After arriving in Zurich from Tokyo back in September, I had a few hours to spare before having to board my connecting flight to Vienna. Similar to the situation at Narita, there was only one Star Alliance lounge – the Swiss Senator Lounge at A gates – open.
That gave me a chance to peak into a lounge that I would otherwise not have access to as a business class passenger. Below is a detailed review of the lounge.
Location, Opening Hours & Access
Swiss operates two Senator lounges at Zurich airport – one near A gates and the other near E gates. While the former serves flights within the Schengen area, the latter is in the non-Schengen part serving mainly long-haul passengers. As mentioned in the introduction, though, at the time of my visit, only the Senator Lounge A was open. (I later visited the Senator Lounge E and reviewed it here.)
The lounge could be found one floor above the gate area and was well signposted.
Normally, the lounge can be used by HON Circle members, Miles & More Senator and Star Alliance Gold status holders, and Swiss and Lufthansa first class passengers. As of the time of publishing this article, though, the lounge serves as a “one-class lounge.” As such, it can also be accessed by Miles & More Frequent Traveller status holders and Star Alliance business class passengers.
On the day of my flight, the lounge closed at 6 PM. However, currently, it seems to be open until 9:30PM. It seems to be open from 6AM on Mondays and 8AM on other days of the week. As things are changing fast these days, make sure to check the Swiss website for the latest opening hours.
Rather than a traditional reception desk, there were automated gates at the lounge’s entrance. That said, there were two lounge attendants standing next to the gates welcoming passengers and ready to solve any issues. Past the gates, there was a cloak. The lounge itself was up a few stairs from the entrance area.
At the top of the stairs, on the right side, there was an entrance to one of the lounge’s outdoor smoking areas as well as to one of its restrooms. Although there was a magazine rack along the wall as well, it was empty due to COVID-19 prevention measures.
On the left side was the lounge’s dining area with a few tables with benches and chairs. Next to the seating part of the dining area, there was also the buffet area with a triangular island with drinks and a couple of counters along the walls with some of the food and some more drinks. More about that in the next section of this review, though.
There were two sets of stairs near the buffet area – one led into an upstairs silent area which was closed off at the time of my visit. The other one led to a slightly raised seating area. At the time of my visit, that part was reserved for Swiss first class passengers and HON Circle status holders. I believe that’s still the case at the time of writing this article.
Further down, there was another seating area. This one featured a couple of dozen sofa chairs separated by coffee tables and, due to COVID-19, plexiglass partitions. To the left side of this area (looking from the entrance), there was also one of the design main features of the lounge, a large circular wooden partition.
The partition’s outer side was lined with benches and coffee tables. Inside the partition, there was a circular window lined with a counter and bar-height stools.
Towards the back of this area, there were a couple of pairs of lighter chairs with coffee tables. There were also three open, doorless cubicles, and one closed cubicle. Additionally, there was a copier.
Turning left in front of the cubicles, there was a passage leading to the other side of the lounge. The passage’s wall was decorated with a nicely lit Swiss logo.
There was also an Alps-themed room with a large communal table seating eight people. In the middle of the table, there was a large relief of (I believe) the Swiss Alps. Additionally, the walls of this room were decorated with images of the Alps.
The large section on the other side of the lounge was, to a large extent, a mirror image of the main section past the lounge’s entrance. There was a dining area with both tables as well as buffet counters (although those were empty), and there were some more sofa chairs too.
In addition to that, there were a couple of counters and a pair of enclosed cubicles.
There were stairs leading to the (closed) silent area, a smoking room, and restrooms on this side of the lounge too. The restrooms were closed, though, and marked with a sign asking people to use those on the other side of the lounge.
Food and Drinks
As for things to eat, there were small servings of salad on one of the self-service counters. There was also a staffed counter where one could get sandwiches (chicken meatloaf and tomato with guacamole) and rice with meatballs.
Additionally, there was a fairly wide selection of lighter items spread across the counters. Those included bananas and watermelon, chocolate desserts, salty sticks, popcorn, chocolates, and candies.
Finally, there was a refrigerator full of Movenpick ice cream.
As for drinks, there was the usual selection of cold soft drinks including Coke and other soda in glass bottles and water in plastic bottles. There were also coffee machines and a selection of Sirocco teas (the same brand as served onboard Swiss business class).
Alcoholic drinks included a selection of bottled beer as well as wines. In the first class section, Champagne seemed to have been available as well.
One thing that is important to note here is that the above is selection reduced due to COVID-19. For what the food and drinks offered in the lounge look like during “normal times,” check this review from last year on Live and Let’s Fly. In that review, you can also see what the silent area looks like.
Swiss Senator Lounge A Zurich Summary
All in all, I liked the design and layout of the Swiss Senator Lounge near A-gates. There was plenty of seating (although it was unfortunate that the silent area was closed) and the selection of food and drinks was OK.
The one thing that surprised me (especially coming from Japan), though, was that most of the people in the lounge were not wearing masks in spite of signs asking people to do so whenever possible. On top of that, most of the people spent their time in the fairly crowded main area near the entrance.
As for myself, I enjoyed an “isolated” stay in one of the two cubicles on the other side of the lounge.