REVIEW – Conrad Singapore (Centennial Suite)
January 21, 2017
REVIEW – Cathay Pacific : Business Class – Singapore to Hong Kong (A330-Regional Config)
February 1, 2017

REVIEW – DNATA Lounge, Singapore Changi T1

 

  • Class: Business
  • Access:
    • Cathay Pacific, Air France, KLM, Delta, Finnair, Air Asia, Air Mauritius, Bangkok Airways, Drukair, Myanmar Airways International, Fiji Airways, Xiamen Airlines and China Southern – Premium cabin passengers or elite status holders
    • Priority Pass
  • Date: December 2015

 

Being in Terminal 1 of Singapore Changi airport leaves you with the distinct feeling of being in the ‘B team’. Whilst SQ’s high ceilings and green spaces dominate the gleaming Terminal 2, Terminal 1 feels a lot more like a regular airport. Being Singapore this airport is still a cut above most other airports I’ve encountered on my travels though. There is still a decent amount of light and quite a lot of plant life, there just aren’t any rooftop pools or butterfly gardens 😀

One thing that T1 has over T2 though is this:

My favourite, sticky and sweet Bakkwa – a Singaporean delicacy available throughout Asia. Sheets of pork, chicken and beef roasted and coated in spices and honey. Whenever I’m in this part of the world I find it extremely hard to stop myself from eating either bakkwa or matcha ice-creams – they are my kryptonite.

During check-in the CX agent didn’t mention anything about lounges to me so I figured we’d just head over to the QF lounge. It turns out however that the lounge is closed in the mornings. The BA lounge was in a similar state.

Slightly annoyed but not yet beaten, we backtracked and made our way to the Dnata lounge. I’ve seen Dnata’s branding stamped across the sides of catering trucks and written on airport signage in airports around the world. It is one of those brands that is at once oddly pervasive and at once, totally unknown. Experience has taught me to be cynical about third party lounges and nothing about beaten up catering trucks and logos stamped on doors marked “staff only” made me think that this was going to be a stellar experience…


DNATA Lounge
Singapore Changi Terminal 1


The receptionist was quite confused by the fact that we hadn’t been issued lounge passes.
“We are flying in business class”, I said.
“You need to have a lounge invitation”
“I wasn’t given one of those but we are also both OneWorld Sapphire, if that helps”
“It doesn’t say that on the boarding pass”
“Here is my number and electronic card”
“If they saw this at check-in, they should have given you a lounge invitation”
The situation was becoming increasingly Kafkaesque and I was beginning to think it would be Bakkwa at the gate for us. Thankfully though a supervisor stepped in at this stage – having overheard our conversation – and offered to call through to Cathay’s desk, to verify our lounge eligibility. Thirty seconds later we were welcomed into the lounge.

I was pleasantly surprised by the cool, modern decor and aroma of freshly made coffee at the bar.

A decent selection of base level brand named sprits and some New World red and white wines.

Cocktails and coffees are available at all hours and the barstaff were very friendly and knowledgeable. I ordered a strong flat white and a double macchiato and both were stupendously good. Easily the best coffee I’ve ever had in an airport lounge. There is a self serve coffee machine on top of the bar for those that prefer to get their own coffee, I imagine this comes in useful when the baristas get backed up, although I can’t imagine the quality is comparable.

The fridges feature numerous soft drinks and beers. Water only comes in large bottles though so you’ll have to buy your own outside if you want to take water on board your flight.

In addition to canned soft drinks drinks there are also drinks fountains, including one for Milo and Milk Tea!

Always nice to see some healthy fruit and vegetable options.

There was also a selection of several hot dishes including noodle and rice dishes as well as an egg dish and even bouef Bourguignon!

Next to the buffet there is a cafeteria/ restaurant style seating area, in addition to the lounge areas nearer the bar.

Enjoying a flat white and a plate of bouef Bourguignon as a follow up (and marked improvement) over the breakfast at the Conrad. My more eagle-eyed viewers will have noticed the bottle of Tanqueray Ten, a must when travelling to the Island of the gods, with its rather punitive taxes on foreign produced alcohol.

After settling down we were approached by a member of CX staff who apologised profusely for the misunderstanding with regards to the lounge invitation. She informed us that our flight was running around 20 minutes late and said that she would inform us when it was time to head to the gate, so that we could spend more time relaxing in the lounge instead of waiting at the gate. A very nice touch and great service recovery.

Conclusion

I was very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the service, decor, food and coffee at this lounge. I could easily spend a couple of hours here and in many ways I found it preferable to the chaos of SQ’s own Krisflyer lounges in T2. As far as Priority Pass lounges go, this is up there with Plaza Premium

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