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Sleep Before Sky: Review of Aerotel Transit Hotel at Singapore Changi Airport, Terminal 1

The author enjoys traveling the world and visiting educational attractions such as museums where he can learn more about the local culture.

Aerotel pamphlet.

Aerotel pamphlet.

Changi International Airport in Singapore easily tops the list of my favorite airports, boasting more retailers than many large American malls contain. Its four terminals are peppered with free foot massage machines, plenty of seating around large-screen TVs playing news and entertainment, gardens, play areas, high-tech demonstrations, and exhibits.

But even this masterpiece of what an airport should be wears thin when you arrive close to midnight and everything is closed. So, stopping in Singapore on our way back from Penang, Malaysia, to Los Angeles, we booked a room at the Aerotel Transit Hotel in Terminal 1. It’s part of a chain with accommodations in Asia and the Middle East. This facility, which is owned by Plaza Premium Group, is located airside, sparing us from having to go through Customs and Immigration.

Booking

I reserved the hotel online many months previously. Room options included a Solo room sized at 8 square meters (86.1 sq. ft.), a Double room at 18 sqm (193.7 sq. ft.), and a Double Plus room at 20 sqm (215.7 sq. ft.) Both the Solo and Double rooms shared baths but the Double Plus contained its own private en-suite.

Families can also book the Family Room sized at 40 sqm (430.5 sq. ft.), which sleeps up to four people in two bedrooms (one with a double bed and another with two singles). and has a private bath.

Reservations come with a free cooked-to-order meal per person, which you can order at any time.

Panoramic view of the largest Aerotel Double Plus room during the day.

Panoramic view of the largest Aerotel Double Plus room during the day.

Our Double Plus room cost 115 in equivalent US dollars, including all fees and taxes. That amount covered the minimum six-hour block extended by one hour.

DISCLAIMER: My sister-in-law works for the hotel, so we extended our seven-hour stay by an extra hour-and-a-half for free and also received the largest room for the price of a Double Plus.

Check-in counter of the Aerotel Transit Hotel at Singapore Changi Airport,

Check-in counter of the Aerotel Transit Hotel at Singapore Changi Airport,

Checking In

We took the escalator to the second floor where the lobby was located. The tastefully decorated space sported a patterned brown, beige, and orange carpet, large TV screens showing departures, a few comfortable armchairs and sofas, and high-top tables surrounded by high chairs.

Three people worked the minimalist check-in counter, making the short line move even more quickly. Still, the manager left his office to help us, even apologizing for the line. I’m not sure if he does that for everyone or because we knew one of the employees.

As is typical for Singapore, everything happened in English. I showed my credit card and signed some paperwork before he gave us one keycard for the room. I also noticed a menu with names and pictures of meals but we elected to eat our meals at breakfast.

We went through a set of double doors behind the check-in counter into a hall that glowed with dramatic and edgy lighting. Our room #1 was the first single door on the left.

Dramatic main hall.

Dramatic main hall.

Our Room

The door led to a small entry area. To the left, a mirror reached from the floor to almost the ceiling. A line of round lights illuminated one side of the glass. To the right was the door to the bathroom. Sprawled out in front of us was one of the biggest hotel rooms we’d ever booked sprawled.

When you first enter the room, the two double beds are on the right.

When you first enter the room, the two double beds are on the right.


Two double beds occupied the right wall and an entertainment/work center stuck out from the wall on the left. In between, a vast expanse of gray carpet criss-crossed by green zig-zags could easily hold another set of double beds. The space looked to be twice the size of the regular Double Plus room.

On the left side is the entertainment or work area is on the left. To the right of the pic is the large window overlooking the runways.

On the left side is the entertainment or work area is on the left. To the right of the pic is the large window overlooking the runways.

The floating light wood desk to my left was topped by a wall-mounted 42-inch color flat-screen LG TV. Controlled by remote, the screen showed HBO, CNN, History Channel and Cartoon Network, among other cable channels. Below the desk stood a green wooden chair and a small black trash can.

Above the desk was a tray holding an electric coffee pot and two mugs as well as two free 600-ml bottle of mineral water, two one-serving packets of IndoCare Original Blend and Twining English Breakfast tea, packets of cream and sugar, and two metal spoons. The pot was plugged into one of three outlets that required Singapore-style plugs.

Next to the desk was a portable folding suitcase rack. Three coat hooks sprouted from the wall above the rack containing only two hangers. On the other side of the desk sat a gray high-backed easy chair with a woven textured upholstery. Next to it, a round side table with a two-foot diameter light wood top proved a handy place to store drinks.

The wall opposite the entry contained a six-foot high window with wooden pocket doors for privacy. Through it, I could see jet bridge D41 connecting to a Singapore Airlines jet. Beyond that, a magnificent view of the tarmac with planes was studded with lights as planes glided by.

WiFi for the room and the hotel relied on the one supplied by the airport, which is fast enough for streaming video. I needed to download the iChangi app to get 24 hours for free. Otherwise, you only receive three hours. Passwords for the service were available either from the front desk of the hotel or from any of the information booths throughout the terminal.

Beds

Each of the two beds might have been as big as an American full-size but not quite as large as a queen. Each contained a white comforter and two pillows of medium hardness. The mattress felt just right: not too hard and not too soft. It delivered a good night’s sleep for me.

Between the beds, a small table held three pairs of switches to control the lights in the room, including the two reading lamps above the table. Below the switches were two Singapore-style outlets.

To show the size of the beds, I am sprawled out on one.

To show the size of the beds, I am sprawled out on one.

Bathroom

The floor of the attached bathroom dropped an inch lower from the rest of the bedroom floor so w had to be careful entering and exiting. The walls were covered in subway tile colored green to match the accent color of the room.

Sink, vanity, and toilet of the attached full bathroom.

Sink, vanity, and toilet of the attached full bathroom.

Beneath the mirrored wall, a long counter could’ve easily held two sinks. Instead, it only contained one rectangular vessel sink. Two faucets controlled the hot and cold water to the curved spout. The counter also showed a black tissue box, two toothbrush packets with toothpaste, a shaving packet with a plastic razor and tube of shaving cream, and two water glasses. Attached to the wall were a hair dryer, a soap dispenser you had to squeeze to get soap, and two wall outlets at 110 and 220 volts, so no adapter was needed.

The shelf beneath the vanity hid two pairs of slippers, two large white bath towels, and a small black trash can. Two hand towels and a towel rug were hung around the room. A small drawer held an extra tray, extra toilet paper, a shower cap, and a make-up removal kit with a pad and q-tips. This was the only drawer in the entire room.

A white toilet floated from the wall across from the door. Its flushing lever stuck out from the wall about two feet above.

Shower stall to the right with a rain showerhead and hand-held shower.

Shower stall to the right with a rain showerhead and hand-held shower.

Opposite the vanity was a large walk-in glass-walled shower that could be entered through a swinging door. The shower featured both a hand-held shower and a rain shower head. I eventually got the hang of the confusing knobs for controlling water flow and temperature. To use the hot water in the shower, I had to turn on a switch outside the bathroom. (The hot water in the sink did not depend on the switch.) The water pressure felt good pounding forcefully on my tired muscles.

Although we could hear the jets taking off and landing outside the room, they sounded like the rumble of distant thunder.

Although we could hear the jets taking off and landing outside the room, they sounded like the rumble of distant thunder.

Issues

The room suffered from only two minor issues:

  • The room was well-insulated from noise coming from the hall, except when someone talked loudly near the door. However, we could hear the jets landing and taking off through the window. They sounded like distant thunder, which was not unpleasant. No earplugs were necessary.
  • Although a thermostat was visible, it was controlled entirely by the hotel, which kept the temperature at 20.5 degrees Celsius (68.9 degree Fahrenheit). I thought the temperature felt fine although my hubby thought he would freeze to death if he didn’t sleep with his full sweats on.

Amenities

The Aerotel Transit Hotel at Changi International proclaims that it is the only one in Asia that contains an outdoor swimming pool. And when we entered the watery rec area, we noticed the lights of the tarmac shining beyond one corner. The pool opens everyday from 6 AM to midnight so we didn’t use it. But lit from below, the kidney-shaped blue water that was held in by small blue tiles looked like a refreshing respite from Singapore humidity. A round multi-person Jacuzzi pool rose from the hump of the kidney.

The only transit hotel in Asia with an outdoor swimming pool. Note the lights of the tarmac between the two buildings.

The only transit hotel in Asia with an outdoor swimming pool. Note the lights of the tarmac between the two buildings.

Outdoor bar by the pool.

Outdoor bar by the pool.

Scattered around the pool and its tropical foliage, chaise lounge chairs invited relaxation under closed yellow umbrellas. Someone cleaned behind a covered bar that was also closed. Round tables with chairs were available for drinking or dining.

Gym.

Gym.

Behind a set of swinging double glass doors, lights shone on a small gym with gray carpet. The room contained an exercise bike, a treadmill, an adjustable weight bench, a rack of dumbbells, an exercise ball, and a folded mat or two. The exercise area overlooked the lounge below, which you could descend into using a flight of stairs.

Lounge

The lounge was comfortably appointed and decorated in neutral gray colors with light green upholstery on the sofas and chairs. A wall covered in gray concrete herringbone blocks acted as a background for a large-screen TV playing English-speaking cable news. The wall opposite held shelves with magazines that were free for the taking.

Main lounge. Note stairs leading up to the gym.

Main lounge. Note stairs leading up to the gym.

Wall with magazine shelves.

Wall with magazine shelves.

Food

We elected to have our included free meal for breakfast before our flight out. As we entered the lounge, we approached a server who handed as a laminated copy of the menu we’d already seen at check-in. A color-picture list of eight dishes, which is useful if you didn’t speak English. We made our selections, which were then cooked fresh, allowing us to look around the lounge while we waited.

Choose your made-to-order free meal from this picture menu.

Choose your made-to-order free meal from this picture menu.

My All Day Breakfast, which consisted of sausages, two slices of buttered toast, a sunny-side-up egg, ham, potatoes, and greens was hardly gourmet but acceptable.

All Day Breakfast.

All Day Breakfast.

My hubby is very particular about Hainan Chicken Rice, so it’s no surprise that his order disappointed him with the overcooked tough chicken and hard rise. His dish came with the chicken and some vegetables, rice topped with garlic chips, and the expected soup.

Hainan Chicken Rice.

Hainan Chicken Rice.

Bottom Line

The Aerotel Transit Hotel at Singapore’s Changi Airport represents excellent value for the money, providing us with a comfortable, clean, and safe way to sleep. Particularly during high season, try to book as far ahead as possible because cancellations are free and the facility does book up. If a future flight demands that we spend overnight at the airport, we’ll stay at this hotel again.

Please take the survey below on whether you want to stay in this hotel. If you have any thoughts or questions about this review, please leave them in the Comment box below.

© 2019 Aurelio Locsin

Comments

Marlene Bertrand from USA on October 26, 2019:

What an excellent review. I have never traveled to Singapore. My husband has, several times and I will be sure to tell him about this hotel. It sounds extremely convenient and worth the price. But, that Hainan Chicken Rice definitely looks like airplane food.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on May 14, 2019:

This is a comprehensive review of the Aerotel Transit Hotel at Singapore Changi airport. Definitely worth an overnight stay.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on May 14, 2019:

That airport sounds fabulous! Free foot massages and more for the weary passengers sounds like a treat. Your hotel review was really good. Were I ever to travel that way which is highly unlikely, I would wish to stay there.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on May 14, 2019:

What a luxurious hotel and right in the airport! I don't think there's anything like that here in The States.

I enjoyed your review; it was very thorough. The photos are very clear and give a good idea of the environment.

All in all, I think the hotel is pretty impressive.

Liz Westwood from UK on May 14, 2019:

Once you have become accustomed to the luxury of ensuite bathrooms, it is not so easy to revert to the scurry across or down the corridor to a communal bathroom. We have probably become spoilt. Though I have noticed a slight increase in recent years in the provision of more budget accommodation aimed at the younger generation of travellers.

Aurelio Locsin (author) from Orange County, CA on May 14, 2019:

Yes, Liz, but I believe the shared bathrooms were generally across the hall from those types of bedrooms. I didn't have a chance to view those shared bathrooms but I'm confident that they are spotlessly clean -- that's the general room for even public restrooms in Singapore.

Liz Westwood from UK on May 14, 2019:

This is an excellent review. It contains just the kind of information I need to know. The room facilities look good, as does the pool. It was a shame you could not use it, but taking photos is much more permissible if it's empty. When you mention other rooms in the hotel you said they had shared bathrooms. Does that mean that lower priced rooms have bedroom facilities only and you have to go down the corridor to find the bathroom?