Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Cathay Pacific Lounge, CDG Airport, Paris

To return to San Francisco from Paris, I flew with British Airways.  Since they don't have a lounge in Charles de Gaulle airport, I had the choice of using American Airline's Admirals club or the Cathay Pacific's lounge.  Or ... both.

I visited the American Airline's Admiral's Club first, which I reviewed last week, since everyone said it had the better food.  They also said Cathay had the nicer space, so that is where I'd want to wind up to spend my time, hence, it made sense to eat at AA, and then go hang at Cathay.

I couldn't help but compare the two lounges.  The space was mostly the same.  American had more extensive food options, but not necessarily better.  Cathay had better drink (alcoholic and not) selections.  Cathay's seating looked nicer, but American's was more functional.  It is a tossup which lounge is best, pick based on your own priorities, or, just visit both, as they are located next to each other.

The Space

The Cathay Lounge looks much nicer than the American one, but, the space wasn't actually quite as usable.  If you care about what the furniture and decor look like, go to Cathay, but if you want comfortable seats and more abundant power, go to American.
Entrance.
The entrance to the Cathay Lounge is directly next to the American one.  Lounge hoping is made easy here!
Cafe Seating.
The layout was nearly identical to the American lounge, with cafe seating (small tables for two), at the entrance, adjacent to the food selection.
High Bar Seating.
And just like the AA lounge, there was a higher bar for seating as well.  However it was far less comfortable, no backs on the seats, and, no power ports.
Lounge Seating.
Soft furniture filled out the rest of the lounge, all the way to the windows, where you could watch aircraft take off.  There were power ports in this area, but not many.

Food & Drinks, 9am

While everyone told me the American Airline's lounge had better food, I think it was a toss up.  Cathay clearly won on the drinks front though.

Drinks

The Cathay drink lineup was impressive, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic.
Cold Drinks.
Coolers held a really fun assortment of canned drinks.  Yes, Sprite and Coke, tonic and iced tea, but also some soy drinks, Fanta, purple ... Orangina, and a fruity something called "Tropical Oasis" that I kinda enjoyed.  Beer was also in here.
Hard Alcohol, Cereal.
The liquor lineup included everything you'd expect, and was laid out with ... the cereal.  They go hand and hand, right?  Cereal was Kellogg's brand, individual boxes/packets, which I appreciated.  I hate cereal dispensers as they always get clogged, dump too much product, or, are full of stale cereal.
Water, Juice, Wine.
Next was a mix of water (still or sparkling), with lemon slices, juices, white wine, red wine, and bubbles.

I appreciated the lemon slices, and the larger bottles of water.
Coffee, Tea.
And finally, coffee and tea.  Ojan was sad that there was no rooibos, or even mint tea, only fruity decaf teas.

I opted for a decaf coffee, ground to order, but not particularly notable.

Food

Unlike the American Airline's Admiral's Club, which had a large lineup of breakfast, savory foods, snacks, and desserts, Cathay only had regular breakfast options.
Noodle Window: Closed :(
Sadly, the signature noodle window wasn't open yet, since it was only 9am.  I can't have noodles for breakfast?
Toast, Jam, Fruit.
The fruit selection was just apples and oranges.  Next to that was simple sliced bread and baguettes, just like American.  But the jam was little pots of Bonne Maman, much higher quality than what AA had.  I enjoyed the apricot jam.
Pastries.
The pastry selection was nearly identical to American: croissants, chocolate croissants, raisin snails, apple turnovers.  I tried a croissant, it was pretty mediocre.  The AA one was slightly better, but neither were particularly good.  Greasy, not really fresh.
Charcuterie, Cheese, Yogurts.
A couple different yogurts, cheeses, and what looked like ham and perhaps turkey bologna came next, plus generic butter, tomatoes, cucumbers, and pickles.  Olive oil and balsamic were available to make a dressing of sorts.

American clearly won here, with real salads, much better looking cheeses and meats, and, well, labelled items.
Hot Foods: Scrambled eggs, baked beans, sausages, roasted mushrooms.
The hot food lineup was also far less extensive.  No pancakes or quiche here!  Just basic scrambled eggs, baked beans, sausages, and roasted mushrooms.
Congee, Toppings.
But they did have one more item: congee!

It sounds silly, but sometimes, I really like congee.  Warm, comforting, basically pudding right?  It was fine, except that it wasn't really warm.  Fairly cold.

Garnishes included chives, parsley(?), and peanuts, plus soy sauce.

I enjoyed it, but it would have obviously been better if hot, or even warm.
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