Introduction: Christmas Markets With A Touch Of Garuda
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Our flight from Jakarta to London (via Singapore) was departing at 7:20AM, so we requested that the Garuda Indonesia limousine service pick us up at our hotel at 4AM. We got to the lobby at around 3:50AM, and the driver was already waiting for us in a Toyota Alphard.
Our ride to the airport took about 40 minutes. Funny enough, the traffic was worse going to the airport at 4AM than it was from the airport to the hotel at around 9PM.
We pulled up to the far end of the terminal when we arrived at the airport, where we were immediately greeted by the two Garuda Indonesia representatives, Dea and Freddie, who would be taking care of us. They greeted us by name, and escorted us straight to the lounge. It really is incredible how seamless Garuda Indonesia makes the ground experience.
We entered the terminal, where we immediately saw the premium check-in desk to the right.
However, we could by pass that, and were escorted into into the back entrance of the Garuda Indonesia lounge. This is the most practical entrance if you’re coming straight from check-in, while connecting passengers would access the lounge from the other side. At Jakarta Airport security is at the individual gates, so it’s great that you can be in the lounge a minute after arriving at the airport.
While the main part of the lounge was on the same level as the concourse, the first class lounge was down a level. There was a rope acting as a partition, and then we took the escalator down a level to the first class lounge.
There wasn’t a single other guest in the first class lounge, so the privacy in the lounge was unparalleled. Given that Jakarta Airport is pretty outdated, I thought the lounge was quite nice.
Off the escalator and to the right were several seats, including semi-private daybeds along the windows.
Next to that seating area was a piano.
Past that piano were chairs with ottomans along the window.
Then there were several comfortable “cubicles” with TVs and lounging chairs, which were a nice place to relax.
There was also a dining area with almost a dozen tables.
As you walked further into the lounge there was a smoking room.
Then there was a hallway leading to the bathrooms.
There were several individual bathrooms, and also a couple of shower rooms. While I didn’t need a shower, the room itself looked quite nice, and even had L’Occitane amenities.
We couldn’t see the views for the first couple of hours of our stay since it was dark, though once the sun rose we could see the lounge had distant views of the terminal.
As soon as we settled in, the friendly first class lounge attendant came by our seats to ask if we wanted anything to drink. I had a cappuccino, while Ford had an iced coffee. The attendant was fantastic, and managed to be attentive without seeming overbearing (given that we had the lounge to ourselves).
He also offered us food, though we weren’t especially hungry. For what it’s worth, the menu read as follows:
The wine list read as follows:
We decided to have a fruit plate, which was beautifully presented.
I spent a bit of time getting caught up on work. The wifi in the lounge wasn’t very fast, but was still usable. I should also mention that the lounge was really cold. I usually appreciate air conditioning in Southeast Asia, but I was freezing.
On Garuda Indonesia’s website I had read that there was a spa in the first class lounge:
The First Class Assistant then will escort you to the Garuda Indonesia First Class Lounge*, where you will enjoy a spread of food and beverages, Wi-Fi and SPA services. Here, the First Class Assistant will also help you to make a reservation of refreshing SPA services if you’d like.
I asked Dea about the spa, and she seemed a bit confused. Eventually she returned and said that there was “foot reflexology” in the business class lounge.
She escorted me up to the business class lounge, and it seemed by foot reflexology they meant that you could sit in a chair while a machine vibrates against your feet.
I used the machine for a few minutes, and then headed back to the first class lounge. Of course this isn’t at all a big deal, but Garuda might want to update their website regarding the spa. I’m not sure if they used to offer it or what, but clearly it’s not a feature anymore.
While on the upper level I briefly checked out the business class lounge, including the bar and food spread.
Below you can find pictures of the business class food selection.
At around 6AM one other passenger showed up in the first class lounge, who was the other passenger traveling with us to London.
Dea asked us whether we wanted to be the first or last to board. We said we preferred to be first to board, and she said they would fetch us when it was time.
Finally at around 7AM Dea and Freddie picked us up and walked us to our departure gate. This time we exited through the terminal-side, which is where the main lounge entrance is anyway.
Our walk to gate E7 took about five minutes.
As we approached the gate there was a security check. Freddie took our bags and had them screened for us, while we could go straight onto the plane. Furthermore, they took the “first to board” thing very seriously, because they quite literally started general boarding just moments after we boarded, so it’s clear that they were waiting for us. We got some glares when we entered the gate area.
Once onboard we were welcomed by name by the lovely crew, and bid farewell to Dea. A few minutes later Freddie boarded with our bags, and placed them in the overhead bins for us. Amazing!
Garuda Indonesia First Class Lounge Jakarta bottom line
Once again, the Garuda Indonesia ground experience was seamless from start to finish. We were well taken care of from the moment we left our hotel until the moment we boarded our flight, thanks to the excellent help of Dea and Freddie.
Garuda Indonesia’s first class lounge in Jakarta was excellent as well. It’s a nicely furnished, private space with a good menu and drink selection. While I think the ground experience on the whole ranks up there, the lounge itself is solid, though doesn’t rank on my list of the world’s top airline lounges.
What a fantastic all around experience, though!