I’ll admit it: I’ve been that girl asleep on the ground in the dusty airport corner, using a toque as an eye mask, a water bottle for a pillow. To know me then would have been to run away from me.
Those were also the days when I was sleeping in two-dollar-a-night hostels, with cockroaches for bed mates and rats as neighbours. This was liberating in my early 20s, but now, as someone who travels often, my tolerance for uncomfortable 35-hour flights with long airport layovers spent uncomfortably twisted over benches with non-retractable armrests has drastically declined.
I’m trying to learn how to rationalize and relish some comforts now that I’m not on a Kraft Dinner diet. This is why I’ve recently made a vow: if my layover is longer than three hours, or my flight is longer than six, I hit the lounge. Thankfully, the good folks at Cathay Pacific read my transpacific mind and provided me with my first lounge experience in Vancouver’s Cathay Lounge—which just opened in May 2016.
I can now confirm that my life choices have been validated.
To think that after all these years, behind the lounge walls, people were experiencing simple pleasures that took their journey from a two to a 10 is beyond me.
Here’s a short digest of all the luxuries I experienced that I never knew existed, and will hopefully never forsake again:
Unlimited dim sum: Pork buns, spring rolls, pork dumplings, shrimp dumplings, vegetable dumplings, all the dumplings in all the world, made to order, hot and ready—and all you can eat.
Unlimited booze and coffee: Whether it’s Caesars and whiskey to relax your pre-flight nerves, or gourmet espresso and caffè lattes to aid your jet lag, there are all flavours of drinks available, plus you get to free pour as much as you like. One more time: FREE. POUR.
Hot showers: There’s nothing like the power of recycled airport air to a) dry out your skin, and b) liken your hair to a sweaty work horse. The hot showers in the Cathay Pacific lounge are an oasis is the desert. Loads of delicious smelly moisturizers, fresh towels, hot water… You can’t put a price on clean.
Hand and foot service: Not only was the food fresh, the drinks cold and the showers hot, but the service was amazing. From helping me use the far-too-fancy coffee machine to suggesting the perfect concoction of sauces for my spring roll, the ladies and gents who worked the lounge were essentially surrogate grandparents, determined to make our stay as cozy and our bellies as full as possible, spoiling you to their hearts content.
Personalized boarding calls: This didn’t stop us from almost missing our flight (embarrassingly, due to some last-minute filming), but you’re free to take a snooze with the confidence that the staff will call you personally when your flight starts boarding.
Cozy chairs, outlets and Wi-Fi with a view: All your business needs, with all your heart’s desires. I’m not using hyperbole. You can watch the airport world go by from a cozy chair overlooking the landing strip, all while powering up your devices. Kick back and relax or get inspired. You choose.
If you want your life choices validated, I’d say stop by the lounge by Cathay Pacific.