Qantas has spared no effort in publicising its plans to open a new first class lounge in Singapore since last year, and finally, it’s here.
Since last week, Qantas has quietly opened the first class lounge before the official opening gala slated to happen next week. I was travelling out and was fortunate enough to be guested into the lounge. I have tried Qantas’ first class last year when it resumed the A380 service to Singapore, and was looking forward to see what the lounge here in Singapore will offer.
Location of the Qantas Singapore First Lounge
The brand new lounge is located at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 1, where Qantas and Jetstar operates.
For those who are familiar with the existing Qantas Singapore Lounge (which have since been rebranded as the Qantas Singapore Business Lounge), the Qantas Singapore First Lounge is located on the opposite end of the terminal, closer to the D gates. While the terminal is not huge, it will still take about a 7 to 10-minute hike to traverse between both lounges.
For those entering from immigration, turn right immediately after immigration and head up the first escalator you see, and the lounge can be seen.
Once you are at the top of the escalator, turn right. A marble facade will greet you even before you step into the lounge, with the Qantas First Lounge plated smartly in brass accents.
This facade, along with several other recent Qantas lounges are proudly designed by David Caon, a close partner of Qantas.
As with the business class lounge, the first class lounge is managed and staffed by the hospitality folks from Accor’s Sofitel.
A bit more about the design background to the lounge. The entire space is designed by David Caon in collaboration with Kelvin Ho of design firm Akin Atelier.
Once you step into the lounge, you will realise that the space is essentially a long strip stretching from the entrance all the way to the kitchen and broken up into several spaces for work, rest and dining.
The showers and toilets are located to the left once you enter the lounge, while the first section of seating is a relaxation area, complete with an assortment of sofas, armchairs and coffee tables if you simply fancy sitting back and sinking into the comfortable seats.
There are even these individual stall-seats for those who want to be alone, similar to a business class suite you find on some airlines. Interestingly this looked similar to some of the lounge seats available in Cathay Pacific’s lounges in Hong Kong.
There are power sockets and USB charging ports at every seat, so there’s no need to fight for one.
If you need to get some work done, there’s even a printer that you can connect to and get some papers printed to work on your next flight.
There are ten shower rooms, all of which are standard fitted except that it has an extra feature: a LED-light panel that mimics natural lighting. There’s a light panel near the door that allows the user to switch to either dusk, dawn or daylight so that they can adjust to a timezone of their choice.
The new shower rooms are also decked out with amenities from LaGaia Unedited, Qantas’ latest spa partner announced just months ago.
The small number of shower rooms would be a bit tight during the relatively short layovers for QF1 and QF2. As Executive Traveller has pointed out, the 90-minute layovers for each of these flights effectively meant that you get only 60 minutes in the lounge, so trying to allocate shower time for every first class passenger and a handful of platinum members and above will pose a major problem.
Moving down you will find the dining area of the lounge.
Almost half the lounge’s space is dedicated to the dining area, with many two-seater tables available. Of course, if you are in well-heeled company of more than two people, the team will be more than happy to join tables for you.
For single travellers, there’s always the option of taking a table, or dining at the bar counters.
What I really liked about the lounge is the attention to details. There are even bag hooks under the bar tables for your bags, as well as charging sockets for each seat.
How does the lounge fare in terms of dining?
Similar to the other first class lounges that Qantas operates in Australia, Qantas Singapore First Lounge offers an a la carte dining experience. The menu is designed by a team under Neil Perry, Qantas’ creative director for food and beverage, who has a longstanding partnership with Qantas.
Given the lounge is only open from afternoon, the menu tended towards heavier mains, although all-day breakfast items such as eggs benedict were also available for those who were jetlagged.
The full menu running now can be found here. Note that the lounge rotates its menu every three months.
Of course, no Qantas First Lounge is complete without its signature salt and pepper squid.
We also tried the signature crayfish laksa.
And the chicken didn’t disappoint too, with a perfectly made eggplant salad as a bed.
What was most impressive was the dessert – the coconut and mango sorbet with toasted coconut flakes. While the description leaves much to be desired, the actual taste of it was amazing, although it’s a little too big to be finished by a single person.
The lounge is also equally impressive in terms of its drinks list. Apart from champagne, there are also an assortment of wines and cocktails available, worthy of the clientele. There is a tended bar from which you can order, but feel free to order from any of the well-trained Sofitel team members anywhere in the lounge.
What’s pretty amazing is the selection of beverages, apart from Qantas’ signature range of Aussie wines, there’s also some well-known Australian beers such as James Squire 150 Lashes pale ale, Little Creatures Bright Ale and Hahn Ultra available in the lounge.
For a little surprise, be sure to check out the special Qantas x Four Pillars gin too!
The lounge definitely packed a punch for the footprint that it occupies. The decor and fittings are an amazing piece of art by David Caon, which is certainly the standard Qantas holds itself to when decking out new lounges these days.
While some may observe that the lounge is a little too small and seem a little too crowded for a first class lounge, particularly around the QF1 and QF2 transit times, the impeccable service by the lounge team makes up for it.
With the Qantas Singapore First Lounge opening, this is definitely a win for Qantas’ own platinum (and above) loyalists, as well as its own first class passengers given the upgrade in the lounge experience. The opening of this lounge will also ease the capacity off the existing business lounge, who have seen a fair share of overcrowding in the last year.
The first class lounge clearly leads in terms of its beverage offerings with a solid list of wines, spirits and cocktails. In terms of food, some Singapore Airlines loyalists may argue that the menu here in the Qantas First Lounge may not be fitting of the fare one pays for the pointed end of the plane. In my view, the menu, while simple, is sophisticated enough for those who need a quality bite before they head onto the plane.
And to top it all off, what matters is how all of this comes together: the ambience, food, beverage, and most importantly, the impeccable service, in this case all come in together to form the first class service that paying customers deserve.
Location and operating details
Location: Changi Airport Terminal 1, Transit area (after immigration), Level 3 (closer to D pier)
Hours: 2.30pm to midnight daily
Food and beverages: Yes, a la carte dining
Alcoholic beverages: Yes (complimentary)
Business Centre: Yes
Meeting facilities: No
– Qantas first class passengers (departing)
– Emirates first class passengers (departing)
– Oneworld first class passengers (departing)
– Oneworld first class passengers connecting from a first class flight (longer than five hours) to another oneworld-marketed flight in any class
– Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum One & Platinum members travelling on a oneworld-marketed, Emirates or Jetstar flight
– Oneworld emerald members travelling on a oneworld-marketed flight
*Passengers can bring a guest who must be travelling on the same flight.