An airport is probably not the first place you’d think of to get much needed rest and relaxation, but Changi Airport seemingly defies that notion with its numerous facilities ranging from conventional lounges to transit hotels that come with a gym and pool. Even folks who are merely transiting in Changi Airport for a short while can opt to have a massage or try the fish spa – a first for any airport worldwide.
The next time you find yourself in Changi Airport with a bit of spare time and having shopped your heart out, here are some of the more comforting options available while you are waiting for your flight. I have categorised these places by terminals for convenience, and highlighted some of their unique features!
Plaza Premium Lounge – Dreaming of Sushi Rolls
A personal favorite, the Plaza Premium Lounge located in Terminal 1 offers award-winning facilities and services. Before departing Singapore, indulge in local dishes such as chicken rice and laksa or freshen up with a hot shower. A large part of the food menu here is made-to-order although you can also take your pick from the modest buffet spread. Also look out for the off-menu spicy tuna rolls which are only available during certain days. Compared to the other airport lounges, alcohol is chargeable at the Plaza Premium Lounge. They also have some of the more complete rest and refresh options for a lounge in Changi Airport with private resting suites as well as shower rooms.
Pro tip: Order the off-menu spicy tuna maki if you are craving for Japanese cuisine.
5 hours – SGD 58
10 hours – SGD 105
Shower with amenities and welcome drink – SGD 16
Terminal 1, Transit, Departure Transit Hall West
Aerotel Airport Transit Hotel – Check Out the Rooftop Swimming Pool
I usually check-in at the Aerotel Airport Transit Hotel at Terminal 1 whenever I have an early morning flight the next day. Stays as short as 6 hours are possible while a variety of room types are available for different passenger profiles - from budget-type single rooms with shared bathrooms to private rooms that can fit three people. Offering much more than what you would expect from a transit hotel, Aerotel boasts of a roof top swimming pool, gym and a library for guests to unwind. There is also a dining-on-demand option. For deep sleepers, a wake-up call can also be arranged to make sure that you do not miss your next flight.
Pro tip: If you are booking a twin room, try to request for one that comes with a real window. These rooms are bigger than the other twin rooms.
From US$60 for a budget single room
From US$100 for a standard room
Shower facilities for US$20
Terminal 1, Transit, Level 3 Departure Transit Hall (above Gate D41)
Airport Wellness Oasis – Home to the Iconic Fish Spa
Changi Airport is often touted as being the only airport in the world to have a fish spa. If you have ever wondered where exactly that fish spa is located, you will find it at the unassuming Airport Wellness Oasis in Terminal 1. As the name suggests, the venue is more of a spa than a traditional airport lounge. You won’t find a buffet spread here to satisfy the tummy but you’ll find eager masseuses who can help relieve your sore and aching muscles after a long flight.
As previously mentioned, the signature treatment here is the fish spa. The Garra rufa or doctor fish is a type of freshwater fish that feeds on dead skin. Among other benefits, their nibbling is supposed to help alleviate symptoms of psoriasis.
I visited Airport Wellness Oasis recently to try the fish spa and it felt quite ticklish once the fish approached my feet upon dipping into the pool. The doctor fish must have been so hungry they did not stop nibbling for a good 20 minutes. This is the standard duration of undergoing the fish spa which I thought was sufficient to do away with the dead skin on my feet. The experience was a first for me personally and is definitely a huge contrast from the usual massages I have when visiting a spa.
S$22 (20-minute fish spa)
Terminal 1, Transit, Level 2 Departure Transit Hall (opposite Gate D41)
Ambassador Transit Lounge – Space Age Vibe
Hariela Hospitality’s Ambassador lounges are located in both Terminals 2 and 3 with the one in Terminal 2 renovated just a few years ago. The new aesthetic is modern and carries a space age vibe. Facilities are relatively comprehensive with computer terminals, shower rooms and even a gym to complete the lounge experience. If you have spare time, a visit to the Instagrammable Sunflower Garden just next to the Ambassador Lounge in Terminal 2 is recommended.
Pro tip: If you need printing services in the airport, this lounge is your best bet.
S$ 58.85 for adults
S$29.43 for children
Terminal 2, Transit, Level 3 Departure Transit Hall (above Orchid Garden)
Terminal 3, Transit, Level 3 Departure Transit Hall (next to Movie Theatre)
Spa Express – Mini Wellness Retreat in the Airport
Spa Express is a full-fledge spa operating within the grounds of Terminal 2 in Changi Airport. It is managed by Heaven on Earth, a wellness company with several spa locations around the world, including the spa in Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel. I tried Spa Express’ signature Jetlag Special during a recent visit to the airport. As per the proposition of the venue, it is meant to be a relatively fast solution for those with aching muscles and feet after a long flight. It lasts for just 40 minutes to cater to the average transit time of passengers although longer treatments are also available. Within that relatively short timeframe, my therapist did a soothing massage to help relieve the knots on my back and even managed to sneak in a few minutes to do some foot reflexology. I was so calmed by the whole procedure I dozed off half of the time.
S$68 for a 40-minute treatment
S$98 for a 60-minute treatment
Terminal 2, Transit, Level 3 Departure Transit Hall South
The Haven by Jetquay – Most Value for Money
The only airport lounge located at the public area in Changi Airport, The Haven by Jetquay offers a more tranquil atmosphere compared to other airport lounges. I have visited The Haven twice and never found it busy during both times I was there. Take your pick between a made-to-order menu and a more modest buffet consisting of cakes, sandwiches and drinks. Families would find it convenient to know that this lounge is kid-friendly and even features a small play area for the little ones. The lounge also has nap rooms and shower rooms for guests to relax and freshen up before their next flight. Usage of the nap room can be as little as 3 hours.
Pro Tip: If you foresee yourself having to leave the airport during your transit but still prefer to stay within the grounds of Changi Airport, The Haven by Jetquay may be your best option.
Lounge use starts from S$37.66 for 2 hours during off-peak timings
Usage of shower room starts from S$18.83 during off-peak timings
Usage of nap room from S$88.28 for 3 hours during off-peak timings
Terminal 3, Transit, Level 1 Arrival Meeting Hall South (next to DFS Wines & Spirits)
Blossom – SATS & Plaza Premium Lounge – Lounge With a View
Blossom is the only pay-per-use airport lounge in Terminal 4 and is likewise shared by a number of airlines using the terminal. It serves as an all-in-one venue for some rest and relaxation where passengers can even avail themselves of a massage before their flight. The dining options are a mix of a daily special that is made-to-order as well as a variety of light bites and mains from the buffet. Guests preferring a bit of privacy will be pleased to find cocoon-like seats.
Pro Tip: The only shower rooms in Terminal 4 are found in Blossom so it might get busy during peak periods. As there are only 2 shower rooms in the lounge, allocate a bit more time and arrive in the airport a bit earlier if you are planning to shower there.
S$50 per adult
S$25 per child for 5 hours
Terminal 4, Transit, Level 2M Departure Transit Hall
With so many lounges and wellness spots in Changi Airport, it probably would not be such a bad idea to check-in much earlier for your flight. I did it once, checking in a good 36 hours before my actual departure. Having the comforts of the 4 terminals as my “hotel” was an unexpectedly fun experience but even an entire day wasn’t enough to scratch the surface of what the world’s best airport can offer.
About the writer
The views expressed in this article are those of the author, Bino Chua.
About the writer: Bino is the guy behind @iwanderrr, an Instagram account with a focus on destinations near and far as well as hotel and aviation features. He started sharing travel tips some years back after an inspiring journey to Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Since then, his travels have reflected his ever evolving bucket list and have spanned places such as North Korea, Pakistan and Iran.