Knowing that airlines put most of their efforts into the lounges at their home airport, I expected big things from the SWISS lounges at Zurich Airport (IATA: ZRH; LD hub page). SWISS – or Swiss International Air Lines – serves 72 destinations in 39 countries – most of them through its main hub in Zurich. The airline claims that because it is the airline of Switzerland (albeit owned by the Lufthansa Group), SWISS is the byword for traditional Swiss values. Surely you now want to know what those values are. Being Swiss myself, I want to come up with ‘attention to detail’, ‘high quality’ and ‘hospitality’. Others might add that the Swiss are known for staying on the fence and that they can be slightly boring. So, how do the SWISS lounges fit into this?
SWISS operates five different lounges at Zurich Airport. The three main lounges are located at what the airline calls the ‘SWISS Lounge Center Zurich’. There you find the SWISS Business Lounge – with 1,100m2 and 233 seats the biggest one. This one is also the lounge you’re most likely to get access to. This lounge offers the usual things like free Wifi, internet stations, showers and a basic buffet with changing snacks. What is different to most other lounges I’ve seen is the attention to detail in regards to the interior design: The floors are made of beautiful dark wooden parquet and the walls of limestone and the furniture is custom made from Vitra. Altogether this gives the space a warm and homely, yet contemporary feel.
Next is the Senator lounge (Star Alliance Gold lounge; pictured above) which has a similar look and feel to the business lounge but is located on two levels. It also offers a more varied buffet than the business lounge.
Finally the crown of the SWISS lounges, the SWISS First Lounge: With about 170 guests per day, this is (logically) the smallest yet most exclusive of the three. Again it has a similar overall look and feel than the others but because of its smaller size, the lounge almost feels like one of those stylish Zurich apartments every Swiss aspires to own one day. Speaking of apartment, this lounge even features living room style corners with TV and sofas. You can even occupy one of the two day rooms and get away from it all. For business minded travellers the lounge offers meeting rooms with projectors. Breakfast, lunch, snacks or dinner is offered in a separate, Restaurant-style dining room with great views towards the airfield and the midfield terminal.
The hidden gem of the SWISS Lounge Center, however, is the Smokers Bar. According to the airline, the bar with a length of 27.6m is the longest, served airport bar in the world. It can be accessed directly from the Business and Senator lounge – of course First Class passengers have access as well. The drawback? Well, it’s a smokers bar!
As the SWISS Lounge Center is located in the airport’s “Schengen zone”, the airline is currently building another lounge in the “Non-Schengen zone” – the B Gates. According to the airline, this lounge will open in early December.
Finally there is the arrival lounge, which offers showers, a washroom and two ‘Relax Areas’ as well as a cafeteria where you can book your hotel or find out about train connections.
Overall the SWISS lounges at Zurich airport met my expectations. They tick all the boxes of what frequent travellers are looking for and they surely are well aligned with the airlines national values. Maybe a hint of excitement is missing, but then as we established earlier this is one of those Swiss values too. The SWISS Lounge Center Zurich is generally open between 6am and 11pm. You can find more information on the airline’s website.
Relaxing in the SWISS Business Lounge at Zurich Airport
Stylish dining in the SWISS First Lounge
[All photos from Swiss International Air Lines – all rights reserved]