Even though the THAI Airways Royal Orchid Prestige Lounge is technically two years old, it might as well be brand new. The new flagship lounge was opened in November 2019, running head on into COVID. Consequently, it hasn’t seen all that much use, shuttering in March 2020 and only reopening in December 2021.
While Singapore Airlines is operating five flights a day from Bangkok, it hasn’t seen fit to reopen its SilverKris Lounge yet. With EVA Air also keeping its lounge closed, THAI and Turkish Airlines operate the only Star Alliance facilities at the moment.
My advice? Forget the Turkish lounge- the Royal Orchid Prestige is where you want to be.
|🍸 tl;dr: Royal Orchid Prestige Lounge|
|The Royal Orchid Prestige Lounge is gorgeously designed, with a good selection of F&B (albeit temporarily scaled back) and plenty of seating. A worthy alternative to the SilverKris Lounge in the interim.|
|👍 The Good||👎 The Bad|
|🏖️ Sandbox Game|
Access and Operating Hours
The Royal Orchid Prestige Lounge at Bangkok Airport is open from 5 a.m to 1.30 a.m daily, and located in the concourse D area opposite gate D4.
Depending on where your boarding gate is, it can be up to a 15-minute walk from lounge to plane, so plan accordingly.
Access to the Royal Orchid Prestige Lounge is available to:
- THAI Royal First Class & Royal Silk Class passengers
- Star Alliance First & Business Class passengers
- Royal Orchid Plus Platinum and Gold members and Star Alliance Gold passengers travelling on a same-day THAI or Star Alliance flight (+1 guest, travelling on same flight)
The Royal Orchid Prestige Lounge spans 2,089 sqm and is split into two zones: the west zone for Royal First Class passengers and Royal Orchid Plus Platinum members, and the east zone for Royal Silk Class passengers, Royal Orchid Plus Gold members and Star Gold members.
Only the east zone was open when I visited; THAI is not operating any aircraft with First Class at the moment anyway.
While the old Royal Orchid lounges were nothing to get excited about, the new Prestige Lounge is a breath of fresh air- quite literally, as it boasts abundant green walls with real, live plants. Floor-to-ceiling windows allow natural light from the glass-enclosed terminal to stream in, adding to the sense of spaciousness.
The lounge has seating for 463 passengers, with armchairs adopting the airline’s signature purple and beige colours. I didn’t spot any sleeping rooms, but the chairs looked comfortable enough for a brief snooze. There are also no boarding announcements made in the lounge, which does wonders for ambiance.
Its garden-theme is eminently Instagramable, and the lounge knows it- even setting up a striking red bench against a section of the green wall for that perfect photo opportunity
Separate areas have been created for sitting, working and dining. There was a communal working table (with built-in power plugs and USB charging), as well as a dining area with a mix of two and four-tops.
A mysterious private room was locked up and sealed off for the rest of the lounge. Before COVID, this area was used for First Class passengers and had clear glass, so it came off as a bit of a fish tank! They’ve added frosting since.
Also sealed off was the west zone, which as mentioned is not in use at the moment. The chairs here are made of leather instead of fabric, in dark brown and beige tones.
Power and Productivity
While everything else in the lounge may be spanking new, the complimentary Wi-Fi network leaves a lot to be desired. Speeds clocked in at less than 5 Mbps up and down, which means you may encounter stuttering issues when attempting high-bandwidth activities like HD streaming or video calls.
You won’t be short of power options, as THAI has made sure to build in universal power sockets and twin USB type-A outlets all over the lounge. These can be found on the side and legs of tables.
Food & Beverages
Scattered around the lounge were several snack stations, laid out in a self-serve format along with drinks chillers.
Items on offer included pre-packaged cakes, pies, and sweet and savoury pastries. Nuts, chips and ice cream (with local flavours like coconut milk, butterfly pea and Thai tea) were also offered.
The drinks chillers stocked soft drinks, bottled water, juice, and both domestic (Singha, Chang) and imported (Heineken) beer.
For those who wanted coffee, a Carimali espresso machine dispensed various options at the touch of a button.
While a distinctive TWG box bore the promise of fancy tea, upon closer inspection it turned out to be just Lipton tea bags (what’s the difference, some wags will no doubt say).
For those craving something a bit more substantial, the real action takes place at the dining area in the middle of the lounge, complete with open kitchen and buffet lines. Prior to COVID, guests could look forward to a few made-to-order items from the kitchen, but for the moment it’s all buffet.
Guests were instructed to don plastic gloves and serve themselves. There was a salad bar, with both Thousand Island and Thai spicy dressing, as well as various cooked food options like stir fried fish and vegetables, grilled chicken, dim sum and pasta.
For those who wanted comfort food, instant noodles were offered too.
While the catering is more homely than luxe, I had few complaints. I would still say the SilverKris Lounge has better food, but to do an apples-to-apples comparison we need to see the catering situation when it reopens.
As for drinks, the Royal Orchid Prestige Lounge boasts a full service bar, attractively-designed with high-top chairs.
There’s no champagne on offer, but those wanting some bubbles can enjoy a 7 Cascine Prosecco Treviso.
Wine options consisted of a 2019 Anakena Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile and a 30° South Chardonnay from Australia. Neither of them is Robert Parker stuff, but both were perfectly drinkable. THAI used to have a penchant for mediocre French wines in its lounges, so it’s nice to see them mixing it up a bit.
The bartender can of course whip up a cocktail for you, with mojitos and mai-tais on offer the day I visited. Both were on the sweet side, but since they’re made to order you can just ask them to cut the syrup.
It looks like pre-COVID the drinks selection was even bigger, so let’s hope that comes back soon!
The shower areas were closed when I visited, so I can’t tell how many there are.
However, a reader sent along the following photo, which suggests they’re decently furnished at the very least, with manual bidets and modern touches like concealed floor traps and all glass cubicles.
Based on what I’m reading on Flyertalk, the lounge offer Thann bath amenities back in 2019, which is quite a nice brand, all things considered!
The Royal Orchid Prestige Lounge is a big step forward from the previous drab and tired THAI lounges, which I believe are undergoing a refurbishment at the moment anyway. There’s a lot to like in terms of aesthetics, so let’s hope this serves as the design template going forward.
In terms of catering, some of the pre-COVID frills like cooked-to-order items and a wider cocktail selection have been canned for the moment, though I imagine they’ll be brought back once things get a bit busier.
Slow Wi-Fi was a disappointment, especially since there were hardly any passengers around. They’d better work on that, or I don’t see how the place can cope with a full house.
Did you manage to visit the Royal Orchid Prestige Lounge prior to COVID? How did your experience compare to mine?