Tagsairport, airport lounges, Hong Kong, Jenny Lo, travel trends
Can your holiday experience start at the airport? Hard to imagine, right? A place associated with body scanners, long waits and nutrition-free food, is fast becoming a destination for luxury shopping, modern dining, and relaxation.
Take Hong Kong. Two airport lounges opened this month, both designed to enhance the airport experience. Cathay Pacific‘s new The Bridge boasts a residential-style interior designed to make passengers feel relaxed and “at home.” That is, if you’re a member. And to those who aren’t or have been reduced to tears when they’ve lost their lounge privileges (‘fess up!), fret no more.
Plaza Premium Lounge (PPL) just opened a swanky new facility in the West Hall that flies at the face of privilege. The pay-in lounge (read: open to EVERYONE) includes all the requisite features today’s traveller expects in a lounge (ie. free Wi-fi) but with loads of added extras: a food court serving local cha chaan teng favourites and gourmet fare like slow-cooked meats; a business centre with private workstations; and little details that mean a lot, from bathrooms stocked with organic aromatherapy products to self-serving wine dispensers showcasing wines from around the world. It’s those thoughtful extras that turn a potentially stressful experience into a wholly satisfying one.
Realising the amount of time we spend in airports today held literally captive, brands have a whole strategy for ‘travel retail’. (I’d venture to say we have more luxury brands in one hall at the Hong Kong airport than your average “Main Street, USA”. ) Celebrity chefs are catching on, too, with the likes of Wofgang Puck and Suzanne Goin opening eateries in US airports. Nothing is spared to give road warriors a modicum of comfort and convenience – whether it’s spas, dry cleaners, hair salons, tailoring services, and more.
What’s next? Think personal shopping services, wine concierges, medical check-ups, dental cleaning, a fitness centre for quick work-outs…the sky’s the limit!
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