Review: KLM Crown Lounge Amsterdam Airport

Filed Under: Air France/KLM, Airport Lounge Reviews

We had a lengthy layover in Amsterdam, as we were arriving from Abu Dhabi at around 6:30AM, and were departing to New York at 1:25PM. I was happy to have some time to get caught up on work between flights, and also to check out KLM’s new Crown Lounge at Schipol Airport.

KLM is currently finishing construction on their new flagship lounge. The airline is opening this lounge in stages. They opened the first section of the lounge in December 2018, and the plan is that by this fall the lounge will be fully operational.

Once the renovations are complete, the lounge will offer around 1,500 seats, compared to the previous 800 seats. On top of that, the lounge will be around 6,800 square meters, compared to the previous 3,200 square meters. So at 73,000+ square feet, this should be one of the largest airline lounges in the world.

When I visited the lounge a few months ago the first section was open, but not the rest. In the meantime it should be significantly bigger, and they’ve even opened the Blue Restaurant, which is a paid restaurant inside the lounge.

Anyway, open landing we followed the signage in the direction of “Airline lounge 52,” which seems like an odd way to describe the lounge, and reminds of airline lounge naming in China (e.g. “Changsha Airport First Class Lounge #138,” or something).

This involved first going through security. Transit security was a zoo, which I guess shouldn’t be much of a surprise given the number of flights landing around this time from all over the world.

There was a separate security checkpoint for US-bound flights, though all security checkpoints let out in the same area. The line was really long, and there was no separate SkyPriority queue, so it took nearly half an hour to get through.

Amsterdam Airport terminal

Eventually we arrived at the entrance to the lounge, located between concourses E & F.

KLM Crown Lounge Amsterdam entrance

I love that the escalators have the cute Dutch houses displayed. My goodness, how I’d go to town if there weren’t a glass shield and if I had 60 seconds to help myself to as many as I wanted, Supermarket Sweeps style…


KLM Crown Lounge Amsterdam Dutch houses

Once you take the escalator up to the first level of the lounge, you can either turn left or right. You can scan yourself into the lounge using your boarding pass, so it’s almost like entering a train station.


KLM Crown Lounge Amsterdam reception

As mentioned above, the lounge wasn’t completely open yet, though it was already huge… but also really, really crowded. The below pictures were mostly taken when I first got to the lounge, when I’d say it was moderately full, but it got way busier.

Just inside the entrance and to the right is a typical lounge seating setup, with rows of leather chairs facing one another.


KLM Crown Lounge Amsterdam seating

There are also some dining tables with chairs in this area.


KLM Crown Lounge Amsterdam seating

There are plenty of alternative seating options as well, though — I’ll let the pictures of those speak mostly for themselves.


KLM Crown Lounge Amsterdam seating


KLM Business Lounge Amsterdam seating


KLM Business Lounge Amsterdam seating


KLM Lounge Amsterdam seating

The quietest area of the lounge was inside the entrance and to the left, since it seemed like most people entered towards the right, for whatever reason.


KLM Business Lounge Amsterdam seating

The lounge also had a couple of desks with KLM representatives should you need help with your flights, as well as some kiosks where you can help yourself.


KLM Lounge Amsterdam customer service desk


KLM Lounge Amsterdam

Design-wise the coolest part of the lounge, no doubt, is the set of stairs leading up to the second floor. I will say that while it looks cool, it’s not all that practical if you have luggage.

KLM Lounge Amsterdam


KLM Lounge Amsterdam


KLM Lounge Amsterdam

There’s plenty of seating along the stairs.


KLM Business Lounge Amsterdam seating


KLM Lounge Amsterdam


KLM Lounge Amsterdam seating


KLM Lounge Amsterdam

Alternatively you can visit the upper level of the lounge by taking the escalators up, as they’re located on the other side of the lounge.


KLM Lounge Amsterdam escalators to upper level

Below is some of the lounge signage to give you a sense of where things are located.


KLM Lounge Amsterdam signage

On the upper level are the Blue Bar, Blue Restaurant, and terrace. When I was there the Blue Restaurant (which is paid) wasn’t yet open, and the outdoor terrace was also closed (though that might have just been because it was winter).

However, the Blue Bar was operational, and at the time was the nicest part of the lounge to hang out in.

The centerpiece of the second floor area was the bar, though there were also some high-top tables, communal tables, semi private tables separated by curtains, and some couches.

KLM Lounge Amsterdam dining area


KLM Lounge Amsterdam dining area


KLM Lounge Amsterdam upper level seating


KLM Lounge Amsterdam upper level seating


KLM Lounge Amsterdam dining area


KLM Lounge Amsterdam dining area


KLM Lounge Amsterdam upper level seating


KLM Lounge Amsterdam upper level seating


KLM Lounge Amsterdam

KLM sure does have quirky design, and I love it — it’s not often you see a disco ball in an airline lounge!


KLM Lounge Amsterdam

KLM Lounge disco ball

At the bar there’s beer on tap, self serve wine, and a soda fountain, and they can also prepare you an espresso drink from a “real” machine, rather than the self serve ones they have downstairs.


KLM Lounge Amsterdam bar


KLM Lounge soda fountain

KLM Lounge snack mix

KLM Lounge cappuccino 

Next to the bar is a small buffet, consisting of sweets, stroopwafels, yogurt, cheese, cold cuts, bread, hardboiled eggs, and more.


KLM Lounge buffet

KLM Lounge breakfast buffet


KLM Lounge breakfast buffet


KLM Lounge breakfast buffet

Again, I love the quirkiness of their offerings — it’s not often you see candy hearts and chocolate sprinkles in an airline lounge buffet.

KLM Lounge breakfast buffet


KLM Lounge buffet

Much like in Delta SkyClubs, they don’t use real silverware or plates.

KLM Lounge spoons, forks, and knives

The lower level of the lounge also had several self serve food stations, with a largely similar selection.


KLM Lounge Amsterdam buffet

KLM Lounge Amsterdam buffet


KLM Lounge Amsterdam buffet


KLM Lounge Amsterdam buffet


KLM Lounge Amsterdam buffet


KLM Lounge Amsterdam buffet


KLM Lounge Amsterdam coffee machine

There were also several stations with alcohol, though the selection wasn’t especially high-end.


KLM Lounge Amsterdam alcohol selection

We spent several hours in the lounge working, so I have a few more thoughts on the lounge in general:

  • The lounge got really, really, really busy; this is a hub lounge that all SkyTeam business class and Elite Plus passengers have access to, so that isn’t a surprise, though fortunately when the lounge is fully operational it will be 70,000+ square feet
  • Because of how big the lounge is, service isn’t at all attentive, but rather the staff are constantly running around clearing plates and glasses as fast as possible, as they can barely keep up
  • Despite the lounge being full, the wifi was lightning-fast
  • The lounge has some really unconventional music playing; for example, they had rap music playing, including many lyrics that had the “n-word,” which you probably wouldn’t hear in the US
  • The lounge only had four showers at the time, so the wait for a shower was several hours

Our flight to New York was scheduled to board at 12:35PM, so we left the lounge at around 12:20PM.

Amsterdam Schipol Airport terminal

We were departing from gate D43, which was about a five minute walk away.

KLM departure gate Amsterdam

KLM 787

Boarding finally started at 12:50PM, and I was excited to get on this flight and get some sleep (though that didn’t really end up happening).

KLM Crown Lounge bottom line

During peak hours, just about all European hub lounges are zoos. For example, recently I was in a Lufthansa Business Lounge in Munich where there wasn’t a single open seat, and there were dozens of people sitting on the floor.

With that in mind, I think KLM’s new Amsterdam Crown Lounge is actually well done. When complete the lounge will be massive, and it’s nicely designed. The lounge has a terrace, restaurant, bar, and should also have a spa soon.

I love some of the quirky design elements they use for the lounge — as an airline KLM just has so much personality.

I will say, however, that the complimentary food and drink selection isn’t amazing. On top of that, due to the volume of people using the lounge, the buffets are constantly being depleted, and the staff can barely keep up.

So despite those criticisms, I’d give this lounge a thumbs up compared to the flagship business class lounges offered by British Airways, Lufthansa, etc.

All that being said, I think KLM’s EVP of Customer Experience may be a bit optimistic when he said this about the lounge:

KLM aims to offer the most attractive lounge in the world; a destination in itself. The new lounge concept ties in seamlessly with KLM’s strategy, centring on providing the ultimate hospitality experience, innovation and perfect customer service.

You’ll need to be traveling in business class or have elite status with SkyTeam to access this lounge, but there are a lot of great lounges out there available to you through credit cards with lounge access.

If you’ve visited KLM’s new Amsterdam Lounge, what was your experience like?

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Comments
  1. Small typo: “Anyway, open landing we followed the signage in the direction”. Think you meant “upon” landing. Nice review! Thanks!

  2. The lounge may be new, but a couple of the chairs are not, in particular the chairs in the first photo following your sentence: “There are plenty of alternative seating options as well, though — I’ll let the pictures of those speak mostly for themselves. ”

    I have a photo of my husband napping in one of those quirky red wingback chairs when we transited Amsterdam in 2011

  3. Next time you hear the beep, think of all the fun you could be having on Supermarket Sweep!

  4. Review of the new showers would be nice.

    I get what you are posting but this seems a bit funny.

    Much like in Delta SkyClubs, they don’t use real silverware or plates.

    Then the picture right below that caption shows ‘real’ silverware and plates.

  5. Regarding the chocolate sprinkles–keep in mind that hagelslag are a very common Dutch food. The classic ones are made of much higher quality (i.e., real) chocolate than American sprinkles, and they are available in a wide variety of flavors. Hagelslag is often eaten on a buttered slice of bread.

  6. Did you notice the tiles on the back wall of the first floor are like the ones they used for KLM’s security video? 🙂

  7. I was there last week. The transit security now does have a priority queue. So I got through quickly. Loved the gin houses at the lounge!

  8. The lounge is only half complete. The current four showers are actually not in the lounge but at the airport hotel 50 meters outside the lounge. They are nice but limited. Upon completion the KLM lounge will have a ton of showers, I forgot the number but it was between 12-20. There is an outside deck on the second floor as well for good plane photos. The paid restaurant has very nice rooms for meetings/discussions and is very nicely appointed. They could use more food offerings, like Delta’s soups, but what they have is very health oriented.

  9. Did you miss the section that has some hot dishes? In the morning they have bacon and other breakfast food.

  10. The Dutch are unabashed racists. It doesn’t surprise me you heard the n-word dropped in this lounge.

  11. The n word playing in a business class lounge is absurdly trashy. No one needs to hear swearing music in a lounge. It should be soothing music, jazz, classical, etc.

    I’m not someone that says we can’t corrupt our kids lol, but it is just silly to be playing rap music in a lounge, and then letting it go uncensored on top of that.

    Looks like a nice lounge though besides that. Which is good, because I think AMS airport is a dump.

  12. I was there a week ago. Couple of things…
    1. They have a hot selection of freshly made eggs, omelet, pancakes, bacon, etc. As well as several kinds of juices, breads and pastries. They did have real silverware.
    2. Near the bathrooms, you have lockers which can be used to store your luggage while you roam the lounge. I find that to be really convenient.
    3. They have a smoking lounge within the lounge. Right outside of it, there were several seats not being used. Not sure if people were not aware of the space.
    4. Finally, not sure anyone would need it, but they had a couple of macs and printers (to the side of the smoking lounge), should you need it.

  13. @Joe Chivas
    Not really justified to call a whole population racist…
    Especially due to the diversity in Dutch cities

  14. @Stephan
    Agree completely. But these decisions for music have nothing to do with the preferences of lounge users, based on actual demographics…but rather the preferences of the bratty self-absorbed “consultants” used on these projects. Borderline moronic, but they seem to be able to convince the decision makers that high-end travelers really want to hear Kanye West ( similar to the way they convinced Marriott that desks are no longer required in rooms because guests don’t want/use them).

  15. I frequently use this lounge and I leave conflicted every time. On one hand I love the design and the ton of natural light that comes in especially on the second floor. On the other hand the buffet is so limited and breakfast items are still on display at 4:00PM which just seems so weird every time. The current showers that they offer are meh but the new showers are rumored to be quite good. Also the point that KLM let’s you pay for so many things once the lounge will be fully operational still amazes me and I don’t know why. At least when you let your passengers pay extra make sure they can use their miles instead of cash only.

  16. I’ve been through that lounge countless times but only on seeing your pictures now am I once again reminded what an over-designed mess it is. My eyes hurt just looking at them.

    Bottom line, DL need to get their own stinking lounge at AMS instead of mooching off KL. Only then will the congestion ease. Upto 16 long-haul flights a day and you don’t have your own lounge, what a joke!

  17. I believe there will be 30 showers
    The red seats are new Just because they had similar seats in 2011, doesn’t mean they are the same

    @ joe chivas your comment sums up the clown you seem to be as the people using the n-word has n rap lyrics are almost always black. You often hear black “comedians” using the words.

  18. To add, they should have jazz or classical in the background as rap is entirely inappropriate and horrible anyhow
    I believe they are going to have live performances at some point

  19. Mostly when I am in the KLM lounges it is crowded. My hunch is not so much because of KLM/AF elites but mostly because of the Delta flyers. With so many flights a day one would wonder why Delta does not have its own lounge at Schiphol.

  20. @gabe it’s far from mediocre. Each to their own. Some will never be pleased whatever improvements are made. The final phase opens later and believe it will include rest areas and over 30 shower suites
    It’s better than most crappy American clubs which by definition are mostly only accessible upon payment of fees

  21. @lucky

    No hot food? I also could swear I saw some proper cutlery and plates in one of your photos

  22. They have a simulated kitchen station in the far corner, where people in chef hats serve the same catered food as in lounge 25 (=KLM Schengen). I managed to hit both lounges the same morning (DL NWS fault) and confirmed what I suspected. The lockers are cool, and I liked the upstairs bar – if only they had something worth drinking; I’ll have to try the coffee.

  23. In the last 6 years I’ve visited the CRL in AMS more than half a dozen times, in the morning on about 2.5 hrs connection. Not ONCE I was able to take a shower, the place is just too big and overcrowded.

  24. Hi, I was at the lounge one day before you and I have some remarks on what you said:

    >The lounge got really, really, really busy; this is a hub lounge that all SkyTeam business class and Elite Plus passengers have access to, so that isn’t a surprise, though fortunately when the lounge is fully operational it will be 70,000+ square feet

    When I was there (bit later than you at around 8am) it was not extremely busy and it was easy to find a seat. The areas directly behind the escalator are more busy, so just walk a bit further. And yes, should only get better I guess.

    >Because of how big the lounge is, service isn’t at all attentive, but rather the staff are constantly running around clearing plates and glasses as fast as possible, as they can barely keep up

    Service was still pretty good, I thought. Alternatively you can get drinks at the bar, most are free, except for some premium drinks (which were pretty pricy actually).

    >Despite the lounge being full, the wifi was lightning-fast

    I use mobile data nearly everywhere I go, but this is also extremely fast (180 Mbps or so when I tested). There are antennas for the 3 big mobile networks in the lounge.

    >The lounge has some really unconventional music playing; for example, they had rap music playing, including many lyrics that had the “n-word,” which you probably wouldn’t hear in the US

    When I was there one day before you, they were playing lo-fi type lounge music. Sure you weren’t listening to someone’s private music playing? Could have been that someone hijacked their sound system maybe? I’ve been in this lounge for a couple of times and never heard weird music.

    >Something about lines for security to go to the US

    If you fly directly from Amsterdam you don’t have to go through extra security. You used(!) to have to go to an extra “check point” when flying Delta into the US, which made entering in the US itself easier. They got rid of that at some point recently though.

    Btw, the lockers are super practical. Just put your stuff in there, protect with your own pin code, get it back later.

    Finally, yes, they use wooden cutlery and paper plates of good quality. No single use plastics, really good!

  25. KLM is such a weird contradiction. In many respects it is a glorified low-cost carrier. They are so cheap. Even the wine now is cheap. Up to just a couple of years ago, they served real champagne in the lounge. Now it’s some $8 sparkling wine (cava) from Spain. The food is pretty industrial, too. I would much rather fly Air France.

  26. ‘Much like in Delta SkyClubs, they don’t use real silverware or plates.’
    I don’t understand this comment when several of your photos show the ‘real’ silverware and plates.

  27. I visited this lounge in Nov of last year.
    1. Wine and Bubbles have gone downhill
    2. Still have only European Electrical Outlets, not universal, and not enough of them.
    3. Stairs all over the place…while I appreciate the aesthetic, a pain with your carry-on!

    The old lounge at least had ramps………….

  28. So many negative comments by (it seems) American travellers, who think they’ve already entered the US.

    The buffet breakfast is Dutch/European. The electricity outlets are European. That’s where the lounge is… Amsterdam.

    The free alcohol is low quality or expensive? At breakfast time? Really!

    It’s a “good” lounge. Not to everyone’s taste, plus and minuses, But it is an airport lounge, not a 5* hotel. It’s an added extra (as not everyone flying/connecting will have the time to use it). And compare it to the “self loading cargo” in Economy waiting at the gate!

  29. I used this lounge a couple of weeks ago. I feel its a disaster compared to the previous one. There, there were power points between every two seats. Here, there are very few. In the old lounge spirits were free, now, you pay.

    I don’t expect to pay for business class then pay in the lounge.

  30. Did anyone visit this lounge recently?
    What’s the status of the renovation/construction?
    When will they be done?
    Are the sleeping pods operational?
    How long in advance can they be reserved? what’s the process to do so?

    Thanks!

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