How many times in life will they ask “Dom or Krug”?
Opulence is a noun which should never be treated lightly. Business class is luxurious – sure, but it’s not opulent. Opulence should only be referenced when dealing with the true, finest things in life, which share virtually no equal or peer. After spending 14 hours in the sky in Singapore Suites, I can officially proclaim “opulence” is the operating word, and even 10 years on from its inception, Singapore Airlines First Class Suites are still in rarified air…
“I can’t even find it”
It all starts with a door marked private. At Singapore Changi Terminal 3, Suites guests do not mix with other departing passengers. To the far left of the terminal sits the First Class check in zone, which looks a whole lot like a five star hotel lobby in a major city. Standing room only is nowhere to be found, and guests are taken to private desks, where there’s seemingly never a wait. Shortly thereafter, it’s onto a lounge marked Private.
“Just show someone this ticket, and a host will escort you to the Private Room”
Like peeling back the layers of a great treat, Singapore Suites guests are escorted from the main lobby of the Singapore SilverKris business class lounge, through the first class lounge and finally, into the Private Room. Reserved exclusively for first class passengers traveling on Singapore Air, it’s an unbelievably quiet space, and without a doubt, the only airport lounge in the world serving Dom Perignon. And yes – like all things included in the price of the ticket “it’s free”. And for those wondering about this particular ticket, 115,000 Singapore KrisFlyer miles and about $20USD did the trick between Singapore and London.
“Sir, I suggest heading for the gate around 8:30, would you like assistance to the gate”?
With a 9AM departure, the thought of leaving the lounge at 8:30 already felt like a luxury. No queuing, no hours on board before departure. The gate was displaying final boarding, and after a quick scan of the boarding pass, a staff member insisted on skipping past all boarding stragglers. There’s nothing quite like the jammy feeling of seeing multiple boarding doors, marked economy, premium, business and then suites, and choosing the one where no one else is in sight. Cabin crew actually walk off the plane, and onto the jet bridge to welcome you and assist with luggage. By the way, there are no overhead bins to fight for. Your luggage fits neatly under your seat, and can be accessed with ease at all times. Rejoice.
“Would you like to start off with some Dom Perignon or Krug”?
Opulence, there you go. Krug and Dom Perignon are the epitome of Champagne, the iconic Grand Cru houses of the region and command hundreds for sought after vintages, heck, any vintage. Like Swiss clockwork, both were presented with a smile. Who would refuse a taste test between two of the worlds greatest inhibiting nectars? As expected, they were the perfect accompaniment to the Lalique pajamas and amenity kits also presented prior to take off. No stone left unturned, no detail too fine, the table was officially set on what promised to be a truly outstanding flying experience, and before long the Airbus A380-800 was quietly hurdling into the skies above.
“Chicken or fish”
Singapore Suites is truly rarified air, and that’s not just on account of the vast square footage commanded by these yacht inspired suites, fully enclosed by privacy doors. Guests in the suites cabin are able to “book the cook”, choosing from an extensive, 25+ dish menu with everything from lobster tails to filet mignon, fresh sushi or even just a feel good burger. After a delightful breakfast service, and a hotel quality sleep (more on that, shortly), the excessively good stuff began to unfold. Like a concerto from the world’s best orchestras, chicken and beef satay was followed by a generous portion of Malossol Caviar, before lamb loin and an indulgent raspberry and rose éclair took the bow.
“We’ll save some Chateau Cos”
Chateau Cos d’Estournel, from Saint Estephe, France is not for the faint of heart, especially when dealing with the beloved 2006 vintage. Bottles of this millionaires vinegar reach prices over $150, if you can find it. Meal service featured not only Dom Perignon and quality Vodka to accompany the caviar, but truly iconic wine pairings for each course. Seeing quite a few bottles of Chateau Cos fly down the aisle in the early hours of flight, I asked the crew if they wouldn’t mind saving some, and like every other request, it was graciously filled.
“Please enjoy the seat next to you, while we make your bed”
Stretching your legs is always a wise move on the plane, but you’ll hardly ever find better incentive than in Singapore’s A380 Suites, inspired by Jean-Jacques Coste. If you’re traveling with a companion and are clever enough to select the two “middle seats”, you’ll return from your leg stretching routine to find a true double bed in the skies. It’s more space than two people should ever realistically know what to do with, particularly on an airplane. For weary travelers, or even those used to the world’s best business class cabins, the privacy and fine touches, like extra pillows just send this into the category of… you guessed it, true opulence.
“How was the movie”?
Sure, every passenger on the plane is at some point catching a flick, but a maximum of 12 are enjoying the delights (and frights) of Hollywood without any peering eyes, on their 23” private screens. It’s the privacy doors which act as a constant reminder throughout any first class suites journey that this is something more, something truly privileged. Qatar Airways privacy doors in business class are a truly impressive effort for the cabin, but the square footage in comparison with these massive first class suites isn’t worthy of comparison, nor are the wine selections, even on their very best day.
“You’ll have to try the new one”
After spending 13 unfettered hours of lazing around in first class luxury, the final approach into London commenced all too soon. To steal a phrase from Singapore competitor Emirates’ iconic television commercial with Jennifer Aniston “can’t you fly this thing around a little more” was about the only thing that came to mind as noises began to signify our descent. With the grace and precision held by only the finest in customer service, the crew politely insisted that I simply had to try out the new suites, with more space, a separate seat and an even larger entertainment screen. After this experience, I can’t think of anything I’d like to do more…