Review: Premier Lounge Bali Denpasar Airport

Introduction
Review: Cathay Pacific Lounge San Francisco Airport
Review: Cathay Pacific First Class 777 San Francisco To Hong Kong
Review: Cathay Pacific Arrivals Lounge Hong Kong Airport
Review: Grand Hyatt Hong Kong Grand Suite
Review: Cathay Pacific The Pier First Class Lounge Hong Kong Airport
Review: Cathay Pacific Business Class A330 Hong Kong To Kuala Lumpur
Review: Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur
Review: Malaysia Airlines First Class Lounge Kuala Lumpur Airport
Review: Malaysia Airlines Business Class 737 Kuala Lumpur To Bali
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
Review: St. Regis Doha
Review: Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge Doha Airport
Review: Qatar Airways First Class 777 Doha To Abu Dhabi
Review: Le Meridien Abu Dhabi
Review: Rosewood Abu Dhabi
Interlude: 30 Hours In Abu Dhabi
Review: Etihad US Pre-Clearance Lounge Abu Dhabi Airport
Review: Etihad First Class A380 Abu Dhabi To New York
Review: Le Parker Meridien New York


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.

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St. Regis Bali driveway

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.

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St. Regis Bali Mercedes airport transfer

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St. Regis Bali Mercedes airport transfer

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 It was small and outdated.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.

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Bali Denpasar Airport entrance

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.

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Bali Denpasar Airport departures hall

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Bali Denpasar Airport departures hall

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.

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Denpasar Airport initial security checkpoint

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.

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Bali Airport Qatar Airways check-in

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Bali Airport Qatar Airways check-in

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.

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Bali Airport Qatar Airways business class check-in

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.

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Bali Airport immigration

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).

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Bali Airport duty free shopping

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Bali Airport duty free shopping

The terminal had quite a bit high-end retail, ranging from Gucci to Montblanc.

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Bali Airport duty free shopping

The terminal even had a pretty cool looking faux-temple.

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Bali Airport terminal

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.

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Bali Airport Premier Lounge view

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).

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Bali Airport stairs & elevator to lounges

The Premier Lounge was located at the far end of the hallway.

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Walkway to Premier Lounge Bali Airport

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.

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Eligible airlines for Premier Lounge Bali Airport

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.

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Premier Lounge Bali Airport seating

There were wooden beams between the floor and ceiling, which also had a pretty cool wooden roof display.

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Premier Lounge Bali Airport seating

The types of seating were varied, from moon-shaped couches to individual chairs.

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Premier Lounge Bali Airport seating

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Premier Lounge Bali Airport seating

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Premier Lounge Bali Airport seating

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.

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Premier Lounge Bali Airport seating

There were more private seats in the back left of the lounge as well.

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Premier Lounge Bali Airport seating

In addition to the “indoor” seating, there was also a terrace overlooking the rest of the terminal.

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Premier Lounge Bali Airport outdoor seating

There was a small room for kids, as well as a rather basic looking business center.

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Premier Lounge Bali Airport kids room

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Premier Lounge Bali Airport entertainment 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.

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Bali Airport Lounge food spread

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Bali Airport Lounge food spread

The spread consisted of all kinds of seemingly random things, from cereal to fruit to muffins to salad to soup.

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Bali Airport Lounge food spread

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Bali Airport Lounge food spread

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Bali Airport Lounge food spread

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Bali Airport Lounge food spread

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Bali Airport Lounge food spread

There were also several hot dishes, though they mostly didn’t look good to me.

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Bali Airport Lounge food spread

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.

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Bali Airport Lounge espresso machine

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Bali Airport Lounge fridge with drinks

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Bali Airport Lounge tea selection

There was a bar which indicated that there was a “special of the day,” which was spaghetti carbonara.

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Bali Airport Lounge bar

The restrooms in the lounge weren’t properly cleaned and smelled terrible.

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Bali Airport Lounge bathroom

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Bali Airport Lounge restrooms

At around 3:30PM I brought Ford to his departure gate, where he shortly boarded. After that I headed back to the lounge.

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Cathay Pacific 777 Denpasar Airport

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.

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Denpasar Airport terminal

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Denpasar Airport terminal

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.

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Denpasar Airport planes

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.

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Denpasar Airport terminal

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.

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Qatar Airways 777 taking me to Doha

Sure enough at around 4:50PM boarding was called, and both business and economy were boarded at the same time through separate lanes.

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Qatar Airways 777 boarding Denpasar Airport

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Qatar Airways 777 boarding Denpasar Airport

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Qatar Airways 777 boarding Doha 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?

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Comments

  1. It looks like the lounges at DPS are post security unlike at CGK. I had to plan my lounge time around having to also clear security before getting to my boarding gate.

    That outdoor terrace almost reminds me of the International Lounge at TBIT.

  2. I wasn’t especially impressed when I was there in late 2014. They were still building the lounges at that point in time so there really was no lounge. Just an area in the terminal that was roped off. The design shortcomings were evident, including the heat and lack of people movers you note.

    I did experience the old terminal on a domestic flight to JOG. While it doesn’t have the soaring ceilings I don’t remember it being especially inferior to the new international terminal, but was in fact quite similar in it’s lack of apparent organization.

  3. @RakSiam Indonesians can barely manage to get the Jakarta MRT project running, and you expect them to spend time on a train system inside an airport, where walking is a viable option?

  4. I got an incredible gastroenteritis from the food at the old lounge a couple of years ago, which was a real treat on the DPS-HKG-LHR-YYZ route home. It was about 2 months before the stomach was really back to normal. Just a word of caution for those eyeing the buffet!

  5. The food was underwhelming? Come on, it’s crap! Is that a word I can use? It’s the best description I can think of.

  6. Bummer there’s no outside terrace. That was fun to watch landing planes (and have a final pre-flight smoke).

  7. My wife and I were in the lounge a few months ago, and we were pretty unimpressed. We saw the only live roaches on the entire trip near the cereal, which put a damper on the old appetite. Wifi was not working, and the place was just dirty. The crowds were substantial, so finding space was tough. The food, as you stated, was a very mixed bag, so no cohesion there either. If you were patient, you could get drink service at the bar. Put these factors together, and there really isn’t much good to say.

  8. “I hope the retailer is paying super-high rent”

    Why would you wish something like that on hard working people? That is just mean. They’re just trying to earn a living, same as everyone else. They don’t choose the layout of the airport, the people who designed and approved the design are the ones responsible. Also, why would the airport charge high rent for duty free shops they want there to begin with?

  9. My wife and used the Premier lounge in early December for a morning departure. The lounge was not crowded and the bathrooms were clean! This is also the Priority Pass lounge in addition to being the contract lounge for many airlines. I think the best advice is to avoid the lounge during peak periods!

  10. Ben, thanks for another great review. Have you thought about reviewing some domestic US lounges again? Most of such reviews are several years old. I’m sure I’m not the only reader who could benefit from some Admirals Club or Sky Club reviews especially given recent updates in many locations. Just a thought!

  11. The terminal looks aesthetically like a huge improvement. Has the lounge wifi improved? The outdoor terrace was the only redeeming thing about the old lounge. The food looks the same, just presented better. Have they banned smoking in the terminal or do the smoking rooms still smell up the terminal? How are the views from the bridge to the airport?

  12. Granted it’s been ten years since I was there, but that terminal and lounge are an enormous improvement. If they could just do something about the five mile hike to the gates and the scrum during boarding. That, apparently, has not changed.

  13. @Mark,

    In my experience, guys that use the term “bitchy old drag queen” already have the gene.

  14. This is still a HUGE improvement over the old lounge offerings when the “new” international airport first opened a couple of years ago.

    If one scrolls down to post #15 in this Flyertalk thread there’s a Google Maps image of the new highway connecting the east and south parts of Bali to the airport: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/asia/1502604-bali-dps-new-terminal-opened-october-2013-photos.html

    The “old” terminal is domestic-only now.

    Anyone every fly into/out of DPS before they opened the “old” terminal? Goodness gracious what a long way that airport has come…

    Nice trip report, glad to see they “tried” to do better with the new lounge.

  15. I was there in September and actually thought the food and (women’s) bathroom were fine. The WiFi though was almost nonexistent. And, the hike to the gate–11–was not only crazy, but the gate was hidden (it’s downstairs and poorly marked). Between missing the stairs down to the gate the first time by, and having been told by the lounge attendant that it was “only 10 minutes away” (yeah, for an Olympian sprinter), I almost missed the lovely shuttle bus we had to ride from the gate to the plane. (Garuda to SIN)
    BTW, fanning is always effective as long as you are sweating–it’s the evaporation of the sweat that cools you. As an avid fanner, I feel the need to defend us. ; )

  16. Who said anything about a train system? I meant a system of moving walkways like every other modern airport.

  17. The Premier Lounge at Bali airport is not updating the Departures information, at least on 11 january no accurate information was provided. I was told by the lounge staff that they do not take any responsability for the information displayed on the screen and that passengers must check other screens outside the lounge to be sure what is happening with the flights. In general bad service.

  18. At the Premier lounge today the upholstering of the chairs and couches look stained and torn. The wifi doesn’t workz The food looks very unappetizing and I saw a LOT of roaches running around the food stations. Unbelievable! The only thing worth having is a drink, unless you want food poisoning.. The bathrooms smell foul and the shower is in pretty bad shape. I’m surprised the airlines that use this lounge for their passengers haven’t complained! They must improve their standard, because this is far from “premier”!

  19. Just visited the Premier lounge last night – literally saw cockroaches walking on the table. Bathroom was disgusting and the furniture is chipped/worn. Not much food was displayed either. Terrible, terrible, terrible. We left pretty quickly and decided that it wasn’t worth spending time in there.

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