Review: Singapore Airlines “The Private Room” First Class Lounge

My pictures of this lounge aren’t going to be very good, but that’s actually the crux of the review.

I got off a regional flight from Denpasar and when I arrived at the train which moves passengers between terminals I realized that I left my camera on the flight. I froze. What should I do to get it back? I hadn’t even paid attention to which gate I had gotten off at, but I could have figured that out. Should I return to the gate? While Singapore flight attendants provide outstasnding service, I find that their ground staff do not always and out of the box thinking isn’t usually a strong suit.

I was flying business class for the short hop but connecting to Singapore Airlines first class on an award ticket. The lounge I’d be using for my layover was Singapore’s “The Private Room.”

About five years ago I was connecting in Singapore from Lufthansa first class to Singapore business, and by the time I made it into Singapore’s business class lounge they were aware that my wife had left some DVDs on the Lufthansa flight, and we were told they would be waiting for us at our connection.

I decided the very best strategy would be to proceed to the lounge and ask the staff there to track my camera down for me.

I proceeded up to the terminal 3 Singapore lounges and showed my boarding pass. I was escorted through the first class lounge corridor to the Private Room.

My boarding pass was checked again — they appear to guard entrance jealously.

When I arrived there I explained the situation — the flight I had gotten off of, the seat I had been in, where in the seat I thought I had left the camera. They immediately went off to see what they could do.

There was only an older Russian man and a young woman who I really do believe in this case was his daughter in the lounge. I’m surprised generally how empty The Private Room is, thinking that there must be many more Singapore Airlines first class passengers waiting for flights than make it to the lounge.

When The Private Room first opened it was for paid first class passengers on Singapore only. It remains for Singapore’s first class passengers, it is not open to first class passengers of other Star Alliance airlines and it is not open to passengers based on status. But it is now available to award passengers, and I was on an award ticket.

With the reduced exclusivity, oddly enough, hasn’t come crowding.

It’s a nice, peaceful space that’s biggest claim is its exclusivity. It also, in my opinion, has the second best food of any airline lounge — behind Lufthansa’s first class terminal (I’m a sucker for their wiener schnitzel). Otherwise it’s really just a quiet space.

There’s a buffet and menu service, and you can eat either in your restaurant or anywhere else in the lounge.

Here’s the restaurant.

Here’s two of the pages of what’s on offer to order:

I couldn’t go without trying the satay…

…and the lobster

Besides the restaurant and lounge area, there’s a restroom with nice enough showers.

They do a really nice job with food. The place is empty. Service is good. And the lounge is comfortable. That makes it a very good first class lounge.

It does not, however, put it in the league with the Lufthansa First Class Terminal in Frankfurt, Thai First Class Lounge and Spa in Bangkok, or Qantas First Class Lounge in Sydney. There’s better food and service, but fewer amenities (no spa) than the Etihad first class lounge in Abu Dhabi. It’s a great place to visit between flights, but I don’t think I would arrive at the Singapore airport super-early to ensure plenty of time there.

I do have to give them substsantial props though — by the time the food I’d ordered had arrived, the lounge staff member who greeted me that I explained my camera dilemma to had returned and let me know that they located my camera and it would be waiting for me at the gate of my connecting flight. And it was. I couldn’t have been happier and more relieved.

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About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Glad you recovered your camera. The Private Room looks dated and not very exclusive at all. But my question is: What kind of smartphone are you using to get such sh*tty pictures. Perhaps you need a new camera app?

  2. The exclusivity of the Private Room is its main redeeming feature. We actually somewhat preferred the selection in the main First Class lounge which is outside the Private Room – there was a greater variety of food than in the Private Room. It somewhat offended the waitstaff in the Private Room who insisted they could also get us anything from the main lounge, but of course there isn’t a menu for the buffet.

    Also the seats in the Private Room aren’t very comfortable especially if you want to doze or work.

    But it’s still a pretty nice lounge. What’s amazing to me is how poor many of SQ’s other lounges are. The lounge in Hong Kong was extremely poor. SFO is pretty blah. They also do very little to help their through pax at either HKG or ICN where you have to reclear security

  3. I once left a whole box with all my charger cables in the footstool on old LX F. Got to the lounge, told them about it, went to the city for a few hours, and when I got back, it was waiting for me. All this time my dad was very anxious and I was very very calm. One of benefits of flying F? 😉

  4. In March, I left my camera bag (DSLR, three lenses, batteries, etc.) in Lufthansa’s Business Class lounge at Frankfurt airport. I was in the middle of an exhausting itinerary and didn’t notice it was gone until I disembarked my next flight in New York. Not only did Luhansa locate my bag the next morning, but they shipped it to the USA, free of charge — even though I offered to pay.

    A month later, I found myself in the same lounge and asked to thank the employee who so kindly tracked it down. I was told that she was, in fact, on duty, but that Lufthansa does this “all the time”, so no personal apology would be necessary. Needless to say, I was very impressed!

  5. I loved the Private Room, far more than my expectations.

    The wine and hard liquor offerings was also excellent besides the food.

  6. Do passengers transiting from First/Suites with a connection to Business have access to the Private Room?

  7. I never understood the appeal, or marketing, of a room that is so exclusive there are few people. While perhaps of value by people who are famous and want to get out of the limelight, for me an empty room lack embiance, no matter what the amenities. There needs to be some level of buzz.

  8. Thanks to you, Gary, we enjoyed the Private Room at SIN prior to our return to SFO….That, and the FCL in Frankfort are both awesome! SIN was quieter, but we loved both….and look forward, with your help, to searching out contenders!

  9. We really enjoyed the room. Gret left her kindle in the suite on SQ2.
    The flight manager had the airline call us and FedEX it to us. That is good service, $11k ticket or not!

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