Another day, another dollar, another mediocre Priority Pass lounge. I had my hopes up. This was a relatively new lounge. The terminal itself is only 3 years old. Yet somehow, despite looking relatively modern, this club felt old.
I gained access to the Premier Lounge Ngurah Rai via my Priority Pass Select membership. This is in turn because I’m a Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholder. One positive thing that can be said about Priority Pass is that their app for iOS is quite useful. It works even when offline. A godsend when traveling and a stable internet connection is a luxury. Truth be told, we were in a rush to get to the terminal and I had totally forgot to pre-research lounge options. Thankfully the PP app was up to date and pointed me in the right direction.
The Premier Lounge Denpasar’s layout is pretty typical. A check-in desk leads you past the drink and food buffets. Further inside you’ll discover some awkward seating and a near absence of outlets. Not that they don’t exist, just that you’ll have to pick your seat carefully.
Outside there’s a terrace with a nice view of the terminal. You likely won’t want to spend much time out here though. It’s really hot and really humid. Apparently the slight elevation change from the lower level to the lounge is enough to really mess with the terminal air flow.
It’s ok. But if you’re really hungry I’d suggest eating something below. You won’t find much here other than some cheap hors d’oeuvres. Nothing of real substance, unless you like filling yourself up with empty carbs. There is one bright spot here though. Desert! Nice little selection of pastries that never ran out. They even had some packaged for the road.
Drinks available covered most of the basics. For those not looking to get tipsy prior to a flight, you should have no problem finding something to your liking. Auto-espresso/cappacino machines are pretty common these days. Nevertheless, I’m always happy to see one. Maybe it’s because I don’t have one at home it feels like a novelty. The Premier Lounge didn’t disappoint, and like most coffee in Bali, it was pretty good. The drink cooler was very standard. Not a bad thing. It covered your standard soft drinks/water/cheap beer.
The biggest joke in the entire lounge has to be the “bar”. I intentionally used quotes there because I’m not sure what’s presented at the Premier Lounge quite meets the definition. Take a look:
Is that not the saddest thing ever? This might be the first “bar” I’ve ever seen whose selection is beaten hands-down by my half-stocked home liquor cabinet. Not even a single tap. I didn’t bother ordering a drink.
It was terrible. Unusable bad. When I did manage to get a Speedtest to run, I got the following results. Mind you, this is after about 8 tries. I had a little better luck with the DPS public WiFi, but not much. Don’t plan on getting any work done here.
It’s worth mentioning that I did see a business area with what might have been some Ethernet ports. I always travel with a little portable network for situations like these. Nothing more than a little TP-Link travel router(Amazon), portable charger(Amazon) and an Ethernet cord. However, this little setup has saved my sanity on multiple occasions. You’d be surprised how often you encounter hotels/lounges with terrible WiFi but a solid wired connection. When in doubt, just make your own network.
Not bad, not great. A lounge is supposed to be a restful oasis away from the hustle and bustle of the terminal. So I take particular issue when parents choose to allow their children to treat the facility like a playground. As they say, “there’s one in every crowd”, and this visit to the Premier Lounge Denpasar was no different. One couple blissfully enjoyed snacks, drinks and a quiet corner while their offspring ran amok screaming. A quick word from one of the lounge attendants might have saved many patrons a lot of earache. In this scenario, I’m not sure if they didn’t know or didn’t care. Either way it sorta ruined the otherwise calm vibe.
The Premier Lounge Bali Ngurah Rai has potential. In a way I feel they’re a bit like United. They’ve got the basics down but they just don’t go quite far enough to leave a positive impression. Fixing the WiFi and bringing it up to 2017 standards would help, as would turning the bar into a full service alcoholic beverage station. Finally, find someone, anyone to politely remind parents that they’re in a premium lounge, not a zoo.