Review: Singapore Airlines Private Room

Filed Under: Singapore

My layover in Singapore was just over three hours, as I was arriving from Melbourne shortly before 3PM, and departing to Kuala Lumpur at 6:40PM. Thanks to the fact that I was arriving in first class, I’d have access to the Singapore Airlines Private Room, which is Singapore Airlines’ most exclusive lounge.

The last time I reviewed the lounge was over four years ago, so I figured it’s time for an updated review.

The Private Room is located inside the SilverKris Lounge in Changi Terminal 3. Perhaps the coolest part about the Private Room is that it’s a lounge within a lounge within a lounge. You’ll rarely see anything else like that, regardless of how many lounges you have a chance to visit!

First you enter the SilverKris Lounge and present the representatives at the entrance your boarding pass.

SilverKris Lounge Changi Airport entrance

The business class lounge is straight ahead. That’s open to all Star Alliance business class passengers (including those on Singapore Airlines), though isn’t open to Star Alliance Gold passengers, as they have a different lounge. I’ve reviewed the business class lounge not that long ago.

I was then escorted through the First Class Lounge. The First Class Lounge is open to Star Alliance first class passengers, as well as select Singapore Airlines elite members.

Singapore Airlines First Class Lounge Changi entrance

I was walked down that long corridor, and then at the end of that is the entrance to the Private Room, which is open to those traveling in Singapore Airlines First & Suites same day. You can use it if you’re arriving in first class and connecting onto a Singapore Airlines flight in business class without a first class cabin, as was the case for me.

Singapore Airlines First Class Lounge Changi

The process of entering the lounge is sorta fun, since it’s not often you can visit a lounge within a lounge within a lounge.

Singapore Airlines Private Room Changi entrance

Unfortunately other than the impressive entrance, I actually find the Private Room sort of unremarkable.

The Private Room consists of one long room with dozens of seats. The lounge sort of has cigar bar/library vibes in terms of how it’s furnished. I do like that the lounge has some natural light, given that the business class section of the lounge lacks that.

Singapore Airlines Private Room Changi

Singapore Airlines Private Room Changi

Near the entrance the lounge has a variety of magazines and newspapers.

Singapore Airlines Private Room Changi newspapers & magazines

The lounge has several seating options, though functionally they mostly have the same purpose. That’s to say that the main room doesn’t have any semi-private cubicles, daybeds, etc.

Singapore Airlines Private Room Changi

On the plus side, perhaps not that much privacy is needed, since I always find the lounge to be puzzlingly empty. During my layover there were at most three other passengers, which I can’t really make sense of, given how many flights Singapore Airlines has with first class cabins. I guess the lounge just gets busier in the mornings and evenings, since that’s when the majority of flights depart.

Singapore Airlines Private Room Changi

Singapore Airlines Private Room Changi

Singapore Airlines Private Room Changi seating

The lounge has a couple of TV areas. I know I pick up on this more than others, but I really wish they’d have some ambient music in the lounge, rather than just having the TVs on, since you can hear them from much of the lounge. I find ambient music really helps with setting the tone of a place.

Singapore Airlines Private Room Changi seating

Singapore Airlines Private Room Changi seating

As far as other amenities go, the lounge has a couple of private rooms that each have a chair with ottoman. I’d far prefer if they had day beds or real beds, but at the same time any private area is a nice option to have.

Singapore Airlines Private Room Changi

There’s also a family room in the lounge.

Singapore Airlines Private Room Changi

The lounge’s bathrooms and shower rooms are back towards the entrance. I know I’m nitpicking here, but I’m not a fan of a full time bathroom attendant just standing there, especially when you don’t have “true” private shower rooms or toilets. The individual shower rooms also don’t have toilets.

Singapore Airlines Private Room bathroom

Singapore Airlines Private Room shower

The other major focal point of the lounge is the dining area, which I find to be incredibly elegant. I love the design of this space.

Singapore Airlines Private Room Changi dining area

Singapore Airlines Private Room Changi dining area

Singapore Airlines Private Room Changi dining area

In the corner is a small buffet, which just has some chips, nuts cheese, finger sandwiches, whole fruit, and dessert. I feel like the buffet almost detracts from the experience, since the selection seems roughly like what you’d find in a Priority Pass lounge.

Singapore Airlines Private Room buffet

Singapore Airlines Private Room buffet

Singapore Airlines Private Room buffet

Singapore Airlines Private Room buffet

Singapore Airlines Private Room buffet

Singapore Airlines Private Room buffet

Singapore Airlines Private Room buffet

Singapore Airlines Private Room buffet

Singapore Airlines Private Room buffet

There’s also an extensive a la carte offering.

Singapore Airlines Private Room menu

The menu read as follows:

The drink list read as follows:

There are servers constantly roaming the lounge, not just in the restaurant, but all over. When I got to the lounge I first ordered a cappuccino.

Singapore Airlines Private Room cappuccino

Later on I had a seat in the restaurant, and ordered a glass of champagne. They had 2009 Dom on offer, which is exceptional.

Singapore Airlines Private Room Dom Perignon

Singapore Airlines Private Room dining table

Singapore Airlines is so good with their onboard meal service that I still wasn’t hungry, but figured I should try something. So I just ordered some satay.

Singapore Airlines Private Room satay

Then for dessert I ordered the almond beancurd longan.

Singapore Airlines Private Room dessert

The Private Room has infuriatingly slow wifi, which I can’t wrap my head around. Is it really that hard to get wifi right in a lounge?

I spent a bit of time in the lounge working, and then left the lounge at around 5:45PM, since my flight was boarding from Terminal 2 at 6:10PM. There’s a train that goes between terminals.

Singapore Airlines Private Room train

My flight was departing from gate E3, and at Changi security is at each individual gate. Fortunately there was almost no wait, so I was through very quickly.

Singapore Changi departure gate

Talk about a very nice plane for the short flight to Kuala Lumpur!

Singapore Airlines A350 Changi Airport

As expected, boarding started at exactly 6:10PM.

Singapore Private Room bottom line

There’s no lounge that leaves me quite as conflicted as the Private Room, and I’m not exactly sure why.

The lounge is exclusive, quiet, and nicely furnished. Service is friendly, and the food and champagne are excellent.

However, I just don’t get excited about the lounge. That’s to say that I love spending a lot of time in some lounges of Air France, Cathay Pacific, Lufthansa, etc., while I don’t get that feeling in the Private Room.

I think what it comes down to is that I think the Private Room lacks ambiance (there’s no music, there’s TV on in the background, and it’s outrageously quiet otherwise), and lacks any other exciting amenities.

The lounge has good food, but the problem is that Singapore Airlines’ onboard catering is excellent and plentiful, so I feel like I’m never actually hungry when in the lounge.

I wish they’d do something to add some pizzaz to the lounge, whether that comes in the form of spa treatments, nap rooms, or anything. Ideally functioning, fast wifi would be nice as well.

While this isn’t my favorite lounge in the world, it does rank in my list of the world’s top 11 first class lounges, but only barely. The airline will soon be renovating this lounge, so I’ll be curious to see what exactly they do with it.

If you’ve visited the Private Room, what was your experience like? Anyone else have a lukewarm feeling towards it?

  1. I have the exact same feeling about it. I visited it only once and was soooo excited about it, and I found it to be such a let down. There’s nothing special about it besides exclusivity and the food wasn’t even that good. I also found the shower situation to be quite sad for a first class lounge. It’s crazy to me that an airline with such an excellent onboard product and such a prestigious image can be such a let down on the ground. I visited the Air France first class lounge several times, and I just visited Al Safwa for the first time and there isn’t even a comparison.

  2. „While this lounge doesn’t rank in my top 11 first class lounges, I’d definitely say it’s in the top 15.“
    Hmm, you did rank it #10…

  3. My wife and I were there last year. The place was pretty deserted except for us, another couple and a family with unruly children who were relocated after a while. It was pretty much as you described, except that service was really not great outside the restaurant and the restaurant food was so-so. After doing some wandering, I determined that I’d probably prefer the regular first class lounge if visiting again. Not awful overall, but frankly uninspiring.

  4. Fly thru SIN regularly and have access to the Private Room. One and done. There’s only so much it can offer after the on board experience. I also don’t like deserted places no matter how nice they are.

  5. @ Evan — I would say so. When you’re in a big lounge and you feel like making a phone call and talking quietly would be heard by servers on other side of the lounge, I’d describe it as such.

  6. I spent a few hours there just before Christmas. It definitely lacks atmosphere and the WiFi is so bad it’s unreal. Was unable to get much work done. Disappointing there’s no spa treatments available.

    Best bits were the chocolates and the Dom

  7. Far too many photo showing well nothing much

    We don’t need photos of a fruit bowl or of some nuts! A few general shots of the buffet would have sufficed.

    So some judicious editing in future please!

  8. Interesting. I could’ve sworn that was for Suites Passengers only. Had it a couple years back. Too exhausted and sick too eat there though.

    I find I value exclusivity the most though. Don’t get me wrong, I love the crowds and the atmosphere at the airport, but that Peace and Quiet in certain lounges raises a pleasing nostalgia for me.

    Just had a chance for The Wing lounge at HKG, and I didn’t know what the point was. All the good seats gone, a line for their special restaurant, and supposedly the best feature of the lounge was the Cabanas, which I’ve heard you have to arrive before the lounge even opens to get in line to reserve. Where’s the “First Class” in any of that? ANA First Lounge NRT was slightly better in that regard, but my highlights so far have been Star Alliance First Lounge LAX, LH F Lounge Munich, and the Aspire Lounge JNB. Admittedly I’m far less travelled than most in the travel community.

  9. It’s meh for what else there is to expect and appreciate from SQ. It’s biggest attribute is the lack of other travelers. Food is quite good as well as the drink. I’ll go back for sure, but do agree on your criticism.

  10. I remember reading somewhere at least a year back that TPR was being renovated, but have heard nothing since. An update to match the new suites would be nice.

  11. Yeah, u can sleep in the FC lounge when TPC closes, and they’ll give you blankets. Pro tip: there are actually two private rooms within TPC. You can get a pretty good sleep on in there, with the chair and ottoman together.

  12. Shower rooms without toilets? Lost me there. I cannot fathom why designers do this, anywhere. It’s like in hotels where you have to exit the toilet, in full sight of anyone in the room, to get to the shower. Take note, designers!

  13. Personally I can’t stand TVs blaring every place, and can’t understand why people have to have noise everywhere!

  14. Ill be stopping by this lounge in a few weeks as I am taking a suites flight out of SIN. I never really care about massages and stuff like that. What I care about is lack of crowds, good food, good drinks, comfortable environment. This lounge sounds like it will fit the bill nicely for these things. The LH first class terminal I thought was alright but I was not blown away by it. I was hoping for a complimentary cigar but they did away with that and they don’t sell single cigars since I am not a smoker and just wanted to try one in the cigar room I was not about to buy an entire box. The beds were taken almost the entire time I was there so I couldn’t get any sleep on a long layover. I also found the service to be quite lacking for almost all the staff there other than the woman who welcomed me to the lounge who was excellent. The rest of them seemed a bit clueless with even basic requests and it took real effort to get a hold of a server to order food. I really felt the staff was inattentive and everything was a bit of a struggle. Not a lounge I will go out of the way for in the future. The pier is my current favorite lounge. I like the design, I like the food, I like the service. Multiple times I have been to the pier and they always perform appropriately.

  15. The Private Room feels a little like a dead zone or energy sink when I have been there. I find the adjoining first class and business class lounges to be more lively and with more interested food.

  16. Good review Ben. The wifi can’t be as slow as it is currently at DOH where I find myself reading this review. Lol.

  17. There in late January. Enjoyed the lamb, sea bass and champagne. Yes, it was super quiet. I was surprised the service wasn’t a bit more attentive, but a very pleasant experience and meal, didn’t notice the televisions when we were there.

  18. I would agree on the TV’s. I have never understood why TV’s are placed in lounges. For me it is perfectly possible to wait for departure without a screaming soap on TV.

  19. Food was so excellent, it made my visit fabulous. Much better than the onboard meal. However , I started in SIN, so hit the lounge hungry.

  20. Out of Topic,But Business Class Lounge at Changi Airport sucks! Food sucks & Service sucks.
    Show them how it is done,Emirates!

  21. SQ has always been weak in their lounge game, especially at home base when compared to CX at HKG & TG at BKK for example. Maybe they feel their onboard product is strong enough to slack off a bit on the ground

  22. The shower rooms without toilets may be a Changi design… i actually went lounge-hopping with Priority Pass & i think only SATS Premier at T1 has showers with toilets

  23. We have visited First Class lounges in many countries and find quite a range in the offerings, however we can always depend on SQ First lounges to be what we are hoping for….quiet, refined spaces offering comfort, relaxation, good service and a sense of warm, professional hospitality. TPR dependably provides what we look for without wasting the costs of trying to impress us with palatial spaces and ‘blingy’ side offerings. LH’s First Class Terminal was initially exciting to visit but ended up just leaving us underwhelmed by the many side offerings that we have no need of or reason to use. Warm, refined, subtle service does it for us.

  24. This lounge is leagues behind the best in the business. I feel that it doesn’t even better the AA Flangship First Dining in JFK.

    That said the true reason SQ is not renovating the lounge is because they are slated to move their entire operations to the new terminal 5 once it is opened and will not invest in any of their lounges in T3.

  25. It’s there just for exclusivity. This being Singapore, the Business class lounge can get incredibly crowded, and even the First class lounge isn’t spared sometimes. To have somewhere quiet to wind down is important. And of course, you get to show off to family/business partners/junior staff and get lots of “face” (which is invaluable in Asia!) Trust me, that’s what my boss did many times!

  26. Some context is necessary given the number of folks complaining about how dull and quiet and unexciting the Private Room is. Ex-SIN, one can arrive at the airport and get to the gate in under 10-15 minutes. Added to how pleasant the airport generally is, there is little incentive for most domestic (i.e. Singaporean) travellers, both status and premium cabin, to bother with lounge access. When you consider that most non-award, ex-SIN F passengers are usually VIPs – and very busy people, exciting lounge features are not first priority – exclusivity and privacy are.

    Someone pointed out that The Wing at HKG can at times become overcrowded and the highlight feature, the Cabanas, practically impossible to utilise. As also pointed out by others, the First Class section of the SilverKris lounge is indeed livelier and Suites/F passengers can move freely between the areas.

    I’m not saying TPR is the best First Class lounge in the world – probably far from it. But the TPR is not called the Private Room for no reason – you can’t have it both ways.

  27. @ Dt @ SQ Flyer — All fair points, though it would also be nice if the lounge at least had functioning wifi. :p

  28. After this review… oh and their menu available… what a let down.

    Not as nice as EY’s F lounge with a la cart menu… and actually felt exclusive. This on the other hand from Lucky’s perspective isn’t Wow-able…

  29. I like quiet. I like the Singapore Airlines first class lounge. The food is made to order and excellent. The staff don’t overwhelm me.

  30. I find SQ and LH are funny mirrors when it comes to their onboard and ground experiences. SQ is excellent in the air, both their soft and hard product, but their lounges are puzzlingly weak. LH’s hard product on board is just ok, especially in Biz, while their soft product is highly variable, but their lounges are awesome.

  31. I haven’t been to this lounge but I agree about full-time bathroom attendants. I hate it when you just want a little private time and someone is hovering outside within earshot, waiting for you to come back out so they can offer some unnecessary service like turning the taps on for you.

  32. My wife and I are both Solitaire Club members and are invited to the Private Room, but almost always avoid it by arriving to the airport as close to our flight time and enjoying the wonderful service and food at the Imperial Treasure.

  33. Spot on review, Ben – sums up my impression about it too. Have been there about 5 times now and still have these weird mixed feelings about it. It’s so quiet any noise is obvious – unfortunately some customers also don’t think of using the private booths and end up having loud phone calls (or often Facetime sessions) into their phones that can then be heard from the other end of the lounge!

  34. I find the Private room alright. Staff is nice, its been very calm and quiet all the times Ive been there, nice furniture etc.

    The buffet is not good, but for me ala carte has been good. Ive usually stuck to soups, lamb dishes and cheese plates. But strange that the lunch menue is until 6pm. Supper menu only from that time.
    The wines/champagne are great (although no Krug in the lounge, only in the air).

    I dont need spa etc, so I find the lounge pretty good.

    The business class and first class lounges looks pretty outdated. Like waking through a Priority pass lounge. But Ive not stayed there, only passed by.

  35. The Private Room of Singapore Airlines is functional, not inspirational. Can’t wrap my head around why SQ won’t make it great. Ground services and lounges are indeed SQ’s weakest link. I imagine if they care to improve upon these 2 areas, SQ can be the best in their game, bar none.

  36. Not nitpicking at all on the bathroom observations, for me the most important thing of shower room is having a private toilet. So in this regard my trustworthy United Club at IAH is better than the Private Room.

  37. Sitting in the Private Room right now. Lucky, they seem to have heard you…there’s no TV sound AND there’s ambient music. Definitely improves the experience.

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