Written by @Lan & edited by @joehairie (Photos by curiostraveller.com team members unless stated otherwise)
“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” – Gustave Flaubert
We’re en route to Surabaya, Indonesia from Kota Kinabalu. The first leg of our journey was from Kota Kinabalu to Kuala Lumpur. We arrived at Kota Kinabalu International Airport quite early, 8 pm to be precise whereas our flight scheduled to leave at 10.50 pm. That’s more than 2 hours of waiting. Initially, we were clueless on what to do at this medium size airport. We were not business class passengers or high tier members of any airlines, so we have to forget about that other lounge, since entry is by invitation only. Luckily there is an Airport Pay-In Lounge located in the domestic departures area named as Plaza Premium Lounge. At least there is a place where we both have a place to chill out while waiting for our flight.
Plaza Premium Lounge Kota Kinabalu International Airport
Plaza Premium Lounge at the Domestic Departure area of Kota Kinabalu International Airport measures 3800 sqft with a seating capacity for 110 passengers. Located near Gate A10, facilities and services include shower facilities with amenities for a power shower to refresh, food and beverages, international and local magazines and newspapers, TV channels, Wi-Fi connectivity, workstations and faxing and printing services.
Level 2, Domestic Departure, Kota Kinabalu International Airport (near Gate A10)
0700 – 2200 daily
+60 88 413 204
Lounge Use Package
2 Hours – RM 168
5 Hours – RM 238
10 Hours – RM 258
Our past experience
How did we know about Plaza Premium Lounge
Not long ago, on our way to Sydney, Australia, we had to transit for more than 8 hours at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Being in an airport for that long hours surely will make us go ‘crazy’. We somehow needed a place to relax and shower, getting ready for that 8 hours flight to Sydney. We were on Malaysia Airlines but we were not business class passengers so we did not have that exclusive Golden Lounge invitation. We went around the Satellite building and we saw a lounge named as Plaza Premium Lounge. We asked the staffs manning the counter and they told us that the lounge is open to anyone regardless class and airline, for a reasonable fee. Without hesitation, we decided to pay and so we had our own space to chill out for the next 8 hours. That was the moment when we became familiar with this brand, Plaza Premium Lounge. It is indeed a brand that offers lounge facilities to travelers such as us.
For more information about the Lounge(s) in both KLIA and KLIA2, click HERE.
Our Recent Experience
Plaza Premium Lounge @ Domestic Departure, Kota Kinabalu International Airport
After a short walk from the Immigration, we arrived at Plaza Premium Lounge and were greeted by Mark Gideon. He gave detailed explanation about the facilities in the lounge and later introduced us to the Assistant Lounge Manager, Saifullah Phang. Saifullah took the initiative to explained more about the lounge and the other lounges throughout Malaysia. He took us for a tour around the lounge and later invited us to choose our own preferred seating area. Overall, the lounge is quite big in size and there are divided to several sections.
The first section that we saw upon entering the lounge was the dining hall and an open kitchen where food are being prepared for guests. Saifullah told us that this particular lounge is different from the other lounges in other Malaysian airports as here guests will be able to choose the mains from the a la-carte menu. In addition to that a la carte menu, there are some sides being served on the buffet counter. Wide selection of beverages are available, as well as alcohol option.
The next section is the waiting lounge with comfy sofas for guests to relax, sipping their favorite beverage(s), reading or simply relax. There are some newspapers and magazines available and most importantly complimentary WiFi enable guests to surf the web. Saifullah told us that apart from guests paying for an access to this lounge, business class passengers of some airlines are being invited to this lounge.
There is another section where guests are able to casually dine. We opted to be seated here and had some fabulous meal(s)! Saifullah and his colleagues attended to our requests of having each type of meal in the menu. Such a great service by the team as they came to our table each time we needed something else. Next to this seating/dining area are the shower rooms/bathrooms complete with selected toiletries and clean towels. Another section is the workstations, perfect for those who do not bring along their own laptops. We were told that printing service is available too, for a small fee.
Apart from the buffet counter in the main dining hall, there is another buffet counter serving hot beverages and local snacks near to the comfortable seating area. We were then invited to choose our own preferred mains from the a la carte menu. All together there are 6 choices and we opted to try five! Saifullah told us that guests are allowed to order as many servings as they want, with no limitation or whatsoever. We love this kind of concept as we did not have to line-up at buffet counter as the mains were served right to our table.
The choices in the menu are quite interesting and we highly recommend you to try all 6. The portions are smaller thus enabling one to have ‘extra space’ for more options. While we opted for the a la carte menu, we did go to the main buffet counter and there we found more interesting sides such as Soto ayam, Salad, Sandwiches and many more.
Our a la carte options
Grilled Black Pepper Chicken served with French Fries. Of all 5 options that we had, this one is definitely our favorite. The Grilled Chicken was so tender and delicious, with the Black Pepper sauce, it’s heaven! The sauce complemented that Chicken which was smokey in taste and charred in its skin appearance. French Fries had enough salt, crispy and still hot when we tasted it. The Salad was presented nicely with some dressing and overall this dish is absolutely amazing in both taste and presentation!
Spinach Lasagne-baked layers of sauteed spinach and rich tomato sauce. This was another great main that we ordered from the a la carte menu. Though served in small portion, the lasagna was perfect in taste. The cheese and rich tomato sauce were the elements that we like most. The Spinach was all right though we prefer beef or chicken but we guess this option might be in the menu for vegetarians. Having said that, we still regard this main as one of the best that we have ever had.
Vegetable Moussaka-Brinjal, Japanese Cucumber, Mushroom, Carrot and Potato cooked with Tomato Puree. Another great main that will make vegetarians happy, we love it too! Creamy, sour, thick texture, sweet (that comes from the greens combination) and cheesy, that’s the adjectives for this particular dish.
Chicken Skewer with Saffron Rice-Skewered homemade Grilled Chicken served with Saffron Rice. We love the rice so much, it’s fluffy and tasty. The Chicken together with the sauce are best eaten with the Saffron Rice. Chicken was tender and delicious when we tasted it. The Sauce was nice too with sweet and sour tastes.
Beef Bolognese-Spaghetti topped with minced beef in homemade Bolognese Sauce. Generous serving of minced beef on top the Spaghetti and it was delicious main. We’re almost tempted to order the Chicken version but we were already full.
We were grateful to have found such a great lounge that opens its door to all regardless of class and airlines. The entrance fee is reasonable and the facilities are great. Generous food and beverages are being served at this lounge. We regard our experience in the lounge as excellent and whenever we travel through any airports that has Plaza Premium Lounge, we will definitely go in and indulge and their finest service and products. We don’t always travel as business class passengers thus having an access to a lounge that has all that we needed is indeed a luxury. A luxury that requires small amount of entrance fee, what more can we ask for?
The staffs at Plaza Premium Lounge, Kota Kinabalu International Airport (Domestic Departures) were all friendly, polite, informative, helpful and smiled genuinely. We were amazed with their positive working attitude. The a la carte menu at this lounge impressed us very much, not to mention the high quality of the final products that we sampled. We don’t really like waiting for our flight in an area that is so full of people thus having the opportunity to lounge at Plaza Premium Lounge was definitely awesome and so relaxing.
There are some shower units available at this lounge. Though we did not utilize the facility we’re amazed with the size, cleanliness and amenities being provided for those opting to have power shower. Getting refreshed before any long flight is definitely one good idea and offering this service to the common or shall we say, non business class passengers is definitely thoughtful idea of Plaza Premium Lounge. There is no flaw that we can find in this lounge which means this lounge is way perfect for all type of travelers.
With that said, we highly recommend this lounge if you are in need for a place to relax or chill out while waiting for your flight at Kota Kinabalu International Airport. Apart from the Domestic Lounge, there is another Plaza Premium Lounge at the International Departures. No matter which Plaza Premium Lounge you are in, we believe that you will still be getting high quality service and products. It’s worth paying that entrance fees as it make your airport experience seamless and effortless.
To know more about both lounges (Domestic & International) at Kota Kinabalu International Airport, click HERE.
About Plaza Premium Lounge
Plaza Premium Lounge is a global service brand headquartered in Hong Kong, as well as the industry leader in Premium Airport Services. Their goal is to make guests airport experience seamless and effortless, and through their hearty services, they change the perception of travel at the airport.
Following on from a career in investment banking, Founder and CEO Mr. Song Hoi-see launched his own business which found him flying economy class and without the airport lounge privileges he had previously enjoyed. He found the travel experience to be lacking, struggling to work effectively while on the go.
Identifying a gap in the market, Mr. Song launched the first Plaza Premium Lounge at Hong Kong International Airport and Kuala Lumpur International Airport in 1998. This was the world’s first independent airport lounge. Open to all travellers regardless of airline or travel class, the service-oriented Plaza Premium Lounge concept was driven by a heartfelt desire “to do something for the majority”. Through his initiative and vision, Mr. Song has changed the perception that airport lounges should be reserved for premium travellers only.
With more than 18 years of unrivalled experience offering premium airport services, Mr. Song has led Plaza Premium Lounge Management Limited to be the benchmark for airport value-added services. The company’s services now range from designing, operating and managing premium airport lounges, both independent and on behalf of airlines, transit hotels, private relaxation suites, meet and greet services, dining concepts, business and conference centres and limousine services.
The company now operates in more than 140 locations in 35 airports globally, and counts over 3,500 employees. The success of the business model has prompted airport authorities around the world to open their doors to independent lounge facilities and value-added airport services as part of a bid to enhance the overall traveler experience as well as airport service quality.