This is the first part of a two-part trip report. For the second part, a Premium Business Class trip report on the new Boeing 777-300ER from Taipei to Los Angeles, please click here.
For other information regarding the new China Airlines Boeing 777-300ER, please refer to China Airlines Boeing 777-300ER News Collection.
Back in late December, I had the opportunity to explore the newly renovated China Airlines Dynasty Lounge at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport Terminal One prior to experiencing the new Boeing 777-300ER Premium Business Class on CI006 from Taipei to Los Angeles. Designed by acclaimed Taiwanese architect Ray Chen, the lounge has an atmosphere that matches the one created by the beautiful new interiors of the 777. These products, all part of the company’s ambitious NexGen (Next Generation) plan, now provide customers with an elevated and uniformed experience.
The Dynasty Lounge at Terminal 1 is located near the security checkpoint. With walls made of rocks and wooden boards, the gate is dominated by natural elements that differentiate the lounge from other competing products. Also can be seen are the iconic plum blossom logo and company name, both beautifully carved into the wooden boards.
The reception desk area is also designed with various natural elements, including marble floor and wooden ceilings. Yet, a new antique Chinese element now comes into play. The desk is surrounded by beautiful folding screens that blends the Song Dynasty art styles with Taiwanese agricultural simplicity. On the desk, an elegant crane sculpture along with a calming bonsai. A contemporary lantern is hanged from the ceiling and adds a modern yet vintage touch to the room. As a whole, the reception area has an atmosphere that is extremely beautiful and calming and declares the arrival of a newer and better China Airlines.
The Dynasty Lounge is divided into two separate loungers: First Class Lounge (now named as Exclusive Area) and Business Class Lounge. Connecting the lounges with the reception desk is a long aisle surrounded by granite stone with a gorgeous charcoal black colour. Vintage tungsten bulbs can be seen throughout the aisles to lighten up the way and show the beauty of the rock textures. Publications, such as newspapers and magazines, can be taken from the shelves located near the reception end of the aisle.
FIRST CLASS LOUNGE (Now Renamed as Exclusive Area)
The First Class Lounge is partitioned by two giant wooden doors. After entering the lounge, a uniquely designed dining and social area can be seen on the right hand side. The area features round tables and comfortable chairs. Perhaps due to the lack of privacy, as compared to the individual cubicles I will be introducing later, the dining area was often empty during my two hours stay. Nevertheless, there are many artistic features that are worth observing, such as the gable-ceiling, the lantern-like lights, and the dog sculpture.
After passing by the dining section, the main area of the lounge appears. Here, customers can choose to rest either on the sofas or in the partitioned cubicles. Since, similar to the dining area, the sofas do not offer as much privacy, lounge users, me included, tend to favour the cubicles. There is an aisle in the middle of the lounge that leads to the self-serve food and drinks bar. Occupying half of the aisle is a long table that has books and sweets placed for the passengers’ enjoyment.
The main lounge has a design that features mainly wooden materials, blackish green and dark gray textile, dim lights and living plants. Together, these elements blend the beauty of nature and human culture into one reading-room-like environment. A soft and elegant atmosphere is present, allowing customers to completely relax and appreciate the essence of the modern Taiwanese interior-designing style.
After sitting down, a menu is brought to the seat by a waitress. Users of the First Class Lounge get to select from a variety of cuisine and beverages. The most popular item is usually the beef noodles, which I ordered along with a cup of authentic Taiwanese pearl milk tea (bubble tea). Both the noodles and bubble tea were extremely tasteful and delightful. I felt like being in the streets of Taipei even though I was merely transiting at the airport.
If the menu items are not satisfying enough, there are, as mentioned earlier, self-serve bars that offer hot and cold dishes, dessert, alcoholic beverages, coffee and cold drinks.
BUISINESS CLASS LOUNGE
The Business Class Lounge is rather different from the First Class Lounge with regards to the size, atmosphere and artistic design. The single most obvious difference can be seen by comparing the designs of the private cubicles. In the Business Class Lounge, there are a total of 16 individual resting areas, each with couches, elegant reading lights, and shelves containing artworks, artefacts and selections of books. There are also specially designed tables to make eating more convenient while sitting on the couch.
The design and details of this cubicle simply blows me away. The reading room it resembles is not only comfortable but also exquisite, elegant and breathtakingly beautiful. I also love the colour choices as they match the purple colour scheme of China Airlines. The dividers, decorated with vintage bulbs that are different from the First Class ones yet equally elegant, is another reason why I am obsessed with the overall design.
There are two open-space dining areas in the Business Class Lounge. The one at the end near the entrance tea bar has seats and tables, each set for two people, that are identical with those in the First Class Lounge dining area; the one at the other end, near the buffet, has long wooden tables, each with twelve seats, along with a window that looks out to an outdoor wall of green plants.
At the buffet dining area, there is another seating choice which I find extremely appealing. By choosing this option, lounge users can get to sit comfortably on traditional Taiwanese straw mats while enjoying a bowl of noodles.
The lounge catering is done by Novotel Taipei Taoyuan International Airport, a 5-star hotel located within the airport area. At the buffet, one can find gastronomic choices ranging from Western dishes to Chinese noodles; at the tea bar, a variety of Taiwanese-tea-based drinks, including the popular Pearl Milk Tea, are offered.
THE SHOWER SUITES, SLEEPING QUARTERS and COMPUTER AREA
Lounge users, regardless of class type, can take showers during their stay at the lounge. There are individual shower suites, located near the reception desk, with showering facilities and toilets. There are also handicapped shower suites available to passengers with disabilities.
In case one is exhausted from traveling, the lounge has sleeping quarters for one to sleep soundingly. Computer rooms, on the other hand, can allow customers without personal electronic devices to access the internet or complete work.
I find it rather hard to describe my love for this beautifully and thoughtfully designed lounge. It is unlike any other lounge products I have experienced or read about. I am amazed by how the designer managed to create so many varying wonders throughout the lounge while connecting them with common themes of nature, darkish colours, and a fusion of the past and the present. What makes the China Airlines lounge even more special and unique is how it does not follow the on-going minimalistic white-dominated lounge trend but instead offers a low-key luxury rich in cultural and historical elements from Greater China. Not only can the interiors provide users with comfortable experiences, they also present the best of Taiwanese design to people from all around the world. Congratulations to China Airlines and interior designer Ray Chen for coming up with such an amazing product. I am confident that it will transcend the China Airlines experience to an all new level.
For the second part, a Premium Business Class trip report on the new Boeing 777-300ER from Taipei to Los Angeles, please click here.
For a report on the NexGen Boeing 777-300ER Premium Economy product, please click on the picture below: