Review: Premier Lounge International Terminal, Bali Ngurah Rai International Airport, Indonesia


Our departure from the Ngurah Rai Bali International Airport took us through the new Premier Lounge in the international departures hall. The Premier Lounge is the new international departure lounge for almost everyone that is not departing on Garuda Indonesia. As we were flying KLM World Business Class today, we were given access courtesy of the class of service of our ticket.

This post is one chapter on our trip to Bali and Singapore. This trip was redeemed through Lifemiles, AAdvantage and through Starwood Preferred Guest (Marriott Bonvoy) loyalty programs. 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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Review: Premier Lounge International Terminal Ngurah Rai International Airport, Bali, Indonesia.

“The Premier Lounge offered a popular spot to relax before a flight. We had a busy visit, paired with wifi that was non existent”

After seven sunny days, it was time to leave the island paradise of Bali. We departed the Westin Resort Nusa Dua Bali hotel at 4:30 PM. The Westin Nusa Dua was able to extend our checkout to 4 PM thanks to the SPG Gold status. I ended up booking a hotel car back to the airport and it was a good thing as for some reason, there were no Uber cars available in Nusa Dua at 4 PM. We had too much luggage for a regular taxi. A spin up the Bali Mandara Toll Highway one last time to nice views.

Bali Mandara Toll Highway

Arriving to Bali Nguarh Rai International Airport:

It was a quick 25 minutes and we were up the road at the new Bali Ngurah Rai international airport. The airport is a vast improvement over the older version which has now been converted to a domestic terminal. The airport now features a mostly open air arrival and departure concourse, with the check in’s behind air conditioned glass.

The new International Terminal Nguarh Rai International Airport, Bali, Indonesia
International Departures Drop Off Area

Of course, all things Indonesian, the KLM sign welcoming us had some strange typos in the form of KLM Royal Ducth.

Odd Signage of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

At the very least, the departures zone had beautiful views and a green space between the drop zone and the building.

Open Air Gardens – Ngurah Rai International Departures
Open Air Gardens

In bizarre designs of public spaces, the walkway into the building was slanted uphill, adding to the bag difficulty for hauling bags up towards check in. It is strangely reminiscent of the British Airways / Cathay Pacific Terminal 7 departure hall at John F Kennedy New York where the security screening checkpoint is on a slope. Fortunately, there was a thin travellator that didn’t tip over our bags all too much.

An Uphill Travellator leading us into the building

The KLM check in didn’t open until 1730hrs (exactly 3 hours before our flight) so we had a supper snack in the public area of the airport. There wasn’t much to report here, other than I was able to find some western food for my son which made him happier than settling for Asian food likely found in the airport.

Departures Hall at Ngurah Rai International Airport – behind air conditioned class
Departures Hall: Bali Ngurah Rai
Flight Information Display: Serving South East Asian and Australian Destinations

In a class for the lowest of the low travel photos, the washroom featured something I’d never seen before. A urine hydration indicator.

Probably my Most Bizarre Travel Photo

Checking Into KLM Business Class:

As the sun went down for our last time in Bali, we headed back through into the air conditioning and checked in at KLM. We were headed on KLM Business Class Denpasar – Singapore today. We passed by the information desk that was making the news with massive line ups due to volcano closures just a few days earlier in the news. It was totally empty today.

Passing by the Airport Information Desk

After passing into the air conditioned area, we headed over to the KLM desks. The KLM check in was a slow process. I was happy I’d sprung for those business class tickets as there was a major line for the regular check in.

A KLM Welcome
A Business Class Check in “Sky Priority”
KLM Business Class Check In

Economy line? No thanks – not today.

Bypassign the Economy Class Check In Line

At check in, we were issued lounge vouchers for the Premier Lounge. Our checked bags were tagged and accepted without any incident. We opted to pass on the bag wrapping for 80,000 Rupiah each. The previous Airport Tax stamp was collected at point of purchase like the rest of the modern world, instead of the previous pay stamp method (but only for tickets issued after March 3, 2015). There was a bit of a gripe next to us by people trying to get out of paying for the tax stamp tickets.

Locating the Premier Lounge:

We left the check in counters and headed out through exit immigration. The route takes you through a “U” Shape of serpentine of duty free and retail stores.

All checked in and headed to departure immigration
The Premier Lounge at Bali International Departures
Map Courtesy of Bali Airport Authority

We headed through massive new duty free and through a very bizarre time clock tower. It was a stark contrast compared to the beautiful time tower in Los Angeles. My son thought that it was haunted.

The odd location for Gucci retail in the secure zone of the Bali International Airport
The “Haunted” Time Clock Tower

The Premier Lounge is located on the second level in the Departures Retail Zone. It is immediately above the food fair with a red sign. A quick elevator ride and we were up the the upper floor and a long the walkway to the reception of the Premier Lounge.

The Second Floor location of the Premier Lounge
Getting off the elevator and along the walkway to lounge entry
The View of the Lower Level retail
Premier Lounge Reception

Accessing the Premier Lounge:

The Premier Lounge is the lounge for everyone other than Garuda Indonesia who is building a lounge that was not quite finished on our visit.

The Premier Lounge is the contracted lounge for those flying in Business Class on many airlines including most Star Alliance, One World and SkyTeam networks. If you’re flying on business or first class on one of these carriers, you’ll likely get a lounge voucher in order to access this facility.

If you don’t happen to have class of service access, the lounge is also a member of Priority Pass, allowing access through a number of premium credit cards.

If you don’t have either a class of service ticket or Priority Pass, it seems you can also purchase access through Lounge Buddy with rates starting at about $25 USD for a visit.

Under normal operating conditions, the lounge is open twenty four hours a day.

A List of Carriers Using the Premier Lounge

Today’s access to the Premier Lounge was courtesy of our KLM World Business Class of our KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Business Class ticket.

Inside the Premier Lounge:

As evidenced by the number of carriers on the door outside, the Premier Lounge is a high volume place. It’s like a show home that looks better in photos, than it is in real life. I was sort of hoping for a nice lounge like the one in the old Bali International airport with a quaint outside deck with a view of the runway and the ocean. I didn’t get any of that unfortunately. Instead, at the time of our visit, the lounge was a busy and fully packed place. Add some errant youngsters wandering around and you get the picture of a busy location that wasn’t super relaxing. . .

The Lounge Seating Area of The Premier Lounge

Once inside, the Premier Lounge was a nicely decorated space for a contract lounge. I’d describe it as having a fancy décor, with a lack of ample seating. Although a pretty space, it’s design of open spaces prevented the lounge from having a lot of place to sit.

Lounge Seating

There were several round booth style seats, which were perfect if you happened to be a family of 8. Sharing these with another group seemed bizarre, as each seat faced inward.

Round Seating Nooks
A Variety of Seating Locations

The wandering interior also made navigating the lounge a bit of a challenge with rolling suitcases since path ways often led to the buffet and not directly too and from seating areas. We ended up with a location in the back where we were able to plunk down before our flight.

In keeping with the high traffic atmosphere, there was wear and tear on the seats. The lounge wasn’t even a year old and the place was already looking like this.

Wear and Tear in the Lounge

Child’s Play Area:

There was also a small child’s room available, which was empty on our visit. It was the only part of the lounge that was empty.

Child’s Play Area

The Outdoor Terrace:

The lounge offered an outdoor terrace that was out of the lounge air conditioned zone. It looked attractive, but the reality was that the airport air conditioning couldn’t keep up, which made the terrace uncomfortably warm. It was so warm that the terrace was pretty much empty when the entire lounge was stuffed full.

Premier Lounge Outdoor Terrace

Massage Services:

There was a small two seat massage areas near the back of the lounge that offered paid massages. They took cash only, and I had spent up and converted all my Indonesian Rupiah so we had to pass on this opportunity. While it’s a neat experience to be able to get a massage in a lounge, there are arguably better massages out there in Bali than at the airport.

The Premier Lounge Massage Menu

Food and Beverage:

The main food and beverage station is located in the middle of the lounge and is easily accessible.

The Food and Beverage Buffet

The food offerings inside the Premier Lounge were pretty meagre. It seemed that the popular dishes weren’t replaced all that frequently and sat empty. MrsWT73 happened to locate some soup which was too her liking. The salad included plain lettuce, which wasn’t all too exciting.

Cello Wrapped Sandwiches
Salad Bar with an Assortment of Dressings
Dessert Items.

Spending Time in the Premier Lounge:

While WT73Jr loaded up on snacks and pop, I took care of a little business. We ended up at a table in the back as the best available location.

Our Table Location in the Back
Our KLM Business Class Boarding Cards

In keeping with the theme of excellence, the in lounge wi-fi was unworkable. Despite a 90 minute stay, I was never able to actually join their network; suffering from the eternal spinning disc. Unfortunately the free airport wi-fi wasn’t any better so we went wifi-less for our visit.

The Wifi Was Non Existent

Fortunately, I was able to check the volcano report thanks to an earlier off line download onto my laptop earlier at the hotel. There had been an airport closure during our seven day stay, but we really couldn’t tell as there was no ash cloud in the air. Even the breathing was normal and the resort goers were blissfully unaware.

Bloomberg Business Reporting Frequent Bali Airport Closures
Volcanic Air Advisories
Volcanic Air Plume Trajectories

My Thoughts on The Premier Lounge:

Overall, I’d have to sum our stay here as simply a place to hang out and get a small drink. I actually liked the old lounge in the old airport with the outdoor terrace better. The food here wasn’t too appealing, there was no internet connectivity, and it was stuffed full with people during our visit. It wasn’t a place I’d come to visit early on a future trip.

If you’ve visited The Premier Lounge, did you have a busy visit, as we did?

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