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Singapore - Changi
Star Alliance (temporary)
Singapore Airlines (temporary)
- Wide variety of hot food
- Power outlets wherever you look
- KrisFlyer Gold Lounge passengers finally get restrooms
- Plenty of light during the day
- Small space that gets very busy at night
- Long wait times for showers and toilets
- No business facilities
- Lounge staff are proactive in finding empty seats for new visitors
The Marhaba Lounge, operated by dnata, is the newest addition to the long list of independent lounges at Singapore Changi Airport. Open to paying passengers departing on any airline within Terminals 1 to 3, it's also now the temporary home of Singapore Airlines' KrisFlyer Gold Lounge, which relocated in August 2019 to make way for a massive overhaul of all its lounges.
Location & Impressions
The Marhaba Lounge is located just after immigration in Terminal 3 of Changi Airport. Singapore Airlines has a handy map of the lounge's location relative to the huge Louis Vuitton store.
On the right-hand side of the store, you'll find an escalator going up with the Marhaba and Singapore Airlines logos clearly marked.
Directly up ahead is the main Marhaba Lounge entrance which welcomes all eligible guests except for passengers who are accessing the KrisFlyer Gold Lounge.
If that's you, head down the same hallway where you'll quickly see that Singapore Airlines has created its own entrance and branding for the temporary KrisFlyer Gold Lounge.
After checking in with the Singapore Airlines staff, you'll wind up in the far end of the Marhaba Lounge where the bulk of the seating is. Unsurprisingly, it was very full and busy in the late evenings, just like the old KrisFlyer Gold Lounge was.
However, Marhaba Lounge staff were actively seen on the floor, welcoming guests and directing them to the nearest empty spots. They were even proactive in asking passengers if they could help with anything, which was a great redeeming factor.
On paper, there's seating for 130 guests, which isn't a lot when you think about how many people have access. Here's how the space looked during a previous visit at a quieter time (you can see the natural light and window views too).
Walking back towards the main entrance of the lounge, you'll spy dining tables on the right and the buffet stations on the left.
At the front part of the Marhaba Lounge is the 'quiet zone', although in the evenings it's never as quiet as depicted below, which was again from an earlier visit during daytime hours.
The restroom facilities are located through a corridor near the main entrance and quiet zone.
The combined Marhaba/KrisFlyer Gold Lounge is open all day, every day, as are most other third-party lounges in Changi Airport.
As a side note, if you tried to access the original KrisFlyer Gold Lounge T3 now, it's been shuttered and arrows will direct you back to the Marhaba Lounge.
There are many ways to get into the Marhaba Lounge through class of travel, frequent flyer status, lounge membership or pre-booking online.
- Business class passengers of China Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, Myanmar National Airlines and SriLankan Airlines.
- SkyTeam Elite Plus and equivalent members before China Airlines and Garuda Indonesia flights.
- Oneworld Sapphire, Emerald and equivalent members before SriLankan Airlines flights (although there are three other OneWorld lounges to use).
- Lounge members of Priority Pass, Loungekey, Dragonpass and Lounge Club, which uses up one visit per person where applicable.
- Pre-book online starting from S$55 (A$58) for three hours access.
While Singapore Airlines has its temporary KrisFlyer Gold Lounge here until 2021, the following guests are welcomed too:
- Virgin Australia Velocity Gold, Platinum members before Singapore Airlines or SilkAir marketed and operated flights.
- KrisFlyer Elite Gold members before any Star Alliance flight.
- Star Alliance Gold members before any Star Alliance flight.
There is no shortage of food options here, with more than ten hot dishes and numerous other cold platters available for grazing.
As an appetiser, it's hard to ignore the chicken satay with condiments. Not pictured but nearby are chicken char siu buns and steamed Shanghainese dumplings.
From left to right, top to bottom, main courses included roasted carrots and potatoes, pasta and beef rendang, steamed rice and vegetable curry, and finally Taiwanese braised chicken and vegetarian noodles.
Also available as sides: soy-braised eggs (which pairs marvellously with the Taiwanese braised chicken), and steamed bok choy for those paying attention to their daily serves of veggies.
The cold options are somewhat less impressive, with an assortment of simple sandwiches and salads. There are a couple of options for dessert, including chocolate brownies and apple crumble squares.
All drinks here are DIY with four spirits (Johnnie Walker Black, Barcadi White Rum, Gordon's Dry Gin, Smirnoff Red Label Vodka), mixers, ice and lemon all nearby to stir up your own cocktail. Wine options are slightly lacking – two reds, two whites and no sparkling.
The bar fridges stock Singapore's Tiger beer and Heineken, plus a range of soft drinks, mixers and juices.
If you're game, show off your bartending skills and pour your own glass of Tiger beer from a dispenser in the lounge, though many travellers seemed to have trouble managing the foam from their un-tilted glasses.
But the best beverage for pre-flight hydration is simply the cucumber, mint and lemon infused water.
Australian Vittoria coffee is brewed on demand through two coffee machines, while nibbles and Dilmah teas are nearby.
The bar tables are probably the best place to set up a laptop out of the way. The power outlets are even rotated in a way to ensure that bulky power bricks will fit on the benchtop.
Otherwise consider taking a seat at the dining area, especially if travelling in a group, although be mindful that there is high traffic along this hallway.
Power outlets are located at practically every seat, so at least there's no reason to run out of juice while recharging at this lounge.
We measured the WiFi speeds to be a paltry 1.84Mbps down and a more reasonable 6.84 Mbps up, with browsing speeds undoubtedly impacted by the high number of users in the lounge.
This, combined with the lack of business printing facilities and dedicated work areas, make the Marhaba Lounge less-than-ideal for getting important business done.
With such a small footprint, there aren't many places to relax. You'll be directed to the nearest available seating by staff, which may include seats in the general area towards the back of the lounge.
The best place to chance a snooze is within the quiet zone at the front of the lounge, where the seats are more suited for slumbering and there's less foot traffic. The TVs are muted but do have subtitles if you're following along.
While you while away the time, magazines and newspapers are available throughout the lounge, and there are handy 'mini-information screens' which show the status of imminent flights.
If you need to take a shower, that's sorted too – just speak to reception to pick up a towel set. There are three shower rooms, plus a few more individual restroom cubicles. The lighted signs show what facilities are available and if they are occupied. Buzzers will be handed out if showers (or toilets) are busy with a waiting list.
All in all, the Marhaba Lounge is a quality third-party lounge, compared to the numerous other options available in Terminals 1, 2 and 3. For guests who normally frequent the KrisFlyer Gold Lounges, the overall ambience, food options and restroom facilities are a definite upgrade, although the peak-hour evening crunch remains.
This means that passengers with a Priority Pass or similar lounge membership, who can choose where they go, are better off avoiding the Marhaba Lounge in the evenings and picking somewhere quieter.
The Plaza Premium Lounge in Terminal 1 (which also welcomes American Express Platinum Cardholders) and the SATS Premier Lounge in T3 come highly recommended, both of which are roughly equal to Marhaba Lounge in terms of the service and offerings.
Brandon Loo travelled from Singapore at his own expense.
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