The Ambassador Transit Lounge and SATS Premier Lounge are currently the only two options at Changi Terminal 3 for those travelling in Economy or Premium Economy Class without elite status.
I visited both before my flight to Frankfurt. Here’s my take on the Ambassador Transit Lounge.
|🏰 The Romantic Road|
|🍸tl;dr: Ambassador Transit Lounge|
|Poor quality food, no free booze, and an uncomfortable work setup are reasons enough to avoid the Ambassador Transit Lounge|
|The Good||The Bad|
Access and Operating Hours
The Ambassador Transit Lounge in Terminal 3 is open daily from 1000 to 2200 hrs (the photo below shows 1500 to 2300 hrs, but the operating hours have since been updated). Access can be purchased at the door for S$58.85 for a 5-hour stay, and S$15 per additional hour. Separate packages for nap rooms and shower use are also available.
Alternatively, you can access the lounge with one of the following memberships:
- Diners Club
- Priority Pass
Getting to the Lounge
The Ambassador Transit Lounge is on the opposite end of Level 3 as the SilverKris/SATS Premier Lounge, so after you pass through immigration, make a right at the giant Louis Vuitton store and head towards the B gates.
Take the escalator up to Level 3 and keep walking through the deserted food court until you see the entrance to the Ambassador Transit Lounge.
I presented my Priority Pass card, and after a little paperwork, was granted admission.
Unlike the open-air design of the SilverKris and SATS Premier lounges, the Ambassador Transit Lounge is more of an enclosed room. If you’re charitable, you’d call it cozy; if you’re coming from one of the other lounges, you’d call it claustrophobic.
The furniture is in relatively good condition, although there isn’t a lot of variety in terms of seating configurations. For example, there’s no dining tables, which means all your eating will be at an uncomfortable knee height unless you manage to get one of the seven individual chairs with a cocktail table.
A single Osim massage chair is available for use, although it lacks a headrest cover. Think of all the oil accumulation…
I can’t say that the Ambassador Transit Lounge has very good work credentials either. While the Wi-Fi is fast and there’s a good number of power outlets (see below), it lacks productivity pods, and apart from the seven individual chairs with cocktail tables, there’s no area to comfortably use a laptop. Even the communal computer area isn’t a great option, since the chairs are bar stool height and unsuitable for prolonged periods of work.
Power & Productivity
Complimentary Wi-Fi is provided throughout the Ambassador Transit Lounge, with speeds clocking in at 23 Mbps up and 14 Mbps down. For perspective, that’s even faster than the speeds at the SilverKris & SATS Premier lounges, although the low occupancy probably had something to do with it.
There’s an abundance of universal power sockets and USB ports, located between seats and under tables.
Food & Beverage
The Ambassador Transit Lounge’s buffet area is cordoned off due to COVID, with all F&B served by staff members. Unlike other lounges at Changi, you can’t even help yourself to a can of Coke- everything needs to be requested.
Guests enjoy a free flow of soft drinks, coffee/tea and water. Those who access the lounge through a membership programme like Priority Pass will need to pay a la carte pricing for alcohol: S$6 per glass of wine, shot of liquor or can of beer. If you pay the walk-up rate of S$58.85, a free flow of alcohol is included (as well it should!).
All guests, regardless of how they access the lounge, will receive one bento set from the menu below. Additional bento sets cost S$10 each.
But there’s no reason to pay for seconds, because the food isn’t great. It’s not even average. After the orders had been placed, I heard the telltale beeping of a microwave, and soon enough two clear plastic boxes were brought to our table. The food was slightly cool on the outside and molten hot on the inside.
The first option we tried was pan-fried fish with cream sauce, served with buttered rice and steamed vegetables. It was absolutely devoid of any flavor or seasoning ,and the vegetables were so soft I wondered if we’d been served the infant meal.
The “Hainanese chicken rice” was diabolical, so much so I can’t even type it without the quotes. I mean, how can you even call this chicken rice when it’s served with fried rice and without chili?
The chicken was barely edible with a rubbery texture, probably due to the microwave nuking it to oblivion. I certainly hope no tourist ever ordered this and went away wondering why Singaporeans are crazy about chicken rice.
Showers & Toilets
If there’s one thing the Ambassador Transit Lounge has in its favor, it’s showers. I counted at least 12 cubicles, versus just two at the SATS Premier Lounge. Those with unlimited-visit lounge passes may want to come here for a shower first, then head to the SATS Premier Lounge for a more pleasant experience.
Showers are located at the rear of the lounge, in what looks like a locker room setup.
There was no attendant to be found; but since the cubicles didn’t have a towel you’d still need to visit the front desk (showers are included for guests accessing via lounge passes, and for those paying the S$58.85 walk-up rate; otherwise it’s S$20 per head).
All the cubicles were very dimly lit, which made them feel even more gloomy. Soap and shampoo came from wall-mounted pump dispensers, with both a hand and rain shower option.
Shower cubicles do not have toilets, so you’ll need to do your business elsewhere.
How does this compare to the SATS Premier Lounge?
It’s no contest, in my opinion. The SATS Premier Lounge comfortably beats the Ambassador Transit Lounge hands down.
Its bright and airy design is in stark contrast to the doctor’s waiting room vibe of the Ambassador, and there’s more variation in seating types, making it suitable for relaxing, dining or working. If you’re working, the six productivity pods (with two universal power outlets and three USB ports) are a godsend.
Granted, the food at the SATS Premier Lounge isn’t great either, but it did offer a sparkling wine option when I visited- a rare sight in a contract lounge. And unlike the Ambassador Transit Lounge, all alcohol is included regardless of how you accessed the lounge.
The main Achilles’ heel of the SATS Premier Lounge is that it only has two showers, which may pose a problem once Changi traffic picks up again.
After visiting the SilverKris and SATS Premier lounges, the Ambassador Transit Lounge felt downright depressing. The claustrophobic architecture does it no favors, and the poor F&B offerings (plus absence of free booze) means there’s little to look forward to.
This is best used as a place for a quick shower, before spending your time elsewhere in the airport.