We arrived at Taipei Taoyuan Airport at about 5:30am, cleared immigration in a jiffy, and made for the lounges. Last time I was here, I had spent time in the EVA Air Infinity Lounge prior to my flight.
In my review of that lounge, reader Michael left the following comment:
My curiosity piqued, I headed for the Singapore Airlines SilverKris Lounge this time.
All the lounges at Taipei Taoyuan Airport are located on an elevated level above the main passenger concourse, and EVA Air’s four (!) lounges, plus the Plaza Premium lounges, take up most of the room. The SilverKris Lounge is therefore sort of wedged in the back of all the action. That turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as you’ll soon see.
Given that the lounge’s location makes it seem like a bit of an afterthought, it’s no surprise that the lounge is shaped like one long, narrow room. After getting your documents scanned at the front desk, you walk down a short hallway before arriving at the lounge proper.
The lounge’s decor is pretty plain, with Singapore Airlines’s warm wooden tones setting the mood. In addition, the walls aren't really walls, since the lounge is an open-air space on the elevated level.
Adorning the hallway near the entrance is a display case featuring some cool Singapore Airlines memorabilia.
There’s also a few clusters of seats along the hallway, which turn into a bank of seats in the main lounge area. Given the small size of the lounge, one doesn’t really expect to find a huge variety of seating options. Most of the seats in the lounge took the form of upholstered leather chairs.
The main dining area is located in the back of the lounge. Seating options here included two-person dining tables, plus a few raised countertops with bar-style seating.
There is a TV screen in one of the corners closer to the entrance, with a few rows of seats facing it. A Christmas tree provided some nice holiday ambience.
The very back of the SilverKris Lounge is where you’ll find the restrooms, which were fastidiously kept clean throughout my stay. It seemed like every time I went to the restroom there was somebody in the middle of cleaning it.
You’ll also find the showers located here, which you need to contact the lounge staff if you want to use. I didn’t take a shower here but it’s nice to know that you have the option to do so, especially given how overcrowded the alternative EVA Air Infinity Lounge tends to get – more on that later.
Jessica and I happened to be quite hungry when we arrived, so we made a beeline for the buffet spread, which was very impressive indeed.
Most of it was Asian cuisine, with a special section dedicated to Singaporean delicacies, like bak kut teh, a slow-cooked pork stew dish.
The three cup chicken dish (pictured below, left) was scrumptious, and I had helped myself to quite a few servings. It’s interesting that, at 6am in the morning, the SilverKris Lounge serves food I would typically expect to see on my family's dinner table. There appeared to be little distinction between "breakfast food" and regular food.
In fact, the scrambled eggs seemed to be the only "token" breakfast food available. Personally, I don’t mind this too much, since I find that breakfast in airport lounges tends to get pretty repetitive after a while anyway.
The drink selection was wider than usual, with a drinks cabinet that more closely resembled the inside of a 7/11 in Asia than an airport lounge.
While the lounge was pleasant enough to spend time in, there was little to keep one occupied other than the excellent food spread. Given that we had five hours to kill in Taipei, Jessica and I eventually decided to check out the other Star Alliance lounge here: the Infinity Lounge by EVA Air.
In theory, EVA Air’s flagship lounge at their hub airport should be a major step up from their competitor’s lounge at an outstation. When we arrived at The Infinity, however, we were met with a sea of people, a dearth of available seating, and a bitterly disappointing food selection.
When I wrote about The Infinity Lounge last time, their dinner spread was okay – the Taiwanese beef noodles counted for at least one appetizing dish. In the morning, though, the quantity and quality of food available fell short by a huge margin – there wasn’t much more than bread, scrambled eggs, some breakfast meats, and some congee.
At least their signature Mövenpick Ice Cream was available, so I had a cup of stracciatella while we mulled over whether to stay in the lounge or not. Next door, EVA Air’s The Star Lounge was similarly crowded, so naturally we left the EVA lounges not ten minutes after arriving, showed up back at the SilverKris Lounge, and hung our heads in shame as we again handed the lounge attendant our boarding passes for re-entry.
The remaining few hours of our layover passed peacefully in the SilverKris Lounge, and I treated myself to a few more bites from the dim sum selection.
What's crazy is that throughout our stay, we never saw more than maybe three or four other passengers in the lounge. Given that the same set of passengers have access to both the EVA Air and SilverKris Lounges (i.e., Star Alliance business class passengers or Star Alliance Gold members), that means that people just flock to the EVA Air lounges by default, not knowing that there’s a much quieter, more peaceful lounge just a few steps away with a superior food selection (and less gaudy decor, to boot).
Either that, or EVA has some sort of an insanely generous credit card in Taiwan that grants far too many people access into their lounge. In any case, next time you’re departing from or transiting through Taipei on Star Alliance, do yourself a favour, skip the EVA Air lounges, and relax in the Singapore Airlines SilverKris Lounge instead.
While not really luxurious in any sense of the word, the SilverKris Lounge in Taipei does a fantastic job at providing a place for some respite prior to or between your flights. A quiet ambience, superior food offering, and all the necessary amenities (including showers) leave me with no hesitation in recommending this lounge.
Of course, that’s in part due to a poor showing from the alternative choices in Taipei – sadly, I have to say that EVA Air’s ground experience doesn’t match up to their excellent onboard product at all.