Introduction: A Rare First Class Opportunity
Review: Air Tahiti Nui Business Class A340 Los Angeles To Paris
Review: Hilton Zurich Airport
Review: New Swiss First Class Lounge Zurich Airport
Review: Swiss First Class 777 Zurich To Los Angeles
On this trip I had just one night in Zurich. While I love Zurich as a city, I was trying to be realistic, and knew I wouldn’t have time to do a whole lot of sightseeing while there. I was just getting over a nasty cold, I knew I wouldn’t get a very good night of sleep on the flight over, and I knew I wanted to go to Zurich Airport at the crack of dawn in order to be able to review the excellent Swiss first class lounge.
So I decided that the most practical option was booking the Hilton Zurich Airport, which is a short shuttle ride from the airport. My rate for the one night stay was ~$164, which isn’t especially cheap, though for that I’d earn 13,000+ points, thanks to the great promotions Hilton HHonors is running at the moment.
After my flight from Los Angeles to Paris on Air Tahiti Nui, and then my Swiss connection from Paris to Zurich, I found myself in the arrivals hall of Zurich Airport. I followed the signage in the direction of the train station, and then followed the signage towards the shuttle center.
The shuttle to and from the Hilton operates with the following schedule:
As you can see, the shuttle is complimentary to the hotel, while it costs 5CHF (~$5) from the hotel to the airport. There was a convenient screen outside showing the schedules for the various shuttle buses.
Many airport shuttles run from the hotel on a set schedule and pick up from the airport sporadically, so it’s nice that the Hilton has an exact schedule, so you can wait inside until your shuttle departs. Based on the screen with shuttle service information it also seems like the Hilton is among the only hotels that only offers the shuttle for free in one direction.
The Hilton’s shuttle was a decent size, and sure enough departed exactly on time. The ride to the hotel took only about five minutes, though we made a brief stop at Apart-Hotel by Hilton, which seems to be an extended stay property.
The exterior of the Hilton is rather depressing. The hotel is built into the side of a hill, so on the side of the hotel you enter, you’ll only see three floors, while the hotel actually has six floors.
Once inside the lobby I found the reception desk immediately to the right.
The first thing that stood out to me was that there was a singer with a microphone standing immediately across from the front desk, maybe 30 feet away. I assume the entertainment was intended for the adjacent restaurant, though I felt bad for the front desk associates, since they had to yell to communicate with guests checking in.
The check-in process was quick, and I was informed that I had been upgraded to an executive level room with lounge access on account of my Diamond status. The associate also explained that I could have breakfast in the restaurant if I preferred, though my plan was to leave the hotel before breakfast even opened in the morning.
With keys in hand I headed to the elevator, located right across from reception. Due to the hotel being built into a hill, the lobby is on the fourth floor, so I had to take the elevator up only two floors, to the sixth floor executive level.
I don’t know why, but I had assumed this hotel was recently renovated. The hallways, however, were extremely dated. The neutral walls combined with those green panels next to the doors just don’t do it for me.
I was assigned room 608, which was the fourth room on the left.
The room was nicer than the hallway, fortunately, with a closet on the right and the bathroom on the left.
The room was a fair size, as you can see below.
The bed was quite comfortable, at least by Hilton standards (I find Hiltons to have among the worst mattresses out there, personally).
In the corner of the room was a stylish (at least in relation to the rest of the room) chair with an ottoman, as well as two bottles of water and some chocolate.
Near the chair was the window, which overlooked some nearby streets. I’m a sucker for an airport view, though sadly I didn’t have one from this room.
On the other side of the room was a long table, which acted as a desk, TV stand, and dresser. I appreciated that they had a semi legitimate office chair, though I wish they had international outlets at the desk. It always surprises me when airport hotels don’t have international outlets.
Back near the entrance was the Nespresso coffeemaker, which I wasn’t expecting at a mediocre airport Hilton.
Below that was the minibar.
The bathroom was back near the entrance, which was small and sort of felt like it belonged in a hospital. It featured a sink, toilet, and shower/tub combo.
While these types of showers are pretty common in Europe, I’m not a fan of the setup. I’d much rather have a walk-in shower. I’ve nearly slipped several times when using this type of shower. Furthermore, in this particular one, there was nowhere to place the showerhead more than six feet up, so I had to hold it to wash my hair, etc.
As is the norm at Hilton properties, toiletries were Peter Thomas Roth branded.
As far as the complimentary in-room wifi goes, the speeds were decent, though the connection kept resetting, which was annoying.
As a Diamond member I had access to the executive lounge, located across from reception on the lobby level. There was no key required to enter. For that matter, I was never asked for my room number, so it seems like just about anyone could use it (though perhaps that’s not how it usually works?).
The Hilton Zurich Airport club lounge has the following hours:
- Open from 6:30AM until 10PM
- Breakfast from 6:30AM until 10:30AM (11AM on weekends)
- Cakes and pastries from 3PM until 5PM
- Happy hour from 6:30PM until 8:30PM
The executive lounge was a fairly nice space. The first two thirds of the lounge consisted of tables, while the back third of the lounge had more comfortable leather lounging chairs.
Near the entrance was a chair with a PC.
The buffet setup was on the right side of the lounge.
I first visited the lounge at around noon, and was fairly impressed by the daytime snacks they had available. There were chips, nuts, and a few kinds of sweets.
There were also croissants and pastries.
Then there were olives and cheese.
While the lounge had the typical soft drinks and coffee machine, there was also a fridge with some “special” drinks, like yogurt and coffee drinks.
My sleep schedule was horrible for my one night in Zurich, as is the norm for me lately. I fell asleep shortly after noon, and then woke up at 7PM, at which point I headed to the club lounge to check out the spread there.
The evening club spread wasn’t impressive — it just consisted of the below finger sandwiches, cheese plates, and veggies.
Then there was sliced bread, as well as two types of greasy hot options (egg rolls and some type of cheese balls).
There was also a selection of self serve liquor, though the quality wasn’t very good.
The lounge wasn’t very full, though best I could tell most of the people in the lounge were airline employees. For that matter, I got the sense that just about everyone staying at this hotel worked for an airline. At least two Gulf carriers put up their crews here, as well as at least three Asian carriers (that’s based on the people I saw in the lobby in uniform, so I’m sure there were even more).
My original plan was to go back to sleep after returning from the club lounge, but then jetlag happened, unfortunately. At around 10PM I got hungry (given that the club lounge spread wasn’t especially filling), so I ordered Thai vegetable curry. This is Switzerland, so the below cost 32CHF (~$32) — the dish cost 24CHF, and then there was an 8CHF tray charge. That pricing is in line with what I’d expect for Switzerland, though I thought the portion was tiny.
I ended up working through the night, and then took the 5AM shuttle to the airport, since I figured I might as well head to the Swiss first class lounge so I could review it before it got busy. The shuttle back to the airport cost 5CHF, so I paid that to the front desk, and then they gave me a ticket for the shuttle.
Hilton Zurich Airport bottom line
This hotel did the trick for what I needed. It’s near Zurich Airport, and as a Diamond member I feel I got a decent value, especially with all the promotions that Hilton is running at the moment. That being said, I had slightly higher hopes for the hotel — while the rooms were nicely renovated, a lot of the public areas were in need of a refresh.
I can’t imagine I’d do a similar trip again, as I’d try to stay a bit longer and make a point of going into the city. However, if you’re just looking for a place to stay near Zurich Airport, the Hilton is a decent option.