Review: New Swiss First Class Lounge Zurich Airport

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


My flight from Zurich to Los Angeles was departing at 1:10PM, though I got to the airport at around 5:30AM, about eight hours before departure. Why on earth would I do that?

  • I had heard great things about the new Swiss lounge, so wanted to be sure I could photograph it as much as possible before there were other guests; arriving right when the lounge opens is one of the best ways to do that
  • Possibly the greatest amenity in the Swiss first class lounge is that it has private bedrooms you can sleep in, which looked so cool; since I didn’t sleep well at the Hilton, I figured I’d instead sleep in one of those rooms, so I could truly experience what the lounge had to offer

I arrived at Zurich Airport right at around 5:30AM, when it was basically still deserted. Clearing security took only a couple of minutes, and from there I followed the signage towards the E Concourse, which is where most of Swiss’ longhaul flights depart from, and also where their new first class lounge is located.

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Zurich Airport airside terminal

This required taking the train that goes between terminals, which is always rather enjoyable, given the sound effects in the train — there are cows mooing and also yodeling.

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Train to Terminal E at Zurich Airoprt

On the other end I found myself in a deserted concourse. It was almost creepy, as I was the only person there, and you could have heard a pin drop. The first class lounge only opened at 6AM, so I sat in the gate area for about 15 minutes until it was time.

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Zurich Airport Terminal E

The lounge was located about halfway down the concourse, with limited signage. The Swiss First Lounge is one level above the main terminal, so you can go up by stairs or elevator.

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Elevators and stairs to Swiss First Class Lounge Zurich Airport

At the entrance I was greeted by a really friendly guy who almost seemed surprised that they had a guest already. After scanning my boarding pass he commented on how I was early, and explained that they had nap rooms available. I asked if I could have breakfast and then get a nap room, which he agreed to, as he said he’d reserve one for me. I appreciated how proactive he was.

He also asked if I needed wifi, and then printed me out a customized wifi code — it’s odd that they print these out, rather than just having a universal password for the wifi.

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Swiss First Class Lounge Zurich Airport entrance

He walked me past the double doors into the lounge, where I was greeted by a guy in a suit who I assume was the lounge manager, who gave me a brief tour of the lounge.

The new Swiss First Lounge isn’t huge, but it’s stunning. Near the entrance is a gorgeous wine display, as well as a table that acts as a champagne bar.

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Swiss First Class Lounge Zurich Airport champagne bar

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Swiss First Class Lounge Zurich Airport champagne bar

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Swiss First Class Lounge Zurich Airport wine display

I’ll talk more about the champagne selection in a bit, but as you can see, they had several options.

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Swiss First Class Lounge Zurich Airport champagne bar

Next to that was a rack with magazines and newspapers.

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Swiss First Class Lounge Zurich Airport magazines & newspapers

Past the champagne bar was the main bar, which sort of acted as the centerpiece of the lounge.

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Swiss First Class Lounge Zurich Airport bar

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Swiss First Class Lounge Zurich Airport bar

On one side of the bar was part of the dining area.

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Swiss First Class Lounge Zurich Airport dining area

Then on the opposite side of the wooden partition was the main dining area, which featured almost a dozen tables. I loved how stylish the lounge was, and in particular the thoughtful finishes.

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Swiss First Lounge Zurich Airport dining area

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Swiss First Lounge Zurich Airport dining area

On the opposite side of the lounge was the area intended for lounging around. The seating was all along one main walkway, though there was plenty of privacy thanks to the number of partitions between sections, which basically meant everyone had a semi-private area to sit.

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Swiss First Class Lounge Zurich Airport relaxation area

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Swiss First Class Lounge Zurich Airport relaxation area

Several of the areas had couches and a TV, and almost felt like a living room.

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Swiss First Class Lounge Zurich Airport relaxation area

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Swiss First Class Lounge Zurich Airport relaxation area

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Swiss First Class Lounge Zurich Airport relaxation area

As you’ll later see with my daylight pictures, the lounge has an incredible view of the runway, so there’s a telescope near the window, which is a cute touch.

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Swiss First Class Lounge Zurich Airport relaxation area

At the very end of this area of seating was a communal table. I’m not sure if this was intended as a meeting room, for big groups traveling together, or what.

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Swiss First Class Lounge Zurich Airport communal table

Before having breakfast I wanted to get a bit more work done, so I had a seat on one of the couches, and was quickly offered drinks. I ordered a still water and a cappuccino. The cappuccino was incredible, and they had Acqua Panna water, which I love. I was also served a cookie and two Lindt chocolates, which I skipped.

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Swiss First Class Lounge Zurich Airport cappuccino & water

After working for about 20 minutes I headed to the restaurant for breakfast. The server proactively asked if I wanted another cappuccino, and offered me a choice of freshly squeezed juice. I ordered an orange juice, and both were served within minutes.

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Swiss First Lounge Zurich Airport table setting

I was presented with the menu for the lounge, which was in a beautiful book with an airplane on the cover.

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Swiss First Lounge Zurich Airport menu

The breakfast menu read as follows:

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I ordered the bircher muesli to start, which was delicious.

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Swiss First Lounge Zurich Airport breakfast — muesli

For the main I ordered a veggie and cheese omelet, which was fantastic.

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Swiss First Lounge Zurich Airport breakfast — omelet

I was also offered a selection of bread from a basket. I chose a roll. Initially I just selected it for the picture, but the roll was so fresh that I ate the whole thing without anything on it.

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Swiss First Lounge Zurich Airport breakfast — fresh roll

Around this time, the lounge attendant came up to me with the key for the bedroom I had reserved. There are two bedrooms available on a first come first serve basis, and I had the “St. Moritz” bedroom.

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Swiss First Lounge Zurich Airport bedroom key

After finishing up breakfast I headed to the bedroom, located on the opposite side of the lounge.

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Swiss First Lounge Zurich Airport bedroom entrance

Up until now the nicest lounge nap room I’ve been in has been at the Qatar Airways Al Safwa Lounge in Doha, which has private bedrooms. Well, the two bedrooms at the Swiss First Class Lounge Zurich are on a different level — wow! The room featured an extremely comfortable bed. This isn’t just some day bed or college dorm mattress, but rather it’s one of the most comfortable beds I’ve slept in, with incredible bedding.

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Swiss First Lounge Zurich Airport bedroom

The bedroom also had a luggage rack and TV across from the bed.

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Swiss First Lounge Zurich Airport bedroom

On the bedside were bottles of still and sparkling water, chocolate, a refreshing tissue, earplugs, and eyeshades.

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Swiss First Lounge Zurich Airport bedroom amenities

Also next to the bed were international outlets, and even USB outlets.

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Swiss First Lounge Zurich Airport bedroom chargers

There was a bathroom separated from the bedroom by a glass partition, which had a curtain you could pull for privacy.

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Swiss First Lounge Zurich Airport bedroom private bathroom

The bathroom was beautiful, and featured a sink, toilet, and huge shower.

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Swiss First Lounge Zurich Airport bedroom private bathroom

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Swiss First Lounge Zurich Airport bedroom private shower

Toiletries in the bathroom were provided by Hammam Spa.

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Swiss First Lounge Zurich Airport bedroom toiletries

But as an aviation geek there’s an extra special treat in this lounge — the views. Where else do you get a bedroom in a lounge with a view of the gates and runway? The view was incredible.

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Swiss First Lounge Zurich Airport bedroom view

I was so happy to have a comfortable place to rest, and managed to sleep for almost three solid hours. As someone who needs some sort of white noise when sleeping, the faint sound of jet engines put me right to sleep.

When I woke up I had even better views, given that it was now light outside. I was going to leave the bedroom right away, but had to stay for a bit longer and just watch planes. Two Swiss A330s pulled into gates right underneath my bedroom just minutes apart.

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Swiss First Lounge Zurich Airport bedroom view

On top of that I had incredible views of the runway, as the lounge is right near the point where many planes start to rotate. This is aviation geek heaven!

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Swiss First Lounge Zurich Airport bedroom view

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Swiss First Lounge Zurich Airport bedroom view

After freshening up I headed back into the lounge. While on that side of the lounge, I also checked out the main restrooms, which still had great airport views.

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Swiss First Lounge Zurich Airport bathroom

Next to the restroom was a massive bowl of Lindt chocolate.

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Swiss First Lounge Zurich Airport Lindt chocolate

Back on the other side of the lounge I discovered one of the other cool amenities — a terrace.

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Swiss First Lounge Zurich Airport terrace

Unfortunately it was quite cold (around the freezing point), so I only stayed out there briefly. There’s a long stretch you can walk around to look at planes.

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Swiss First Lounge Zurich Airport terrace

Then along the side of the lounge is a ton of outdoor seating.

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Swiss First Lounge Zurich Airport terrace

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Swiss First Lounge Zurich Airport terrace

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Swiss First Lounge Zurich Airport terrace

On a warm summer day I could imagine coming out here and just watching planes for hours.

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Swiss First Lounge Zurich Airport terrace view

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Swiss First Lounge Zurich Airport terrace view

After staying outside for as long as my warm-blooded self could handle (about two minutes), I headed back inside for a coffee and sparkling water. At this point the lounge was packed, as I was expecting, given the number of longhaul flights arriving and departing around this hour. I was so happy I arrived earlier, because I would have struggled to take pictures at that point.

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Swiss First Lounge Zurich Airport coffee & sparkling water

While I wasn’t terribly hungry, I figured I’d have a light lunch in the restaurant. Even though the breakfast was great, a lunch or dinner does a much better job of highlighting the quality of lounge food. While I was the only guest in the restaurant area when I had breakfast, every table was taken this time around.

The all day dining menu read as follows:

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As you can probably tell, the menu in the Swiss lounge consisted mostly of extravagant, carnivorous options — duck liver, tongue of veal, goose shanks, etc.

I had a caesar salad to start, which was perfectly portioned and incredibly flavorful.

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Swiss First Lounge Zurich Airport lunch — Caesar salad

I was also offered a selection from the breadbasket, and selected some pretzel bread.

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Swiss First Lounge Zurich Airport lunch — pretzel bread

Then I ordered the sautéed scallop, which was literally one scallop. It was excellent, and I was happy it was such a small portion, as the meal didn’t spoil my appetite for onboard.

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Swiss First Lounge Zurich Airport lunch — sautéed scallop

I didn’t really feel like drinking, though took a look at the wine list anyway (since I figured some of you would want to know the selection, which was extensive).

The wine list read as follows:

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I just ordered a glass of the Spanish sauvignon blanc, which was nice.

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Swiss First Lounge Zurich Airport lunch — wine

I wanted to briefly comment on the service in the restaurant, which applied for both breakfast and lunch. The service was precise, but at the same time felt very distant, without smiles or over the top friendliness you might find elsewhere. That sort of matches my general experience with service in Switzerland, so didn’t come as a surprise.

My flight was scheduled to board at 12:30PM, so at around 12:15PM I headed down to my departure gate, which was E19.

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Walking to Swiss departure gate Zurich Airport

That was just a short walk away, at the end of the concourse. When I saw the signage indicating that gates E18-19 were down one level, I was concerned we were leaving from a remote stand.

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Walking to Swiss departure gate Zurich Airport

Fortunately when I arrived on the lower level I found that these were actual gates, and weren’t remote, which was good.

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Walking to Swiss departure gate Zurich Airport

The gate area was fairly crowded, and finally at 12:35PM boarding began, starting with first & business class.

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Swiss departure gate Zurich Airport

The one thing I was sad about was the distance of the terminal to the plane, along with the frosted windows, which meant I couldn’t get a good picture of the exterior of the gorgeous plane from the window.

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Swiss 777 taking me to Los Angeles

Swiss First Class Lounge Zurich bottom line

While I had visited the old Swiss First Class Lounge Zurich, the new one is in a completely different league. The lounge has a stunning design, with incredible dining and equally great amenities. The bedrooms in this lounge are hands down the nicest sleeping area you’ll find at any lounge in the world. On top of that, I loved the outdoor terrace, which seems like it could be awesome on a summer day.

On top of that, the attention to detail in the lounge was excellent. The cappuccino was among the best I’ve had anywhere, and it’s nice they always proactively offered water and chocolate with everything.

In the past I’ve created a list of the world’s best first class lounges, and I think it might be time for me to revisit that soon, because I think this lounge deserves a spot on the list.

This lounge is open to HON Circle members, as well as passengers traveling same day in Lufthansa or Swiss first class. Given that it’s normally not possible to redeem partner miles for Swiss first class, it could very well be worth routing through Zurich the next time you fly Lufthansa first class so you can experience this lounge (for example, if you’re flying from Vienna to New York, consider routing Vienna to Zurich to Frankfurt to New York, rather than just Vienna to Frankfurt to New York).

At the same time, there’s one area where I think Swiss drops the ball with their first class ground experience. While the lounge is spectacular, their ground services for first class passengers are otherwise limited. They don’t escort you from check-in to the lounge, or from the lounge to the gate. That’s fine.

However, what’s more annoying is that if you’re leaving from a different concourse they’ll drive you to that concourse in a car, but just to the central part of the terminal, rather than the gate. So the overall ground experiences don’t really compare the best in the world.

Still, the Swiss First Class Lounge itself is incredible, and well worth a visit for any lounge enthusiast.

Enjoy this review? Check out hundreds of other reports on airlines, hotels, and airport lounges worldwide!

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

More articles by lucky »

Comments

  1. Fantastic lounge, the best I’ve ever visited. I dare say it’s noticeably better than FCT. I may have been one of the first guests to use the day rooms and indeed they’re awesome, super comfortable with proper private bathrooms. We were on a 6-hour layover on the way to Hong Kong and very kind lounge agents insisted that we try a day room. “Nah, thank you, we’re fine”. But when we had a look it changed to “Hell, yeah, why not!”. Great relax and a refreshing sleep before a long flight. Definitely the brighter side of travelling Swiss first class on their new 77Ws (which are a bit of a letdown – especially FC tiny lavatories).

  2. Unbelievable! Just can’t even think of any other lounge I’ve been in that’s remotely comparable. It’s in a class by itself!

  3. Noticed the walkway in front of the private bedroom as well as the main restrooms – was that my mistake or can someone “walk” by the bedroom window? Great review !

  4. Thanks for the review! Hard product and food sounded good.Wine and champagne seem pretty more like a business class offering at best. The French still wines are coach quality.

  5. Hi Lucky,
    First of all, I’m thrilled to visit this Lounge on my next Flt out of ZRH. Looks amazing.
    Little detail. I don’t know if you noticed it but on your picture of the wine-list there is a HUGE mistake wich I don’t understand that no one noticed this error at Swiss. On the White wine part, the Portugese wine Dão. I quote “Encruzado Branco is the indigenous grape variety in Dão, “SPAIN” (???)” As far as I know the Dão region is in Portugal, not in Spain…
    Remark two. Maybe you didn’t check but is there inside the Lounge a smoking Lounge like you have for example at LH First Class Lounges?
    Thanks a bunch and keep up the good work!!

  6. I would just warn everyone that SWISS is incredibly stingy with lounges, and seem to vacillate on the rules. I was flying Swiss J to FRA, and then Lufthansa F to LAX (United mileage ticket), and SWISS would absolutely NOT let me in the first class lounge.

    They told me that my ticket number indicated a United ticket, and therefore there was no way I enter the lounge. I reminded them I was flying Lufthansa First that day, and they said it just won’t happen because the ticket was issued on United stock. The lady even called a colleague and confirmed. I also looked it up online and saw a lot of reports on this.

    Just want to mention this so nobody goes out of their way only to have their hopes dashed. Definitely double check that your particular ticket will grant you access to the lounge before purchasing! You have been warned!

  7. You can go to the F lounge in the main terminal, right after security. They’ll drive you to terminal E in a Mercedes and a private elevator takes you right to the lounge front desk.
    The advantage is that there’s a private passport check desk, which saves time.

  8. Swiss and their mind-boggling rules – one reason I’ll NEVER fly with them.

    Here’s my Swiss horror story:

    Firstly, NEVER (I repeat NEVER) travel with them if you’ve got a disability requiring ANY form of accommodation.

    I was supposed to fly BRU-ZRH-YUL-YYZ, with the first 2 legs on Swiss. It seems that even what should theoretically be a simple request to accommodate a passenger’s disability is met with absolute hostility if it isn’t in line with their “rules” – such as getting seat 4A or 4K for someone who absolutely needs a bulkhead and they’re not an elite member, yet booked in business class and such seats are in fact available. They’ll try to cover their derrieres by turning to one of their “paper doctors” who doesn’t even so much as speak to you, and use them to find any excuse to deny the request. Then, they’ll refuse to communicate with you further if you try to object to their decision and appeal it to a higher level.

    What happened in this individual case was so egregious that Aeroplan literally said “enough is enough” and rebooked the reservation free of charge. I was rebooked BRU-NYC-YYZ (with a slightly annoying airport change from JFK to LGA) and the difference was night and day. Absolutely no problems – in fact, I would say they went above and beyond, even going so far as to making sure they corrected the issues with the special meal I had with the previous flight with them – and the end result was great!

    Swiss only made things (somewhat) right once they realized they were in violation of the Canadian Transportation Agency’s rules and could be subject to consequences as a result of their behaviour, with which I had a good amount of evidence, and could have probably gone further than the CTA, but didn’t bother.

    Anyway, those are my few cents on Swiss.

  9. Great review! Looks absolutely incredible. One thing I noticed was that when you said two A330s pulled in, one of those was an A340. Sorry to be nit-picky, but I can’t help it. Great writing and photos as always.

  10. I Totally agree with this :

    the same time, there’s one area where I think Swiss drops the ball with their first class ground experience. While the lounge is spectacular, their ground services for first class passengers are otherwise limited. They don’t escort you from check-in to the lounge, or from the lounge to the gate. That’s fine.

    However, what’s more annoying is that if you’re leaving from a different concourse they’ll drive you to that concourse in a car, but just to the central part of the terminal, rather than the gate. So the overall ground experiences don’t really compare the best in the world.

  11. Yes the first class lounge is superb
    I was lucky to visit it last week zrh-lax
    The nap room overlooking the runways is awesome

  12. This lounge is beautiful, last week I was in the Zurich first lounge which is part of the business lounge on the second floor. As I type this I am sitting in 1st on a Lufthansa flight on my way to Frankfurt, the experiences I have had with flying are so cool and most of how I do this I learned from you and a few others in the community.

    Thank You

  13. “The bedrooms in this lounge are hands down the nicest sleeping area you’ll find at any lounge in the world.”

    Seems that Ben has been around in each and every lounge in the whole world, again. LOL

  14. Wow! Thats quite a wine list. Never seen anything so extensive in an airline lounge. Rest of the lounge looks great too.

  15. Famous for thier cheese and great bread, Swiss chocolate is always something I look forward to. But this lounge could offer much better chocolate than those cheap Lindt truffles that are full of heart-clogging palm oil.

  16. @dr bongo: Just because you do those things, it does not mean that everyone else does it also. Do you have to work hard at being a complete dickhead or does it come naturally to you?

  17. Service on SWISS is always pretty cold. Food is good, planes stylish. Seats in first and Biz are not very comortable. I would never recommend anyone getting to a lounge early to use the bedroom. Your hotel will always be more comfortable. That’s beyond ridiculous. Lounges are wonderful when they are necessary but al the glamor of them is taken away if you replace vacation time with sitting in an airport eating food that’s never as good as a great restaraunt in the city

  18. Ben, is there any sort of time limit for how long you can use the bedrooms? If there are really only two rooms, I could see that being a difficult amenity to take advantage of unless you got to the airport way early, or were really lucky.

  19. On many articles regarding this lounge I have heard they serve fondue on the terrace in the winter months. However, I have not read any first had accounts that have actually seen this happen. Has anyone had any experience with this? Anything in the lounge advertising this perk?

  20. If you’re in one of those bedrooms, can someone walking out on the terrace walk by your window and see in? How many bedrooms were there total, just the two?

  21. I have recently used the lounge, the evening of 23/12 before my flight to Singapore. I had smiles galore, and that was before I was joined by my blogger buddy, Iain d’Eau, a teddy bear from Penang. He broke down any remaining barriers.

    Maybe you need a Bärli to break any remaining ice.

  22. Sorry SQ First (The Private Room) is so old and tired -there is no way you can compare the LX F E Gates Lounge to SQ Private Room at SIN!! No bedrooms, bad food are the most obvious differences. EK I don’t know but after EY F MEL-AUH 777 then EY F Apartments AUH-JFK AUH is a bad bad airport and there is even more of a lack of F ground services at AUH than at ZRH which is saying a lot! ZRH is just so easy and civilized for transit, you can go downtown to ZRH for the day before your connection, and you can leave your carryon I nthe F Lounge A Gates all day no issue!

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