Changi Airport KrisFlyer Lounges Reviews Singapore Airlines

Review: The Private Room by Singapore Airlines

Is it time for Singapore Airlines to rethink its decade-old home base flagship lounge?

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Our most recent three visits to Singapore Airlines’ most prestigious lounge, The Private Room at Changi airport, saw us experience breakfast, lunch and dinner. It was a good opportunity for us to finally get round to writing a review.

Have standards slipped and how does this flagship facility, exclusively reserved for the airline’s own First Class and Suites passengers, stand up against some of the others we’ve visited around the world?

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General Details

Opening Times: 5.30am to 2.30am
Showers: Yes
Spa: No
Bar: No
Wi-Fi: Yes
Multi-standard Power Sockets: Yes
USB Charging Sockets: No

Lounge access

To access The Private Room you must be flying First Class or Suites Class on a departing Singapore Airlines flight, or arriving on a Singapore Airlines flight the same day in possession of your First Class or Suites Class boarding card. No guests are allowed.

If you are transiting Singapore between flights you are entitled to access The Private Room provided you have either arrived on a Singapore Airlines flight in First Class / Suites, or are departing on a Singapore Airlines flight in First Class or Suites, or both.

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If you wish to use The Private Room after arriving in First Class or Suites (tip: Jakarta to Singapore in First for 27,500 KrisFlyer miles is among the cheapest ways to do this), it’s best to be travelling with hand luggage only.

That’s not essential if you have an onward flight the same day however, even with another airline. Simply collect your luggage, check in for your onward flight, then proceed through immigration into The Private Room, using your inbound boarding pass.

It’s also not a major issue even if you have checked in luggage and are ending your journey at Changi.

In this case your bags will be taken off the conveyor belt and left alongside it for a period of time awaiting your collection. Typically they are good there for up to 90 minutes after landing. After that, they will be taken to the “lost and found” in your arrival terminal and you can collect them from there.

Remember your flight may have arrived into T2 or T3, you must exit the same way to retrieve your bags.

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Location

The Private Room is located inside the main Singapore Airlines lounge complex in Terminal 3 on level 3, one level above the main departure concourse.

First Class check-in

Most passengers starting their journey at Changi who have access to The Private Room will be using Terminal 3’s dedicated First Class check in area.

There is a separate driveway and drop off point, with porters to assist with your luggage, and a personalised check in experience.

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Make sure your driver takes the left turn before the main terminal to the First Class check-in. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

This is quite an impressive extension to the main terminal, almost too large as we hardly ever witness more than a handful of other passengers using it at the same time. Indeed we’ve seen some smaller airport terminals in certain parts of the world!

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First Class check-in. (Photo: MainlyMiles)
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First Class check-in. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

The First Class check-in has an airport lounge feeling and includes a large seating area. Chilled bottles of water and cold towels are offered as you arrive. Porters are also on hand to assist with your luggage.

There is a chair next to each check-in desk, however if two of you are checking in it means one of you ends up standing which is a little odd.

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The Singapore Airlines First Class check-in at Changi Airport Terminal 3. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

After the check in process a private immigration channel just a short walk away takes passengers through to the transit area.

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Changi Airport operates a private immigration channel for Singapore Airlines First Class passengers. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

You emerge from private immigration close to the bottom of the escalator leading to the SilverKris lounges and The Private Room.

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Your route from kerbside to The Private Room (click to enlarge)

Pro tip: Singapore Airlines doesn’t have an equivalent to The Private Room in Terminal 2, but they do operate flights with First Class / Suites from there. Since the T1/T2/T3 airside (transit) area is fully connected, we recommend checking in at the T3 First Class check in, taking advantage of the First Class immigration channel then spending time in The Private Room before your T2 flight.

Simply allow some more time for the SkyTrain ride to T2 prior to your departure.

Reception

At check in, those entitled to access The Private Room are handed a personal invitation along with their regular First Class or Suites boarding pass.

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Invitations to The Private Room are provided at check-in. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

When you reach the SilverKris lounge reception area on level 3 this is quickly spotted by the staff, and you are then personally escorted through the First Class lounge, which you are also welcome to use, towards The Private Room which has its own entrance at back (the ‘lounge within a lounge’).

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The SilverKris First Class lounge. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Incidentally, the SilverKris First Class lounge is as far as you’ll be able to go as a Star Alliance passenger flying First Class, for example on Lufthansa or Swiss, or as a Solitaire PPS member. The Private Room is only for passengers flying Singapore Airlines First Class or Suites.

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The entrance to The Private Room, tucked away at the back of the First Class lounge. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Once past the entrance podium, a long corridor leads to the concierge desk, and you are finally inside.

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The corridor entrance to The Private Room. (Photo: MainlyMiles)
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Overview

The lounge is broadly a long L-shape with a long tall window flanking one side. The ceiling is double height throughout the lounge.

Dark wood panelling and marble lines the walls which means that despite the double height ceiling, it feels quite cosy. Possibly even a little oppressive.

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The Private Room. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

The “disco” carpet (a common theme throughout Changi Airport) isn’t really in keeping with the rest of the decor but it certainly helps deaden what little noise there is.

The windows running the length of the Private Room and overlooking many aircraft gates and one of Changi’s runways provide a great view. Well they would do, if they were unobstructed.

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It’s not the clearest view from The Private Room. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

In fact tiny dots on the windows, probably designed to reduce direct sunlight and help keep the lounge cool, plus large flap-like structures, somewhat obscure things.

There are two TV areas, one mid-lounge and the other towards the far end. Generally the news is shown, with no volume unless requested by passengers. The lounge staff will happily find the channel you require, for example if you want to watch a sporting event.

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One of the two TV areas. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

At it’s busiest, it’s still whisper quiet. Slightly odd if you are travelling with a companion and want to have a conversation.

A concierge desk it just to the right of the entrance hallway where you can find out your latest flight information. In our experience though, because the lounge has so few guests, if there is any kind of delay they will come and find you in the lounge (as was the case for our most recent flight to Delhi where boarding was postponed by 20 minutes).

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Concierge desk. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

The lounge layout seems better suited to solo travellers with generous spacing between individual seats. There are a few lower down sofa areas that offer more dense seating if you are travelling with companions.

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The Private Room overview. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Our experience

We arrived at around 8pm for dinner and the host asked if we would like to go straight through to the restaurant, but we decided to relax with some pre dinner drinks in the main lounge area first.

We certainly weren’t in a hurry, having checked in for our flight to Hong Kong at 4pm that afternoon and then checked straight in to the Aerotel T1 (airside, in the transit area) so that we could review it for an overnight stay. See that review here.

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That meant we had unfettered access to The Private Room all the way through until our departure at 10am the following morning, so a leisurely dinner in the lounge, overnight stay in the hotel, followed by breakfast in the lounge again was the plan.

Remember you can check in for a Singapore Airlines flight and have your boarding pass issued up to 48 hours prior to departure.

In addition to this we visited the lounge at lunchtime prior to a Suites flight to Delhi in March this year. Since this review is a culmination of all three experiences, you’ll notice that some of our photos are taken during the day and others at night.

Back to our pre dinner drinks though, the server came over with menus for us, which also gave us chance to look over the dinner options. Eddie opted for an espresso martini but the vintage 2004 Dom Perignon caught my eye and I felt the need to kick off our round the world trip with a glass of fizz.

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Welcome drinks. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Seating options

One of the first things that strikes you when you enter The Private Room is that the seating density is much lower than most lounges. Alongside the floor to ceiling windows are individual high back armchairs with high partitions and significant space around each one.

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The armchairs alongside the windows have significant personal space. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

These almost mimic the privacy and space found on board in Singapore Airlines’ Suites and First Class cabins.

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Close, but separate and private. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Other seating options in the lounge cater better for couples or small groups, with more armchairs and Chesterfield style fabric chairs and sofas.

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Alternative seating options. (Photo: MainlyMiles)
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Alternative seating options. (Photo: MainlyMiles)
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Reading materials

As you would expect from a lounge like this, extensive reading materials are provided close to the lounge entrance, including a variety of international daily newspapers and magazines.

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Reading materials. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Singapore Airlines also offers access to a variety of digital magazines and newspapers through its SingaporeAir app. This allows you to download the content to your mobile device from 48 hours before up to 24 hours after your flight.

Dining room

The centrepiece of The Private Room is undoubtedly the dining room, an à la carte service restaurant. It’s partly screened from the main area of the lounge by a series of imposing marble effect pillars.

The high ceilings continue into this space.

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The dining room is partly separated from the main lounge area. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Once inside you can’t help but be impressed with the high-end decor and finish. Large leather cocoa brown seats against the wall have classic deep buttoned artistry in Chesterfield sofa style.

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The dining room. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

They stand in beautiful contrast to the dark brown taupe leather cladding on the walls themselves, and the polished tan parquet wood flooring. Crisp white tableware, beige chairs and artistic lamps finish the setting perfectly.

In total there are around a dozen tables, mostly accommodating up to two diners though options are available for larger groups.