Opening Times: 6am – 1am daily
Wi-Fi: Yes (slow)
Multi-standard Power Sockets: Yes
USB Charging Sockets: Yes
Wireless Charging: Yes (limited)
Dress Code: None
The Marhaba Lounge at Changi Airport Terminal 1 is a third-party facility acting as a contract lounge catering to Business Class passengers departing on several airlines, plus is available to members of various lounge access programmes including Priority Pass holders.
The lounge is located on Level 3 of the departure transit area, after immigration clearance on the right side.
After turning right from immigration, take the first escalator you reach on the left side. The Qantas First and Marhaba lounges are signposted here.
Take a right at the top of the escalator and walk past the entrance to the Qantas First lounge, and you’ll see the Marhaba lounge clearly ahead.
If you’re already in the transit area, for example on a connecting flight or having passed through immigration in another terminal, the lounge is a short walk from the D gates (and the transit SkyTrain from T2), but a slightly longer walk from the C gates (and the transit SkyTrain from T3).
The T1 Marhaba lounge does not currently allow paid access via advance booking or at the reception counter, however you can purchase a 3-hour access in advance via LoungeBuddy at S$57.
The lounge is used as a Business Class lounge by:
- Air China
- Air France*
- Fiji Airways
- Japan Airlines
- Myanmar National Airlines
- Thai Airways International
- Xiamen Air
* Air France La Première (First Class) passengers are directed to the Qantas First Lounge
Alternatively, you can access this lounge using one of the following lounge access programs:
- Priority Pass
In all cases when accessing through one of these programs, a maximum 3 hour stay is enforced, and children aged under six can accompany you for free.
Again, there is no walk-up paid access to this lounge.
Do note that the peak period for this lounge is from late afternoon to around 10.30pm, and during this period access for Priority Pass and those holding other lounge memberships can be restricted.
We used the Priority Pass from my Citi Prestige card, which offers unlimited annual visits for you and up to one guest, to access the lounge at around 12.30pm.
Who is ‘Marhaba’?
Marhaba is the new name for Dnata lounges worldwide since 2019. Dnata is part of the Emirates Group, and previously the Marhaba branding was only used at five third-party lounges at Dubai International Airport.
The group has now largely replaced the Dnata branding to Marhaba at newly opened and re-opened lounges, including this one at Changi, which was previously branded Dnata.
We also have a pre-COVID review of the Marhaba Lounge at Changi Airport Terminal 3.
The lounge is quite dimly lit with subdued lighting, giving it a relaxed moody atmosphere compared to some other lounges.
In terms of layout the Marhaba lounge is one long rectangular facility, effectively split into three different sections.
Behind reception and to the far left is the dining area, immediately behind reception there is a coffee bar and drinks section with high tables, and to the right of reception leading all the way to the far end of the lounge is the main seating area.
Main seating options
Overall the seating capacity of the lounge is just shy of 250, and during our lunchtime visit the space was very empty and peaceful.
Most of the main seating area has low armchairs in pairs ideal for couples.
A cream, light brown and orange colour palette is used for the upholstery.
There are also several pairs facing one another in a quad arrangement, and in the middle many of the seats are set up in trios, so there is a good selection of options for most group sizes and families.
Unfortunately some of the seats are showing their age with stains, while many of the side tables have seen better days with scuff marks and chips – these really look overdue for replacement as they have been around since the lounge’s Dnata days.
Along the right side of this section as you walk through from reception, seats have an internal view over the food court.
On the left side a more peaceful external view is over a small planted courtyard, separating the public area from the transit area.
At the far end of the seating area furthest from reception, two high tables are available, ideal for those working on a laptop, since there is no business centre in this lounge.
There is also a small private function room at the back of the lounge with some leather sofas inside, which was not in use during our visit and was locked.
Some decorative room dividers with ornaments break up the space.
Closer to the bar area, some more high tables are available, with ample charging sockets.
There is also a small seating section directly to the left of the reception desk, next to the dining area, which it appears can be closed off from the rest of the lounge for private functions if necessary, however this was available (and empty!) during our visit.
As you would expect, the Marhaba lounge offers free Wi-Fi, but in terms of the speed it was very underwhelming.
Simply connect to the MARHABA_T1Lounge network. The password is available at reception or by asking the lounge staff.
- Down: 1.94 Mbps
- Up: 1.54 Mbps
- Down: 2.02 Mbps
- Up: 1.84 Mbps
Frankly it is better to use the free Changi Airport public Wi-Fi, which I switched across to since I had some work to catch up on, which boasted speeds more than ten times faster than Marhaba’s own network.
There are power outlets at practically every seat in this lounge. Though the format differs slightly, these are all multi-standard sockets with USB charging too.
Most of the sockets are located at the front of the shared table between the seat pairs, which provides relatively easy access.
If you look closely in the middle section of the main seating area there are also a few seats in the ‘trio’ sections with wireless charging pads installed – but these are few and far between.
The lounge offers a limited selection of reading materials at a library section right towards the back.
There is also a similar section opposite the bar area.
Toilets and showers
There are four unisex showers in the lounge, located along with the toilets at the back of the lounge beyond the dining section.
The showers each have their own sink and toilet, but these are used generally just as toilets alone when the shower is not in use (in addition to some toilet-only cubicles), so unfortunately cleanliness does suffer due to heavy footfall.
Towels are available on request.
A wall-mounted hairdryer and shaver socket are available.
Unfortunately, like some of the lounge furniture, the showers have seen better days.
Cleanliness aside, some of the mirror lights weren’t working and the generic soap dispensers, designed to house two different amenities, were only filled on one side with an unbranded mystery substance (presumably – cheap shower gel!).
That said, water pressure and temperature were good and so these showers will do the job if you simply need to freshen up before your flight.
Prior to COVID-19, Hudson Coffee baristas were on hand to offer specialty coffees in the morning hours at the bar area, but this service was not operating during our afternoon visit and it’s unclear whether it remains suspended.
Nonetheless, a regular bean-to-cup coffee machine is available all day and will prepare you espresso, cappuccino, latte, flat white and a few other options.
A hot water tap is located alongside, with a selection of Dilmah teabags.
Soft drinks such as Coke, Sprite, tonic water and juices were available in the chiller, along with canned Tiger and Asahi beer.
At the bar area, which is not manned and relies on self-service, three different spirits were offered – Absolut Vodka, Bacardi and Chivas Regal Whisky.
Ice and lemon are also available.
Strangely, there was no gin available, which seems a strange omission.
The wine is also located in this section.
Two varieties of white wine and two varieties of red wine were available.
Here are the wines currently on offer in the lounge, along with their Vivino ratings.
- Somerton Chardonnay, 2021, Australia: 3.3 stars
- Woolshed Sauvignon Blanc, 2022, Australia: 3.1 stars
- Inspired Company Cabernet Merlot, 2019, Australia: 3.4 stars
- Woolshed Cabernet Sauvignon, 2021, Australia: 3.1 stars
These aren’t amazing ratings, but we’ve seen worse in third-party lounges and at least there is a choice for both red and white wine drinkers.
No champagne or sparking wine is served in this lounge.
At the bar there were also packs of peanuts provided to accompany your drink, but you could easily take a pack with you to munch on during your onward travels.
Right at the far end of the lounge furthest from the dining area, there’s another drinks section with another coffee machine, hot water tap, teas, spirits and chilled drinks.
No one was using this at all during our visit, so if it’s a bit crowded around the bar area this is potentially one to make a beeline for.
Also – pro tip – since the fridges back here aren’t being opened and closed nearly as much as the main one, and the drinks have presumably been in there for ages, they are noticeably colder. No one wants a warm beer – these ones back here are perfectly chilled!
As mentioned earlier, the dining area is at the far left side of the lounge after you enter.
A buffet selection is presented in an L-shape across the right hand wall.
Dining tables in this section include banquette seating with some power sockets near the floor level.
The high table in the dining area provides stools and plenty of power sockets for those who want to work on their laptops or other devices while dining, with six seats in total here.
The food selection was quite decent, with a variety of salads, sandwiches, soups and hot food.
- Macaroni and Bell Pepper Salad in Vinaigrette Dressing
- Edamame Bean Salad
- Thai Salad
The two salads we tried were actually very good – we really wish Singapore Airlines would offer healthier options like this in its SilverKris lounges, where the sea of ‘brown food’ takes over and a sad-looking neglected salad of a few lettuce leaves in the corner is all that’s typically offered in this department!
These went quite nicely with a glass off the Woolshed Sauvignon Blanc – not the best scoring wine out there but acceptable nonetheless.
- Cream of Mushroom Soup
- Japanese Clear Soup
Bread and butter is available to accompany the soups.
- Japanese Beef Curry
- Sweet and Sour Fish
- Chicken Rendang
- Paneer Mutter Masala
- Spaghetti Aglio Olio
- Japanese Streamed Rice
I tried the Sweet and Sour Fish with Japanese Steamed Rice, which was ok but not remarkable.
- Turkey Ham and Cheese Croissant
- Cauliflower, Corn and Mayonnaise sandwich
The sandwich selection was simple with two options offered.
These are good for ‘grab and go’, though do note there is a sign alongside asking you to consume all products in the lounge itself – not uncommon and probably not enforced unless you’re piling the whole tray into your carry-on then making a beeline for the door!
Cutlery, chopsticks and condiments like ketchup and chilli sauce are provided.
For dessert, thee different varieties of cake slices were available, but these were nothing to write home about.
There was also a fresh fruit bowl and chilled cut fruits available alongside.
One local staple missing here is Laksa, which you’ll find at the other T1 Priority Pass option – the SATS Premier Lounge.
The Marhaba lounge was quiet during our visit and apparently remains so until mid-afternoon, so it was a very peaceful experience.
The food and beverage selection was quite good, and ample device charging was available.
On the downside the Wi-Fi was very slow by today’s standards, plus some of the furniture needs to be reupholstered or replaced, with stains on many of the chairs and scuff marks on the tables. The showers have also seen better days.
| 3.5 / 5
among third-party airport lounges
Marhaba Lounge Changi T1
Quiet and subdued during our visit, the Marhaba lounge was a relaxing pre-flight experience with a decent food and beverage selection. However, furniture is looking dated and in need of replacement, Wi-Fi is too slow, and the shower cleanliness could be improved.
|Visited: December 2022|
(Cover Photo: MainlyMiles)