CGK: Jakarta Garuda Business Lounge
The Garuda Business Lounge and the Garuda Executive lounge are right next to each other, down the small corridor to the right of the E concourse, past the Citibank lounge, at the far opposite end of the Singapore Airline lounge.
This lounge, the Garuda Emerald lounge is specifically for Garuda passengers in economy who have Gold status with Garudamiles, or who are Skyteam Elite Plus status. If you have Platinum status or you are in Business class.
To make it ever the more confusing, this is also the main (and cheaper) pay-in lounge at Jakarta airport, at just 140,000 Indonesian Rupiah, or around 14AUD, or 6GBP, and the Jakarta Business Class lounge for Thai Airways, China Airlines, Korean Air, Japan Airlines, Vietnam Airlines, and every bank under the sun.
No surprise then, it is the most underwhelming lounge in much of Asia, and the Jakarta Garuda Lounge has a wacky layout to boot.
At the front desk you'll be presented with a plethora of credit card machines to swipe your Indonesian bank card for free entry. Don't have one? Great - the lounge accepts cash only for pay-in travellers, and you can't use a Visa card. The staff just look harassed if you try and talk your way in with another airlines Skyteam Elite card, and say no. It's best to hand over the cash, preferably in an envelope.
And then you are in. Into a gloomy underground terrain, with a glimpse of a window at the far end. This is other odd thing about the lounge: it should be bright an open, with a great view of the apron and the active runway. However the designers, in their infinite wisdom, decided to put the toilet block across the main windows. Which means that not only can everyone from outside in a plane see you in the Gents, but from inside there is just a blank wall and the Gents door where the window should be. There is however an excellent view in the Gents, which is the only place to see the planes, other than either the First Class lounge, which is always locked except for one hour a day before the Saudi flights, or the smoking room, which is on the left, through the door with the no entry sign. In here however the smoke is so thick you won't be able to see the planes.
So, the view is a dud. What about the Jakarta Garuda Lounge as a whole.
Well, it's OKish, and might be considered acceptable at some minor European airport, but at the hub of a country with a population of 250 million? Hmmm.
The best seats are by the door, with leather bench and armrest seats. To the right of the entrance is the buffet, and beside it low dining tables. There are also some seats on the opposite side of the buffet.
On the far side, by the door to the smoking area, is by far the best area to sit as it is quieter, but the smoke from the smoking room drifts over this area.
FoodFood in the Jakarta Garuda Emerald Lounge is pretty basic at best, but there is hot food, and quite a lot of choice, so long as you like Indonesian food of course!
There is one long benchtop on the right, with hot dishes on one side, and a heated cabinet with soup on the other.
There are usually six hot dishes on offer, however they don't change all that much with the sesons. There is normally a traditional Indonesian mixed rice called Nasi Liwet, along with Nasi Goering. There are also three variants of chicken, beef, and vegies, all in various types of spicey sauce.
Along the bench there is cold rice in a bamboo leaf - called Nasi Kuning - is also there, along with a stand with traditional Indonesian snacks, including deep fried potato with a sliver of cheese, and various sweet deserts, all in hard plastic packets.
There are two hot soups: Toufo Soup, and a 'western' soup, which generally means Tomato.
At breakfast time in the Jakarta Garuda Lounge there is also hot porridge.
There is one more 'delight', the hot western food cabinet. It has a pretty picture of a pizza on top, but there are no pizzas anywhere near it. Instead, inside, you get "Lumpia". This is Indonesian for various types of mixed meat, in various types of bakery. Some resemble spring rolls, others sausage rolls, and others are best left to the imagination.
BarThe bar at the Jakarta Garuda Emerald Lounge is so decidedly underwhelming when you first pay your six quid to get in the door, you may think there isn't one at all.
Beside the food servery is just a small thin narrow fridge with cans of lemonade or soda water. On the other wall are three tubs of fruit juice. And that's it.
However there is a bar - it's the strange worktop like an outdated 1960s seaside café, at the end of the food counter, with a coke dispenser. You have to grab one of the staff who may be mopping the floor, and beg them for a beer, but a beer you can get. All of one type: Anker lager. However in the circumstances, the pale lager produced by Delta Djakarta is quite acceptable. It is at least cold.
There is no wine on show, but if you beg the staff they will pour you one small glass of non-descript red wine, which is typically an Aussie red from SA.
Naturally, there are no spirits to be found in the Garuda Jakarta Lounge.
BathroomsIn lounge - and in fact right in the lounge, right in the window. There is a great view of the planes in the Gents at the Jakarta Garuda Lounge - the only place you can see them. There are no showers.
Business FacilitiesThere are business facilities in the Jakarta Garuda Lounge, however it's pretty basic.
There are two very old Windows PCs running XP, with IE6, on a desk in the main part of the lounge, just where it is noisiest. There are also two racks of newspapers. Indonesian newspapers are by the door. English language reading materials are by the smoking room entrance, next to the fire extinguisher.
AccessPay on the door, for only 140,000 Indonesian Rupiah, or around 14AUD, or 6GBP.
If you are in Business Class, you can also use the Business Class lounge next door. However, no staff will ever explain this to you, and there are no signs detailing this, except for a small comparison chart on the Garuda website.
You also get access if you are in Business Class on Thai Airways, China Airlines, Korean Air, Japan Airlines, Vietnam Airlines. However, if you want to get access with a frequent flyer card. you'll just be so out of luch.
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