If you have been following me on Instagram, it is no secret that Bali is one of my personal favourite getaways. In fact, I have already been to Bali five times this year and there is no saying what may happen in coming months. In my opinion, the best flights from Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS) to Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) are operated by Singapore Airlines and KLM - both of these airlines use the Premier Lounge and Garuda Indonesia Lounge respectively for Business Class passengers. I think it is safe to say that the Premier Lounge is perhaps one of the most unimpressive and uninspiring airport lounges that I have ever been to. As such, I was really surprised to find out that the T/G Lounge (which I have been three times now this year) is so much nicer even though it looks fairly uninteresting from the outside.
The T/G Lounge is a Priority Pass lounge and if you hold the right credit card in Singapore, you will be able to access this airport lounge for free. Alternatively, if you have The Platinum Card from American Express, you will be able to enjoy unlimited access to all Priority Pass lounges and you will even be able to bring +1 guest along with you. Sure, the annual fee of this card may be S$1,712 a year in Singapore but I can assure you that you are truly getting your money’s worth.
The T/G Lounge is located in the international departures terminal on the mezzanine floor (right next to the Premier Lounge) and it is only ever closed on Nyepi Day. On my latest visit (just yesterday), it appears that the lounge staff now tries to validate the name on your Priority Pass card with the name found on your boarding pass (perhaps people have been ‘giving away’ access?). Accessing the lounge was fairly easy - my digital membership card was scanned and I was made to sign once on the device and then another time on some receipt. Once that was done, I was given a small slip of paper with the WiFi-access information - this also functioned as a coupon for three beers or wine.
The T/G Lounge itself is not particularly big but it is a lot quieter than the Premier Lounge next door. I checked out the Garuda Indonesia Lounge earlier this year when I flew on KLM Business Class but it was undergoing some renovations so I decided not to take any photos (it was a mess!) but it appears that whatever they were doing then has concluded. I love how the lounge actually enjoys some natural lighting in the day - I got to the airport slightly after 6:00PM and I managed to catch it in the day time. It does get quite dark in the evening however but like I have mentioned, it is never as crowded as the Premier Lounge where it is sometimes difficult to find seating space.
The draught Bintang beer here in T/G Lounge is delicious and you might not believe this but I honestly think that it is one of the best tasting Bintang beers that I have had in Bali (and that includes all the 5-star hotels that I have been to here). As I have mentioned earlier, each guest will receive a WiFi-access code on a slip of paper which also functions as a drink coupon. If you have entered the T/G Lounge with a guest, each one of you would have gotten a slip of paper and therefore, you will be able to redeem up to six complimentary beers or wines between the two of you. The wines were pretty terrible the last time I tried so I definitely recommend sticking with just beer here.
There is a simple buffet spread on one side of the lounge - this typically includes fries (or chips as the Aussies call it), a rice dish, some fried brown object (I have seen samosas as well as chicken schnitzels here), an oriental dish that vaguely reminds me of my time back in college as well as some token vegetables. If you are a vegan or a vegetarian, there is a pretty decent spread of salads and vegetables on the other side. You will also find iced tea and soft drinks which are complimentary for you to take from the fridge (these drinks do not count towards your three complimentary alcoholic beverages).
Now there is a ‘live’ cooking station at the Premier Lounge next door too but the staff here over at the T/G Lounge have been a lot more cheerful on all three occasions. I also like the fact that I can actually see how my food is being prepared here in the lounge as opposed to the other one next door. While I have only been here in the evenings, the ‘live' cooking station changes from simple egg dishes in the morning to an actual noodle station in the afternoons.
I tried the Carbonara Pasta and while it was obviously not a dish that would make Massimo Bottura smile, it was decent as far as instant pasta and pasta sauce goes. I also like the fact that they do both a carbonara as well as a bolognaise but operationally it seems to be rather teething since there is only one pan available.
Considering how the T/G Lounge is not a full-fledge airline lounge or a more established lounge like the Plaza Premium Lounge, it is actually quite impressive and I truly believe that there is no other airport lounge in DPS that is better. Now I am not saying that the T/G Lounge ranks amongst some of the best lounges that I have been to but the quality of airport lounges here in DPS is quite shocking considering how many tourists come through here every day. WiFi may be provided here in the lounge but it is definitely patchy and not exactly usable if you would like to catch up on work - rely on your own SIM Card for these matters. The next time you fly on Business Class with Singapore Airlines, do yourself a favour and check out the T/G Lounge instead of the Premier Lounge.