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Review: St. Regis Bali Pool Suite
Review: St. Regis Bali Lagoon Villa
Review: St. Regis Bali Restaurants & Activities
Review: Premier Lounge Bali Denpasar Airport
Review: Qatar Airways Business Class 777 Bali To Doha
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We were driven from the St. Regis Bali to the airport at around 1:30PM. Ford was flying to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific at 4PM, while I was flying to Doha on Qatar Airways at 5:30PM.
The transfer to the airport is included in the rate at the St. Regis, and due to car availability we were even “upgraded” to a Mercedes, which was quite nice.
The improvement of infrastructure in Bali since I last visited a couple of years ago is nothing short of impressive. There’s now a direct bridge between Nusa Dua and Denpasar, which makes the drive to the airport much quicker, given the condition of roads otherwise.
Not only was the bridge impressive, but I was amazed as we pulled up to the airport. Up until a couple of years ago Denpasar Airport was pretty terrible. It was small and outdated. Well, they did an amazing job expanding the airport, and it’s now actually a pleasant one.
Upon arrival we bid farewell to our driver from the St. Regis and walked down the air conditioned hallway to the departures hall.
I was speechless as we entered the terminal. Ford couldn’t fully appreciate my amazement given that he never saw the previous airport, but I was amazed to the point that I was mumbling expletives. The terminal was gorgeous.
Before entering the check-in hall we had to go through an initial security screening. This is presumably just to look for weapons, drugs, etc., since both your checked bags and carry-ons are screened.
We first headed to Cathay Pacific check-in, given that Ford’s flight was earlier. After that we headed to Qatar Airways check-in, which just opened at 2PM.
We were there as it opened, and I was number two in the business class line. The guy being helped in the business class line seemed to have some issues with his ticket, so I had to wait for nearly 10 minutes while his check-in was being processed. Once I was helped, the friendly associate had my boarding pass printed within a minute, and also gave me a lounge invitation.
After that we had to queue for immigration, where the lines were very short — we were through in a matter of minutes. Then we just had to go through security, where lines were once again nice and short.
We then proceeded through the duty free shop into the terminal (I love how some airports literally force you to walk through a duty free store to leave the country — I hope the retailer is paying super-high rent).
The terminal had quite a bit high-end retail, ranging from Gucci to Montblanc.
The terminal even had a pretty cool looking faux-temple.
I quickly spotted the Premier Lounge, which was located a level up from the main concourse. It looked like a huge improvement over the old lounge at the airport.
There were a couple of other lounges up there, including another contract lounge as well as the Garuda Indonesia lounge. You could take either a tiny elevator or the stairs up a level, which didn’t seem quite sufficient for the quantity of passengers presumably moving between levels (an escalator seems like it would have been much more practical).
The Premier Lounge was located at the far end of the hallway.
There was signage indicating all the airlines which use this lounge for their passengers. As you can see, just about all airlines except Garuda Indonesia do.
At the entrance we presented our lounge invitations and were promptly admitted. The lounge was packed-as-could-be when we first arrived, as there was barely an empty seat. The lounge emptied out at around 3:30PM, as all the people on the 4PM bank of flights departed. So the below pictures are partly taken before and after the rush.
The lounge consists of one large room with fairly modern furniture, at least compared to the old lounge. The furniture did feel a bit mis-matched, as if they bought what was on sale and then tried to make it look presentable.
There were wooden beams between the floor and ceiling, which also had a pretty cool wooden roof display.
The types of seating were varied, from moon-shaped couches to individual chairs.
While still part of the same room, towards the back of the lounge were some slightly more partitioned off seats, which I preferred for the privacy.
There were more private seats in the back left of the lounge as well.
In addition to the “indoor” seating, there was also a terrace overlooking the rest of the terminal.
There was a small room for kids, as well as a rather basic looking business center.
The buffet was the centerpiece of the lounge, and started close to the entrance. While the setup itself looked quite nice, the food spread was a bit underwhelming.
The spread consisted of all kinds of seemingly random things, from cereal to fruit to muffins to salad to soup.
There were also several hot dishes, though they mostly didn’t look good to me.
On top of that there was an espresso machine, hot water with several types of teabags, as well as a fridge with soft drinks and beer.
There was a bar which indicated that there was a “special of the day,” which was spaghetti carbonara.
The restrooms in the lounge weren’t properly cleaned and smelled terrible.
At around 3:30PM I brought Ford to his departure gate, where he shortly boarded. After that I headed back to the lounge.
I got caught up on some work, and at 4:30PM decided to head to my departure gate, for the supposed 4:45PM boarding and 5:30PM departure time. I was departing from gate 9, which was quite a haul from the lounge. It really impresses me how much this airport has expanded, as previously you could walk from the lounge to any gate within a couple of minutes.
The walk in the new terminal is especially long, given that the gates are along a single, long corridor. It’s not like there are planes on both sides, a train system, or anything — you simply walk the length of the wingspan of however many planes away your gate is.
After a bit of a haul I finally made it to gate 9, where my Qatar Airways 777 was parked next to an Air Asia A330.
The gate area was packed. I’m used to rather chaotic boarding processes, though I don’t think I can properly sum up just how chaotic this one was. It wasn’t the quantity of people, but rather how they acted. When you combine a super hot terminal with 370+ of the pushiest people I’ve ever interacted with, it made for quite a boarding process.
Also, maybe I’m in the wrong here, but I’m not sure I understand people who “fan” themselves in a hot gate area. It’s one thing if you actually have a proper fan, but for those who are literally taking a single, flimsy boarding pass and “fanning” themselves with it, I imagine they’re heating themselves up rather than cooling themselves off.
I tried to board pretty quickly because I wanted to grab pictures of the cabin, or else I would have just stood back and watched everyone board.
Sure enough at around 4:50PM boarding was called, and both business and economy were boarded at the same time through separate lanes.
Qatar Airways 777 boarding Denpasar Airport
After the boarding experience I was ready for a glass of bubbly!
Denpasar Airport Lounge bottom line
The improvements at Denpasar Airport over the past couple of years really caught me off guard. The airport is now actually quite nice, while previously it was a bit of a dump. Is the Premier Lounge one I’d make an effort to spend any time in? Nope, but it’s certainly better than nothing, and also better than the old lounge.
So overall I was impressed by was the new airport, rather than the new lounge.
Anyone else as impressed by the new Denpasar Airport as I am?