Tag Archives: singapore

Lounge Review: Ambassador Transit Lounge Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 (SIN)

There are two interesting features of the Ambassador Transit lounge in Terminal 2 of Singapore’s Changi airport: 1) it has a gym; and 2) there’s an outdoor seating area near the (accessible to the public) sunflower garden.

Entrance to the Ambassador Transit Lounge

When I visited the lounge, I was one of the only passengers there. But the lounge is actually a pretty large space with lots of seating, although the furniture was a bit old.

Seating

Lounge seating

Seating

Unfortunately, if you want to use the gym, you have to pay extra. I accessed this lounge using Priority Pass, but Priority Pass does not give you free access to the gym.

Gym

Gym

I’m not sure why someone would want to sit outside given how hot and humid it is in Singapore, but if you like, this is a lounge with an outdoor seating area. It seemed to be mostly used by people who wanted to smoke.

Outdoor terrace

Sunflower garden

I guess one final notable thing about this lounge is the number of showers it has. I think there are something like 15 shower stalls in the unisex bathroom.

Showers

Showers

In terms of food, the options were pretty limited. There were hashbrowns, mixed vegetables, chicken, rice, french onion soup, salad, and cake. For drinks, there was juice, coffee, tea, and soda, but you had to pay for alcoholic drinks. The alcoholic drinks were also not cheap, but that is common in Singapore.

Food

Soup

Food

Food

Swiss rolls

Drinks

Drinks

Drink menu

While the SATS Premier Lounge in Terminal 2 was a pleasant surprise, the Ambassador Transit Lounge at Changi was a big disappointment. I wouldn’t come here unless I really wanted to work out during a layover.

Lounge Review: SATS Premier Lounge Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 (SIN)

The SATS Premier Lounge at Singapore Changi airport Terminal 2 is located near the Singapore Airlines lounge and the DBS Asia Treasures lounge (and apparently a defunct Malaysia Airlines lounge). This lounge is accessible via Priority Pass, which is how I got in.

Entrance to the lounge

The lounge has lots of seating with lots of outlets, which is always appreciated. There are some skinny cubbies to work in, there are some sections for groups, there are two massage chairs, there is a dining area with tables and long communal tables, and there’s even a first-class section that was roped off when I visited.

Lounge seating

Seating

Massage chair

Roped off section

More seating

Cubbies for working

There are showers in the bathroom, as well.

Shower

The food options are pretty good for a Priority Pass lounge. There was dim sum and congee, a variety of hot foods like stir-friend noodles, curries, and self-serve laksa. I tried some of the fried noodles, tofu stir fry, vegetable curry, and rice, which were all edible (albeit salty). There were also sandwiches, salads, yogurt, cereal, fruit, and breads for breakfast. For drinks ,there was the typical selection of soda, beer, wine, liquor, coffee, and tea.

Hot food options

More hot food

Self service laksa

Self service laksa continued

Drinks

Drinks

Sandwiches

Salad

Dim sum and congee

Seating in eating area

Dessert and fruit

Coffee

Cake

This lounge isn’t fancy, but it’s very functional and a good Priority Pass lounge. Lots of seating and electrical outlets, decent food options, and they even have massage chairs. The one critique is that I found the wifi to be slow, but everything else was pretty solid.

Hotel Review: Conrad Centennial Singapore

An UberX from Singapore Changi airport to the Conrad Singapore was less than 16 SGD. The airport pickup was easy, given that you can specify which terminal and door you’re at in the app.

I had checked in online and chose a corner room on the 22nd floor. This was a deluxe business room, but there was no upgrade to Executive Lounge access for a Hilton Gold. At the time, I was told I could have breakfast at Oscar’s on the first floor since the fourth floor salon by the pool was undergoing renovation.

Hotel lobby

Hotel lobby

The corner room was nice and had decent views of the Singapore Flyer, Gardens by the Bay, and the Merlion statue. The furniture and room looked a bit tired and dated, and there weren’t enough outlets in the room, but the bed was comfortable.

Business deluxe room

Business deluxe room

Views from hotel

On the fourth floor of the hotel, there’s a pool and fitness center. It’s a good place to get some sun, and the fitness center was pretty well-equiped for a hotel gym. The gym could have been cooler and better ventilated, though.

Pool

Bar by pool

Gym

Gym

Gym

Gym

Breakfast at Oscar’s was a little hectic. The buffet selection is quite large (as is common in many Asian hotels), but there was also lots of turnover. This meant that the service was a little lacking, but they generally kept tables turning over.

Breakfast

There were tons of options. There was typical western food like eggs, bacon, sausage, baked beans, potatoes, waffles, and pancakes; there was Asian breakfast food like congee, dim sum, fried rice, and noodles; there was Indian food like daal, aloo, and roti; there was a decent salad bar, lots of fruit, and individual servings of Nutella, kaya jam, and peanut butter; and there was even a dessert and gelato bar with self-serve froyo. The quality of food was good for a hotel buffet, meaning that it wasn’t stellar, but you can probably find something to eat.

Breakfast

Ice cream and cake for breakfast, anyone?

Breakfast

Breakfast

Breakfast

Breakfast

Breakfast

Breakfast

Breakfast

Breakfast

Breakfast

Breakfast

Breakfast

Overall, I had a good stay at the Conrad Singapore. At the time, the room I stayed in was a bit tired-looking, but it was perfectly comfortable, and the hotel is not too far from a subway station, so it’s easy to get around. Breakfast is typical luxury Asian hotel buffet. I think I paid 60,000 Hilton points per night for the hotel.

SEA 2014: Hotel Review Holiday Inn Express Clarke Quay

For our time in Singapore, we stayed at the Holiday Inn Express Clarke Quay. As a category 3 IHG property, it’s 20k points a night.

I don’t have much experience with IHG hotels (I guess I don’t have much experience with hotels generally), but this was the nicest and hippest Holiday Inn Express I’ve stayed at. I generally don’t think of “cool” when I think of Holiday Inn, but the interior was designed to be pretty funky.

Outside of hotel

Outside of hotel

Tons of rooms (the hallways are technically open air)

Tons of rooms (the hallways are technically open air)

The rooms were small, but functional. The outside-facing rooms have interesting slanted windows, and there were warning signs to close the shades if you were doing anything private.

Rooms are small, but it's Asia

Rooms are small, but it’s Asia

The bathroom has sliding components to open up to the rest of the room, so they’re not noise-insulating at all. I don’t really understand the not-quite-separate bathroom concept in hotels. I’ve never thought to myself, “gee, I really wish I could look at my bed when I’m taking a dump”.

Bathroom is also tiny and opens up into rest of room

Bathroom is also tiny and opens up into rest of room

The fitness center was on the roof, which was decently sized. But the best part of the roof was definitely the pool. No, it’s not the Marina Bay Sands, but you can see the Marina Bay Sands from the roof, and the pool was surprisingly uncrowded whenever we used it.

Fitness center

Fitness center

Pool

Pool

Good views

Good views

Breakfast every morning was fine. But really, we only ate enough to appease our stomachs long enough to get to the real eating of the day.

Breakfast

Breakfast

Food was fine, but you should be eating out instead of a hotel buffet

Food was fine, but you should be eating out instead of a hotel buffet

The service at the hotel is limited, since it’s a Holiday Inn Express and not a full-service hotel. The location is convenient to Clarke Quay (obvi), but it’s actually a decently long walk to the nearest MRT station, which was inconvenient. I would stay here again given the right price (i.e. if it ever goes on PointsBreak), but I would choose lodging closer to the MRT in the future since this hotel isn’t anything special.

SEA 2014: You’re Doing It Wrong at Tong Heng (Singapore)

My time in Singapore was characterized by eating, more eating, and then eating some more, to the point of a constant malaise/euphoria from being so full of delicious food.

One place that might be on your eating list is Tong Heng, which is known for their egg tarts (Gary from View From the Wing wrote about it in his recent Singapore food recap). But if you stop at the egg tarts, you’re doing it wrong.

Inside Tong Heng

Inside Tong Heng

The best thing I ate at Tong Heng was their kaya omelet toast aka fried deliciousness with kaya smothered on top aka kaya eggy orgasm in your mouth. It’s like kaya toast, but with an omelet on it, then deep fried. They make it to order, and it’s best consumed immediately.

Secret menu at the back (not really secret, just not well known)

Secret menu at the back (not really secret, just not well known)

To provide a little context, we stopped at this place after gorging ourselves at the nearby Maxwell Food Centre where we had chicken rice, porridge, dumplings, and drinks. We really didn’t have room to eat much more than half an egg tart each, but we finished the omelet anyway because it was that frickin’ delicious (so much delicious regret afterward).

The egg tart wishes it could be as tasty as the kaya toast omelet

The egg tart wishes it could be as tasty as the kaya toast omelet

Don’t get me wrong: the egg tart was good, but there are lots of places in the world to get good egg tarts (I also don’t think this place is worth a detour just for their egg tarts). But if you like fried food and dessert, I’m sure you’ll love the kaya toast omelet as much as we did.

If you want to go, it’s within walking distance of the Chinatown MRT, and it’s a block away from the Maxwell Food Centre.

Thailand 2014: Singapore SilverKris Lounge at Bangkok Airport (BKK)

Introduction
Cathay Pacific Lounge San Francisco
Cathay Pacific First Class San Francisco to Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific Lounge The Pier Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific Business Class Hong Kong to Bangkok
Millennium Hilton Bangkok
Cooking with Poo
Overnight Train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai
Le Meridien Chiang Mai
Patara Elephant Farm
Bangkok Airways Economy Class Chiang Mai to Ko Samui
Conrad Koh Samui
Bangkok Airways Koh Samui to Bangkok
Thai Airways First Class Check-in and Lounge Bangkok
EVA Air Evergreen Lounge Bangkok
Louis’ Tavern First Class CIP Lounge Bangkok
Singapore SilverKris Lounge Bangkok
Thai Airways First Class Bangkok to Hong Kong
Singapore Airlines Lounge Hong Kong
Thai Airways Lounge Hong Kong
Asiana Business Class Hong Kong to Seoul
Asiana Airlines First Class Lounge Seoul
Asiana Airlines First Class Suites Seoul to New York
United Airlines Business Class PS Service New York to San Francisco


The last lounge on my lounge hopping tour of BKK was the Singapore SilverKris Lounge. This lounge is located near the A gates, and the windows of the lounge look out onto a small courtyard instead of the apron.

Entrance to the Singapore SilverKris Lounge at BKK

Entrance to the Singapore SilverKris Lounge at BKK

Windows overlooking a small courtyard

Windows overlooking a small courtyard

The lounge has lots of dividers in the room, which creates lots of semi-private seating areas. It feels a bit maze-like, and it’s a big contrast to the openness of the EVA Air lounge. When it’s not crowded, the increased privacy of the Singapore lounge is great, but it can feel claustrophobic when it gets busier.

Seating and dividers

Seating and dividers

Some say that the Singapore lounge has the best food of any of the Star Alliance business class lounges at BKK, but it didn’t seem that appetizing to me as there were flies buzzing around the food. There were a number of hot options, dim sum, and desserts (including Haagen Das ice cream, if that matters to you), and many people were very happily partaking.

Hot food

Hot food

Dessers

Desserts and pastries

More food

More food

Drinks 1

Drinks 1

Drinks 2

Drinks 2

Drinks 3

Drinks 3

Singapore Airlines wouldn’t be Singapore without its service, and even in the lounge, the service delivered. My camera was dying and I stupidly had checked my charger, but a lounge attendant was more than to help me find a spare charger.

Finally, some people fault this lounge because it lacks an in-lounge bathroom. I didn’t stay long enough for that to be a problem, but I can see how it’d be annoying if you were there for a longer stay.

Overall, this is a nice lounge, with some good food options and more private seating options. You can find typical Singapore service, which is always a plus, but it might not be the most convenient place to camp out given the lack of shower and bathroom facilities.

United.com No Longer Showing Singapore Award Space

I was searching for award space on SQ 2 from Hong Kong to San Francisco for a friend in economy class, and I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t even SEE the flight on United.com, especially since I found space on ANA’s website (which does show availability for economy space, just not for premium cabins on long-haul routes).

Well, I wasn’t going crazy, as UA Insider has posted on Flyertalk that they’re no longer going to display Singapore Airlines award inventory at all starting December 13th.

Hi everyone,

I wanted to give you an early heads up about an upcoming change to the Star partner award availability you see displayed online. Singapore Airlines and United have agreed to remove Singapore Airlines inventory from our award flight search results on united.com and on the United Mobile App. This will take effect starting tomorrow, December 13, You will still to be able to book and change award reservations involving Singapore Airlines by calling our reservations lines.

Please let me know if you have any clarifying questions, and I’ll do my best to answer them.

Aaron Goldberg
Sr. Manager – Customer Experience Planning
United Airlines

United is continuously making me glad that I decided to leave them for American.

Singapore Airlines Announces New First and Business Class Seats on Boeing 777-300ER

There are now photos online of Singapore’s new first class and business class seats for the Boeing 777-300ER. These will also be the seats on the A350 and Boeing 787-10 once those get delivered. The new seats are supposed to premier on the London route starting in September.

New first class suite

New first class suite

New business class seat

New business class seat

Check out Australian Business Traveller for more pics of the new first and business class seats!

How to Get 2 Award Seats in Singapore Suites

Singapore Suites on the A380 is one of the most aspirational redemptions out there. If the load is light in the suites cabin, they’ll even make a double bed for you to sleep.

Given how great this cabin is, Singapore has done a good job of “protecting” it, so it’s traditionally been very hard to access. For a long time, you had to spend a million KrisFlyer miles if you wanted to redeem an award. Then they started allowing Saver award redemptions, which made a trip from Singapore to the US a more reasonable 91,375 KrisFlyer miles. And availability is great, which might largely be because not many people have large stashes of KrisFlyer miles sitting around (although I’m sure more people have large stashes of Amex Membership Rewards sitting around, and those can be transferred 1:1 into Singapore KrisFlyer).

But if you’re traveling with someone else and looking to redeem a Suites award to/from the US, they’ll only release one award seat (it has been reported that Singapore releases up to 2 award seats for flights to Sydney, Melbourne, London, Zurich, and Paris). So what to do if you’re traveling with someone else?

You could have them slum it in business (or coach), or you can book one flight as the direct flight, and the other as the individual segments.

For example, take the routing of Singapore to Tokyo to Los Angeles on SQ 12. It’s possible to have one person booked as the direct flight from Singapore to Los Angeles for 91,375 miles and roughly $390 in taxes, while the other person books Singapore to Tokyo for 51,000 miles and $155 in taxes and then books Tokyo to Los Angeles for 74,375 miles and $188 in taxes.

Screen Shot 2013-06-25 at 1.45.38 PM

No space on the direct flight from Singapore to Los Angeles because the one available award seat for the direct flight has already been booked

Screen Shot 2013-06-25 at 1.46.01 PM

But space still exists on the SIN to NRT leg

Screen Shot 2013-06-25 at 1.46.27 PM

And there’s still space on the NRT to LAX leg

This gives you two seats in Suites Class on SQ 12 from Singapore to Los Angeles through Tokyo by booking one on the direct flight and one on the two legs individually. Granted, the second seat costs an extra 34,000 miles because you’re booking the segments individually, but this is the most economical way I know of to get two Suites awards on routes to and from the US.

Around the World in 100 Hours: Singapore Business Class Singapore to Colombo

Introduction
United Club San Francisco, International Terminal
United Business Class San Francisco to Seoul
Asiana Airlines Business Class Lounge Seoul
Korean Air Lounge and Singapore SilverKris Lounge Seoul
Singapore Business Class Seoul to Singapore
Ambassador Transit Lounge Singapore
Singapore SilverKris Lounge Singapore
Changi Airport Free Singapore Tour
Singapore Business Class Singapore to Colombo
Transiting Colombo
Lotus and Araliya Lounges Colombo
Qatar Airways Business Class Colombo to Doha
Qatar Airways First Class Premium Terminal Doha
Qatar Airways First Class Doha to Dubai
Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai
Emirates First Class Dubai to London Heathrow
British Airways Concorde Room London Heathrow
British Airways Galleries First Lounge and Club World Lounge London Heathrow
British Airways First Class London Heathrow to San Francisco


Singapore 468
Singapore (SIN) to Colombo (CMB)
Sunday, May 26th, 2013
Depart: 11:05pm
Arrive: 12:15am (+1 day)
Duration: 3h 40m
Aircraft: A330-300
Seat: 16F

The flight ended up being delayed over an hour due to waiting for an inbound aircraft. When we entered the gate area, the gate agents were passing out printed letters apologizing for and explaining the delay. I don’t think you’d ever see that in the US!

One passenger was quite angry about the delay and managed to argue himself some compensation. While I wouldn’t recommend that strategy to everyone, and I felt quite sorry for the gate agent at the receiving end of his barrage, it was quite impressive to see him get compensation for something that he really shouldn’t have.

This flight was very similar to my flight from Seoul to Singapore, except that the load was considerably lighter on this flight, which made for an overall more pleasant experience. I was able to snag a seat which had an empty seat beside it.

My seat, 16F

My seat, 16F

Business class cabin

Business class cabin

I again had a special VGML meal on this flight, which was decent. In general, I find catering to be better when departing from an airline’s hub, but in this case, I thought that the food was slightly better on my Seoul to Singapore flight than on this one. Maybe this is just because I’m not a huge fan of fake meat, and that featured heavily in my entree this time.

Appetizer of vegetables and mushrooms

Appetizer of vegetables and mushrooms

Noodles with bok choy, carrots, and fake meat

Noodles with bok choy, carrots, and fake meat

Jelly dessert with litchi (?) inside

Jelly dessert with litchi inside

DSC01705

Regular menu for reference

DSC01707

Champagnes on offer

Given that it was a late-night flight, I tried to get some sleep. Again, I thought that the angled-flat seat was more than adequate.

Seat in fully reclined position

Seat in fully reclined position

Overall, I thought it was another great experience, and it far exceeded any sort of regional product I’ve flown in the US.