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Review: the SWISS Senator Lounge at Zurich Terminal E

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This is our review of the SWISS Senator Lounge by the E gates at Zurich Airport.

It is part of our series of reviews covering a Business Class flight on SWISS from London Heathrow to Dubai. SWISS was not involved in arranging our trip and we paid for the flight, at a bargain – given I booked five days in advance – £1,300 return.

We reviewed the Lufthansa business class lounge at London Heathrow Terminal 2 here. The flight from Heathrow to Zurich was uneventful so we will fast forward to Zurich Airport.

The E Gates are where I believe the majority of SWISS long haul flights depart from and will be a frequent destination if you are connecting onwards.

At present, the Senator Lounge is operating as a one-class lounge with access to anyone with lounge benefits. Everyone heads to the same place whether they are in business class, first class or entering via status. It is above the main concourse of the terminal and is accessed via stairs and lifts, although the signage is pretty subtle.

You check in via the friendly reception:

SWISS Senator Lounge Zurich reception

Before turning right into the lounge. On the left is Whiskey Club 28/10, which stocks over 200 different varieties of whisk(e)y. As you can see, this is currently closed:

SWISS Senator Lounge Zurich Whiskey Club

To the right you walk down a little corridor which features a few seats as well as a standing area with artwork of the Swiss alps depicting the varying heights. At the end you’ll also find a handful of phone booths for taking calls.

SWISS Senator Lounge Zurich corridor

As you can tell the lounge is very long and thin, although at 1,100m2 it is a decent size. The narrowness does add to the busy feeling.

The corridor opens into the main buffet area, including a hot drink island:

SWISS Senator Lounge Zurich drinks island

At the back you cans see the fridges which contain a selection of beers, wine, sparkling wine and soft drinks:

SWISS Senator Lounge Zurich beer wine

You can find hard alcohol on the opposite wall:

SWISS Senator Lounge Zurich alcohol

The food offering is a little paltry. You have a live cooking station, although I’m not sure how much live cooking actually takes place given that your only options are:

  • Rustic potato pan with tomato sauce
  • Carrot and ginger soup
  • Green salad
  • Lentil salad

There’s also a tiny self-serve selection which consists of a couple of sweets and not much else. The highlight of the food offering is probably the Movenpick icecream:

SWISS Senator Lounge Zurich Movenpick icecream

Adjacent to the kitchen is a more formal seating area:

SWISS Senator Lounge Zurich dining area

Behind this are some dark business booths where you can take calls and do some work:

SWISS Senator Lounge Zurich business area

Behind this, and spanning the full width of the lounge, is a casual seating area. As you can tell this is pretty popular and is actually fairly small:

SWISS Senator Lounge Zurich casual seating

A chunk of space is wasted with these little interactive stations that tells you more about the SWISS routes, aircraft etc. Nobody touched them whilst I was there:

SWISS Senator Lounge Zurich interactive area

But wait! There is more. From the casual area you can walk through an open door into the relaxation area:

SWISS Senator Lounge Zurich seat

This contains a row of these little lounger chairs where you can get a bit of shut-eye for a few minutes, although it is very bright given they face the window:

Last but not least is the outdoor terrace which straddles the entire length of the lounge:

SWISS Senator Lounge Zurich terrace

It was great to get out of the stale indoor environment of an airport and watch planes take off and land against the lush backdrop of the Swiss countryside.

SWISS Senator Lounge Zurich terrace view

How to get access

The SWISS Senator Lounge is currently open to the following:

  • Anyone travelling First or Business Class on SWISS, Lufthansa or another Star Alliance carrier
  • HON Circle
  • Miles & More Senator
  • Star Alliance Gold

Conclusion

I liked the SWISS Senator Lounge although, to be perfectly honest, there are a lot of things that could be improved.

In general I was impressed with the design and decor of the space. The wall-to-ceiling windows and long thin shape of the lounge mean it is flooded with natural ligh. It is one of the brightest lounges I have ever been in, and the outdoor terrace is fantastic.

The food is undeniably disappointing, with a very limited offering available. It’s not clear whether this is a covid restriction of whether this is normal service – either way, it is bad.

The lounge could do from being a bit larger and offering slightly more casual seating. It was pretty busy when I went although the other lounges in the terminal were temporarily closed, forcing everyone into the Senator Lounge.

Despite this, I did enjoy the lounge, although I admittedly didn’t stay very long as I had to catch my next flight.

Coming up …. a review of my SWISS Business Class flight to Dubai (click here).


Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (October 2022)

As a reminder, here are the four options to get FREE airport lounge access via a credit card:

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points (SPECIAL OFFER), £200 travel credit and unbeatable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with two free Priority Pass cards, one for you and one for a supplementary cardholder. Each card admits two so a family of four gets in free. You get access to all 1,300 lounges in the Priority Pass network – search it here.

You also get access to Plaza Premium, Delta Air Lines and Eurostar lounges.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

If you have a small business, consider American Express Business Platinum instead.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for the first year. It comes with a Priority Pass card loaded with two free visits to any Priority Pass lounge – see the list here

Additional lounge visits are charged at £20.  You get two more free visits for every year you keep the card.  

There is no annual fee for Amex Gold in Year 1 and you get a 20,000 points sign-up bonus.  Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard

A huge bonus, but only available to HSBC Premier clients Read our full review

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard gets you get a free LoungeKey card, allowing you access to the LoungeKey network.  Guests are charged at £20 although it may be cheaper to pay £60 for a supplementary credit card for your partner.

The card has a fee of £195 and there are strict financial requirements to become a HSBC Premier customer.  Full details are in my HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard review.

PS. You can find all of HfP’s UK airport lounge reviews – and we’ve been to most of them – indexed here.

Comments (9)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Andrew says:

    Only sparking wine and not Champagne? Seems a big tight.

  • Richie says:

    I do like external terraces, the Marco Polo lounge at Venice airport has a terrace as well. Thanks for an informative review Rhys.

  • John says:

    The food wasn’t amazing before covid either.

    • Lady London says:

      +1
      Think that’s all there was when I was there and that’s a while back.

      The Arrivals Lounge was OK though including Continental breakfast etc., although small.

  • John says:

    The food is not a covid “restriction”. LX mereley elected to downsize the offer that much. The selection is similarly paltry in the LH lounges.

    I agree with the other John that the food wasn’t amazing before covid, either. But the selection was much more extensive.

    It is a shame. You have AF CDG lounges with expanded F&B service relative to pre-covid. You have got BA with roughly pre-covid F&B offerings (only that it’s brought to your table). And LH group is lagging behind by A LOT.

  • His Holyness says:

    LX were always rubbish for food, going back donks. No champagne except in the FCL’s, but they do have champers in SH C whereas LH and OS do not. SN does.

  • John says:

    Oh btw, I think you may need a swiss covid pass, available to vaccinated tourists for 30 francs, in order to enter the lounge from 24 October. Unless someone knows otherwise

    • Talay says:

      And how are you supposed to prove that ?

      Another piece of Adobe made up paper with squiggles on it ?

    • Andrew says:

      What possible justification is there to charge 30 EUR to change one QR code into a slightly different QR code. The French manage to do so quite competently and freely using the AntiCovid app…

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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