radisson blu zrh
REVIEW – Radisson Blu Zurich Airport : Business Class Room
June 23, 2019
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REVIEW – SWISS : First Class – Zurich ZRH to Montreal YUL (A330)
September 1, 2019

REVIEW – SWISS First Class Lounge – Zurich (ZRH E-Gates)

swiss first lounge ZRH

SWISS (LX)

  • Class: First
  • Access:
    • First Class Passengers on SWISS or Lufthansa
  • Date visited: March 2017


Intro


For a first time visitor, ZRH airport can be a little confusing. As you can see when zooming into the map above, there is one main terminal area, which contains gates beginning with letters A-D and then a separate elongated sliver of a building that contains the E gates.

These E gates sit like an island, surrounded by active runways, unconnected to the main terminal building. In order to access them you will have to pass through passport control and then take an underground monorail known affectionately as ‘The Heidi Train’. 

First Class passengers on SWISS or Lufthansa have an alternative option though…

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After a checking out of the Radisson and walking five minutes through the deserted airport terminal, I made my way to the SWISS First Class Lounge nearest the A gates.

When the receptionist noticed that my flight was departing from the E gates she said that I was more than welcome to enjoy the A gate facilities however a limo transfer was available should I want to make my way directly to the lounge closest to my departing flight.

I thanked her for the offer and said I’d be interested in heading over once I’d had a quick coffee.

Moments after finishing my macchiato the receptionist came over and informed me that my limo was ready and introduced me to a driver dressed in a fluorescent yellow jacket bearing the SWISS logo. My driver escorted me through a private immigration lane (I was literally the only person using passing through) and on to my awaiting ‘limo’.

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Don’t get me wrong, it is super cool to be transferred across the tarmac, being able to get close to the planes but this isn’t quite on the level of the Porsches used by Lufthansa in Frankfurt.

After a quick drive across the tarmac I was escorted to the First Class Lounge entrance within the E Terminal. From there I took the escalators up to a gleaming white reception area where my my boarding pass was quickly checked as I was warmly welcomed to the lounge.

 


The Lounge


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As I passed through the sliding glass doors I was immediately wowed by the clean and minimalist decor of the lounge.

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Not only was the enormous wine wall very impressive in stature, it was quite a unique feeling knowing that absolutely anything inside of it was mine should I want to drink it.

The lounge doesn’t serve any prestige cuvee champagnes like the LPGS found in BA’s Concorde Room or the Dom Perignon served at the Private Room in Singapore, however the selection was impressive nonetheless and presented me with an opportunity to try a variety of more reasonably priced bottles from some interesting producers such as the Deutz Rosé or the Barons de Rothschild.

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In fact I was greeted at this podium and offered a tour of the facilities and a glass of champagne, the moment that I entered the lounge.

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In the centre of the room there is a beautifully lit wooden bar, although nobody sat there during my time here since there is an abundance of seating with table service offered throughout this facility.

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LX F ZRH E gates 9 - REVIEW - SWISS First Class Lounge - Zurich (ZRH E-Gates)Any bar that offers unlimited quantities of complimentary Café Patron is a winner in my book.

The bar is certainly well stocked but any whisky lovers would be well advised to head across to the SWISS Senator lounge to sample its superlative 28/10 whiskey bar. Not only a good bar for a lounge but quite legitimately one of the most impressively stocked whiskey bars on Earth (and it’s all free!)

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The dazzling array of whiskies over in the Senator Lounge

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Directly opposite the First Class Lounge bar are a series of casual seating booths.

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On the other side of the bar you’ll find the main seating area. A soothing residential space, truly deserving of being called a lounge.

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I really like how the space is subdivided into a series of small areas which afford their inhabitants a sense of privacy, whilst remaining bright and open thanks to the judicious placement of lamps, slatted partitions and the enormous windows.

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Even on a grey winter’s morning, the lounge feels warm and cosy – as opposed to the drab and dreary facilities so often bestowed upon frequent flyers.

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Since the E gates are entirely surrounded by runways, this is a plane spotter’s paradise. This is something which is meaningfully enhanced by the ridiculously high-end Leica spotting scope.

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There’s even a conference room, should you find yourself in the unlikely situation of flying First Class together with a number of business colleagues.

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The bathrooms are spotlessly clean, featuring the same recessed lighting and natural materials as found elsewhere in the lounge. They also smell great!

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LX F ZRH E gates 20 - REVIEW - SWISS First Class Lounge - Zurich (ZRH E-Gates)After my brief exploration of the facilities I opted to settle into the formal dining area tucked away just behind the casual booths.
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Dining


 

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As I approached the dining area I was greeted by a smiling server. She asked me to pick any table I wanted and offered to bring me a drink as she went to fetch me the menu.

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My coffee followed in less than a minute and was accompanied by a delicious miniature palmier. The coffee itself had a distinct Nespresso taste but was otherwise a very serviceable macchiato – albeit one that was served in a larger than usual cup.

There were a huge variety of a la carte options and I was advised that I could mix and match as I wanted. I spotted truffles on the menu in the fondue section, and asked if it would be possible to have some added to the scrambled eggs. The server was happy to oblige. “Of course!”, she said, returning five minutes later with my truffled scrambled eggs and another coffee.

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Aside from the coffee everything about this breakfast was superb. The pristine cutlery, the freshly cut flower, the views of the mountains and runway, the service… Everything.

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If you really can’t wait to eat there is one small buffet display containing a variety of small canapés.

 


Bedroom


After finishing my light breakfast I made way to the reception and eagerly enquired about the most exciting feature of this lounge. In fact it was the existence of this facility that made me first want to try SWISS First.

I’m talking of course about the private, runway view, hotel rooms.

The two rooms are supplied on a first come, first served basis and are unfortunately closed overnight. Otherwise I would absolutely have stayed here rather than the Radisson Blu landside.

I was handed a key and told to make my way down a corridor to the left of the reception desk. I opened the door and saw what looked like the lovechild of a cloud and a marshmallow in front of me.

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The most expensive bed I’ve ever slept in. The $40,000 Hästens mattress is made from all natural materials including pine, horsehair and flax. It also comes with one hell of a view.

I was pretty much delirious with excitement the second I stepped into the room. I’m not going to lie, immediately after taking these pics I did a front flip right onto the bed and seamlessly transitioned into a starfish position, laughing the whole time.

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LX F ZRH E gates 35 - REVIEW - SWISS First Class Lounge - Zurich (ZRH E-Gates)
LX F ZRH E gates 34 - REVIEW - SWISS First Class Lounge - Zurich (ZRH E-Gates)I love the little details: still and sparkling premium water, a Swiss chocolate, eye shades and every plug socket known to humankind
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The bedroom as seen from the en-suite.

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The bathroom was bright, spacious and immaculately clean. The shower was easily large enough for two people and had excellent pressure too. The Hammam spa toiletries seemed fairly generic but the dental kit was easily the fanciest one I’ve ever seen. The toothbrush came in a waterproof case and was designed with an ergonomic handle and bristles that were sculpted into a wave-like shape.

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How is this an airport lounge?!

Despite the fact that I’d consumed three double macchiatos and had a prime runway view outside, I managed to easily drift off for two hours of very deep sleep. I’m not sure if the bed is worth as much as a BMW 5 series but if money was no object this would 100% be the bed for me.

 In fact, I would recommend planning an extended layover here just to enjoy its soporific embrace.

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My main complaint with the room would be that the ‘luxurious’ Omega clock on the wall burns with the bright incandescence of a white dwarf star and cannot be switched off. The eye mask provided is no match for its unrelenting power.

The other is the fact that people on the lounge’s terrace can walk in front of your room and look right in. I’m sure there must be some fire regulation issue because otherwise this would be very easily solved by placing a large potted plant on the balcony, blocking off the little area in front of the room. 

They could go one better and actually add a table and chairs to the terrace, adding a glass door to the outside… although then nobody would ever leave.

 


Drinks


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Feeling fully invigorated after my nap and shower I headed back into the lounge and took a seat by the window. I was quickly approached by a server who offered me an impressive tome of a wine list.

 

Wine List

The wine list has something for everyone and if you have the time you can explore a number of different regions and grape varietals. 

 

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I started with a glass of the Piper Heidsieck Brut Rosé Sauvage, which was served with a selection of nibbles and a bottle of Acqua Panna.

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I followed this with a glass of the Swiss Valais wine. A unique and vaguely savoury wine which was served in a glass specific to the grape varietal.

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I accompanied this with a salmon canapé, which was unbelievably good.

 


The Terrace


With my glass of wine in hand, I decided to venture out onto the terrace.

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The views were a little grey and dreary on this particular occasion but I’ve been on the next door Senator lounge terrace in the summer and it was amazing. The First Class terrace has the added benefit of offering outdoor dining too. I imagine it would be quite cool to sit with a blanket and a fondue in the middle of winter too!

 


Conclusion


The SWISS First Class lounge is an elegant oasis of tranquility, like the Alpine lair of a bond villain made into reality. The service is discreet and exceptional. The food is excellent, with what amounts to an open a la carte kitchen willing to accommodate whatever a guest might desire.

The wine selection is thoughtful and deeply varied, with not only food suggestions but also glassware designed to perfectly match every drop that is served.

Add to this the complimentary hotel rooms replete with $40,000 beds and you have the makings of what may well be the best airport lounge on the planet.

 


7 Comments

  1. Patrick says:

    “the lovechild of a cloud and a marshmallow” – Jarvis you kill me!! 😛

  2. mario says:

    “…people on the lounge’s terrace can walk in front of your room and look right in. ”
    the bathroom curtains look sheer… do you have to use the main balcony curtains every time you use the bathroom?!

  3. Man, I love that lounge so much! Need to go back asap. Avgeek meeting? I’ve just posted my review as well, hope you can check it out 😀
    https://flighthacks.com.au/swiss-first-class-lounge-zurich-review/

  4. Eric says:

    Just wanted to say how much I’m enjoying diving into your archive, since I just discovered your site today.

    Also FYI, there’s something amiss about your commenting system that causes exclamation points—or perhaps emoji—to be rendering as question marks, at least on iOS devices. It can lead to some awkward-appearing exchanges, such as for example your reply to Patrick’s comment above, which I doubt you intended to be a single question mark. 😉

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