Review: CIP Orchid Lounge at Da Nang International Airport

Da Nang Airport is the third busiest one in Vietnam after Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh. With its new domestic terminal having opened in 2011 and its international terminal in 2017, the airport boasts new and modern facilities.

While Vietnam Airlines operates some international flights out of the airport, it doesn’t operate its own lounge there. Instead, there is the CIP Orchid Lounge which is shared by all the airlines.

The review below is based on my two visits earlier this month.

CIP Orchid Lounge Da Nang Reception
Reception.

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Location, Opening Hours & Access

The CIP Orchid Lounge can be found on the mezzanine floor of Da Nang airport’s international terminal, after security and immigration. It can be accessed through stairs and elevator located in the central part of the terminal.

Since the terminal is quite compact, the lounge is only a short walk away from all of the international departure gates.

CIP Orchid Lounge Da Nang
Stairs and elevator leading to the lounge.

The lounge is open 24 hours a day.

Considering that there is no other lounge in the terminal, all of the airlines operating international flights out of Da Nang invite their business class passengers to use this lounge. Now that a Vietnam Airlines Lounge has been opened in the terminal, non-SkyTeam airlines offer access for their business class passengers. Some airlines might also do so for elite status holders.

Besides that, the lounge also belongs to the Priority Pass network and other similar programs. In case of Priority Pass, the length of stay is restricted to three hours. That said, I am not sure how much that rule is actually enforced.

Finally, if you are not eligible for access through the means mentioned above, you can also pay an entrance fee of 25 USD on the spot to enter the lounge.

Lounge Tour

The stairs and elevator led to a “terrace” with some seating. The area featured some tables for one, sofa chairs in groups of two and four, and a bench around one of the roof’s support pillars.

There was also a pair of massage chairs.

All of this was outside the lounge proper, in what could be called the reception area.

CIP Orchid Lounge Da Nang Seating
“Terrace.”
CIP Orchid Lounge Da Nang Seating
Sofa chairs on the “terrace.”
CIP Orchid Lounge Da Nang Massage Chairs
Massage chairs.

After presenting my lounge invitation at the reception desk, I entered the lounge itself. While it was basically one large room, there were many partitions that made most parts of the lounge feel fairly private.

Just past the entrance, there were two seating areas. A smaller one by the windows on the right side, and a larger one with a bit more than a dozen seats on the left side.

CIP Orchid Lounge Da Nang Overview
Seating area to the left of the entrance.
CIP Orchid Lounge Da Nang Overview
Seating area to the right of the entrance.

Next was the dining section.

On the left side, there was an area with a few dining tables, a buffet with hot items, and a counter with some high-top chairs.

Across from that was a refrigerator with juices, salads, and other lighter items, as well as a buffet counter with mainly noodles. There were also some more dining tables as well as another refrigerator with canned drinks.

I will talk more about the drinks and food offered in the next section of this review.

CIP Orchid Lounge Da Nang Dining
Dining area.
CIP Orchid Lounge Da Nang Buffet
One of the buffet counters.
CIP Orchid Lounge Da Nang Tables
More dining tables.

The rest of the lounge consisted of a variety of different seating options.

There were, of course, some more areas with rows of sofa chairs.

However, there were also other types of seats.

Those included “boxed” counters with benches, cut-outs in the walls designed lounging, as well as couches.

Finally, there was a counter along the windows with half a dozen counter-height chairs.

CIP Orchid Lounge Da Nang Main Seating Area
Sofa chairs and relaxation “cut-outs” in the main seating area.
CIP Orchid Lounge Da Nang Workspace
Benches with counters.
CIP Orchid Lounge Da Nang
Overview of the main seating area.
CIP Orchid Lounge Da Nang Sofas
Looking towards the lounge’s entrance.
Counter
Counter.

Simple shower rooms were available in the lounge as well (I believe one in each of the restrooms).

Power outlets were available throughout the lounge, and they were compatible with both “European” as well as “American” (“Japanese”) plugs.

Food and Drinks

All of the drinks and food in the CIP Orchid Lounge at Da Nang airport could be found in the dining area just past the entrance, spread across a couple of counters and refrigerators.

Cold drinks available in the lounge included canned soda and beer, juices (apple, peach, and grape), milk, and bottled water.

Hot drinks included coffee and a selection of tea. Interestingly, rather than all the tea bags being made by the same brand, there was a mix of brands including Lipton, Dilmah, and Vinatea.

CIP Orchid Lounge Da Nang Soft Drinks
Soda and beer.
CIP Orchid Lounge Da Nang Tea
Tea and instant coffee.
CIP Orchid Lounge Da Nang Coffee
Coffee.
CIP Orchid Lounge Da Nang Juices
Juices and bottled water.

Lighter, cold items available to eat in the lounge included some cold cuts and salads, fruits, and cereals.

Cold Cuts
Cold cuts and vegetables.
Salad
Salad and dressings.
Vegetables
Tomatoes and lettuce.
Fruits
Watermelon and dragon fruit.
Fruits
Bananas and cereals.

There was also a selection of bread and pastries. And, there were some spring rolls, hard-boiled eggs, corn, and sweet potatoes.

Bread
Bread, croissants, and spring rolls.
Eggs
Condinements and hard-boiled eggs.
Corn
Sweet potatoes and corn.

Besides that, there were also more substantial breakfast items like bacon, sausages, and dumplings.

CIP Orchid Lounge Da Nang Breakfast
Sausages and bacon.
Dumplings
Dumplings.

Non-breakfast items, like beef stew, chicken, and pork, as well as fried rice, were available as well.

CIP Orchid Lounge Da Nang Lunch
Beef and chicken.
CIP Orchid Lounge Da Nang Food
Pork.
Fried Rice
Fried rice.

Finally, there were some noodles – both pho and “regular” instant noodles, and some rice gruel.

CIP Orchid Lounge Da Nang Pho
Noodles.
Noodle Toppings
Noodle toppings.

Judging from my two visits – one in the late afternoon and another one late at night, it seemed like the catering is roughly the same throughout the day.

CIP Orchid Lounge Da Nang Summary

As is the case with most contract lounges, the CIP Orchid Lounge at Da Nang airport was nothing to write home about.

While the food selection was not bad, the food quality was mediocre at best. On the other hand, there were plenty of seating options for all purposes – ranging from lounging and relaxing all the way to getting some work done.

As such, I still found a lot of value in visiting the lounge. If for nothing else, then for the fact that it provided me with a comfortable place to work in with easy access to power outlets.

All that said, I don’t recommend arriving at the airport early just to visit the lounge (unless you are looking to get some work done before your flight) or paying the 25 USD entrance fee. If you are eligible for free entry and have some time to kill at the airport, then – by all means – pay the lounge a visit.

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No, I am not going to tell you how to fly in first class and sip Dom Perignon for free…

But, I am going to introduce you to a couple of ways you can experiment with to try a business class flight without having to spend thousands of dollars.

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