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:
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:
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.
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:
At the back you cans see the fridges which contain a selection of beers, wine, sparkling wine and soft drinks:
You can find hard alcohol on the opposite wall:
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:
Adjacent to the kitchen is a more formal seating area:
Behind this are some dark business booths where you can take calls and do some work:
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:
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:
But wait! There is more. From the casual area you can walk through an open door into the relaxation area:
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:
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.
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
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.
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 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.
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.
If you have a small business, consider American Express Business Platinum instead.
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 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.