Review: Thai Airways Royal First Lounge, Bangkok, Thailand

Any serious global frequent traveller has heard of the Thai Airways Royal First Lounge in Bangkok, Thailand. Thai Airways offers among the world’s best ground handling services for its first class passengers and this lounge and spa is part of that experience. Thai Airways has branded itself by being able to offer spa services to it’s first class passengers which is an excellent part of the first class travel experience.

This post is one chapter in our Around the World in Star Alliance First Class via China, Thailand and Spain. This trip was booked using Air Canada Aeroplan miles. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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Read more from this trip:

Review: Thai Airways Royal First Lounge, Bangkok Survarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok, Thailand

“Thai Airways offers one of the world’s best ground handling services in First Class. The Thai Royal First Lounge is no exception to this with complimentary one hour Thai Massages as part of the lounge experience”

Getting to the Airport and Checking Into Thai Royal First Class:

After a whirlwind day of temple sightseeing with a foot massage at the Kao San market, we returned to Le Meridien Bangkok and hopped a taxi back to Survarnabhumi. The fare was a more reasonable 226 bhat plus 75 bhat for tolls ($11 USD) from Le Meridien. Leaving the hotel, it was almost directly onto the elevated expressway back to the airport, making it a very quick 35 minute journey at the end of rush hour at 6:30 PM. 

The check in for Thai Royal First is located at the far left hand side of the Survarnabhumi airport. The entrance was almost enticing- what is behind those mysterious gates? We were excited to further the enjoyable Thai experience that we had on our earlier Thai flight on this RTW. Thai would not disappoint, the ground service that we experienced was absolutely fantastic. 

Thai Royal First Check In – Survarnabhumi International Airport

Upon walking behind the gates of First, we were greeted by a doorman who proceeded to seat us down at one of several coffee tables against the back wall of the airport. We were immediately brought a refreshing Acai drink and offered hot towels, which I’d never been so happy to see after walking around in the heat of Bangkok’s 36 degree Celsius weather all day. “Where are you off to today?” we were asked? “Madrid” was the simple answer in what was the shortest dialogue I’ve ever had at a check in desk. Our hostess, took the passports and left us to enjoy our drinks in serenity.

Thai First Class Private Check In Facilities

Since a massage was not immediately offered, when our host returned with our boarding cards, I asked about a reservation for a Thai massage. I got a very strange, almost stressed look on the part of the host- a strange experience itself considering the Thai’s seem to be one of the most mellowed out people on the planet. She initially offered us a head and shoulders massage, but I politely insisted on the full one hour body massage. She said that she would go and check on it. I am guessing that this stressed look may have been a capacity issue due to many flights leaving in the evening. We remained hopeful being checked in at the airport at 3.5 hours before our scheduled departure. 

We were then escorted through to the first class security screening; a private lane and screener with no wait. This was followed by private immigration, staffed by a double wicket of private immigration officers. I noticed that our handler told us that they would meet us on the other side of immigration and disappeared around the back of a white screen wall. So far, the Thai ground service did not disappoint! The treatment was excellent, in addition to the private, non rushed screening- a relief from the lines at many airports at home. 

After getting our Thailand Immigration exit stamps, we rejoined our hostess. We were led down the escalators where we boarded a golf cart for our brisk ride to the Royal First Class Lounge. As we were loaded onto the golf cart, our hostess bid us farewell. I couldn’t help but notice that she discreetly passed the golf cart driver two air ticket coupons, which read “Royal First Lounge Invited”. 

Accessing the Royal First Lounge:

The easiest way to access the Thai Airways Royal First Lounge is to find yourself some reward availability on a Thai Airways First Class flight. You can access the lounge by presenting a boarding pass for a Thai Royal First Class or Star Alliance First Class flight (one guest is allowed). Thai Royal Orchid Platinum Status members (qualifying at 80,000 miles flown in Thai First or Royal Silk Business per 12 months) are also permitted when flying any International Thai or Thai Smile flight.

The golf cart proceeds from the escalator landing onto a thin path just wide enough for the cart, along a road that separates the Royal Silk business lounge from the open air concourse. As we zipped by the Royal Silk Business lounge, which appeared to be a lovely open air lounge with a nicely stocked bar, I couldn’t help but raise my right hand for the best “Queen of England” wave as we zipped along side the business lounge. It was kind of a bizarre experience to be treated so importantly, as compared to our the “join the back of the queue line” experience of Asiana at LAX.

Thai Airways First Class Golf Cart transfer that zips “through” the Thai Airways Royal Silk Business Lounge

Inside the Thai Royal Orchid First Lounge:

Upon arrival at the lounge, we were led inside another host and assigned a 4 person seat in the general area (if a general area even exists in a first class lounge). It seemed all the private rooms were occupied already with our 8:30PM lounge arrival. Our lounge host, a Thai man with artificially blue colored contacts and bouffant hair, confirmed us with 1 hour spa massage appointments for 1030 PM. 

Thai Royal First Lounge Entrance

Once we were seated, we were asked for our initial drink order and provided with two glasses of Moet and Chandon Imperial Champagne. We were also given a welcome drink and towel service. I found this amusing since the last towel service was 10 minutes ago at check in, and the 20 km/h speeds on the golf buggy didn’t induce a lot air pollution on the face. 

Welcome Champagne Drink, Moet and Cool Towels

Royal First General Seating Area. 

Thai Royal First Seating Area
Thai Royal First Lounge Seating Area

Off from the main lounge area was the seated dining room where a la carte table service was offered. We didn’t partake in a seated table service, but I took a brief look for the photographs. There was also an attached buffet for those that were feeling like self serve.

Thai Royal First Lounge “The Dining Room”
Thai Royal First Lounge Snack Menu
Thai Royal First Self Serve Buffet

And then, completely out of the blue, it happened… Seated in those big stuffy highback arm chairs of the Royal First lounge, drinking some wonderfully chilled bubbles, I heard those words that every Flyer Talker dreads… The words that we dread, but at the same time love to hear. Ms World Traveller 73 uttered, her voice trailing off slightly… “I don’t think I can ever go back to traveling economy…” A smile broke across my fate. A job well done. 

Since we had been sightseeing all day, we individually went to go use the lounge showers to freshen up. We were shown to the most immaculate shower room, completely free of any water, with a private box containing shaver, shamoo towel shower cap etc…. Ms WT73, who is not normally a public or lounge shower fan, further gave her stamp of approval “I could get ready for a cocktail party in here without any issues!” she explained gleefully. Indeed, as the droplets of a rain shower of warm water fell down on me, I reached cleanliness nirvana. 


We returned to have a quick dinner at our lounge chairs. I decided on the Duck with Egg Noodles. A wonderful small bowl arrived quickly and was a tasty snack. The portion sizes were in between appetizer and main course sizes. The better half had the Khao Pad with chicken, which arrived in a near perfect presentation.

Duck with Egg Noodles (close) and Khao Pad with Chicken (far). 

Lounge Snacks: Duck with Egg Noodles (front) and Khao Pad with Chicken (far)

With several more smiles and “Can I bring you any more champagne?” from our wait staff, we devoured the snacks and it was time for the massages. I had a small internal debate on whether to leave our carry on’s in our 4 seater sitting area within the First Lounge and whether they would be safe there. I asked our host, and was assured that they would be safe. It was in hindsight perhaps an impossible assurance given the international clientele and the fact that if anything disappeared, it would be almost impossible to track down on which flight it went to, or what part of the world it would have ended up in – but I was assured confidently that they would be there and that cameras were all through the ceiling. Indeed, as our host pointed out on our walk to the Spa, there were several golf-ball frosted cameras throughout the ceiling which I had not noticed before. I decided to leave the packs, in a padlocked capacity at our seats, and take my camera with us. 

A Visit to the Thai Royal First Spa:

We were led out the back door of the lounge. Crossing the hall, we were led into the Royal First Spa. I was expecting a crowded and cramped facility, but instead found a facility on par with any first rate hotel spa in the Americas – a tranquil facility with lots of room to stretch out. After being seated in a semi-private living room reception area, we completed a quick waiver and were each led to our private room with a separate attached changing and shower area. 

Entrance to the Royal Orchid Spa – note that the door handles are hands similar to a Buddist offering.

Thai Royal Orchid Spa Entrance

I was introduced to my masseuse – a wonderfully smiley Thai woman. Thai’s normally have wonderful, heart warming smiles but she was over the top. I was given a choice of the oils, which was a bit interesting, since I wasn’t expecting an oil massage and being under the impressing that normal Thai Massage is done without any oil. It seemed as though Thai Airways has taken the commercial route of familiarity. 

The experience of having a massage immediately prior to a flight is not one that can easily be replicated. I’ve never experienced, or bothered to get a chair massage as seen in airports around the world. Every time I walk by those stands, the technicians look so bored an dis-interested. In this case, the service was exceptionally attentive and the pressure strong. I had a fantastic massage, one that rivaled my favorite massage in SE Asia at Jari Menari in Seminyak, Bali. The soft music in the background was punctuated by faint airport public address announcements to people headed to a far away land that were barely audible through the walls and dim lighting of the spa. I experienced an hour of total uninterrupted bliss. 

After our massages, I took a quick shower to scrub off the oil in the attached bathroom. I met my other half in the spa lounge holding area of 3 tables (Royal First Only) where we were offered the option of a drink, which was a classy touch indeed. We elected to return to the First Lounge with massive smiles on our faces and a new appreciation for Thai Airways. The ground service so far was like nothing that we had ever experienced. 

We resettled in at the First Lounge. I took a look around, desperate to savor the experience. It was like that slow first dance that you had as a teenager in high school, crystal ball circulating with stars all over the walls, you never wanted it to end. Another two classes of Moet passed the time. This evening, the lounge was at near perfection- or at least everything in our world. Excited about what we had experienced, we started to play a game, Ms WT73: “See if you can reach the bar and order a drink.” With each attempt, like in rugby or football, we were “blocked” by exceptional wait staff who stopped us before we got there, and offered to bring over a glass of bubbly to our table. The drinks always arrived within 3 minutes or less, highlighting their efficiency here. I might add that the lounge was exceptionally busy too. . . 

Transferring to the Aircraft by Semi Private Van:

At 11:45 PM, a personal assistant came to our table directly and indicated it was time for our escort to the aircraft. Ourselves and one other first class passenger were rounded up. We were escorted out of the back of the lounge and across the public hallway over to Gate D1. We were led down the escalator to the apron level and without a word, onto the apron and into a white van. It would appear that we were getting a private transfer to the aircraft tonight. 

Van Transfer to First Class Flight

As the raindrops pattered down on the windshield, and the faint squawk of the Thai language echoed off of portable radios, we drove through the hive of activity of the ground level apron of Survarnabhumi. As we passed through baggage carts, catering runs and assorted equipment, we approached upon a retro livery Thai Boeing 747-400. The next chapter in our story was about to begin. 

As the raindrops pattered down on the windshield, and the faint squawk of the Thai language echoed off of portable radios, we drove through the hive of activity of the ground level apron of Survarnabhumi. As we passed through baggage carts, catering runs and assorted equipment, we approached upon a retro livery Thai Boeing 747-400. The next chapter in our story was about to begin. 

The Bottom Line:

The Thai Royal First Lounge in Survarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok is one of the world’s best First Class Lounges. The First Class service and included spa treatments are almost unparalleled in the world in terms of personal traveler attention. While it is not as refined as the Lufthansa First Class Lounges or the British Airways Concorde Room in London Heathrow, it still gives these places a run for its money.

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