- 6 'private corners' plus two VIP rooms
- À la carte dining anywhere in the lounge
- Ageing design
- Limited power points
- Complimentary one-hour spa treatments
In airport lounges reserved exclusively for first class passengers and highest-tier-only frequent flyers, airlines have more wiggle room to go above and beyond, as Thai Airways strives to do in its Royal First Lounge and Royal Orchid Spa at Bangkok Airport.
Location & Impressions
Thai's Royal First Lounge can be found in Concourse D in the airport's international departures area. If arriving on foot, it's impossible to miss the bright orange sign above the entrance:
However, if you're connecting between first class flights with Thai Airways, you can expect to be greeted at your arriving aircraft, driven through the airport to lounge's nearest security screening point, and then escorted inside.
Given this is Thai's home hub, the lounge isn't massive, but nor is the guest list (detailed below), making this 74-seat facility the perfect size.
The main area offers a variety of seats suited to solo travellers, pairs and groups – some in view of a TV.
While rectangular in shape, the room doesn't feel like a typical 'shoebox' as various design aspects create little nooks and zones.
Beyond that central section, you'll also find two VIP rooms, and six "private corners" offered to guests on a first-come, first-seated basis, being three-walled rooms sans doors, for just a hint more privacy.
There's also plenty of seating right outside the bathrooms and showers, just in case you're waiting for somebody.
The Royal First Lounge is open 20 hours a day, from 5am until 1am.
- First class passengers of Thai Airways, SWISS, and other Star Alliance airlines as offered from time to time.
- Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus Platinum cardholders with an onward international flight operated by Thai Airways.
- Miles & More HON Circle members prior to Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa and SWISS flights.
There's no paid access to this lounge, nor is access available to Star Alliance Gold frequent flyers, except those listed above.
You'll find both buffet and à la carte dining here: the former handy for quick pit stops, and the latter suited to longer stays.
On the self-serve front, there's no shortage of coconut water – served in a coconut – or of quick bites like yoghurts and fruit salad, as well as soft drinks and beer.
Joining those is a small mix of hot and cold items like quiche, sandwiches and rolls.
There's a walk-up bar where bartenders serve a variety of beer, wine and spirits, as well as espresso coffee, although the drink will usually find its way to your seat.
Everything else comes from an extensive à la carte menu offering dishes to suit all tastes. If you don't receive one when you arrive, just ask one of the many helpful staff, who'll be happy to assist with food and beverage requests anywhere in the lounge.
Throughout the day, you can order everything from breakfast, lunch and dinner through to snacks, salads, dessert, cocktails, mocktails, coffee and more.
Seeking more of a bitter drink after enjoying a sweet dessert on an inbound Thai Airways first class flight, the '007' cocktail hit the spot, mixing vodka and dry vermouth, promptly served with three olives.
On the side, fresh and tasty spring rolls with sweet chilli sauce, and lettuce for a nice crunch.
While you can dine anywhere in the lounge, there's a proper dining room in the far corner if you're looking for something more formal:
There's a separate, private dining room here too, for those seeking something more secluded:
Without the opportunity to leave Bangkok Airport on this transit, ordering the Pad Thai while on the ground was an easy decision, which paired well with the house Champagne: Moët & Chandon Brut NV.
The meal was nice, but the food overall is very 'local Thai restaurant' rather than taking things up a notch to fine dining, to match the surrounds (and crockery).
Computer terminals are scattered throughout the lounge, found mainly in the six 'private corners', although you'll need to unplug that computer – or the lamp – to plug your own device in.
WiFi is complimentary, but you'll need to scan your boarding pass at this kiosk in the centre of the lounge – or have a staff member do it for you – to get your own unique login code.
Once online, the connection was speedy with downloads sitting at 45Mbps, and uploads around 9.5Mbps: but while the Internet is fast, access to power points is quite limited throughout the lounge.
With time to spare before your flight, kick back in one of the six 'private corners', most of which have TVs, and which are all found next to each other along the main lounge corridor.
Or, mingle in the main space, where there's plenty of seating.
There's a variety of reading material at-hand including many English-language titles, and if you're in need of a quiet place to sit and read, there are seats right here.
Separate to the Royal First Lounge is the Royal Orchid Spa, conveniently located across from the first class reception. Here, Thai Airways' first class passengers are treated to a complimentary one-hour treatment.
It's certainly worth arriving early for or planning a longer transit, and bookings can be made via staff in the Royal First Lounge. Upon arriving for your appointment, you'll be shown to the dedicated first class waiting area, where light refreshments are available.
Then, you'll be taken through to a treatment room for either a full body oil massage or a 'Royal Thai massage'. Alternatively, during peak times, first class travellers may be offered 2x30 minute treatments in the spa's business class zone, although with a six-hour transit, securing a standard appointment wasn't an issue.
After your massage, each treatment room offers shower facilities, and you're free to return to the first class sitting area for a cold towel and refreshing herbal drink.
Naturally, peace and quiet, the spa perks, bartender service and à la carte dining headline the Thai Airways first class lounge experience, particularly so if you arrive early enough to nab a 'private corner'.
It's a significant upgrade to the business class lounge next door, although can be a little noisy at times as announcements made outside in the terminal are distantly audible within the lounge, especially in those private corners.
Chris Chamberlin travelled at his own expense using frequent flyer points.