After spending time with family and friends in Hong Kong for the first time in years, I flew the return portion of my roundtrip ticket from London to Hong Kong. On the way out I got to sample Turkish Airlines’ business class on their A321neo and 777, and this time I flew Turkish Airlines’ 777 back from Hong Kong to Istanbul, and onward to London Heathrow on their A350.
Turkish Airlines uses the Plaza Premium Lounge at Hong Kong Airport. Typically I would have access to the Singapore Airlines SilverKris lounge and the United Club, but both lounges have been closed since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in Hong Kong. I was surprised to see that the Plaza Premium lounge structure had been completely revamped in Hong Kong Airport – the lounge was very different to when I reviewed it before.
The only thing that hadn’t changed was that the lounge was hugely overcrowded, and I’ve had issues with photographing Plaza Premium lounges before, so I’m sorry that this won’t have as many photos as the average review. Regardless, this review will cover the access requirements, seating options, food and beverage options, other facilities, as well as service at the Plaza Premium Lounge at Hong Kong Airport.
Plaza Premium Lounge Hong Kong Structure and Opening Hours
Pre-pandemic, Plaza Premium used to have two lounges at Hong Kong Airport (East and West), as well as a separate First Class section. All of these lounges operated as individual lounges, and typically you could choose between the East Lounge and the West Lounge (with separate entry requirements for the First lounge – notably, Virgin Atlantic, Qatar Airways, Air Astana and Finnair business class passengers could access it).
This has changed post-pandemic, especially since SkyTeam and Star Alliance no longer have open lounges in Hong Kong (forcing airlines to use Plaza Premium lounges). Instead:
- All China-bound passengers are asked to use the Plaza Premium lounge in the Green (“sterile”/mainland China-bound) zone, near Gate 1 (this was the East lounge)
- All other passengers (i.e. people in the Orange/non-Mainland China zone) visiting the lounge between 12 PM and 11:30 PM are asked to visit the lounge by Gate 60 (this was the West lounge, and is the lounge I’m currently reviewing)
- Passengers visiting between 11 PM and 8 AM are directed to the lounge by Gate 35 (which I don’t think I’ve ever been to before, and looks relatively new), also in the Orange Zone
- I’m guessing no airlines use the Plaza Premium lounge between 8 AM and 12 PM?
Plaza Premium Overnight Lounge Hong Kong Airport (not the lounge reviewed in this installment)
You’d think that they’d open both lounges up at all times to minimise crowding since more airlines than ever are using these lounges, but I guess they had staffing issues (which is fair enough, given the travel situation in Hong Kong in 2022)…
Since my Turkish Airlines flight was departing at 11 PM, I visited the lounge near Gate 60, which I’ll be reviewing in this post.
Plaza Premium Lounge Hong Kong Access
Many business class passengers are allowing access to the Plaza Premium lounge(s) in Hong Kong at the moment, or you can reserve a place at the lounge for HK$544 (£61.3/US$69.5) for two hours, which is worth it if you’ll have at least 10 drinks at the bar, or if you finish all the food at the entire buffet – that’s my eloquent way of saying that it’s not worth it.
Apart from lounge access granted by the airline you’re flying, you’ll also need a LeaveHomeSafe QR code, in line with Hong Kong law (since the lounge is a food and beverage premise). If you’re connecting, just download the LeaveHomeSafe app, enter your vaccination details, and you’re good to go. If you’re unvaccinated, unfortunately you won’t be able to enter lounges at Hong Kong Airport, due to local government law.
The Plaza Premium lounge at Hong Kong Airport is not a Priority Pass lounge.
My Experience Using The Plaza Premium Lounge Hong Kong
After checking in for my Turkish Airlines flight and receiving a lounge pass for the Plaza Premium lounge, I headed past security, which wasn’t particularly hectic given the time of the year (it was end September and I was expecting an exodus of university students especially prior to Cathay Pacific’s nighttime direct London departures, though that wasn’t the case).
As noted above, the Plaza Premium lounge open at the time was located near gate 60 (this involved crossing into the “Orange zone” for non-Mainland China bound flights, where I wouldn’t have been able to cross back into the Green zone); I decided to leisurely walk to the lounge and check out some of Hong Kong Airport’s newest developments, despite the fact that the train between gates would’ve fed me out right about where gate 60 was.
Sterile gate area, Hong Kong Airport
Plaza Premium Lounge Hong Kong Location
Signage to the lounge was crystal clear around the airport, and I found the escalator upstairs to the lounge right by gate 60. Once I reached the top of the escalator, the entrance to the lounge was clearly visible.
I forgot to take a picture of the entrance, though I was promptly admitted in, after showing my boarding pass, lounge invitation, and my LeaveHomeSafe QR code. I was surprised to see that the lounge was different from how I remembered it a few years back, since I hadn’t heard that it’d been renovated (to be fair, I’m not sure why this was a surprise, given Plaza Premium refurbishes their lounges fairly often).
Plaza Premium Lounge Hong Kong Seating and Atmosphere
As aforementioned, the Plaza Premium lounge was fairly crowded. If you’re purely looking for a place to sit, I’d consider the terminal.
I walked into a triangular room featuring armchairs and bench seating. If anything, I was happy that the tables were a good height.
Plaza Premium Lounge Hong Kong Seating
As you can see from this wide angle photo, the lounge, albeit nicely decorated, is very crowded, and you may struggle to even find an empty seat. If you’re travelling in a group, you’d be hard pressed to find a few seats together, unless another group leaves (to catch a flight).
While many lounges have “waves” of busyness, I’m fairly confident that this lounge is busy basically round the clock, since it’s the only lounge open for passengers not flying a Oneworld airline.
Plaza Premium Lounge Hong Kong Inside Seating Area
There was also a balcony area facing the terminal, featuring a variety of different seating. I did notice that universal power ports were quite frequently dotted around the lounge.
Plaza Premium Lounge Hong Kong Balcony Seating
I sat down at a rather peculiar shaped shared table by one of the corners of the lounge.
Plaza Premium Lounge Hong Kong Table
Most notably, there wasn’t a separate area for airline invited guests anymore (since presumably many more airlines invite their guests here, and this isn’t a Priority Pass lounge anymore), which used to be the case at this lounge in the past.
While there’s quite a variety of seating, it’s such a deal breaker that Plaza Premium only opens one lounge for all international non-Mainland China flights at a time. If the crowding issue at this lounge was mitigated, I’d actually be quite happy with the variety of seating, as well as the nice decor.
Plaza Premium Lounge Hong Kong Dining Options
While the lounge isn’t a particularly pleasant place to sit, the food and drink options are excellent, in my opinion.
Food wise I could only choose between two of three (to prevent my stomach from exploding): my parents’ last homecooked meal before the next time I was back, lounge food, and airplane food. I decided to nix the opportunity to eat in the lounge, though there were noodle dishes made to order at this lounge. I also appreciated that the buffet was small, so they could focus on quality – the food did indeed look rather nice.
Plaza Premium Lounge Hong Kong Food Spread and Made-To-Order Counter
Drinks wise there was a bar pouring free soft drinks and alcohol of all sorts, so I availed myself to a whiskey tonic, where the lounge attendant gladly obliged. I really liked the cocktail glass it was served in.
Plaza Premium Lounge Hong Kong Beverage
Plaza Premium Lounge Hong Kong Facilities
I believe you have to pay to use the showers at this lounge (consistent with Plaza Premium lounges), though I didn’t ask. WiFi was free, though I was connected to WiFi in the terminal, which was also free (and fast, too).
There isn’t much else in the way of amenities at this lounge.
Plaza Premium Lounge Hong Kong Service
While there’s no organised service at the Plaza Premium lounge, I was impressed by how consistently the lounge staff would come to clear empty plates and drinks. In addition, all of the lounge staff that I encountered at this lounge were quite friendly.
Conclusion: Plaza Premium Lounge Hong Kong
The Plaza Premium Lounge at Hong Kong Airport is nothing special, though I appreciated the food, beverage, and other amenities at this lounge. With cooked-to-order food and a well-stocked bar, I’d rather spend time here than in the terminal if I were hungry, which is more than I can say about other Plaza Premium lounges across the world. Ultimately this isn’t a place to come to the airport early for or to go out of your way to visit, and given the crowding situation I’d still choose to sit in the terminal over the lounge if I weren’t eating (especially with Hong Kong Airport’s new upgrades), though I don’t expect too much of a contract lounge – especially with the other difficulties within Hong Kong’s travel industry at the moment.
I did actually think that this was an upgrade over the Plaza Premium lounge that used to take up this space in the past, though not significantly. I thought the airline-invitation only area in the previous lounge only made crowding worse in the “general” area, especially since the roped-off area wasn’t clearly signed.
I apologise for this fairly brief review, since I wasn’t intending on reviewing this lounge – my reviews of my flights on the Turkish Airlines 777 and A350, as well as Turkish Airlines’ lounge in Istanbul, will be more extensive.
Have you been to any of Plaza Premium’s refurbished lounges at Hong Kong Airport?