Review: Cathay Pacific Lounge Manila

Jyaga loves (5/5)

Cathay Pacific Lounge Manila

Airport : Manila – Ninoy Aquino (MNL)
Terminal : Terminal 3
Operator : Cathay Pacific Airways
Access : Cathay Pacific and oneworld First and Business Class passengers, oneworld Emerald and Sapphire frequent flyers, and Cathay Silver members.
Date of Visit : June 2023

With over five flights departing from Manila each day, it is no surprise to see that Cathay Pacific operates its own lounge at Ninoy Aquino International Airport. The Manila lounge is one of 13 outstation lounges operated by Cathay Pacific outside Hong Kong. Opened in 2015, this lounge also features the latest generation Cathay Pacific Lounge design, which was first introduced in Tokyo Haneda in 2014.

Lounge Access Rules

Passengers with a same-day reservation on Cathay Pacific and oneworld First Class and Business Class flights are eligible for access. Passengers connecting to a oneworld flight from an international oneworld First Class and Business Class flight are also eligible for entry.

Cathay Pacific Lounge Manila signage

When accessing by status, passengers holding at least Cathay Silver status are eligible for access. This also extends to Sapphire status holders with oneworld carriers, such as JAL Global Club Sapphire, AAdvantage Platinum, or BA Executive Club Silver. Of course, access is also permitted to oneworld Emerald card holders. Refer to the Cathay Pacific website for specific details.


The Cathay Pacific Lounge Manila is located in the lounge cluster at Ninoy Aquino International Aiport Terminal 3. After clearing departure security, follow the signs pointing to the airline lounges. This will take you to a lift lobby-cum-stairway near Gate 114. Head up to Level 4 and turn right to the corridor upon exiting the lift lobby. The Cathay Pacific Lounge is the first lounge in this corridor.

Entrance to the Cathay Pacific Lounge Manila

Cathay Pacific Lounge Manila

At the entrance to the lounge is a reception desk on the left-hand side. Here, the friendly lounge agent took a scan of my boarding pass and advised me of my gate number. Despite flying Economy Class, I had access by virtue of my Cathay Diamond tier membership, equivalent to oneworld Emerald. Do note that this lounge is open only between 05.00 – 12.30 and 14.30 – 20.00.

Entrance to the Cathay Pacific Lounge Manila

If you think that the Cathay Pacific Lounge Manila looks identical to another Cathay Pacific lounge, you’re not imagining things. This lounge features the airline’s latest generation design language, shared between Cathay’s newest and most acclaimed lounges. The warm style, dubbed the ‘Boathouse’ is designed by Ilse Crawford of the UK-based interior studio, Studio Ilse, who is also known for the Ett Hem Hotel in Stockholm.

Lounge Area

Past the reception area is the main seating area of the lounge, which features large windows that provide sunlight to the space. For one, I am especially fond of the living room-style seating that’s undeniably the lounge’s main highlight. Ilse Crawford has done an especially great job giving the space a pleasant homely ambiance which uplifts the mood of the lounge.

The main seating area in the Cathay Pacific Lounge

Located in the middle area are a number of sofas and sofa chairs facing each other in a living room-like arrangement. Provided that you are travelling as a group (or not), this would be an excellent place to socialise with friends, family or even fellow travellers.

The main seating area in the Cathay Pacific Lounge
The main seating area in the Cathay Pacific Lounge

There are also swivelling leather armchairs that line the interior wall and window side of the lounge. These chairs are arranged in pairs which share one common side table. Since the armchairs face each other by default, I’d say that these seats are best suited for couples or a pair of friends. Also, you’ll find that the power outlets are cleverly hidden in the ‘drawers’ of the tables, which slide open to reveal the plugs.

The main seating area in the Cathay Pacific Lounge

Solo Chairs

Finally, located on the far left-hand end of the main seating area are seven high-walled Solo chairs. These Ilse Crawford-designed chairs are decked in the signature Cathay Pacific green and feature large cushions to ensure comfort. Each chair is complemented by a small table, big and sturdy enough for a laptop. Given the ‘solo’ nature of these chairs and their embedded power outlets, this is a great option for travellers hoping to get work done.

Solo Chair Fun Fact

These Ilse Crawford chairs are designed to replace the previous generation Solus chairs designed by Fosters + Partners for Cathay Pacific.
The main seating area in the Cathay Pacific Lounge


Between the reception and the main lounge area is the bar, which features a beautiful art-deco-inspired bar. Next to it are just eleven sofa chairs suitable for four parties at max. Given the cosy and enclosed interior space, the bar is also the most intimate seating area in the lounge. There are Combined with the warm lighting that permeates the space, this area is consequently a very pleasant and homely place to wait.

Bar in the Cathay Pacific Lounge

Dining Area

Located right past the main lounge is the dining area, which has Cathay Pacific’s signature noodle bar as a centrepiece. Whereas the main lounge and the bar are more suited to relaxation, this area is purely dedicated to dining purposes. Although a restaurant-style service is not offered, the food is made-to-order, à la carte from the Noodle Bar.

Dining area in the Cathay Pacific Lounge

Taking over the central area are three large communal tables, each with ten stool seats. Despite its upmarket look, I like that this dining setup looks very reminiscent of a traditional cha chaan teng-style eatery in Hong Kong. Such tea house-style eateries are found all over the city and are known for their great no-nonsense food and shared communal tables.

Communal seating in the dining area

In addition to the communal dining tables, there are also 12 booths, each of which (bar one) features two seats. These booths line the wall on both the interior and window side of the lounge, providing a cosy place to take your meal. Given the padded seats, the booths are undoubtedly more comfortable compared to the backless stools of the communal dining table.

Interior booth tables in the dining area
Interior booth tables in the dining area
Window-side booth table in the dining area

Finally, there are also nine bar seats lined along the length of the green-tiled Noodle Bar. Although these seats are the most convenient place to order food, it is so hypothetically the busiest area, given how everybody would come by here to get food or walk past to head to the toilets.

Noodle Bar at the Cathay Pacific Lounge


The Noodle Bar

The food selection at the Cathay Pacific Lounge Manila is centred around the Noodle Bar in the dining area. A quintessential element of any Cathay Pacific Lounge, the bar features a noodle and dim sum menu similar to those at other airports, although with a small local twist. Undoubtedly, the Hong Kong-style Wonton Soup is the main star of the show, followed by the siu mai. The Manila lounge also has a couple of locally-inspired dishes, like Beef Tapa with Garlic Rice and Creamy Spinach.

Noodle Bar menu
Condiments in the Noodle Bar

Since the dishes are made-to-order, you’ll be given a pager whilst the food is being prepared. This pager will vibrated and ring once the dishes are ready to be collected from the Noodle Bar. Since I hadn’t had a proper breakfast after leaving the Belmont Hotel Manila, I decided to order a bowl of wonton noodles and a basket of pork siu mai. Although very satisfying, these were expectedly not as good as the ones found at the Cathay Pacific Lounges in Hong Kong.

Wonton noodles and pork siu mai

Bar breakfast spread

In addition to the à la carte menu at the Noodle Bar, there is also a small breakfast spread stationed in the bar. This includes a number of viennoiseries and muffins served alongside a choice of butter or jam. Next to this was also a selection of cold cuts, as well as cheese and crackers. Finally, there was also a selection of two cereals and apples provided especially for breakfast.

Breakfast spread in the bar
Cold cuts and cheese
Cereal and apples
Milk selection

Bar and beverage station

As the bar is attended by a bartender/barista, most drinks have to be requested. This is definitely an exceptional offering on the part of Cathay Pacific, as it ensures fresher and better quality drinks prepared by a trained staff member. Like any Cathay Pacific lounge, there is a wide selection of drinks, including the signature Cathay Delight. Sadly, however, Champagne is not an offering at this lounge. Taking its place instead is a Frexenet sparkling wine.

Drink selection at the Cathay Pacific Lounge

In addition to the bar, there are also self-served drinks available in the beverage station at the Noodle Bar area. The drinks here include mostly canned soft drinks, water, as well as beer. Although there is also a coffee machine, I would recommend getting a barista-made espresso-based drink at the bar instead.

Self-served beverages

As a standard offering of the Cathay Pacific Lounge, a couple of choices of cookies are available here to complement the coffee. Although, of course, you’re free to eat them on its own, as I did myself :P. At breakfast time, the cookies are also complemented by yoghurt and muesli in the chiller.

Cookies and yoghurt


The Bureau

Just behind the lounge reception is the business centre area, or The Bureau, which is equipped with three iMac desktop computers. The iMacs are connected to a printer, which makes it convenient if you need to have something printed at the last minute. Curiously, however, the computers run on Microsoft Windows instead of Mac OS, which I thought was unusual.

Business Centre in the Cathay Pacific Lounge


Located on the far right end of the lounge, past the Noodle Bar, are the toilets, which are gender segregated. Like the main lounge, the toilets look identical to those in the Cathay lounges in Hong Kong. I appreciated that the toilet is clean and well-kept, and features the Bamford soap and lotion also available on board. As is standard at any Asian Cathay Pacific outstation lounge, however, showers are not available (nor are they expected).

Male toilet in the Cathay Pacific Lounge
Male toilet in the Cathay Pacific Lounge


The Cathay Pacific Lounge has its own WiFi, separate from the network offered in the terminal. Fascinatingly, the network setting is identical to any other Cathay Pacific Lounge in the world. As such, if you’ve been to a Cathay Pacific Lounge (even if not this one), chances are you would be connected to the network automatically.


Overall, I found the Cathay Pacific Lounge Manila to be an exceptional outstation lounge. In fact, even though I came in with high expectations, I still managed to leave the lounge feeling satisfied. For one, I would have to commend the consistency of Cathay Pacific’s new-generation lounges. Although the lounges look cookie-cutter on the surface, there is enough differentiation in terms of food and beverage that makes it all alright. Even so, I don’t mind the identical design language in the slightest, as it gives me a sense of warmth and familiarity in potentially foreign places.

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