In late 2017 there were only two oneworld lounges at Singapore Changi Airport. Fast forward to last year and that total had doubled, as Cathay Pacific opened its own facility at Terminal 4 in 2017 and Qantas built a dedicated First Class lounge in late 2019.
This week a fifth option has been added, the Qatar Airways Singapore Premium Lounge. How does it stand up against the competition? We visited on its second day of operation to find out.
Opened: 27th January 2020
Opening Times: 7.55am to 10.55am; 5.25pm to 2.00am
Multi-standard Power Sockets: Yes
USB Charging Sockets: Yes
Wireless Charging: Yes
Dress Code: None
This lounge is available to passengers flying on a Qatar Airways or any oneworld member operated flight:
- in First Class or in Business Class.
- in any class of travel provided they are connecting between oneworld marketed and operated flights on the same day of travel, or before 6am the following day, having arrived in First Class or Business Class with a scheduled flight time longer than 5 hours (e.g. Qantas Business Class SYD-SIN followed by SriLankan Economy Class SIN-CMB, access is permitted). You are required to retain your boarding card from the arriving long-haul flight for lounge access.
Note: Qatar Airways does not include lounge access to those upgrading their Economy tickets to Business Class using Qmiles. The policy also applies to this lounge in Singapore.
What about status holders?
If you hold Qatar Airways Privilege Club Silver, Gold or Platinum status, or are a oneworld Sapphire or Emerald member flying in Economy Class on Qatar Airways, you will instead be directed to the SATS Premier Lounge in Terminal 1.
That’s a rather average facility, so provided it’s between approximately 2pm and midnight we would instead strongly recommend visiting the far superior Qantas Singapore Business Lounge or the British Airways Singapore lounge.
If you’re Qatar Platinum or oneworld Emerald and it’s between 2pm and midnight there’s no contest – take the short walk to the Qantas Singapore First Lounge, which we currently rate as one of the best (if not the best) at Changi.
Passengers travelling in oneworld First Class, for example on a British Airways or Qantas operated flight, may invite one guest into the lounge with them.
The guest must be travelling on a oneworld operated flight in this case, though it does not need to be the same flight as the lead passenger (for example, your guest can be flying Malaysia Airlines Economy Class to Kuala Lumpur).
Those accessing this lounge based on travel in Business Class are not permitted to bring any guests into the lounge with them.
Qatar Airways uses Row 3 check-in desks at Terminal 1, open from 3 hours prior to departure time.
Pro Tip: Qatar Airways participates in the Jewel Early Check-In programme, so you can check-in for your flight and have your boarding card issued up to 12 hours before departure. If you’re departing on the 2am flight, that means you can use this lounge all evening from around 5.30pm.
The Qatar Airways Singapore Premium Lounge is located on Level 3 of Changi Terminal 1’s transit area, one level above the departure concourse.
After clearing the T1 immigration desks, make a left turn towards the C gates, then walk all the way to the end of the concourse to the second escalator, directly in front of you adjacent to gate C1 up to the lounges.
Note that this is not the first escalator as you head towards the C gates marked ‘Lounges’, which in fact leads you up to the BA, Qantas Business and SATS facilities. You have to continue all the way to the end of the concourse, where the C gates themselves begin.
At the top of the escalator take a left turn and you’ll see the lounge entrance ahead, to the right of the Emirates lounge.
This location is also good for oneworld departures if your flight is departing from the C gates, allowing you slightly more time in the lounge before heading to the aircraft than you would otherwise have at the BA or Qantas lounges.
The lounge is also directly at the end of the airside SkyTrain to and from Terminal 3, so if you’re flying Business Class with oneworld carrier SriLankan Airlines on the morning (9.45am) or evening (7.50pm) departures to Colombo – this is a very nicely located new lounge option for you.
Other oneworld passengers who will no doubt be interested in using this new facility include those flying with British Airways, Finnair, Qantas, Malaysia Airlines and Cathay Pacific (if they can face the long trek back to T4 in the latter case).
Like most of its outstation lounges, Qatar Airways has designed the opening hours of its Singapore Premium Lounge to coincide with its three daily flight departures from Changi.
- 7.55am to 10.55am: for QR943 (10.55am)
- 5.25pm to 2.00am: for QR947 (8.25pm) and QR945 (2.00am)
As we predicted when we first revealed the airline was opening its second Asia-Pacific lounge at Changi, the Middle East carrier has opted for an all-evening opening despite the 5+ hour gap between their night time departures to Doha.
Each of Qatar’s three daily flights is operated by an Airbus A350-1000, which means up to 46 of the airline’s Business Class passengers using the lounge at any one time, perhaps a few more in the early evening with some QR945 passengers taking advantage of early check-in at Jewel.
That will make the lounge a good option for oneworld flyers for a more peaceful experience between approximately 8.30pm and 11pm, when very few actual Qatar passengers will be inside.
Opening hours will of course be extended in the event of Qatar Airways flight delays, and will vary slightly at different times of year as the airline’s flight schedules alter.
One of the lounge staff also let slip to us that they have so far been staying open to accommodate JL38 passengers to Tokyo, who board about 20 minutes after the QR945 customers.
I spent the morning opening hours in the Qatar lounge prior to a Malaysia Airlines flight to Kuala Lumpur in Business Class, the day after it first opened.
Later that evening, Eddie followed me to KL on an evening flight after work and sampled the different food and beverage options during the lounge’s evening opening period, so our review covers both visits on the same day.
Once you enter the lounge through the automatic glass door you’ll be welcomed in the reception foyer, decked out in airline’s classic marble.
It’s a slightly different setup compared to some of Qatar’s other lounges, with the signature fountain missing, replaced by a simple yet elegant table centrepiece featuring an orchid plant.
There is a welcome podium on the right side, but the entrance to the lounge itself is in the left corner after you enter, past a decorative LED wall pattern (another first for the airline at an outstation lounge).
If you prefer to store your larger bags while using the lounge, there is a luggage room just behind the welcome podium. They also offer a complimentary garment steaming service if you are looking to freshen up your travel clothes.
As you follow the corridor round into the lounge, there’s a flight information display. It only shows Qatar Airways departures, so if you’re travelling on another oneworld flight you’ll have to keep track of the time and boarding status by other means.
The lounge has total seating capacity for 85 guests, including 44 in the dining and bar sections.
That makes it the smallest oneworld lounge at Changi. Here’s how it compares in seating capacity terms with the others:
- British Airways: 226
- Cathay Pacific: 200
- Qantas First: 240
- Qantas Business: 570
Given that the maximum number of Qatar Airways Business Class passengers using the lounge at any one time should be 46, there is good scope for the airline to accommodate a number of guests flying on other oneworld airlines.
There are two primary seating areas in the lounge. The first one is as soon as you enter, with low armchairs on the left hand side close to a wall-mounted TV and self-serve refreshment selection.
This is a large section, but only accommodates a maximum of 10 guests, which goes to show how much personal space Qatar is offering each passenger.
Each seat has its own side table and most have a reading light and power sockets too. The self-serve refreshments selection in the middle includes a soft drinks fridge, fruit and snacks, though you’ll be pleased to know it’s only a short stroll through to the bar in the adjacent section.
Almost immediately you can see that Qatar has moved slightly away from the brighter, marble-clad style seen at its other facilities like the Bangkok Premium Lounge, in favour of modern, darker palette with more muted tones.
Certain decorative elements are even moving towards the “high end apartment” style, reminding us of Cathay Pacific’s latest lounges.
The second seating area is at the far end of the lounge, once you’ve turned right past the martini bar and brasserie sections, where you’ll also find some double-seat sofa options and more solo seats.
Many of the tables in this lounge have in-built wireless charging sections, allowing you to simply rest your device on that part of the table for it to charge without the need for any cables or adapters.
This is a great idea and worked well with my iPhone. If you have a thicker case on your device you may need to remove it first for the wireless charging to work.
The solo seats in vivid purple by the window in this section, which also swivel if that’s your thing, do seem a slightly odd choice and don’t feel altogether in keeping with the lounge’s more muted tones.
It’s worth noting that in this second seating section at the back of the lounge, all seats share a table with their neighbour, unlike the dedicated table for each seat in the section closer to the entrance.
The seats are also closer together, so if you value a bit more privacy or have a few gadgets to spread out, the first seating section is the one to pick.
Qatar has a brand new take on the popular ‘Productivity pod’, styling a new version for the Singapore lounge which is more focused on relaxation than getting work done.
There are five of these large and very private screened rest areas along the right wall of the first seating section as you first enter the lounge.
These are equipped with an adjustable reading light, where you simply tap the top of the light fitting to adjust it through the different intensity settings. There is also a multi-standard plug power point and two USB charging sockets.
Privacy in these seats is excellent, with the access ‘tucked’ around at the wall side giving you a great feeling of seclusion once you’re settled inside.
The centrepiece of the lounge, where you turn right from the first main seating area, is the Martini Bar.
This impressive installation is housed under a circular chandelier, and has a full-time bartender to attend to your needs whether you approach the bar or pull up a pew on one of the eight stools around the outside.
There are also four bar-height tables along the window, each with an attractive stand-alone gold lamp and views of the airport’s ‘Cactus Garden’.
The sides of the Martini Bar itself are finished in a stunning hexagonal tiling pattern, while the countertops are finished with a beautiful white marble surface. The quality of the materials used in this lounge is certainly very premium.
The bartender will pass you the drinks menu, which includes a selection of cocktails as well as the lounge’s wine and Champagne offering.
(click to enlarge)
(click to enlarge)
Bear in mind that the cocktail selection is not offered during the lounge’s morning opening hours, however spirits such as whiskey are still available alongside the wine and Champagne selection.
When Eddie was at the bar during the lounge’s evening opening he also clarified with the staff what they could and couldn’t provide, and we’re happy to report that they will go ‘off-piste’ with your requests where they can.
If you’re hankering after that Espresso Martini after a long day’s work (or play) – that’s no problem in this lounge.
Pro Tip: Ask the bartender for an “A380” cocktail. It’s not on the menu but takes pride of place as their signature mix – with secret ingredients!
After the “A380”, Eddie went for the “Singapore Delight”. Both were quite similar ice-blended drinks with a strawberry base, so we suspect the ingredients of the “A380” aren’t far off.
Both cocktails boasted good flavours, weren’t overly sweet, and packed a good punch of alcohol.
For close to an hour in the morning I chatted with Feng, the bartender at the Martini Bar, about all sorts of things including airline lounges, hiking in Nepal and our favourite bars in Singapore. He’d joined from another lounge at Changi and is an expert in the wines being served – a real asset to Qatar Airways.
That personal connection (for those who want it) is important and it’s nice to find it here. I can imagine the Martini bar being a hive of conversation prior to the busy evening Qatar and oneworld departures, which is a relatively unique selling feature in airport lounges these days.
A small dining section to the left of the Martini Bar is known as the ‘Garden Bistro’, after its real living green wall running the length of one side.
There are 12 seats in this section and in comparison to the other areas of the lounge, this one has a brighter, airier feel – more suited to daytime dining.
Diners here benefit from being close to the Martini Bar and the self-serve buffet section. A comprehensive selection of TWG teas was on offer alongside an instant hot water tap.
A WMF bean-to-cup coffee machine is capable of producing a comprehensive list of caffeinated beverages.
The Brasserie is the main dining area, where guests are encouraged to sit for breakfast and evening meals. There are 16 seats in total, across eight tables.
The ambience is a little darker than the Garden Bistro. Tables can be combined to cater for larger parties, but the majority of guests will likely be solo diners or couples and the tables are well spaced, maintaining a good level of privacy.
Each table is dressed with individual salt and pepper mills, plus olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Other condiments are available at the salad bar.
Wine and Champagne
With Qatar Airways pouring Bollinger in its Bangkok Premium Lounge (which also serves some First Class passengers), Laurent-Perrier in its Heathrow Premium Lounge and Billecart-Salmon in Paris, we were keen to see which Champagne would be served in Singapore.
It’s not disappointing, with the airline opting for the well-rated Veuve Cliquot Brut, alongside a Bollinger Rosé. Both are non-vintage, but this is a Business Class lounge.
As always, we check on the Vivino ratings for the Champagnes, wines and port offered.
Excellent scores for the Champagnes here – Veuve and Bollinger are top drops in our book.
The six wines and the port also generally score well for a Business Class lounge, with a nice variety of nationalities represented to hopefully suit everyones taste.
First stop at 8am was definitely the dining room, where I ordered a cappuccino to peruse the breakfast menu with.
The selections are quite extensive, with local dishes like congee, Arabic-influenced dishes like foul medames, or your regular eggs prepared pretty much any way to like, with a selection of sides.
I opted for the poached eggs on English muffin, with a side of beef bacon.
The egg was perfectly cooked with a runny yolk and the English muffin was nicely toasted. Beef bacon is what it is – but perfectly ok. Overall the dish was nicely presented and hit the spot for a filling breakfast.
Between the Martini Bar and the Brasserie there’s an extensive self-serve Salad Bar, where you can pick up snacks to go with your drinks or a DIY starter or food accompaniment.
A range of options here include fruit, breads, salad and traditional Arabic mezze. There’s also a good choice of cheeses and cold cuts, plus bread.
In the evening the salad bar was largely the same, though the breads became more dinner-oriented with croissants, bagels and jam swapped out for baguettes and rolls.
There are a good range of options on the lunch and dinner menu.
|Dinner Menu p1
(click to enlarge)
|Dinner Menu p2
(click to enlarge)
When Eddie visited the lounge for dinner during the evening opening hours, he opted for the slider to start, followed by the beef tenderloin.
Eddie couldn’t stop by a Qatar Airways lounge without sampling some Arabic cuisine however, so he picked up a bowl of tabbouleh and some pita breads from the salad bar as a pre-appetiser.
First sign the food is cooked fresh – being asked how you would like your burger and steak to be cooked. Eddie went for medium rare and it didn’t disappoint.
The slider was cooked as requested and despite its basic appearance was very pleasant. The ingredients seem to be fresh and well seasoned. The chips were fresh and crispy.
The steak was a little tough, and in the absence of a steak knife, was a little challenging to cut but the flavour was good.
The fondant potatoes had a nice bite and the black pepper sauce was a very tasty accompaniment.
After dinner Eddie ordered a glass of the Bollinger rosé and retired to the martini bar for a green tea tiramisu.
Even though the lounge was moderately busy in the evening, the entire meal service was concluded in around 25 minutes from ordering. That’s perfect for those dropping in for a quick visit on a short turn around. The staff were also attentive and quick to update on the progress of your food after you’ve ordered.
Joining the lounge Wi-Fi is straightforward, with the network ID and password displayed at almost all seating locations. Simply join the (protected) network, enter the password when prompted, and you’re online.
No fancy sign-on pages or terms to accept – just simple.
We did three separate Wi-Fi speed tests in the lounge, two in the morning and one in the evening, with the following results:
There was no significant difference in the Wi-Fi speeds during the day, so we’ll settle on an average here:
- Download: 21.9 Mbps
- Upload: 7.3 Mbps
These are fast and perfectly useable speeds, though they do fall a bit short of what we’ve started seeing elsewhere lately.
In our recent review of the nearby Qantas Singapore Business Lounge we picked up a lightning fast 62 Mbps download and 134 Mbps upload speed, so while fast this one isn’t going to win a speed test at Changi.
It’s almost a given these days for a new airport lounge to include plentiful multi-standard power sockets and USB charging outlets for us to keep our devices charged during our journey.
The Qatar Singapore Premium Lounge is no exception. Almost every seat has a power socket and USB. Even the high tables in the Martini bar are equipped with USB charging outlets under the table.
The addition of wireless charging sections on some side tables is a nice modern touch and a brilliant convenience when travelling, saving you from digging around for that knotted cable stuck at the bottom of your bag. We hope to see a lot more of these in upcoming lounges.
There is a small business centre near the lounge entrance forming part of the first seating area, with two Windows-based computer workstations and a shared printer.
There are also charging sockets and some space to spread out paperwork on each desk, but do note that the lounge asks you not to consume food or drink in this area.
A range of newspapers and magazines are provided along the right wall as you enter the lounge from the reception foyer.
During our visit publications included Wired, Inc., Forbes, National Geographic and Grazia.
There are a total of five private shower suites in the Qatar Singapore Premium Lounge. You’ll find them at the far end of the facility where the toilets are also located, beyond the Martini Bar and Brasserie sections.
In each of the men’s and ladies’ sections there are two shower rooms, one of which has a toilet inside (the one on the left at the men’s side), while the other does not.
Notable inclusions in these shower rooms include a vanity seat and a luggage area for opening a carry on suitcase. Both these are commonly missing from shower rooms and shows some careful thought has been put into the design process, which is unusual and much welcomed!
In case you’re worried that the shower room with the toilet sacrifices luggage storage space, that’s not an issue.
There is also a larger accessible shower room, which the staff will no doubt allocate to you if demand requires and it is not otherwise needed.
There are also toilets for men and women, which follow the individual room philosophy with their own sink and toiletries provided.
Toiletries in the bathrooms and shower suites are by Paris-based Diptique, a shift from the usual Rituals branded items the airline tends to use in its Doha lounges.
A hand lotion and hand wash are provided next to the sink, plus a shampoo and body wash in the shower cubicle itself.
Amenities in each shower room also include a hairdryer, changing / vanity seat under the counter, a dental kit (with a decent toothbrush!), cotton buds and a shower cap.
The rain head shower was hot and refreshing with good pressure and, for the few minutes I used it, didn’t suffer from the all too common temperature variations often experienced in lounges and hotels.
Shaver sockets are also provided.
Each shower room also has a hairdryer in the drawer below the sink.
There is a prayer room in both the men’s and ladies’ toilets and shower sections, with a foot bath and towels also provided.
Although the Qatar Singapore Premium Lounge opened its doors to customers yesterday, the official launch party is set for 14th February 2020 – to coincide with the Singapore Airshow.
In a sense therefore, the lounge is operating in ‘soft opening’ mode for the next couple of weeks, so you can expect some refinements in the product offerings and service between now and mid-February.
That said, the service we received and the food and beverage options we sampled were fantastic, almost faultless, during our two visits. The hard product finish and cleanliness throughout was also without complaint.
There’s really nothing we think needs to be improved, and so any changes now are likely to be minor.
Qatar Airways has picked the staff well from our two visits, with a different ‘crew’ on duty for each of the two shifts.
That’s important because it’s half the battle with making a success of these facilities, as we noted in our recent review of the Qantas Singapore First Lounge.
When we each arrived at different times we were personally welcomed, offered a tour of the lounge and shown to a seat (and no, they didn’t know who we were!). That’s the sort of service expected from a First Class lounge and perhaps again reflects the ability to provide more personal attention in a smaller facility like this.
There’s no doubt whatsoever – Qatar Airways just reset Business Class lounge standards at Singapore Changi Airport. This facility beats the Singapore Airlines SilverKris First Class lounges hands-down, and even comes close to the standards set at the new Qantas First Lounge just down the corridor in Terminal 1.
Staff were friendly, accommodating, but most of all – proud of their new lounge.
If the staff friendliness and interaction, food and beverage quality and lounge upkeep remains as it is today – this one is a winning formula for Changi Airport and nothing comes close in the Business Class space.
While its primary purpose is to serve Qatar Airways Business Class customers, which we think it will do very well, oneworld passengers flying in Business and First Class from Changi are also set to benefit.
This is the only oneworld lounge boasting morning opening, and with à la carte dining, private shower suites, relaxation pods and a martini bar to enjoy, it sits significantly above the competition at Changi.
|Review:||Qatar Airways Singapore Premium Lounge|
|Summary:||An elegant, luxury finish, professional and personable service, à la carte dining and a tended martini bar. What more can you ask of a Business Class lounge – this is now Changi’s best.|
|Among airline-operated Business Class lounges:|
5 out of 5
(Cover Photo: MainlyMiles)