Ambassador Transit Hotel, Singapore Changi Terminal 1 – With an outdoor swimmming pool
General Info and Location
Singapore Changi offers transit hotels in all three terminals, all of which are run by Harilela Hospitality. The transit hotels are located airside, i.e. after passport control, and are primarily intended for passengers who have long a transfer time at the airport or a connecting flight the next day. Some airlines also offer the option to check in the day before, such as Singapore Airlines. In these cases, the transit hotels can be utilised overnight before a morning departure.
It does not really matter which of the transit hotels you book, all terminals at Changi are connected by transit trains and connecting corridors, it is therefore simple to go between terminals without having to present travel documents. There are some differences at the hotels however, the transit hotels in terminals 1 and 2 offer budget rooms which the transit hotel in terminal 3 lacks, and terminals 2 and 3 offer transit lounges with food and drink, which the hotel in terminal 1 does not. The transit hotel in terminal 1 is the only hotel that has an outdoor swimming pool, making it perhaps the most attractive option as this may be used by hotel guests at no extra charge. It is the transit hotel in terminal 1 which is covered in this review.
The transit hotel in terminal 1 offers two types of rooms: a budget room, for one person, as well as standard rooms, for one, two or three people. The difference between the rooms is that budget rooms lack a shower and toilet. The standard rooms also have a kettle for coffee and tea.
For this test visit I booked a budget room. The room was small but in very good condition, with a comfortable bed, desk, clothes hanger and TV. A bottle of water was included in the room rate and free wireless internet could be used via the public network at the airport. Given that my suitcase was already checked-in, there was more than enough space for my hand luggage to be stored in the room.
With a budget room lacking a shower and toilet, I had to use the facilities at the gym, 20 meters away. The showers were, perhaps, slightly worn out, but otherwise everything was fresh and nice, pretty much what you would expect in Singapore. For an overnight stay of just over nine hours, it was more than fine to use the general, shared facilities, even though, private facilities in the room would of coarse be preferred.
The minimum time you can book a room for is six hours, thereafter, you pay a premium for every hour you use the room. The prices listed at the top of the review are based on booking a standard room for ten hours, for one or two people. Consequently, the prices will be lower if the room is used for less time and higher if it is used longer.
Eating and Drinking
The transit hotel in terminal 1 is located at one end of the duty free area, in the direction of the D-Gates and the entrance to terminal 2. The hotel is on the third floor, one floor above the duty free area, and is accessed via an escalator. The hotel is clearly signposted and not particularly difficult to find. Reception is located around the corner, to the right, and the rooms and other facilities are found along the corridor, straight ahead after the escalator.
If you follow the long corridor, past the rooms and down the corridor to your left, eventually you will come to gym area. The gym is surprisingly large and well stocked with good equipment. Directly adjacent to the gym is the shower room which can be used by hotel guests, gym guests or spontaneous visitors who just want to take a shower during a transfer. During the daytime there is also a hostess available at the gym.
Beyond the gym is a staircase that leads to the outdoor pool, which consists of a large pool and a separate heated jacuzzi. Changing rooms, toilets and showers are adjacent to the pool area. Around the pool are sun loungers and garden furniture, and from one corner you have an excellent view of the apron at terminal 1. The swimming pool can also be used by guests who are not staying at the hotel, for a fee of £6.50. The price includes towels, basic toiletries and one soft drink at the pool bar.
The transit hotel in terminal 1 has no dining facilities, however, there are several restaurants, cafes and bars in the general transfer area one floor down. In terminals 2 and 3, there is an ‘Ambassador Transit Lounge’, which is a paid lounge where there is also food and drink.
Service and Status Benefits
The staff at reception were very friendly and courteous and the check-in process was quick and efficient. Booking a transfer room via the website is very easy and reservations are confirmed within a couple of hours. Payment is made upon check in and you are charged from the time that you actually check in rather than the time stated on your booking. Upon booking, you specify either your arrival time or flight number for both your arrival and departure. This way, the booking and check in time is automatically updated in the event of a delayed flight.
A good and affordable alternative for a long transfer or an early morning departure as you can check in the night before. A fresh and clean hotel with good facilities and friendly service, fully adequate for an overnight stay of a few hours. To start the day with a swim in the outdoor pool, during sunrise, is also something that I warmly recommend.