of the lounges before heading to the gate.

I definitely prefer hanging out in the lounge to wandering around the airport or sitting at the gate. It also gives me a comfortable spot to check my emails, surf the net, and do last-minute updates on my blog.

The question is, would I  splash out on a two-, four-, or 10-hour lounge package if I didn’t qualify for complimentary access?

Considering the cost, probably not. For the price of entry, I could have a pretty decent meal with a glass of wine at one of the airport’s many food and beverage outlets – or maybe even have a massage!

The best deal seems to be the shower and breakfast package, which would make sense for someone transiting the airport between flights.

I can also see the advantage of taking a shower upon arrival following a lengthy flight – or having a place to stay for a few hours following an early morning arrival.

When I transited through London on my way to Portugal a few years ago, I had booked a room near the airport for one night, but my flight arrived before dawn and I had to wander the streets for a few hours before I could check into my hotel.

It would have been a godsend if I could have spent that time at a paid-in lounge at the airport.

I guess it really depends on whether you are a departing passenger originating in Hong Kong or a connecting passenger transiting in Hong Kong – and how much time you have to waste.

I enjoy having my complimentary access to the paid-in lounges, and I have used them often.

But I don’t think I’d be willing to pay to use them – at least not for the price they are charging.

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