If you’re travelling from Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 3 soon without access to the Singapore Airlines SilverKris lounge, or you’d rather avoid the crowds at that temporary facility while it’s home to all Star Alliance lounge-eligible guests, there’s a new pre-flight option back on the list.
It’s also one of the better third-party facilities in the Terminal, in the form of the Marhaba lounge, which first opened in May 2019, boasting capacity for 130 passengers, runway views and top-notch shower suites.
It even doubled as a temporary KrisFlyer Gold lounge from late July 2019, an arrangement designed to last two years while SIA’s SilverKris lounge revamp took shape on the other side of the departures hall, however the entire facility was prematurely closed in late March 2020 due to COVID-19.
At this stage there is no indication that Singapore Airlines intends to direct KFEG passengers to this lounge again, though that would certainly help the overcrowding issues at the temporary SilverKris facility while the revamp project remains ongoing.
This reopening complements Marhaba’s existing lounge at Changi Terminal 1 (formerly branded dnata), and becomes a third non-airline-operated option in T3, with the SATS Premier and Ambassador Transit lounges also available.
The Marhaba Lounge at Changi T3 was a 24-hour facility prior to COVID-19, but is currently open during the following restricted hours:
- Daily: 4pm onwards (until last flight departs)
The final T3 departures are at around 1.30am to 2.30am, depending on the day of the week.
This makes the lounge an option for those with departures in the busy evening and midnight period, including a range of Singapore Airlines flights.
Unfortunately at this stage there is no morning opening window at Marhaba for T3’s smaller departure ‘rush’ between around 7am and 10am, but hopefully extended operating hours will be back as passenger numbers increase in the months ahead.
Meanwhile the SATS Premier and Ambassador lounges are options at these timings, with both remaining open 24 hours a day.
As a third-party facility, most travellers will access the Marhaba lounge on the basis of their membership to one of the following access programmes:
- Priority Pass
- LoungeKey (Mastercard)
In all cases when accessing through one of these programs, a maximum three-hour stay is enforced.
Children under six can accompany you into the lounge for free.
Prior to COVID-19, you would be be invited to use the Marhaba Lounge if you were flying in Business Class or First Class, or held 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
At the time of writing we have not clarified whether any of these arrangements have been retained, but if you’re departing with one of these carriers in the coming weeks you might expect to be directed here.
Paid access was previously possible through the Marhaba Services website, at around S$55 for three hours, but this appears not to be possible for the time being. Similarly, Marhaba is not selling access to its lounge in T1 at Changi, which has been open for several months.
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.
The escalator is easy to find, just to the right side of the large Louis Vuitton shop.
The lounge is then on your left as you reach the top of the escalator. Just a few steps along is the lounge entrance.
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.
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 from T1. The lounge is signposted at either escalator, so you won’t get lost.
We reviewed the Marhaba lounge in late June 2019, just a month after it first opened, and on the whole we were impressed.
Food options were plentiful, while shower suites were well finished and immaculately clean.
The woefully-slow Wi-Fi was the only real let down – let’s hope it has improved since then.
While we can’t promise everything has remained the same in the post-COVID reopening, do check out our review for a thorough insight into seating options, F&B and the shower facilities.
Here’s how the food situation looked in the lounge earlier this week, with made-to-order dishes now available due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Other Changi Airport lounges
There are now seven airline and third-party lounges available at Changi Airport’s two operating Terminals, T1 and T3, plus a landside option in Jewel.
- Marhaba Lounge
- Qantas Business Lounge
- SATS Premier Lounge
Both Terminal 2 and Terminal 4 are closed at the moment, though we understand the remodelled T2 will include a Singapore Airlines SilverKris Business Class lounge and a KrisFlyer Gold lounge, but probably not a First Class one.
These will of course be in addition to some inevitable third-party options, like a SATS lounge.
Don’t discount the Plaza Premium T1
With travel restrictions easing, Singapore Airlines already does not fit in Terminal 3 during peak hours, and that means some flights are now departing from the ‘C’ gates in Terminal 1, like they did before COVID-19.
For example, on Friday (25th March), we noticed that three flights departed from T1 gates; SQ352 to Copenhagen / Rome, SQ255 to Brisbane and SQ279 to Adelaide, which used gates C13, C23 and C24 respectively.
In this case the Plaza Premium T1 lounge is far better located than any T3 lounges, as it is for those departing from the high-numbered ‘B’ gates in T3.
We rate the Terminal 1 facility as one of the best third-party options at the airport, but unfortunately it was removed from the Priority Pass and LoungeKey networks in mid-2021.
Luckily for those holding the American Express Platinum Charge card, the Maybank Horizon Visa Signature card and the OCBC Voyage card, T1 Plaza Premium lounge access will continue to be available.
Plaza Premium’s partnership with DragonPass also continues, meaning those holding some CIMB cards, plus UOB Visa Infinite Metal cardholders, still benefit.
Marhaba’s lounge at Changi Airport T3 is welcoming passengers again for the first time in two years, and without the pre-COVID KrisFlyer Elite Gold crowds it should be a great option for a quiet and relaxed pre-flight experience, with a variety of seating options and great shower facilities.
You may even wish to use up one of your Priority Pass visits here even if you have access to the temporary SilverKris lounge, which is turning increasingly into “a zoo” according to many of our readers, during T3’s evening departure rush from around 9pm through to midnight each day.
Ultimately it’s great to see more lounge options at Changi as the airport’s passenger numbers inevitably start to recover thanks to border relaxations.
Let’s look forward to the full SilverKris T3 offering coming on board in the weeks ahead, not to mention the highly-anticipated return of airline-operated oneworld lounges in T1 like the Qantas First, BA and Qatar Airways options.
Things really are looking up for travellers from Singapore in 2022.
(Cover Photo: MainlyMiles)