An extended long weekend in Singapore usually means that the city will be half empty, with plenty of folks heading out to nearby destinations for the four-day break.
Given that I was not planning to jet off, I decided to check out Crowne Plaza Changi Airport for a holiday at home.
Opened in May 2008, Crowne Plaza Changi Airport is Changi Airport’s first full service hotel, with direct access to Terminal 3. The hotel first opened with 320 rooms, and a second extension was built in 2016, adding another 243 rooms to the hotel for a total of 563 rooms and suites. Crowne Plaza Changi Airport is owned by OUE Hospitality Trust.
The hotel is touted as a five-star hotel, complete with two restaurants, a sports bar, lobby lounge, meeting and banquet facilities. Recreational facilities include an outdoor pool, a 24-hour fitness centre, as well as an on-property spa. The hotel also offers a club lounge.
In recent years, the hotel has consistently won Skytrax’s best airport hotel award, having won the award five times in a row from 2015 to 2019.
If you haven’t been to the room floors of the hotel, don’t let the dark interiors of the lower floors mislead you. Once up on level three, the floors are mostly open concept, with plenty of water flowing along side the corridors and ample greenery. I was very impressed at how the hotel manage to create a feel of an oasis through the use of natural light and greenery, and also make the entire property feel pretty cooling despite being in a naturally hot airport precinct.
My experience with other Crowne Plaza properties around the world has always been quite good. I’m not sure if this is an airport hotel occurence or a long weekend effect, but the check-in process at Crowne Plaza Changi Airport turned out to be quite a nightmare.
When I got there at about 2pm, there were at least 10 people waiting to check in. At first glance, the queue situation was rather haphazard, with no clear signages where to queue, nor someone actively managing the lines. As I was an IHG Rewards Club elite member, I was queuing at the IHG priority check in queue, until a staff came and asked me to join the general queue. After I’ve moved, he told me that I could join the elite queue if I wanted to, but he would have to move another guest in front of me from the general queue. Obviously I wasn’t pleased. Eventually an agent attended to me about 20 minutes after I arrived.
To be fair, the check-in agent, Grazel, was efficient and friendly. She was also very apologetic for the long wait. Despite this, I was told that my room was only going to be ready at 3pm. As I had booked myself into a club room, Grazel then invited me to rest at the lounge first while I wait for my room, and that another staff Raymond will inform me when the room was ready.
So off to the lounge I went. Raymond, a staff from the lounge, was excellent. At 3pm when I checked in with him, he regretfully told me that my room was still not ready, and he will check on what he could do as soon as possible. In less than 10 minutes, he managed to get my room sorted, and even got me an upgrade to a suite. I was soon on my way to check out the room.
I have originally booked myself into the King Club room, essentially an entry-level king bed room with club lounge privileges. I was later upgraded to a suite as a goodwill gesture by the hotel for the delay in the availability of my room.
Even then when I got into the room, I found an extra bed in the suite, that I didn’t request for. I went back to the lounge and asked Raymond to help remove it. He was visibly embarrassed and very helpful in quickly arranging for it to be taken away.
Crowne Plaza has adorned their room with plenty of light oak and earthy coloured carpets, which hides its age well despite it being over a decade old.
The 72 square-metre room is a full suite, with a separate living and bedroom. In the living room, there’s a large work desk, a full-sized couch that seats three, and a long bench that runs alongside the full-length windows. On the workstation, there is also a Bose Wave music system, a rare touch for a hotel room.
There is also a small refreshment corner tucked away by the side of the living area, with the minibar, as well as coffee and tea facilities. Nespresso fans will be disappointed that there is no such machine within the room, as the choice of coffee maker was Caffe Cagliari, a Brazilian coffee brand, along with its own coffee pods.
The bedroom was separated by a sliding door, with a king-sized bed amid a spacious room. There was another flat-screen television in the bedroom, as well as a walk-in wardrobe.
Adjacent to the bedroom was a spacious bathroom featuring a double vanity, perfect for couples travelling together. Along the window was a generous bathtub, as well as separate shower and toilet stalls. Thankfully or otherwise, the bathtub was next to a frosted window.
Crowne Plaza Changi Airport uses ThisWorks amenities, a UK skincare brand that is probably most well known for its pillow mists, among a huge range of other products it carries. Founded by yoga teacher Kathy Phillips (go google her), it is touted as a range of products that “offers sleep aids and energizers power-packed with natural ingredients, botanicals and therapeutic essential oils that perform as promised and deliver noticeable, long-lasting results.”
What do I think about it? The scent is pleasant, but yet not overpowering. It does its job pretty well, and lather up rather easily. When I’m done, it didn’t leave my skin feeling too dry, which was good for me.
The Club Lounge
Crowne Plaza Changi Airport offers a club lounge on the third floor for select guests, including guests booked into Club rooms as well as suites. The lounge seats about 70 guests, with a mix of dining tables as well as armchairs and coffee table options.
Club lounge guests can enjoy complimentary continental breakfast at the lounge daily from 6.30am to 10am, as well as evening cocktails and snacks from 5.30pm to 8.30pm daily. Outside of these hours, the lounge offers all day non-alcoholic beverages, as well as a much smaller selection of snacks.
When I was there for evening cocktails, I was pretty impressed with the selection of food available. The lounge itself has a small kitchen next to it, which also serves the poolside bar as well.
Some of the food options available for the day included a salad bar, a caciaturie board, assorted cheeses and crackers, aglio olio, cheese croquette, samosas, spring rolls, roast beef, as well as an assortment of desserts. It’s a decent spread for a light dinner, if you so prefer. Unfortunately, I can’t say that the offering is delectable, not many of the items made me want to go back for seconds.
In the beverage department, the lounge offers up a selection of still wines, beer, spirits, soft drinks as well as coffee and tea. There was also a cocktail menu you can order off. I was slightly disappointed with the absence of a sparkling wine, but that’s a minor inconvenience if you are not particularly picky. The wines were of a decent standard, and at least you get a choice between a merlot or cabernet sauvignon.
The lounge began to fill up at about 6pm, with most of the tables being taken up by that time. With evening cocktails stretching till 8pm, the crowd starts to thin out from 7.30pm onwards, which was pretty much a good thing. Just before the end of the session, the staff came around to ask everyone for a last round of orders, which was a pretty nice touch on the service front.
Crowne Plaza Changi Airport is a full service five star hotel, equipped with all the perks of a luxury hotel. Beyond a range of rooms (more about that later), the hotel is fully decked out on the recreation front, with a swimming pool, a 24-hour fitness centre and an in-house spa, all of which are located on level 3.
The swimming pool is opened up to 10pm daily, so an evening dip is always possible. Given the amount of greenery around the pool, unfortunately most of the pool is pretty much shaded, so the pool was cold most of the day, which might be unpalatable for some people. There are plenty of deck chairs around the pool with a good amount of sun, though.
For those who love a good steam bath, unfortunately there are none in the hotel. The spa is managed by an external provider, and doesn’t have any of the hydrotherapy facilities such as a jacuzzi or a steam room.
In the food and beverage department, there is a on-property bar, as well as two restaurants: Azur and Imperial Treasure. Breakfast for club room guests can be taken either in the lounge, or at Azur.
Personally I always prefer a bigger spread and I don’t mind the crowd, so I went to Azur for breakfast the next morning. If you mind the noise and crowd, you might be better off having breakfast at the lounge, which will be a lot quieter.
Given the high occupancy, the restaurant has actually set up some tables outside of the restaurant along the aisle, as well as the sports bar next door for guests. I definitely won’t be too happy if I had to eat along the corridor.
As an international cuisine restaurant, Azur serves up what I call a pretty standard affair of breakfast: your usual western breakfast offerings, along with a splattering of Asian fare, including a noodle station.
I went straight for the nasi lemak with condiments, as well as a bowl of noodles. I also hovered around the pastries and cake sections, and the only thing that stood out was the automatic pancake making station. Apart from that, the breakfast wasn’t memorable.
The property is actually a pretty amazing one for a staycation right at the airport. The rooms are timeless, and pretty well maintained for a decade-old property. The decor remains relevant today, I loved the way the architect used natural light and greenery to create a resort feel in a single-building hotel.
The service is almost perfect, albeit the poor first impression. After the hiccup, the service recovery is impeccable, and every touchpoint has been excellent.
Having said that, I personally didn’t find the club lounge and breakfast to be overly impressive, given that you will now have plenty of affordable options within Jewel Changi Airport and the terminal buildings itself. So, if you were to have to pay a hefty amount to upgrade, I’ll advise to skip on the upgrade and head into the airport instead for your meal fixes.