Review: Crowne Plaza Changi Airport

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Review: Crowne Plaza Changi Airport
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I had quite a long daytime layover in Singapore, as I was arriving in Singapore at around 7AM and departing shortly after midnight. Since I was up all night on most of these flights I decided to get a day room at a hotel so I could rest up.

Singapore Changi is one of the best airports in the world, and in the past I’ve written about the airside transit hotels, which I’ve used for layovers.

However, for this trip I really wanted to try something new. So I booked a day room at the Crowne Plaza Changi, which is generally regarded as one of the better airport hotels in the world.

The hotel sells day rooms at the rate of 180SGD++, and that gets you an eight hour block, which I scheduled for 9AM until 5PM.

The Crowne Plaza is located landside (before security) in Terminal 3.

My flight was arriving at Terminal 2, so I decided to clear immigration there, and then head to Terminal 3, though I could have done it the other way around and made an airside transfer to Terminal 3 and then cleared immigration there.

While immigration at Changi is usually painless, I had to wait nearly 30 minutes to clear, which was the longest I’ve ever waited. I ended up arriving at the Crowne Plaza at around 8AM.

Crowne Plaza Changi Airport entrance

The hotel has a really quirky design that almost reminds me of a branded Disney resort, or something. It’s futuristic and has differing themes throughout the hotel.


Crowne Plaza Changi Airport entrance

Inside the lobby was plenty of seating, though I believe part of it was at a restaurant (I didn’t check out any of the food and beverage outlets while here, since I was eating enough on planes).


Crowne Plaza Changi Airport lobby


Crowne Plaza Changi Airport lobby

There was no wait at reception, and I was informed that they didn’t yet have any rooms ready, but that a room should be ready within about 30 minutes. That didn’t bother me, since I was early. So I just had a seat in the lobby and got some work done.


Crowne Plaza Changi Airport lobby

I then returned at around 9AM (even though they told me I could return at 8:30AM), and was told that a room was ready, though it had two beds rather than one king bed.

That didn’t hugely bother me, or anything, but I had reserved a room with just one king bed, and the associate wasn’t apologetic about it, but rather just acted confused about why I cared. She said it could be noon before a king room was available.

With a key in hand I headed towards my room. The elevators are right around the corner from reception.


Crowne Plaza Changi Airport elevators

I was assigned room 922, located on the hotel’s top floor. The hotel has exposed hallways, which seems to me like an odd choice. Yes, the hotel seems sort of tropical, but Singapore is also ridiculously humid, so it’s not that fun transitioning between air conditioning and outdoors and air conditioning again.


Crowne Plaza Changi Airport hallway

But I have to give the hotel credit for the quirky design.


Crowne Plaza Changi Airport design

I was assigned what I believe is a standard room with two beds, and it was really nice. The room featured an entryway with the bathroom to the right and a closet to the left.


Crowne Plaza Changi Airport room entryway

I loved the carpets and the lighting.


Crowne Plaza Changi Airport room

In addition to chairs by the foot of the bed, there was a long bench opposite it by the wall-mounted TV.


Crowne Plaza Changi Airport room

Along the far end of the room was a desk with a rolling chair.


Crowne Plaza Changi Airport desk area

There was a glass partition separating the bathroom from the bedroom, though there was a curtain that could be lowered for privacy if traveling with someone.


Crowne Plaza Changi Airport room

Inside the entrance and to the left was a coffee machine, kettle, bottled water, and minibar.


Crowne Plaza Changi Airport coffee machine


Crowne Plaza Changi Airport minibar

One of the cool features of the hotel is that each room gets a smartphone you can use during your stay. Before I had international data this is a feature I really liked, though I’m surprised an airport hotel would invest in this (since I find this is most useful for a city hotel where you want to explore, rather than an airport hotel, where most people are just quickly overnighting).


Crowne Plaza Changi Airport smartphone

Unfortunately my room didn’t have much in the way of views.


Crowne Plaza Changi Airport view

This hotel is known for incredible views, though only some rooms have those views, sadly. Below is a picture I snagged of the views from one of the exposed hallways of the hotel. As an aviation geek I’d splurge on a view room the next time I stay here, because those are some unbeatable aviation geek views.


Crowne Plaza Changi Airport view

The bathroom was a good size, and featured a sink, walk-in shower, toilet, and bathtub.


Crowne Plaza Changi Airport bathroom


Crowne Plaza Changi Airport shower & toilet


Crowne Plaza Changi Airport bathtub

The toiletries provided were pretty decent.


Crowne Plaza Changi Airport toiletries

I tried to sleep shortly after getting to my room, but for whatever reason couldn’t sleep, which sucked. I struggled to fall asleep, and then things only got worse when I kept thinking about how I had to check out in a few hours. I’m not good at sleeping under pressure!

I ended up sleeping from about noon until 4PM, and then woke up but was still tired.

I decided to extend my stay, since I needed to check out an hour later. I used my anniversary free night certificate on the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card to book a night there, so I could stay at the hotel until my flight was departing.

In retrospect I should have probably just booked a night there and seen how early they would have checked me in, though I didn’t potentially want to have to wait until the afternoon to check-in after taking several overnight flights. So yeah, not ideally planned, but whatever.

I headed back to the front desk, and checked out of the room that I had, and then checked into another room. I asked this time if I could have a room with a view of the airport, but was told that was a higher room category, and even as an IHG Platinum member I wasn’t eligible for that (which shows how worthless IHG status is).

On the plus side, this time I got to experience a different type of room. It was also a standard room, but in the new wing.

My interactions with the hotel staff here were pretty negative. Usually I don’t have much to say at an airport or city hotel since my interactions are limited, but it took the lady at reception over 20 minutes to check me out and then check me back in, and she wasn’t friendly either.

Furthermore, I had been assigned a room in the new wing, but she didn’t explain this to me. This requires going to a completely separate part of the hotel that I didn’t even know existed.

Since I didn’t know that, I first headed to the third floor (where I thought my room was located), walked around like an idiot for five minutes, and then went back downstairs to ask where my room was. Only then was it properly explained.

To reach the new wing you have to take the escalator up a level, walk down a long hallway, then enter your keycard to open a sliding glass door, and then walk down another hallway. It’s really quite a haul.


Crowne Plaza Changi Airport walkway to new wing


Crowne Plaza Changi Airport new wing

While the rest of the hotel has exposed hallways, this part of the hotel has interior hallways, which I preferred.


Crowne Plaza Changi Airport hallway

I was pleasantly surprised to find that this room had completely different decor. The other room had great decor as well, but this one was even nicer, in my opinion.

The room featured a desk right by the door, a king size bed in the middle of the room, and then a couch at the far end of the room.

Crowne Plaza Changi Airport room


Crowne Plaza Changi Airport room


Crowne Plaza Changi Airport room

Then there were sliding doors leading into the bathroom. The bathroom featured a soaking tub, a walk-in shower, a toilet, and a sink.


Crowne Plaza Changi Airport bathroom

This room also didn’t feature anything in the way of views, and faced an outside roadway.

At this point I decided to check out some of the hotel’s features. There’s a pool on the third floor, which is popular with travelers. While the pool was open, the deck was under construction.


Crowne Plaza Changi Airport pool


Crowne Plaza Changi Airport pool

The third floor is also where the gym was located, which is open 24/7.


Crowne Plaza Changi Airport gym


Crowne Plaza Changi Airport gym

Now let’s get to the most ridiculous part of the stay. I decided to get a massage in the hotel’s spa, which is located on the third floor. I was feeling achy after so much flying, so figured a massage would help.


Crowne Plaza Changi Airport spa

The spa menu read as follows:

Let me start by saying that the “auntie” (as they’d call her in Singapore) seemed to be very well intentioned, but this is simply not how you run a spa. The treatment also wasn’t cheap, as I had the “Travelers Relief” massage for 160SGD.

Where do we even begin?

  • She was the only one working, as there was no receptionist. That’s fine as such, but the problem is that when people would walk in she’d stop the massage to go talk to them, or worse, yell from the room at them. If I’m getting a cheap massage on the streets somewhere that’s fine, but I expect better in a real spa.
  • The massage lasted 65 minutes rather than the advertised 75 minutes
  • The second I took off my clothes and laid down on the table, she tapped me on the shoulder and said “this foot cream is very good. You want to buy 20 dollar or 57 dollar foot cream?” I said “that’s alright,” and she said “no, it’s very good, you should have it, it will provide you with relief and is good when traveling.” So I told her the 20 dollar one, thinking then when the massage was done I’d tell her I didn’t want it. As it turned out, she used almost the entire bottle during the treatment, so I guess the massage doesn’t even come with cream!
  • She used gloves for the entire massage, which, like, I’m all for being hygienic, but that just creates a really uncomfortable feeling that I can only described as feeling like leathery hands.
  • When the treatment was done she gave me the bill to sign, and pointed underneath the total and said “you write something for me there.”

The massage itself was actually quite good, but I was really put off by everything else about the experience. I didn’t actually end up complaining, since she was friendly and there wasn’t any manager (or anyone else) to complain to. There were also signs in the spa saying the spa was run by a third party.

Crowne Plaza Changi spa

Crowne Plaza Changi bottom line

I don’t think I’d return to the Crowne Plaza Changi. On the plus side, the hotel itself is beautiful. The rooms are truly among the most nicest airport hotel rooms I’ve ever seen.

However, just about everything else about the experience disappointed me. The service at the front desk was slow and unfriendly. The massage experience was awful. You also have to clear immigration to visit this hotel.

In the future I’d stay at one of the airside transit hotels if I had a quick layover and just wanted to rest my head, while I’d head into the city if I had a longer layover, since Singapore has lots of great hotels.

If you’ve stayed at the Crowne Plaza Changi, what was your experience like? Hopefully better than mine!

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Comments

  1. Thanks for the review of the hotel.. this is most probably a hotel I will definitely avoid and just get a cab ride to the nearest hotel to the airport since I’ve considered before staying at this property during a long layover (both daytime and overnight).
    Looks like the hotel is taking advantage of it’s position as an airport hotel to charge but not deliver. On the other hand, I’ve found the service sector in Singapore to have gone down pretty fast even at 4* or 5* hotels. Am not sure if it is because most of the workers as I understand are labour workers and just there to earn a living. On the other hand, due to the rising standard of living in Singapore, service and prices in Singapore is just becoming out of hand – these days the only reason I fly into Singapore is due to cheaper fares and will fly out directly to one of the better Asian countries around the area.
    As for the massage, that sounds like a big rip off. I would have requested for a manager email and drop them a message after your stay (since it already seems that complaining at the front desk would be useless) and leave a bad review at TA or the IHG site itself.
    Agree with you about the IHG Platinum status, rather useless. However since the IHG Premium card is not too expensive, having some status is better than having none – that’s the only reason I still keep the card for the once in a while staying at an IHG property.

  2. I stayed there in July for a quick overnight stay and there was mold in the bathroom. I sent photos to the hotel twice using the email that is on their webpage ([email protected]) and never heard back. Based on our combined experiences, IHG might want to bring in a new GM who will focus on execution.

  3. The massage part – just can’t believe it’s happened in Singapore? I mean, Singapore? I agree with Mike I’d definitely drop a mail for the complaint.

  4. Stayed here a bunch of times. Pretty normal front desk experience. They are clueless and forget about any upgrade. Overpriced but it’s simple for a layover.

  5. Lucky, your spa experience sounds very similar to mine when I was there back in October!! (I actually managed to persuade them to let me use the spa even though I wasn’t a guest on that occasion – and I had just been staying at another IHG property in Singapore). I was coerced into a more expensive treatment than the one I asked for and I had them being extremely insistent on trying to sell me their products while I was lying face down on the massage table. I just kept pushing back saying “my husband won’t let me” and eventually they gave up. It was very offputting though. They did use a basic oil, and no gloves thankfully. It was an ok massage, extremely firm/borderline injury-inducing! But I didn’t appreciate the pushy suggestive selling or chaotic vibe of the place.

    I have previously stayed there in a runway view room and it was great for plane spotting but at night after midnight there were welding works going on right below my room which was annoying. I didn’t like the open air corridors either. I also think the view from a runway-facing room in the airside transit hotel has just as good if not better views.

    I’ve stayed at the IHG Hotel Indigo in Katong which is only 10 mins by taxi from the airport and is MUCH better. Katong is also a fabulous, authentic part of town with great architecture, lots of local café’s, bars, restaurants and shops. Worth it for the short cab ride. The hotel has cool decor, a great restaurant and rooftop pool. Also cost just SG$9 to get to/from the centre of town, and the same price to the airport, using Grab.

  6. I’ve had my share of stays in this hotel.
    I never stayed in the new wing. I think it’s called Jewel.
    But the last time I was there ( May 18) the attendant tried to upsell me to a better room and lounge use, which I declined. I ended up in a room with a view of the tarmac.
    The thing is that the hotel is starting to show its age. So the room had quite a worn feeling. And to make things worse, the shower was broken so when I turned it on, water went everywhere in the bathroom. It was not a pleasant experience.

  7. IHG Platinum is actually pretty solid for Kimpton stays – they’re still run pretty separately in my experience and are miles apart. In downtown San Diego on a pretty solidly booked night, they upgraded me to a corner suite (two class upgrade, I was told), one for my status and one for the “secret password.” I hope the superior service continues.

    I know it’s your 3rd or 4th choice of chain, Lucky, but would love some Kimpton reviews, especially for domestic travel. They have a lot of great city center options.

  8. If this were any other airport, a hotel could probably get away with service like that. But at Changi? Ridiculous!

  9. @Dwondermeant – Lucky usually has a post about it each summer. It’s pretty widely available when they run it – just Google Kimpton Secret Password.

  10. @ poster Ben
    Appreciate the heads up 🙂

    I too stayed at the Crowne Plaza Changi and also felt a negative vibe
    Had an exterior room where you walk outdoors to get to your room
    Though the room was adequate it was in fact dated and a bit worn
    Walking through the outdoor corridors the blast of hot humid weather, and the wet slippery floors from rain left me wanting to leave the hotel as soon as possible
    As usual Platinum status got me no breakfast but did get me a slightly better room I’ll assume as the size of the room quite good otherwise
    Mind you this was all before Spire so I imagine things have gotten only worse
    I would only return if there was no other choice with a flight departure time wise
    If the hotel wasn’t in a gotcha location I think it would go out of business
    with all the great properties in Singapore
    Their public areas did look very nice nicer than their rooms

  11. Have stayed at Crowne Plaza Changi at times when it could not be avoided and that is my opinion of this hotel: to be avoided, when and, if at all possible.

    In agreement with many others: high prices, lackluster service and worse after the upsell refusal.

  12. A few points come to mind:

    1) 30 minute wait at Changi for immigration is outrageous. Although, maybe I never noticed lines as when I was living in Singapore, I was able to use the automated gates.

    2) The Crowne Plaza hard product looks very, very good, especially for a 4-star brand. The large bathroom with separate shower/tub, the pool, the overall design of the hotel stands out. It’s a real reminder of the design standard you can get in Singapore even at the 3.5-4 star level (In addition to Andaz, Park Regis, Sofitel, Westin etc., even the new Courtyard by Marriott, Oasia, Indigo have skypools and great looking architecture.)

    3) Shame about the hotel soft product – ie. the service. I’ve heard that because of the incredible growth in Singapore over the past 15 years that hotels have really struggled to recruit and retain high quality staff. So, especially for the newer hotels, the service levels are not great.

  13. One more point:

    4) As others have mentioned, it can be tough to justify using the airport hotel at Changi when the city centre is just 20 minutes away by car (although sometimes the taxi lines at Changi can be nuts). Katong is fairly nearby (about 15 minutes on the East Coast Parkway) and they’ve seen a boom in hotels including a new Indigo and Holiday Inn Express and some other longer standing cheaper hotels (ie. grand mercure). Great food around there too and a cool little neighbourhood to walk around a bit.

  14. Thanks for your review. This hotel has been rated as the top or best airport hotel, so I am surprised at your review. I stayed at the hotel during a night layover 3 years ago and I had a decent experience (you can check out the review here: https://0504traveller.blogspot.com/2018/02/stay-report-crowne-plaza-changi-airport.html) but I was only there for 8 hours, most of which I slept. I did like the garden in the middle of hotel, as it created the inside/outside feeling nicely.

  15. I had the exact same experience as you, including the horrible upsell experience at the spa! I felt so duped and ripped off. I did enjoy the pool while there, and it seems I had marginally better service, but that was really about it. I agree with your assessment – I would not return to this hotel.

    See my review of the hotel here: https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g294265-d1086295-r582707910-Crowne_Plaza_Changi_Airport-Singapore.html

    And the spa: https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g294265-d13402099-r582489408-Essence_Vale_Spa-Singapore.html

  16. This is exactly the same experience I had last year. Staff very unfriendly and don’t seem to want to be there, as a Spire I wasn’t given an upgrade on PAID stay. I’d avoid next time.
    Shame as four years ago they upgraded me to club room with club access for free as Platinum. Maybe change of ownership?

  17. Hmmmmm. I had planned to stay here. I understood that the place was generally very well regarded. The massage fiasco was just that – I certainly wouldn’t have bought the foot cream! I think however if it’s clear that the spa is run by a third party then you can’t really complain about the hotel on that basis. If I do stay there however I certainly won’t use the spa now, so I’m grateful for that heads up! It might have been useful if you had told us how much the full room rate was for the day you were there. I don’t really understand why you were quite so against the hotel ultimately -I think it looks great.

  18. 180SGD for a day-room, and probably 320 SGD for a night, that’s about 3 times as much as equivalent hotels up the road.

    Have stayed a couple of times in the past year and found the service very good, but got the feeling when you’re the “worlds’s best airport hotel” you can charge as much as you like and forget about any loyalty-program.

  19. I’ve stayed here a few times and always had good experiences. Most recent was end of June this year and arrived around 7am at the hotel after flight from Zurich and was able to have a room by 11am and the next day with an evening departure I was given a late checkout to 2pm. I’ve got no status with IHG just a standard base level membership. I’ve always found the staff super helpful both front desk and luggage storage.

  20. @Lucky Thank you for the review. I always avoided this property as thought it overpriced compared to the alternatives. You have confirmed my impression.

  21. I stayed here for 36 hours in 2016, before the new wing, when platinum was the top IHG status. No breakfast. No lounge access. No upgrade. No turndown service. Nothing.

  22. I stayed there recently and didn’t mind it at all but then again I didn’t use any of the facilities that you mentioned. Like you, check in and check out took way too long. My room was great as was the bathroom. Ambassador Spire Elite got me absolutely nowhere which appears to be the case everywhere in IHG and Crown Plaza. I like the location enormously and underneath the hotel there is a huge array of local services, restaurants and stores at half the CP prices which I imagine most guests never venture to explore. I do like @Justin’s suggestion of Katong and would investigate that next time I need a transit hotel in Singapore.

  23. you (plural) need to understand what customer service is like in Singapore. All of these interactions make perfect sense in the right context.

  24. @Michael – the new wing of the hotel is also called the “Jewel Wing” – you can even see it in one of the photos in the post.

  25. Thanks for the review. The room itself looks fine. Next time use one of the free massage chairs at the airport to kill some time then check in for a full day. I never have a problem killing a few hours at Changi with the theaters, butterfly and sunflower gardens and free massage chairs.

  26. Curiously I noticed a huge immigration queue the other day at Changi, I was so surprised I took a picture ! So I wonder if there are some added checks or something currently as it is most unusual

  27. Stayed there for one night last June. There were small bugs in the room near the faucet and the hotel billed it as a non-qualifying rate despite booking it on their website. Only recently got it corrected but it caused me to miss out on some bonus points from the Accelerate promotion at the time. I would recommend choosing a different airport hotel.

  28. Stayed here twice, both times disappointed. Long check in queues, 30 mins at 1 am with 2 kids under 10 was no fun, they were so inefficient and took 10-15 mins per customer! Arrived at the room, both times, the aircon was off and it took 45 mins to cool enough to sleep. Rooms were nice enough. Would avoid if u can

  29. Yeah, second the option of staying in Katong (or Joo Chiat Road) where the food is excellent (also up in Geylang Serai / Haig Rd), much better than the food near the big hotels in the city / Orchard Rd.

  30. Stayed here once and never again. I did not care for the rooms at all. The fixtures and carpet felt cheap, rooms were humid and I personally did not care for the flower decorations on the bathroom glass. Service stinks the big one. A rip off for sure. A cheap 12 minute taxi ride puts you in Katong where there is some great food and the much nicer IHG property, hotel Indigo.

  31. I’ve stayed in Crowne Plaza Changi twice with kids and plan to stay there again next time. The hotel’s location is very convenient, especially if you have flight leaving from terminal 3. Check-in counters for SQ in terminal 3 is only a short walk from the hotel.
    You can also drag your luggage carts to the room if you don’t want to pay any tip.
    Breakfast at the hotel is also good, but cheaper option is food court in B-2 level (basement) in T3 which has a bunch of restaurants. Note that those restaurants in food court are not listed in Changi’s website or in airport guide’s booklet, so many people don’t know about them.

  32. Shouldn’t they have upgraded you since your Platinum ? I had booked the standard room and if i remember right, made a bid for their room upgrade and it came thru. So was upgraded to the next category rooms with the runway view. Fully worth it, if your an Aviation geek.

    But check in was sketchy for me as well.

  33. There are plenty of InterContinental and Kimpton hotels where Platinum status gets you upgrades. I’ve upgraded onto Club floors at least 3 dozen times in the past 2 years when staying at IC’s, and into suites the past year when staying at Kimpton properties. Very unfair of you to offer a snide comment of the benefit when you were clearly stating at an outlier.
    “Stvr” is right though. What a waste of a free night certificate.

  34. I have never had a massage and I’d be really put out to start that way. Just don’t really want strangers touching me AT ALL. I have aspire elite status though I have no idea why. I have the card. I have rare paid stays and put those at SPG now Marriott.

  35. Thanks for the review, Lucky. For those complaining about the cost: it’s an airport hotel (in the truest sense) at the world’s best airport, in one of Asia’s richest economies. Triple whammy! So of course you’ll be paying a hefty premium when booking there instead of say…..Katong. I don’t get why some people act so surprised at this!? I’ve stayed there several times for the sheer convenience and enjoyed good service and nice rooms, including upgrades. My only complaint would be the open corridors letting in the humidity, as noted by Lucky. Safe travels, everyone!

  36. For the visually impaired arriving late this is an absolute crappy and dangerous place
    I’ve slipped over whilst they were mopping the floors as I couldn’t see the attendant!
    This was on the way to checking into my room .. most inconvenient.. caveat emptor .. buyer beware ! .. Aerotel for me I think !

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