After the sudden demise of the Plaza Premium Lounge at Delhi Terminal 3 (both Domestic and International), all eyes were on Encalm Hospitality, which is the only contracted party due to launch new lounges in Delhi Airport. While Encalm will launch the Delhi Terminal 3 Domestic Lounge and Terminal 2 Domestic Lounge at some point in the next couple of months, they are working top speed right now (December 2022/January 2023) to finish up the Airline Lounge at Terminal 3 International.
However, in December 2022, they launched the Encalm Lounge Terminal 3 for passengers flying internationally from Delhi Airport T3 who want access to a lounge via their credit cards/lounge passes. I visited this lounge towards the end of 2022 when I flew out for a short holiday in December. Here is what to expect.
Encalm Lounge, Delhi Terminal 3 Location
The Encalm Lounge is on the mezzanine floor of the Delhi T3 Terminal. You cross Passport Control and Security, head into the duty-free, and as you come out on the other side, you head to the elevator/escalator to go to Lounges A. The Air India Lounge is here, and right across is the Encalm Lounge. Encalm took over the space earlier occupied by the ITC Green Lounge and created their Lounge, adding to some other vacant space next door.
Encalm Lounge, Terminal 3 Lounge Access
The Encalm Lounge at Terminal 3 is built specifically for credit card and lounge pass access and will primarily not cater to airline-invited passengers. At the moment, the lounge is signing up for contracts with various banks, but the following are some of the ones confirmed to be working:
- American Express Platinum Charge Card
- MasterCard (eligible cards issued in India)
- Visa (eligible cards issued in India)
- HDFC Bank Diners Club Cards
- Priority Pass
Expect a crowd wanting to figure out whether their credit cards work for access and if they have any remaining quota. We were welcomed to one when we arrived at about 1:15 AM.
There was a 30-60 minute waiting before we arrived, and the lounge had a special waitlist for those who wanted to get in but were not allowed in due to the lounge being at capacity. It also does not help that people come to the lounge and want to try their cards one by one to see where they can get in rather than somehow keep track of their eligibility.
Encalm Lounge, Terminal 3, Facilities
The Lounge was built for 246 seats and divided into a lounge area, a restaurant, and a bar area. As you enter, you will first walk into the Lounge Area. As is common nowadays, the Lounging area has lots of couches, with tables interspersed along with the sofas. That way, you could be a solo traveller, seated adjacent to someone you don’t know, and not feel awkward about it.
Each seat here comes with its plug points, in case you want to plug in your laptop, and its USB A ports as well, in case you want to plug in your phone for some juice before taking off.
Behind the couches, at the other end of the lounge, there is an oversized couch. However, someone mistook it for a bed, it seems, when I was there. I’m envious of folks who can nod off at the airport. I always fear it since I don’t want to miss my flight.
Next to the lounging area, as you proceed, there is a restaurant area. The restaurant is large, perhaps fifty per cent of the lounge’s capacity. There are all sorts of seat combinations, with tables, for twos, fours and even sixes. There is also a community table.
Apart from the restaurant area, there was also a bar. However, the bar still needs to receive its alcohol service permit, so you will be greeted with this message on the outside. And the bar is only serving colas at the moment.
Also, there is a tea bar, which can serve tea through the night (masala chai) across from the bar, and coffee machines sprinkled across the lounge. There is also a meeting room. However, it was under lock and key, and no public information yet about how to book it.
Right behind the restaurant seating is the food laid out. The folks at Encalm were basically serving a full Indian buffet at midnight, and I think they could do better to replace it with smaller, less greasy portions and options. Or at least offer those options to those who intend to grab a bite before their flight.
I can understand that a lot of no-frill flying happens domestically where people want to eat at the lounge before their flight not to have to buy a meal on the plane, but on an international leg, you don’t want to be arriving on board feeling sick.
Here are some pictures of the mains being served at 2:00 AM.
There is also an extensive dessert section with lots of Indian desserts being served (right from Mithai to Halwa to Shakar para to kheer).
As the only lounge at Delhi T3 International that is secularly accessible right now, the lounge was bustling. Still, everyone, right up to the lounge manager, was on the floor, trying to make sure things worked smoothly and tables were quickly turned over when someone exited the lounge.
However, there is room for improvement in their process to get people admitted into the lounge and the meals they serve. Also, how about something extra for the more premium customers, such as those with the Priority Pass, etc., where the billings are higher?
The Encalm Lounge at Delhi Terminal 3 International is the only lounge, apart from the Air India Lounge, operational at the Delhi Airport for the moment. Access is granted purely via bank credit and debit cards here, also via Priority Pass. The Lounge is built for 246 seats and is divided into a lounging area, bar and restaurant. The food served here is primarily Indian, and if you are flying out in the middle of the night, which is peak season, you should expect to see a crowd and even a waitlist at the lounge.
Have you been to the Encalm Lounge at Delhi Terminal 3 International? What has been your experience at the lounge?
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