Changi Airport Lounges Reviews

Review: Marhaba Lounge Singapore Changi T3

Overview

General details

Opening times: 24 hours
Showers: Yes
Bar: No
Wi-Fi: Yes (very slow)
Multi-standard power sockets: Yes
USB charging sockets: Yes

Location

If you’re departing from Terminal 3, you’ll probably be used to turning left once you’ve cleared immigration, then heading up the escalator to the Singapore Airlines, SATS, DBS Treasures and former Dnata lounges.

The Marhaba Lounge is actually in a different location. There are two ways to get there, the easiest is to go up the escalator to Level 3, ahead and slightly to your right if you are coming from the immigration hall.

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Marhaba Lounge Changi T3 route and location (click to enlarge)

The escalator is easy to find, just to the right side of the large Louis Vuitton shop.

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The quickest way to the Marhaba Lounge, and the easiest because you can’t miss the Louis Vuitton shop! (Photo: MainlyMiles)

The lounge is then on your left as you reach the top of the escalator. Just a few steps along is the lounge entrance.

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The Marhaba Lounge. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

If you’re arriving at Changi T3 on a connecting flight and making your way to the Marhaba Lounge, you can use the ‘Louis Vuitton route’ above or alternatively go up the escalator to Level 3 towards the ‘Singapore Food Street’ eateries, then take a left turn all the way through the corridor leading to the toilets to reach the lounge entrance.

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Alternative route to the Marhaba Lounge (click to enlarge)

It’s a slightly less glamorous route, but it may save a minute or two especially if you’ve come from the ‘B’ gates or the SkyTrain. The lounge is signposted at either escalator so you won’t get lost.

Who is ‘Marhaba’?

Marhaba is the new name for Dnata lounges worldwide. Dnata is part of the Emirates Group, and previously the Marhaba branding was only used at five lounges, all five third-party ones at Dubai International Airport.

The group is now replacing the Dnata branding to Marhaba at newly opened and re-opened lounges, including this one at Changi.

The lounge has seating capacity for 130 passengers. Opened on 23rd May 2019 to little fanfare, Dnata formally announced the lounge in a press release over three weeks later.

The ‘secret’ lounge?

Strangely, despite opening in May, this lounge remains slightly secret. Changi Airport Group confirmed to us in early June that it had opened the previous month, replacing the Dnata T3 lounge, however it still remains missing from their list of lounges at Changi (we did point this out!).

The Marhaba services website will sell you a pass to this lounge, but still refers to it as the Dnata Lounge T3!

Some lounge access schemes are still showing the old lounge name, location and photos. This should be progressively updated but if you are directed to the Dnata T3 lounge by one of these providers, head for this one instead.

Lounge access

You will be invited to use the Marhaba Lounge if you are flying in Business Class or First Class, or hold sufficient frequent flyer status with the airline or respective alliance, when departing on the following carriers:

  • China Airlines
  • Garuda Indonesia
  • Myanmar National Airlines
  • Sri Lankan Airlines

You can also enter the lounge using one of the following lounge access programs:

In all cases when accessing through one of these programs, a maximum 3 hour stay is enforced.

Paid access is possible with at least 24 hours notice through the Marhaba website, at the following rates:

  • 3 hours: S$55
  • 6 hours: S$109

Note: The price seems to fluctuate slightly day to day due to exchange rates.

Just be aware the website still calls this the ‘dnata Singapore Lounge Terminal 3’.

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Don’t worry – it’s the Marhaba Lounge!

Another aspect to note regarding the paid access via the Marhaba website is that it will ask for your flight details, and offer you an appropriate lounge based on your departure terminal.

If you are flying from T1 for example but still wish to pay and try this T3 lounge, you will have to falsify your flight details, otherwise your lounge access voucher will only be good for the Dnata T1 lounge.

There is no walk-up paid access to this lounge. This is opposite to what the Marhaba helpline in Dubai informed us on the phone a few hours before our visit when we called to check. We were assured that paid access at the lounge reception was “absolutely” possible if you made last minute plans (since you cannot pay and book online within 24 hours of your visit).

The lounge staff confirmed this is in fact impossible, they have no means to accept walk-up paid access and in Terminal 3 only the Ambassador Transit lounge permits this.

Our visit

We were flying on Vietnam Airlines from Terminal 4, but we wanted to try out the Marhaba Lounge since it’s the newest such facility at Changi. The only snag with that, as ever, is the location of T4 itself.

You’ve probably noticed that none of the T4 airlines participate in the Jewel Early Check-in program. That’s because if you’re flying with an airline from T4 you are not allowed to access the transit area via the T1/T2/T3 departure channels. You must clear immigration and security in T4, then proceed on the airside bus to T2 if you wish to visit the T1/T2/T3 transit area.

Luckily Vietnam Airlines does allow ‘all day’ check-in from 10.30am at its desks in Terminal 4, which remain open until 7.30pm for the last departure, so even though we were taking the evening flight (8.45pm) to Ho Chi Minh on the A350 we could check-in any time during that window.

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Marhaba Lounge entrance. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

That gave us plenty time to visit T3 and review the Marhaba Lounge. After checking in at 2.20pm and going through the convoluted terminal transfer process, we arrived at the lounge just before 3pm.

We used our Priority Pass to access the lounge.

Quiet Zone

The first section of the lounge on the left side as you first enter from reception is the ‘Quiet Zone’.

Quiet Zone
The ‘Quiet Zone’. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

It’s slightly shielded from the rest of the lounge by the entrance corridor and toilets / showers, which can also be found close to reception, and is furthest from the dining and main seating areas which are at the opposite end.

Seating options here include basic chairs and reclined lounge seats more suited to taking a nap.

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‘Quiet Zone’ chairs. (Photo: MainlyMiles)
Quiet Zone Seats
‘Quiet Zone’ lounge seats. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

The quietest section here with the most shielding from the rest of the lounge is against the back wall, where you’ll find two pairs of recliner seats. We’d recommend these for the most peaceful visit especially if you do plan to close your eyes for a while.

Quiet Zone Recliners.jpg
The most private and quiet position is against the lounge wall. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Finally this section also features some stool chairs along a high table against the window, with views of the aircraft parked at Terminal 3 and one of the runways.

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High stool seating in the Quiet Zone against the window. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

You can see through the outside ‘sunshade slats’ more clearly than the photo suggests. This is an ideal place to get some (quiet) work done and we sat here for most of our visit. We also found the high tables ideal for eating.

Dining area

As you progress into the lounge you’ll walk through the dining area. This is where you’ll find all the food and beverages offered along one long wall.

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Food and beverages are located along one wall of the dining area. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Directly opposite there are dining tables each accommodating up to four guests, with window views.

Dining Table View
Dining table. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

It’s worth mentioning the excellent view from this lounge, quite unlike the Singapore Airlines SilverKris Business Class lounge, which has no external views, this by contrast is a plane spotter’s paradise with floor to ceiling windows across the length of the facility.

Main lounge area

At the far end of the lounge beyond the dining area you’ll find the main lounge seating area. Note that the dining tables along the window side continue all the way to the far end adjacent to this section.

The low armchairs here are set in single / double and double / quad arrangements, with a low side table and small coffee table.

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Main lounge armchairs. (Photo: MainlyMiles)
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Some armchairs are set in a layout best for solo travellers and couples, others for larger groups. (Photo: MainlyMiles)
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Pairs of armchairs each have a power socket. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Against the back wall in this section is a large number of high bar-style seating, again these are good for both dining and work. We only saw one person using these during our visit.

Main High Tables
Bar-style seating in the main lounge area. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Some decorative partitions help break up the main seating area.

Power sockets

Unless you’re Turkish Airlines, when you open a brand new lounge these days you flood it with essentials for the modern traveller, and the most important of those is an ample selection of charging sockets.

This lounge is no exception with an impressive charging selection at almost every single seat, even including the dining tables.

Power Sockets
Almost every seat has a multi-standard power socket and USB charging port. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

At the high tables along the window in the Quiet Zone, plug sockets are cleverly installed at 90 degrees to accommodate laptop charging blocks, which tend to protrude some distance below the plug.

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Sideways socket? (Photo: MainlyMiles)
Plug Side
This is why! (Photo: MainlyMiles)

You certainly don’t need to worry about your personal devices running flat wherever you choose to sit in this lounge.

Wi-Fi speed

Either we were very unlucky on the day in question, or there is something seriously wrong with the Wi-Fi in this lounge.

The lounge was only moderately busy during our visit, so a decent speed would be expected.

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Marhaba Lounge Wi-Fi speed

The speed was so slow it was basically unusable. This was even slower than the SATS Premier Lounges we’ve reviewed  in T3 and T2 (to date the slowest we’ve witnessed at Changi).

I had some work to do on my laptop and had to defer to the perfectly fast Changi Airport public Wi-Fi, though this is limited to 3 hours use.

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Changi Airport public Wi-Fi speed test (while in the Marhaba Lounge)

There was a second Wi-Fi network broadcasting in the lounge ‘Marhaba Lounge 2’, however the regular password did not work. I enquired at reception and they said that one was not for public use.

While I was seated in the Quiet Zone I overheard one other passenger at the reception with the same query about using the second Wi-Fi network and he was advised the same thing, so it seems it wasn’t just me struggling to use the connection.

With the Plaza Premium T1 lounge we reviewed recently boasting around 5 Mbps upload and download speeds we can only assume there must be something wrong here, and we hope future reviewers can report a significant improvement!

Beverages

The Marhaba Lounge has a decent selection of drinks starting with the bean-to-cup coffee machines serving Vittoria coffee, a well known Australian brand.

Coffee Machine
Coffee machines. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

This machine will prepare you anything from a simple espresso shot through to Cappuccinos and Macchiatos.

Along from there you’ll find a selection of Dilmah teas.

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At least five different varieties of tea. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

The fridges had a selection of soft drinks, mixers and two varieties of beer; Tiger and Heineken.

Soft Drinks
Soft drinks and mixers. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

The beer fridge also had chilled glasses available.

Beer
Beer and chilled glasses. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

There is no manned bar in the Marhaba Lounge, however there is a small selection of self-pour wines and sprits available.

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Wines and spirits. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Segments of lemon and ice are readily available, and if you’re looking for the white wine choices they can be found in one of the adjacent fridges near the beer and mixers.

Spirits are relatively basic with Smirnoff Vodka, Gordon’s Gin, Bacardi and Johnnie Walker Black Label 12 years whiskey.

Here’s how the wines offered rate on Vivino (out of 5):

Vivino.png

White:

  • au.png McGuigan Private Bin Chardonnay 2017 (3.1 out of 5 on Vivino)
  • fr Françoise Chauvenet Lajolie Sauvignon Blanc (2.6 out of 5 on Vivino)
White Wine
White wine selection. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Red:

  • au.png McGuigan Private Bin Shiraz 2017 (3.8 out of 5 on Vivino)
  • fr Françoise Chauvenet Lajolie Pinot Noir (2.8 out of 5 on Vivino)
Red Wine
Red wine selection. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

If you’re a fan of Australian wine the ratings here are decent for a third-party lounge, especially for the Shiraz which scores well. The French wines unfortunately come up rather poorly in comparison.

On the whole though it’s good to have two choices of each wine type and the ratings aren’t significantly different from those we find at other Priority Pass lounges.

Finally if you prefer something more exciting to bottled water, there is a dispenser with cucumber, mint and lemon water.

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Flavoured water. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Food

The Marhaba lounge has an impressive selection of food choices including western, Asian and a great Satay station.

The first and possibly simplest option (just add hot water!) is a selection of three different flavours of instant noodles.

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Instant Noodles. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Two salads were offered, the first was Potato & Gherkin, the second was Pumpkin, Carrot & Sugar bean.

Food Salads.jpg
Salads. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Sandwiches are kept in a chilled drawer to keep them fresh, which you can pull open to pick them out. Selections during our visit were Chicken Mayonnaise and Roasted Peppers & Basil Pesto.

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Sandwiches. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Moving on from there you’ll find the hot food selection.

Food Overview
Hot food. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

The main western dish was boneless Chicken Thighs.

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Chicken Thighs. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

The lounge even provides soft slider buns alongside and instructions to create your own Chicken Slider. Quite a nice idea, though we didn’t try one!

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How to make a Chicken Slider! (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Western accompaniments were Braised Vegetables and Roasted Potatoes with Thyme and Parsley.

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Western accompaniments. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

If the Chicken thighs weren’t too appealing, alternative western main dishes were Penne Pasta and Olive & Lemon Chicken Stew.

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Pasta and Chicken Stew. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Between the western and Asian dishes there is a Satay station, serving Chicken Satay with traditional accompaniments. Beef Fatayers were also available here.

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The Satay Station. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

The main Asian dish was Taiwanese Braised Minced Chicken, pictured here alongside some steamed Bok Choy.

Food Taiwanese Chicken.jpg
Taiwanese Minced Chicken. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Aside from the Bok Choy, other accompaniments in this section were Vegetable Stir Fried Bee Hoon and Fried Hokkien Noodles.

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Bee Hoon and Noodles. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

At the far end there was a small dim sum selection of Chicken Pau and Siew Mai.

Food Chicken Pau
Dim Sum. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

A soup was also available somewhere along the line, Cream of Mushroom. For dessert the two sweet options were gluten-free Chocolate Brownies and Apricot Cake.

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Dessert. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Finally for the ultimate healthy snack, head just round the corner from the main food selection at the far end and you’ll find a selection of fresh fruit.

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Fruit. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Overall we thought the food selection was really good, among the best we’ve seen in a third-party airport lounge. We tried some of the main hot dishes plus both of the sandwiches and all were good quality.

Reading materials

Between the Quiet Zone and the dining area there is a selection of reading materials.

Reading Materials
Reading materials. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Directly above those, you’ll find the flight information screen for Terminal 3 departures. Again there is a little confusion here about which lounge you are in!

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Attention to detail? This must be so easy to fix! (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Toilets

The toilets in this lounge are arranged as private cubicles, each with their own washbasin and hand dryer.

Toilet Overview
Private toilet cubicle. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

We can’t think of any lounge we’ve visited where this is the case, except the BA lounges at Heathrow T5, which are private individual cubicles but unfortunately are styled like hospital toilets (even in The Concorde Room).

Toilet
Private toilet cubicle. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

This is quite a different proposition, immaculately clean, well styled and finished. There is even a plant in each one.

Shower facilities

If you thought the toilets looked impressive, wait until you see the showers.

Shower Room
Shower room. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Effectively the same room again, only much bigger with a large shower across one side. This includes rain head and handheld systems, and features attractive European tiling on the wall.

There are three shower suites in total, and when we visited the lounge in the afternoon all three were immediately available. You’ll have to approach the reception desk first, as they also provide you with a fresh towel.

These are hands down the nicest showers we’ve ever seen in a third-party lounge, even meeting or eclipsing standards widely seen at airline-operated Business Class (and in some cases First Class) lounges.

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Airline Business Class lounge standard in our book. We’ve actually seen worse in First Class lounges before. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

They are vastly superior to the shower cubicles in the Singapore Airlines SilverKris Business lounge, or even The Private Room, which don’t have their own separate toilet.

We’d go as far to say that if you need a shower between Singapore Airlines flights you should probably consider using up a Priority Pass visit to have one here, even if you have access to the SilverKris lounge.

Lounge decor

This new lounge is tastefully decorated and benefits from an abundance of natural light from the floor to ceiling windows running its length down one side.

Bar Seating
Oodles of natural light on a bright sunny day in the Marhaba Lounge, quite a contrast from many others. (Photo: MainlyMiles)
Shower Plant.jpg
(Photo: MainlyMiles)

Apart from the carpet, which was an interesting choice, we thought the decor was really nice especially in the bathrooms and shower rooms which are very tastefully finished.

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Artwork along the corridor leading to the toilets and showers. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Summary

A refreshing new lounge with access via Priority Pass among other schemes is always a welcome addition at Changi’s Terminal 3. This one in fact replaces the Dnata lounge, so there’s no net gain, but we think they have done a nice job with it.

The Wi-Fi was painfully slow, effectively unusable, and we can only hope this is a temporary issue since it’s such an essential feature of an airport lounge, especially for overseas travellers. Thankfully the Changi Airport network is there to fall back on.

Aside from that there’s very little to criticise, and lots to applaud. The decor is nice, natural light is abundant, the food and drink selection is very good and the showers are excellent.

Shower Tiles.jpg
(Photo: MainlyMiles)

The reception staff were friendly and welcoming, even with all our silly questions about the access policy! Service staff were keeping the place immaculate, with food refreshed regularly and empty plates cleared quickly.

Overview
(Photo: MainlyMiles)

If you’re flying with Singapore Airlines from T2 or T3 in Economy or Premium Economy and have a Priority Pass membership or a similar lounge access card, this is an excellent lounge to head to prior to your flight, certainly the best alternative in T3.

Remember the Plaza Premium Lounge in T1 (at the end of the T3-T1 SkyTrain by the ‘C’ gates, and indeed closer than this particular lounge to many of T3’s ‘B’ gates) is also an option we rate highly.

Review Summary
Review: Marhaba Lounge Singapore Changi T3
Summary: A very nice new lounge, replacing the former Dnata facility in T3. We were particularly impressed by the food choices and the excellent showers. The only downside, surprisingly, was unusably slow Wi-Fi.
Author: Andrew
Visited: June 2019
Among third-party lounges:
Rating: 4star
4 out of 5

See also:

Sats Premier Lounge Singapore Changi T3
Plaza Premium Lounge Singapore Changi T1

(Cover Photo: MainlyMiles)

2 comments

  1. Hi Andrew, I think you may have mistakenly referred to “B” gates as “A” gates in your articles. The Marhaba Lounge is closer to the “B” gates. Thus, the article should read: “It’s a slightly less glamorous route, but it may save a minute or two especially if you’ve come from the ‘B’ gates or the SkyTrain.” and “Remember the Plaza Premium Lounge in T1 (at the end of the T3-T1 SkyTrain by the ‘C’ gates, and indeed closer than this particular lounge to many of T3’s ‘B’ gates) is also an option we rate highly.”

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