With a pay-to-use trial running until March 2019, Points Finder’s Amy Bradney-George set out to see what the Cathay Pacific Lounge in Melbourne has to offer.
Cathay Pacific’s Business Class Lounge at Melbourne Airport’s international terminal (T2) offers a glimpse into the airline’s past, with a more traditional design than its more recently opened or updated lounges around the world. This includes the newer lounges at Manila and Vancouver international airports, which are also part of the pay-to-use lounge trial that inspired our visit in Melbourne (more on that later).
As this particular visit was outside of normal operating hours, not everything could be tested out. But talking to staff and watching as they set up for the next shift gave a sense of what it would be like for travellers who come here before a flight.
What I liked
- Use of space. The lounge has a good mix of spaces, including plenty of lounge chairs and several work areas with opaque partitions to give you some privacy. I also spotted a lot of power points for devices.
Freshly made snacks. During my visit, the staff told me that they had recently moved to making almost all food in-house and were developing seasonal menus inspired by feedback from guests. In particular, a range of vegetarian dishes, as that is a common request. Although the staff did tell me they would continue serving up variations of their ever-popular dumplings.
The food I tasted was incredibly fresh and the mix of lunch dishes they were putting out during my visit was impressive considering the constraints of the lounge.
- Showers. As someone who loves to feel clean before getting on a plane, the showers here were a welcome feature. As the staff pointed out to me, they have both a waterfall showerhead and a handheld one so you can choose whichever one floats your boat.
What I didn’t like
- Ambience. Despite the best efforts of staff here, the lounge does feel somewhat dated. The colour scheme is bland and offers very little relief, which drags down the overall feel of the lounge.
- Well-worn decor. While the furniture is clean and in good condition, it does look tired, especially when you compare it to other Cathay Pacific lounges, such as The Wing in Hong Kong (which Points Finder reviewed as part of a business class flight). Unlike most other lounges I’ve visited, there wasn’t very much plant life either, just the festive poinsettia arrangements on the bar and at the front desk.
If you're travelling on a business or first class fare with Cathay Pacific or another airline that's part of the oneworld alliance, you could also check out the Qantas International Business Lounge for some more variety.
Points Finder Lounge Rating: ★★★★☆☆
THE POINTS FINDER TAKE
This lounge is older than some of the others at Melbourne Airport’s international terminal and unfortunately, it shows in small ways, such as the older furniture and pre-prepared refreshment options.
However, the staff I met were fantastic and so committed to continual improvement of the Cathay Pacific lounge experience in Melbourne. I would come back during operating hours just to see them in action. I'll also be keeping an eye out for more changes here in the coming months.
THE FINDER LOUNGE REVIEW PROMISE: Our lounge reviews are based on a visit to the actual lounge during normal operation. We offer an honest and open critique from one of our frequent flyer experts, and update with any relevant news as it comes to hand. Being in a lounge should always be more pleasant than just being stuck with waiting at the gate, but we won't shy away from highlighting issues. Learn more about how our scoring works.
Cathay Pacific Melbourne lounge details
Location: International terminal (T2), down the escalators near gate 9 (after security screening and premium shopping area).
Opening hours: Daily from 5:50am to 9:30am, 12:30pm to 4pm, 9:45pm to 12:45am (approximately 3 hours before scheduled Cathay Pacific flights).
Capacity: 65 guests.
Who can get in? Cathay Pacific first and business class passengers, as well as oneworld first and business class passengers (who also have the choice of the nearby Qantas Business Lounge). You can also get complimentary entry as a Silver, Gold or Diamond member of Cathay Pacific's Marco Polo Club, or if you have Sapphire or Emerald oneworld status. Cathay Pacific Cargo Clan Elite members also enjoy complimentary access.
Until 31 March 2019, this lounge is also part of a trial that allows you to pay for entry when you're travelling with Cathay Pacific, even if you have an economy class ticket. With this offer, you can pre-purchase lounge entry for HK$600, which converts to around AUD$104.
However, considering the Plaza Premium Melbourne lounge offers entry for $60 per person, per visit, this trial is most likely to suit people who are travelling with guests that already have entry to the Cathay Pacific lounge.
Disclosure: Amy Bradney-George visited the Cathay Pacific Lounge at Melbourne airport as a guest of Cathay Pacific.