What it's like to stay inside the world's best airport hotel.
My partner and I had organised a trip to Hong Kong via Singapore. As our connecting flight was the morning after, we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to try an airport hotel and maximise our sleep between flights.
We decided to stay at the Crowne Plaza at Changi after seeing that it won the 2018 Skytrax World's Best Airport Hotel award. (Update: after we stayed it championed again to win the 2019 Skytrax World's Best Airport Hotel award.) We also liked the fact that the hotel is part of the IHG Rewards Club, so we could earn points on our stay.
It's also known for its great view of the Changi Airport tarmac. So as an aviation enthusiast I was excited to do some plane spotting.
Crowne Plaza Singapore Changi Airport details
Mehron M's review, in short: ★★★★½
Singapore is known for its luxury and decadence, so it's no surprise that hotels tend to be on the swankier side and therefore more expensive than airport hotel options in other countries.
The Crowne Plaza at Changi is the only 5-star hotel in the vicinity of the airport. The other options in Changi Airport are transit hotels such as Haven by Jet Quay (3.5-stars), Ambassador (2.5-stars) and Aerotel (3-stars) which charge in blocks of 6 hours which can equate to being more expensive than staying the night at Crowne Plaza.
The Crowne Plaza is below average in terms of price compared to other 5-star hotels in downtown Singapore.
The Crowne Plaza is located inside Terminal 3 at Changi Airport. The benefit of this location is that it's located right in the airport which is perfect for those who don't want to travel into downtown Singapore; in fact you don't need to even get a taxi to this hotel.
If you're looking to visit Singapore you'll still be able to get a taxi from the hotel to Marina Bay in 20 minutes but the airport location means it's better suited to those who want to relax on their layover, catch up on business or enjoy the swimming pool rather than head downtown, and if you love planespotting the view is second to none.
On arrival the lobby looked a little dark and tired but once we were out of the lifts and into our room it had a fresh tropical vibe. Our room was modern with touches of timber, large windows and a tropical carpet pattern.
The check-in/check-out process
It took about 15-20 minutes from the moment we picked up our bags and cleared customs and immigration to the moment we arrived at the hotel and checked in.
The check-in process was simple and quick. As soon as we arrived at the reception desk we were given our room keys and all we needed to do was give a small credit card authorisation.
You also get a smartphone once you check in, which gives you complimentary local calls, and calls to 11 countries. There was also complimentary Wi-Fi.
We stayed in the Runway View room, which as the name suggests, gave us a great view of the runway – even the spotless bathroom sported a bathtub with a great view of the tarmac.
The downside is that the Runway View rooms can be a little noisy being so close to aircraft, so if you aren't mad about planes you might want to leave these ones to the aviation enthusiasts.
But despite the noise, the entertainment system and smart TV were great. They showed the flight arrivals and departures boards, and had plenty of movie, news and international channels.
Because this was such a short stay we weren't able to try out the buffet food options at this hotel. We took a look at the breakfast and it was a large buffet spread with hot and cold meals, and both Western and Asian dishes including dim sum, fried rice, pizza, salad, fruit and cakes. The hotel has two restaurants: the Imperial Treasure restaurant which is a Cantonese fine-dining restaurant, and Azur, which is an all-day international restaurant.
There's also the club lounge where we chose to eat, which offered breakfast with your choice of eggs and omelettes.
The standout facility of this hotel is the 30-metre pool, which has a resort vibe and views of the airport control tower.
There's also the aforementioned club lounge, which is great if you're travelling for business. We had evening drinks and capapés there and it was a nice spot.
The gym was also decent for a regular hotel, let alone an airport hotel. It's open 24 hours so you can train whenever suits you.
I've stayed at a number of airport hotels including the PARKROYAL at Melbourne Airport and the Hilton Zürich Airport and the Crowne Plaza Changi was a much better experience. I couldn't fault much at all during my stay and would happily agree with Skytrax naming this the world's best airport hotel in 2018.