Singapore Airlines has finally unveiled its new First Class Lounge and The Private Room at Changi Airport Terminal 3, completing a long-delayed S$50 million renovation first announced back in July 2019.
This will provide some much-needed relief to the beleaguered Business Class Lounge, which had been playing host to all eligible passengers since November 2021- an arrangement that had become increasingly untenable in recent months.
|At a Glance: Singapore Airlines’ New T3 Lounges|
|The Private Room||78 pax|
|SilverKris First Class Lounge||134 pax|
|SilverKris Business Class Lounge||488 pax|
|KrisFlyer Gold Lounge||165 pax|
It’s great news for Suites, First Class and Solitaire PPS Club members, who up till now had to slum it in a cordoned-off section of the Business Class Lounge. It wasn’t terrible by any means, but was never going to offer anything approaching a proper First Class experience.
I had the opportunity to visit both the First Class Lounge and The Private Room at a media event today, ahead of tomorrow’s public opening. Here’s everything you need to know about the new lounges, what to look forward to, and some insider tips on making the most of your visit.
Read on for the full details!
Where are the lounges?
The SilverKris Lounge complex (which consists of The Private Room, First Class Lounge and Business Class Lounge) is located on level 3 of Terminal 3’s departure concourse.
After clearing immigration, turn left at the giant Louis Vuitton store and walk towards the A Gates.
You can either take the first escalator you see on the right, straight after the first Cosmetics & Perfumes by Shilla store…
…or walk slightly further and take the second escalator, next to the second Cosmetics & Perfumes by Shilla store.
The SilverKris Lounge is impossible to miss, thanks to the showpiece glass installation that Singapore Airlines has commissioned. This 12m x 3.8m wall features SIA’s signature batik motif, styled with 105 hand-crafted art glass pieces- a play on the batik design screen that adorns SilverKris Lounges around the world. It was created by glass artist B. Jane Cowie, whose works can also be found at the Enchanted Garden in Terminal 2.
With the completion of renovation works, all three SilverKris Lounges (First Class, Business Class and The Private Room) share a common entrance foyer.
From the moment guests enter, they’re in for a visual, aural and olfactory feast: a custom-made 8K Sony Crystal LED curved wall displays an animation of the SIA’s batik motif, SIA’s sonic signature “The Sound of Singapore Airlines” plays softly in the background, while SIA’s bespoke Batik Flora scent (created by Singapore artisan perfumer Scent by Six) lingers in the air.
At reception, boarding passes will be scanned and guests directed to the appropriate SilverKris Lounge based on their entitlement (or sent back down the corridor to the KrisFlyer Gold Lounge!).
First Class Lounge
|🛫 tl;dr: First Class Lounge|
Access & Operating Hours
The First Class Lounge is open 24 hours a day.
Access is available to:
- Solitaire PPS Club members arriving or departing on a Singapore Airlines flight (+1 guest)
- Suites and First Class passengers departing on a Singapore Airlines or Star Alliance flight (+1 guest)
While this is not officially stated anywhere on the SIA website, I’ve confirmed with airline representatives that Suites and First Class passengers arriving in Singapore on a Singapore Airlines flight have access to the First Class Lounge as well.
Since Suites and First Class passengers on Singapore Airlines can also access The Private Room, the First Class Lounge is primarily intended for Solitaire PPS Club members as well as First Class passengers flying on Star Alliance partners (which is just Lufthansa and SWISS, at the moment).
The First Class Lounge seats 134 passengers, the same number as the previous lounge. However, there’s an ever-so-slight increase in floor space from 1,044 sqm to 1,080 sqm.
Interior design was overseen by hospitality design firm Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA, also behind projects such as the Four Seasons Singapore, Address Sky View Dubai, Capella Bangkok, and Signiel Busan), who have done a fantastic job of moving the lounges out of the mid-2000s and into the current decade.
Upon entering the First Class Lounge, guests are greeted by the flagship bar, decorated with Lalique crystals inspired by the Aquatic Ginger flower from SIA’s batik motif. A total of 119 crystals adorn the curved wall, evoking the gentle scattering of flowers by the wind (or, less poetically, the 70,000 lbf of take-off thrust generated by an A380).
Eight seats are available at the bar, with a further half dozen or so at an adjacent high table.
Additional seating is available along the wall, with grey leather armchairs and slipper chairs as green as the olives in the martinis.
Near the entrance is a large meeting room with a total capacity for 12. This can be divided into two smaller private rooms depending on requirements. Printing facilities are available on request.
One repeated complaint that SIA received about its old First Class lounge was its tiny dining area. This seated maybe 20-25 people at most, resulting in major congestion during peak hours.
That will hopefully be a thing of the past with the new dining hall, which seats 50 guests; double the capacity from before. Most of the tables are two-tops, though a few four-tops are thrown into the mix. It will be a tighter squeeze for the four-tops, as the table size doesn’t scale linearly with the number of seats.
Larger groups can slide up to one of four family-style booths, with SIA’s batik motif subtly embossed in the background.
Beyond the dining hall is a secondary seating area with the lounge’s only TV. The TV seems somewhat undersized given the viewing area, but who really watches TV in a lounge anyway?
Armchairs here are configured in sets of two, each with their own power outlets and wireless charging pads.
There’s also a children’s playroom, with glass walls so parents can sit outside and still monitor their little ones within.
A total of six productivity pods are available for use- two near the playroom, and four near the entrance to the day rooms on the opposite side of the dining hall. Unlike the pods in the Business Class Lounge, which are outfitted with dark blue leather and plain table tops, the pods here adopt a darker, more luxurious tone, with a marble patterned table.
Each pod has a reading light, wireless charging pad, as well as USB and universal charging outlets.
At the very rear of the lounge is a small self-serve refreshment area, and beyond this the toilets and showers.
You’ll also find a soundproof room for taking phone calls. It could double up as a workspace in a pinch, though the tiny high chair seems designed to dissuade people from lingering too long.
If instead of heading straight through the dining hall you turned left and then left again, you’d find four private day rooms, available on a first-come-first-serve basis. Guests can obtain a QR code from the receptionist, which entitles them to two hours of access.
Day rooms are built with special noise-dampening material, and with the door closed, it’s serenely quiet. Two rooms have adjustable recliners, while two rooms have single beds.
Adjustable recliners are from Poltrona Frau- if that name sounds familiar, that’s because they also upholstered the First and Business Class seats on Singapore Airlines’ new A380s.
Bedrooms come with a Tempur Zero G bed base, paired with Tempur’s Firm Supreme mattress. This provides full-body support, with a variety of massage options. A zero-gravity setting allows for weightless relaxation by taking stress off the lower back and elevating feet to the same level as the heart.
Each day room also has a mini-desk with charging outlets and USB ports, allowing it to be used like a hotel room.
There’s even a pillow menu- sort of. Guests can choose from a Tempur Symphony (medium firm) or a Tempur Cloud (soft fluffy).
Singapore Airlines has a partnership with Singapore-based wellness brand COMO Shambhala, which is responsible for a few of the creations on the Book the Cook menu. This partnership extends to the lounge, where yoga blocks, mats and essential oils can be requested to relax and unwind.
Food & Beverage
Dining in the First Class Lounge is buffet style, with live cooking stations that whip up dishes like chicken satay, roti prata, bak chor mee, pastas and eggs to order.
During the media event, we were shown a selection of items that would be available on rotation at the live stations or at the buffet.
Veterans of the old First Class Lounge may remember the “breakfast nook” that popped up in the morning. This is now a permanent feature, with a hot plate and waffle iron installed in the buffet area (and even outside of breakfast, who doesn’t enjoy a waffle with ice cream for dessert?).
A buffet lunch was served, featuring classics like dim sum, King Prawn laksa, chicken satay, and chili crab sauce with mantou sticks. I was particularly impressed by the quality of the dim sum, and the fact there were truffle fries.
Near the buffet line is an area with lighter bites, self-serve drinks and two coffee machines. Häagen-Dazs ice cream lurks in the fridge.
The bar near the entrance features barista-made coffee in the morning (6 a.m to 10 a.m), and signature cocktails in the evening (5.30 p.m to 1 a.m).
There’s a standard list of options, though I’m sure the bartender will be willing to whip up something special on request.
It’s just a shame that cocktails won’t be available during the daytime hours though- if anyplace should be sympathetic to the concept of “five o’clock somewhere”, you’d think it’d be an airport lounge!
At the rear of the lounge is a self-service refreshment area that features an electronic wine dispenser and self-pouring beer machine. Self-pour champagne can be found here, in the form of a Piper-Heidsieck Rare Brut Millesime 2007 (4.6★)
In terms of wines, visitors to the First Class Lounge can expect:
- Greywackle Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (4.0★)
- Kooyong Pinot Noir 2015 (3.7★)
- Joseph Drouhin Pouilly-Vinzelles 2016 (3.9★)
- Henschke Henry’s Seven 2016 (4.0★)
Wi-Fi & Power Outlets
Singapore Airlines mentions in its press release that customers can expect Wi-Fi speeds of up to 25 Mbps. Indeed, I managed to clock speeds very close to that, but we need to keep in mind the lounge was close to empty. In real-world conditions at the Business Class Lounge, I usually clock about half that speed.
At least there’ll be no outlet hunting, because the First Class Lounge has an abundance of universal power outlets paired with USB Type-A charging ports. These can be found between chairs, under tables, built into carpentry, pretty much everywhere you’d need them.
I was expecting to see Type-C outlets, given how this will be the flagship lounge for the next decade or so, but I suppose wireless charging pads allow you to skip a generation.
Showers & Toilets
One glaring weakness of the old First Class Lounge was that shower rooms were located inside the main toilet. That made for an awkward arrangement, more akin to a locker room than a luxury airline lounge.
This has finally been rectified in the new First Class Lounge, with a total of six shower suites available to passengers (including one handicap-accessible unit). I find them rather dim, as the photos below show- an additional recessed light over the toilet wouldn’t go amiss.
Each suite is equipped with a GROHE Sensia Arena wall-hung electric bidet toilet, in pristine alpine white (long may it stay that way). There’s also a hand shower and rain shower.
What’s unfortunate is that First Class shower amenities still come in non-descript, generically-labelled bottles, which does a disservice to the luxurious interiors the designers have so painstakingly crafted. I don’t need Aesop or anything, but I do think that better presentation wouldn’t go amiss in such a place. I’ve given feedback to the SIA team on this, so let’s see if anything changes over the next couple of months.
Male and female toilets with tall mirrors, Dyson hand-dryers and GROHE Sensia Arena bidet toilets are located near the shower suites. Curiously, they’ve installed hairdryers in the toilets as well, even though the showers are no longer here (an SQ representative told me that some men like to style their hair in the washroom, hence the inclusion- as a balding man, I have no comment).
A nursing and changing room is located next to the toilets.
The Private Room
|🛫 tl;dr: The Private Room|
Access & Operating Hours
The Private Room is open from 5.30 a.m to 2.30 a.m daily.
Access is available to:
- Suites and First Class passengers departing on a Singapore Airlines flight (guests are not permitted)
Just like the First Class Lounge, Suites and First Class passengers arriving in Singapore on a Singapore Airlines flight may access The Private Room- a policy not codified on the website, but confirmed with airline representatives.
Do note that First Class passengers on Star Alliance flights and Solitaire PPS Club members do not get access to The Private Room. In a sense, The Private Room is Singapore Airlines’ “true” First Class lounge.
|❓ Which SIA routes have Suites or First Class?|
The new incarnation of The Private Room retains its 78 passenger capacity from before, but sees a 10% increase in floor space from 835 sqm to 951 sqm.
A bronze-walled passageway leads to a secondary reception area, set beneath a stunning light dome comprising 107 crystal flowers and metal leaves, specially designed for Singapore Airlines by French glassmaker Lalique (Lalique also provides the skincare products for First Class amenities kits, and once upon a time, crystal fish).
The shape of the crystals is inspired by Aquatic Ginger, one of the 10 native flowers in SIA’s signature batik motif. It’s a similar callback that the flagship bar in the First Class lounge also shares.
Compared to the First Class Lounge, the layout of The Private Room is relatively simple- there’s a forward sitting area, and an aft dining room.
However, unlike the previous Private Room which was a lounge-within-a-lounge, the new Private Room has been redesigned as a stand-alone facility, entirely self-contained with its own showers, toilets, day rooms, and childcare facilities.
Central to The Private Room’s ethos is, well, privacy. The previous iteration didn’t do a great job of this, in the sense that the seating area was one long, exposed corridor, only occasionally broken up by the odd partition here and there.
In contrast, the new Private Room uses furniture and décor to create visual partitions between different groups of guests. The idea is for guests to “own their space”, conceptually similar to having a privacy divider between airline seats- you’re not physically distant from the next person or group, but psychologically it makes a big difference.
If you head down the left aisle, you’ll find a three-seater table, plus five semi-private solo units.
If you head down the right aisle, you’ll find six more private seating pods.
These alternate in configuration between pods with two armchairs…
…and pods with an armchair and a couch.
Straight down the middle, in between the two aisles, are central living spaces for larger groups (though I’m not sure how large a group can be when First Class maxes out at four and Suites at six). These feature tall architectural glass screens and custom lighting pieces by LASVIT, creating a lush ambiance.
The old Private Room’s dining room looked like a traditional steakhouse, with dark leather panels, white tablecloths, burnt orange booth seats and dim lighting. All they needed was Frank Sinatra on the speakers and photos of famous visitors on the walls, and you might think you were in Peter Luger or Keens.
The new dining room, found at the far end of The Private Room, channels a modern bistro with lighter tones, a polished white marble floor, and warm lighting.
Back near the entrance is a family room, with a TV, sofa and beanbag chair. Colouring pencils and arts & crafts materials are available on request.
The Private Room has four day rooms, each available for a 2-hour slot.
While the day rooms in the First Class Lounge require you to choose between a recliner or bed, two of the day rooms in The Private Room have both, while the other two have a recliner only.
The desk is also larger, with a separate luggage storage rack.
Food & Beverage
The highlight of The Private Room is its a la carte dining room, with waiter service at each table. It’s the closest thing you’ll get to a restaurant experience.
I managed to sneak a look at the menu, which offers the following:
Vegetarian & Dessert
Some mock-ups were provided.
We didn’t get to sample The Private Room’s offerings during the media event, but I’m planning a First Class flight very soon where I’ll be sure to try it out.
At the rear of the dining room is an attractively-lit wine fridge, plus a ham slicing machine and barista station.
The wine selection was on full display, in an attractively-lit display case.
In terms of wines, The Private Room guests can look forward to the following:
- Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2007 (4.6★)
- Chateau Leoville Poyferre Saint-Julien 2007 (4.1★)
- Chateau Corton Grancey Grand Cru 2010 (4.3★)
- Greywackle Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (4.0★)
- Domaine Laroche Chablis Premier Cru 2015 (4.3★)
There is no bar in The Private Room, but you can order cocktails through the waitstaff or head back to the First Class Lounge to get a bespoke drink made for you.
Wi-Fi & Power Outlets
I clocked similar Wi-Fi speeds in The Private Room as in the First Class Longe (~25 Mbps up and down), though the real testing is required to determine its robustness.
Just like the First Class Lounge, universal power outlets and USB ports are plentiful throughout The Private Room, located at almost every seat and table.
Zens wireless charging pads can also be found on several tables.
Toilets & Showers
The previous iteration of The Private Room had three showers, but they lacked attached toilets and were located inside the main bathroom. That simply wasn’t good enough, not when rivals like Cathay Pacific were offering private cabanas!
Singapore Airlines hasn’t gone the cabana route, but at least they’re no longer lagging behind. The new Private Room has a total of four shower suites (including one accessible unit), each with their own toilet.
Shower rooms are notably larger than those in the First Class lounge, as evidenced by the additional countertop space. There’s even space for a luggage rack (or block, rather).
Like the First Class lounge, shower fittings are by GROHE, with a hand shower, rain shower, and a Sensia Arena bidet toilet for all your unmentionables.
While the First Class Lounge has toiletries in unmarked, generic bottles, shower amenities in The Private Room come from COMO Shambhala’s signature Invigorate range.
Shower Room #1 and #2 are largely the same, but Shower Room #3 is special. This is easily twice the size of the others, allowing for a bench seat and additional luggage storage space. I’ve been told it’s the largest shower room anywhere in Changi, and I wouldn’t argue with that.
The accessible shower room skips the rain shower for a more hand shower and bench layout, and has more than sufficient space for a wheelchair and caregiver.
Male and female toilets are available as well.
A changing and nursing room is available for those travelling with infants.
Singapore Airline’s new First Class Lounge and The Private Room will open for prime time at 6 p.m on 31 May 2022, and first impressions are very good indeed. Of course, the real test will be in the months to come, as the lounges fill up and resources get stretched.
I’ll be doing a field test of these lounges within the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned!
What do you make of the new First Class Lounge and The Private Room?