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?
Opening Times: 5.30am to 2.30am
Multi-standard Power Sockets: Yes
USB Charging Sockets: No
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
After the check in process a private immigration channel just a short walk away takes passengers through to the transit area.
You emerge from private immigration close to the bottom of the escalator leading to the SilverKris lounges and The Private Room.
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.
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.
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’).
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.
Once past the entrance podium, a long corridor leads to the concierge desk, and you are finally inside.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.