Review: Singapore Airlines The Private Room

Introduction
ANA First Class Chicago to Tokyo Narita
ANA Suite Lounge Tokyo Narita
Thai Airways First Class Tokyo Narita to Bangkok
Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport
Singapore Airlines Silver Kris Lounge Bangkok
Singapore Airlines Business Class Bangkok to Singapore
W Sentosa Cove Singapore
Hilton Singapore
Singapore Airlines The Private Room
Singapore Airlines First Class Singapore to Seoul Incheon
Singapore Airlines Silver Kris Lounge Seoul Incheon
Singapore Airlines First Class Seoul Incheon to San Francisco


Note: I visited The Private Room about a year ago, so feel free to check out that review as well, which is a bit more detailed.

We left the Hilton at 7AM and made it to Changi Airport by 7:30AM for our 9:25AM flight. Unlike the last time I flew Singapore first class out of Changi, I actually remembered to use the drive up first class check-in area this time. As you pull up to terminal three there’s a special driveway for first class passengers, where porters are waiting to take your bags as you get out of your taxi.

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First class entrance

Inside the door was a large room with several seating areas. We were invited to take a seat while they processed our check-in. The porter had taken our bags assuming we wanted them checked, though to my surprise when we requested to carry them aboard they didn’t say a word, even though they were well over the 8kg limit.

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First class check-in

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Seating area

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Seating areas
As we waited for our check-in to be processed we were offered cold towels.

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Cold towel

Within a few minutes we were issued boarding passes and invited to use the first class immigration queue which is located just past the entrance of the lounge. Not surprisingly there was no queue there, so we were in the terminal in no time (at Changi Airport, security is at each individual gate).

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Terminal

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First class immigration hallway

The immigration queue lets out just near the center of terminal three, so it was a very short walk to the Silver Kris Lounge.

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Terminal

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Escalator to lounge

Now, The Private Room is interesting on many levels. First of all, up until a couple of years ago they only allowed passengers on revenue first class tickets to use the lounge. If you upgraded or were on an award ticket you could only use the first class lounge and not The Private Room. Fortunately that policy changed, and now passengers on award tickets and upgrades can use the lounge.

The other funny thing about the lounge is that it has to be one of the most guarded out there. First you enter the Silver Kris Lounge, then one of the agents escorts you to the first class lounge, and then The Private Room is located in the back of that. So it’s kind of funny that you have to go through two “layers” of lounges to get there.

The lounge itself is nothing spectacular, in my opinion. It has a very sophisticated feel to it thanks to the dark colors and furniture, but it lacks any amenities that really set it apart.

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The Private Room seating

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The Private Room seating

The Private Room has a small business center, a play room, and also a couple of individual rooms with doors and chairs, but aside from that it’s pretty “no frills.”

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Business center

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Children’s lounge

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Private room

The lounge also has a dining area. It features both a (truly) tiny buffet and then an a la carte menu.

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Dining area

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Dining area

In this case the buffet just had finger sandwiches, juice, muesli, and cereal.

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Finger sandwiches

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Water and juice

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Cereals

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Buffet

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Buffet

The a la carte menu read as follows:

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I didn’t have breakfast at the hotel, so ordered the waffles with berry compote, which were fine — nothing memorable one way or the other.

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Waffles

Service in The Private Room is generally attentive. Regardless of where you’re sitting there are several servers roaming around being as proactive as possible. Interestingly this time around The Private Room was as full as I’ve ever seen it. I’ve never otherwise seen more than one or two other people in it, which I can’t make sense of given how many flights out of Singapore feature a Suites/first class cabin. But this time around there were maybe a dozen passengers in the lounge.

At about 8:45AM we decided to leave the lounge for the gate. Our flight was departing from gate A9, which was less than a five minute walk away.

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Terminal

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Gate

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Entrance to gate area

Security at the gate took about five minutes, which wasn’t too bad given that most passengers had already cleared at that point.

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Screening area

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Gate seating

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Gate seating

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China Eastern A330 at gate next to us

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Views from gate

At around 9AM boarding was called, and on we went for our long journey back home.

The Private Room is a nice lounge, though definitely not in the league of the Emirates A380 lounge in Dubai, the Lufthansa First Class Terminal in Frankfurt, and the Thai Airways first class lounge in Bangkok. I’d say it’s more on par with the Asiana first class lounge in Seoul Incheon, the British Airways Concorde Room in London Heathrow T5, and the Etihad first class lounge in Abu Dhabi.

Comments

  1. wwk5d says

    Too bad SQ doesn’t kick it up a notch with their Private Room. Their on-board services are top notch, I wonder why they don’t give the lounge a little something extra to put it on par with what you get in Frankfurt or Bangkok. I do like their decor though. It definitely screams “sophisticated gentleman’s club”. That lady from the Guardian would have a travel orgasm.

  2. TN says

    I’ve been in the PR 5 times. Each time I ask myself why I am here? It’s nothing spectacular at all! My last Suites flight I did hang out and take a shower.

  3. AdamH says

    PR I thought was nice, but I am disappointed that they don’t kick up their ground services. Either a security post in the PR to go straight to the Tarmac and to the plane or buggy service to the gate. Was not a fan of the 15 min walk to que in a security line before boarding.

  4. DavidB says

    While I agree there is nothing spectacular about the PR, I am not sure what people are expecting? It’s a quiet, refined atmosphere with a very nice menu (evening lamb shanks are superb) and reasonable selection of wines and spirits (okay, not the 40+ Scotch single malts that the FCT/Ls at FRA and MUC boast). I’ve been admitted a half-dozen times earlier this year when passing through SIN in F/Suites and the staff have been pleasant and helpful. On one occasion I was actually overnighting (the only person in the F side of the lounges) and since the lounge closes for a few hours between 2a and 5a I was escorted to a corner of the F lounge where they’d moved the chairs into position and provided me with a duvet and pillows to create a small “suite”. The model here, as with the OZ F lounge at ICN, is the London men’s club…no flashy bells and whistles, or gaudy extremes ala EK. (A place where Rod Stewart could sit waiting for his flight without being ogled and harassed by freeloading elite-status cardholders flying in J.)

    The biggest drawback I find with all SQ’s lounges at SIN is the lack of reading material. I compare this with the STARGold lounge in T3 which overflows with glossy envy-the-rich magazines!

  5. Stephan says

    Wouldn’t it be nice if there was even one lounge in North America that actually could be considered on par with these (as listed at the bottom of your post). It’s such a wasteland here!

    There is nothing wrong with a the quiet sophistication of the lounge, but they do need to do something for the pax analogous to the FCT (still the leader IMO)

  6. lucky says

    @ DavidB — I think ultimately if they wanted to step up their game they could add a spa or something. But I think the biggest area for improvement would be more personalized service to/from the lounge. How much would it cost them to have someone escort you to the lounge from check-in, or more importantly drive you to the gate in a buggy or something?

  7. Carl says

    I thought the buffet in the regular First Class area was much more attractive. The Private Room menu was quite limited. It’s more exclusive but otherwise really not much better than the First Class lounge.

  8. Joe says

    Amol: the T2 F SQ checkin is the first door of the same checkin area as the rest of the terminal, rather than the separate ramp like T3. They do have porters and will escort you into the F private checkin room inside the terminal.

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