Review by CHC
Having last visited Bali quite a number of years ago, I decided to pay this island destination a visit with my family for a post PSLE (read: Major examination in Singapore that involves everyone) break. Bali has changed tremendously in the past 6-7 years but the major improvement must be that of the airport. Compared to the pre 2014 Ngurah Rai, the new airport is a major upgrade from the previous international terminal that now serves as the domestic terminal. If anyone had used the old Ngurah Rai airport, one would understand the amazement at the new terminal.
Having cleared the security checks and immigration, one is faced with a huge signboard which tells you which gate your aeroplane will be sited at. It is important that one checks the gate again towards the boarding time as it is fairly common practice for the gate number to be changed just prior to boarding, and gate 9 at the far end of the terminal is a 20minute walk from the lounges.
There are 2 main lounges for Priority Pass holders, the Premier Lounge (which I used on my trip to Sumba in 2017 and the T/G lounge, which has recently been open to access for Priority Pass holders. Both lounges also serve as the Business class lounge for their premium passengers but I believe that most airlines used the Premier Lounge (except Garuda which uses the Garuda Indonesia lounge).
When I was transiting through in 2017, the T/G lounge was reserved for travelers with elite status or travelers flying in premium classes, and hence had to fight the hordes at the Premier Lounge. One of the issues which unfortunately hasn’t been rectified is that the Premier Lounge is overcrowded and the food of questionable standards.
Both lounges are located on the mezzanine floor of the terminal once your get through immigration and are airside. Walking past the signboard and then through (yes, you’re forced to walk through) a DFS shop and a row of upmarket luxury shops, one will see the signboard of the lounges. Access if via a stairwell hidden in one corner of the terminal next to an antiquated lift which takes a longer time to wait for and use, compared to the stairs.
The T/G lounge receptionist was pleasant when I approached her for entry to the T/G lounge and offered me a look around in both lounges before making my decision as she felt that the lounge was crowded and would offer an inferior experience. A quick look around confirmed her thoughts, but there were a few seats available and having had a negative experience in the Premier Lounge in 2017, the decision to stick with the T/G lounge was a simple one.
Once the formalities were done, a small slip of paper was handed to me and my guest. This slip of paper had the WIFI password on it and entitled the holder 3 glasses of wine or beer.
The main centerpiece of the lounge is the cook to order station, and a signboard showed that meals at various times of the day changed. Eggs for breakfast, ramen for lunch and pasta for dinner seemed to be order for that day. Pretty decent for a Priority Pass accessible lounge.
A buffet spread containing some finger food, hot dishes which did not look particularly appetizing made up one side of the buffet counter, with the other side reserved for fruits, pastries, cakes and hot drinks – which included coffee and tea. The cups did not look particularly clean with some stains clearly visible on the base of the cups.
A bar was available where the house pour wines (one red and one white) was available off a casket tap , and Bintang beer was on tap. A menu was also available for alacarte orders of alcohol but I did not look through the menu.
Overall, the lounge was crowded , which affected the WIFI speeds and overworked the airconditioning, making the lounge quite stuffy. A few overworked air blowers and fans were scattered through the lounge to aid with air circulation but they barely made a dent. Kudoes to the effort of the staff though, who were pleasant and quick to clear empty plates and glasses.
A toilet was available with a working shower, but a small fee was required for the towel and the shower appeared waterlogged. Not a pretty sight!
I would most certainly not come to the airport early to get lounge access, but compared to the Premier Lounge and the lounges available in the old Ngurah Rai airport circa pre 2014, T/G is a huge step up in terms of food offerings, comfort and seating space. Decent spot to while away time before departure.