Every business traveller appreciates a good airport lounge, and at AusBT we've a fondness for arrivals lounges where you can quickly refresh and refuel after that long flight. And one of the best is the Swiss Arrivals Lounge at Zurich Airport, which we visited after a recent flight from Hong Kong to Zurich.
Location & Impressions
The Swiss Arrivals Lounge is located in Zurich Airport's Terminal 2, directly after customs: grab your bags, head for the exit and take the left lane into the public area of the terminal.As soon as you reach the throng of waiting friends, family and chauffeurs, the entrance to the Arrivals Lounge is on your left, directly next to the Swiss tourism office. An elevator will take you one floor up to the lounge itself.
And when the elevator doors whisk open, it's an impressive space: open, uncluttered but also warm, in that typically Swiss way.
The centrepiece of the entry area is a distinctive limestone wall from the Jura Mountains of Switzerland, and it's offset by the same crisp whites and dark polished woods found across the rest of the lounge's 700m2 footprint.
If you've visited any of the other Swiss lounges at Zurich – especially those of the recently-opened Terminal E – the shared design DNA is immediately apparent.
The main body of the lounge is given over to a dining area with raised tables that are ideal for working on your laptop or tablet or reading the newspaper while you enjoy a selection from the buffet.
Off to one side lies a seperate 'relaxation wing' with shower suites and day rooms (more on those later).
And, being a Swiss lounge, expect chocolate to be in plentiful supply.
Add a freshly poured coffee and there are certainly worse ways to begin the day!
The Arrivals Lounge is open from 6am to 1pm daily for business class and first class travellers arriving on Swiss and Lufthansa flights; or, if you're in premium economy or economy with either airline, passengers holding HON Circle, Senator or Frequent Traveller status in the airlines' Miles & More loyalty scheme.
(Gold-grade status with other Star Alliance airline members doesn't do the trick – like many other arrivals lounges, access is restricted to Swiss and Lufthansa.)
The bistro offers an extensive buffet with a generous range of breakfast dishes.
There's the reliable standby of scrambled eggs and tomatoes, accompanied by either sausages or bacon...
... a selection of deli meats, cheeses and spreads...
... bakery items...
... plus fruit, yoghurt and of course, Bircher muesli.
On the drinks side, fresh juices and a choice of coffee, tea and hot chocolate...
... plus barista-pulled coffee when the bar opens later in the morning.
We did mention the chocolates, didn't we..?
Ten Windows PCs sit atop a workstation bench at the far end of the main dining area, but with most business travellers now carrying their own laptop or tablet these machines see relatively little use.
If you want to plug in your BYO tech for a quick recharge, AC power sockets are found in the white tables between the chairs at the very front of the lounge.
Soundproof booths offer some privacy while making important business calls or dialling into a conference call.
Of course, free WiFi runs at a decent clip throughout the lounge.
After a long overnight flight – think of the 12+ hours from Singapore, Hong Kong or Tokyo to Zurich – this is where the Swiss Arrivals Lounge really excels, and which other arrivals lounges could learn from.
First up: 20 spacious shower suites afford ample room for your bags, especially if you want to open them up to retrieve a change of clothes.
The suites are named for international cities...
... with a card key issued at the front desk to unlock each shower suite.
Each shower suite is clean and well laid out...
... with luggage racks to stow your bags out of the way.
If you slipped into a T-shirt or pyjamas during your overnight flight and just want your business shirt given a quick freshen-up, there's a free and very fast pressing service available.
Hang your shirt in the two-way closet, close the door and hit the buzzer and it'll be ironed and back within 15 minutes (during our visit it took just a snappy five minutes).
If your post-flight recuperation is going to take a little more than a hot shower, the Swiss Arrivals Lounge also has some recliner couches for a light power nap...
... plus three private 'relaxation rooms' with a single or double bed.
At the bedside table: still and sparkling mineral water, plus AC power sockets so your tech can recharge while you do.
On the way out: give your shoes a quick shine and you're good to go.
The Swiss Arrivals Lounge sets a high baseline for other airlines to follow.
It'll take you just 15 minutes by taxi or train to get from the airport into the city – but after a long overnight flight and an early (around 6am) arrival, this is a refreshing pit-stop that'll start your day right.