Review: SWISS Senator Lounge Geneva Airport (GVA)

Review: SWISS Senator Lounge Geneva Airport (GVA)

NAME: SWISS Senator Lounge
Airport: GVA
DATE: April 2022
REVIEW RATING:
BEN SAYS: The SWISS Senator Lounge Geneva is small and doesn't have bathrooms, but least the lounge has a fairly decent food & drink selection.
26

After an amazing five nights at Les Airelles Courchevel, it was unfortunately time to leave. For our return itinerary to the United States, we flew SWISS’ A220 business class from Geneva to Frankfurt, and then Singapore’s A380 Suites from Frankfurt to New York.

In this post I wanted to review the SWISS Senator Lounge Geneva, which we visited ahead of our 6:45PM flight to Frankfurt.

SWISS priority check-in & security Geneva

We arrived at Geneva Airport at around 4:30PM, plenty early for our 6:45PM flight to Frankfurt (we wanted to leave a bit of a buffer, since it’s a long drive from Courchevel). Geneva Airport is by no means a small airport, but it’s also not one of the European mega-hubs.

The check-in hall was pretty empty as we arrived, and we quickly spotted the SWISS check-in counters (which we had to visit due to a checked bag).

Check-in counters Geneva Airport (GVA)
SWISS check-in counters Geneva Airport (GVA)

Since I have Star Alliance Gold status, we could check-in at the first class desk. It’s not like there was a line at the business class counter either, but I’ve always found it interesting how Lufthansa Group puts Star Alliance Gold members with first class customers for check-in and boarding.

SWISS first class check-in Geneva Airport (GVA)

With boarding passes in hand we headed toward security. There was a dedicated security checkpoint for premium passengers, and there was virtually no line there.

Priority security Geneva Airport (GVA)
Priority security Geneva Airport (GVA)

From there we headed for the SWISS Senator Lounge, where we had about an hour to kill.

SWISS Senator Lounge Geneva location & hours

Once you get airside at Geneva Airport, you just need to go up a level to find the Senator Lounge, as it’s on the “M” level. You can turn either left or right, and then take stairs or escalators up.

Terminal at Geneva Airport (GVA)
Terminal at Geneva Airport (GVA)

The second level has several lounges, a meditation room, the tax refund area, and plenty of public seating.

Lounge signage at Geneva Airport (GVA)
Seating at Geneva Airport (GVA)

The SWISS Lounge is currently open daily from 6AM until 8:30PM.

SWISS Senator Lounge Geneva Airport (GVA)

SWISS Senator Lounge Geneva entry requirements

For those not familiar, Lufthansa and SWISS (which both belong to Lufthansa Group) make an interesting distinction for lounge access between elite members and business class passengers:

  • SWISS Business Lounges are the carrier’s business class lounges, which are open to all Star Alliance business class passengers
  • SWISS Senator Lounges are more premium, and are open to Star Alliance Gold members plus Star Alliance first class passengers
  • SWISS First Class Lounges are the carrier’s best lounges, though they’re reserved for HON Circle members and SWISS and Lufthansa first class passengers

In this case we were using the Senator Lounge on account of my Star Alliance Gold status, which I earned through a recent Singapore KrisFlyer promotion. So in theory Senator Lounges are supposed to be a bit better than Business Lounges.

SWISS Senator Lounge Geneva seating & layout

The SWISS Senator Lounge Geneva is quite small. It’s 226 square meters (~2,400 square feet), and has seating for 62 people. Fortunately when we visited it wasn’t too crowded, though I could see this place being packed when business travel fully rebounds.

Inside the entrance to the lounge was a “U” shaped seating area, with leather couches.

SWISS Senator Lounge seating Geneva Airport (GVA)

Past that was a long leather bench with some side tables. There was also a sitting area with about a dozen chairs facing one another, though I couldn’t get a good picture of that, as there were people seated there for the duration of our visit.

SWISS Senator Lounge seating Geneva Airport (GVA)
SWISS Senator Lounge seating Geneva Airport (GVA)

The other part of the lounge consisted of dining tables and high-top seating.

SWISS Senator Lounge seating Geneva Airport (GVA)

There were (not particularly comfortable) stools along the windows. Unfortunately the lounge doesn’t have much in the way of views, as it just looks out over the roof of the terminal.

SWISS Senator Lounge seating Geneva Airport (GVA)

Then there were around a dozen dining tables, each of which could seat a couple of people.

SWISS Senator Lounge seating Geneva Airport (GVA)
SWISS Senator Lounge seating Geneva Airport (GVA)

I noticed that the lounge didn’t have any workstations, which is unusual, since that’s a pretty standard lounge feature. But I guess with how small the lounge is, that simply wasn’t a priority.

SWISS Senator Lounge Geneva food & drinks

The buffet was back near the entrance to the lounge, and was reasonably good.

SWISS Senator Lounge buffet Geneva Airport (GVA)

It had croissants, rolls, bread, fresh fruit, several types of salad, pumpkin soup, and a few further hot dishes.

SWISS Senator Lounge buffet Geneva Airport (GVA)
SWISS Senator Lounge buffet Geneva Airport (GVA)
SWISS Senator Lounge buffet Geneva Airport (GVA)
SWISS Senator Lounge buffet Geneva Airport (GVA)
SWISS Senator Lounge buffet Geneva Airport (GVA)

There was also a small selection of fresh desserts, plus some snacks and sweets in containers that you could help yourself to.

SWISS Senator Lounge buffet Geneva Airport (GVA)

In terms of drinks, the lounge had a coffee machine, tea, soft drinks, water, beer, wine, and liquor. The alcohol selection didn’t appear to me to be particularly high end (I’ve seen better in Lufthansa Senator Lounges).

SWISS Senator Lounge buffet Geneva Airport (GVA)
SWISS Senator Lounge buffet Geneva Airport (GVA)
SWISS Senator Lounge buffet Geneva Airport (GVA)
SWISS Senator Lounge buffet Geneva Airport (GVA)

The lounge had cafeteria-style trays on which you could place food, which was kind of practical, since it can often be tough to figure out the right way to transport several small dishes.

SWISS Senator Lounge buffet Geneva Airport (GVA)

SWISS Senator Lounge Geneva bathrooms

Rather disappointingly, the SWISS Senator Lounge Geneva doesn’t have bathrooms. Rather you need to use the toilets that are down the hall in the terminal.

SWISS Senator Lounge bathrooms Geneva Airport (GVA)

A long walk to the gate…

One other thing I should mention is that you should leave plenty of time to get to your gate at Geneva Airport, since it can be quite a haul from the security checkpoint and lounge. For example, our flight departed from gate D25, and it was a good 10 minute walk to get there (and that’s walking at a very fast pace — if you’re not a fast walker, think more like 15-20 minutes).

Terminal at Geneva Airport (GVA)
Terminal at Geneva Airport (GVA)
Terminal at Geneva Airport (GVA)

I can’t say that Geneva Airport is terribly inspiring…

Terminal at Geneva Airport (GVA)
Terminal at Geneva Airport (GVA)

Bottom line

The SWISS Senator Lounge Geneva is a good place to kill some time if you’re at Geneva Airport, though it’s not much to get excited about. The lounge is fairly small and doesn’t have bathrooms. The food selection was decent, though.

I recently reviewed the Lufthansa Senator Lounge Frankfurt, and I was a bit more critical of that. Why? Because Frankfurt is a major intercontinental connecting hub, so I think it’s fair to compare that lounge experience to other major European airport hubs.

In the case of Geneva, SWISS mostly has just regional flights from the airport, with the exception of New York service. So I think it’s fair to make a distinction there.

I’m still going to give the lounge 2.5 stars, though — 3.0 stars would be average, and I think this lounge is mostly average. However, the fact that it doesn’t have bathrooms deserves some sort of a deduction, in my opinion.

If you’ve visited a SWISS Lounge in Geneva, what was your experience like?

Conversations (26)
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  1. Carrie Member

    Any Lounge without a dedicated loo should earn a zero rating in my excruciatingly humble opinion.

  2. Steve Diamond

    The cafeteria school trays are genius. Imagine if the amex lounges had these, i know they look terrible but they are super practical and cuts down on cleaning costs so they could go the "eco friendly" excuse. Too many times in the lounge there arent clean plates and the lines moves slowly as someone has to go back to grab an extra plate or bowl.

  3. Always Flying Somewhere Guest

    I expected a LOT more from this airport for a of Geneva's caliber. It's one of the ugliest and most poorly laid out facilities in Europe.

  4. Mary S Guest

    In terms of a domestic lounge, 2.5 is generous. AA has really stepped up its game (domestically) at the AC's; Hot food, showers, toilets, modern seating, large.

    Senator lounges have always been 'ehh. And compared to international lounges - AA's FL, UA's PL - they are a 1.

  5. Conrad Guest

    Hello Ben,

    Thank you for your reply and yes, I do find what you wrote unfair. I am not only referring to the star rating but also to your content.

    Given the size of this airport, I find the lounge above average. I would compare it to other european Airline lounges at small airports like Lyon (Air France), Zagreb (Croatian), Luxemburg (Luxair), Athens (Aegean), Bordeaux (Air France), Otopeni (Tarom), Mulhouse-Basel (Air France & Swiss), Salzburg...

    Hello Ben,

    Thank you for your reply and yes, I do find what you wrote unfair. I am not only referring to the star rating but also to your content.

    Given the size of this airport, I find the lounge above average. I would compare it to other european Airline lounges at small airports like Lyon (Air France), Zagreb (Croatian), Luxemburg (Luxair), Athens (Aegean), Bordeaux (Air France), Otopeni (Tarom), Mulhouse-Basel (Air France & Swiss), Salzburg (Austrian), Düsseldorf (Lufthansa), Riga (Air Baltic), Talinn (Air Baltic), Tromso (SAS), etc.

    In comparison to above lounges, i find this lounge better than average.

    And I have the impression, that you (like other bloggers) are harder and harder to please. As I said before, you are becoming less appreciative.
    While you do answer to our comments, your answers do not seem to be understanding or self-reflective. You are defensive and justifying in your statement. I find that a pity. But it's actually also self-evident, because you've now been in the best lounges in the world and then business class is of course no longer anything special.

    Anyway, I wish Ford and you continued safe travels and beautiful first class experiences.

  6. Thomas Guest

    Hi,
    You should try Air France lounge at GVA airport. Its high end

    1. Klaus Guest

      Hi Thomas,
      Are you sure you mean the Air France Lounge in Geneva? The one that is overcrowded by Priority Pass holders?

      How is it high end?
      It offers some Biscoffs and pastries but no substantial food. Or did I miss the hidden buffet area?

  7. shoeguy Guest

    Geneva Airport is wonderful. You're right. It is not small and it is certainly not big, but it is a major European airport. Yes, the terminal is a complex maze of long hallways and feels more than a bit compartmentalized, but always tidy, clean, and quite efficient. The new Aile Est pier for long haul wide body flights is nicely done, though of GVA's nice features was climbing aboard bigger jets using stairs, though not...

    Geneva Airport is wonderful. You're right. It is not small and it is certainly not big, but it is a major European airport. Yes, the terminal is a complex maze of long hallways and feels more than a bit compartmentalized, but always tidy, clean, and quite efficient. The new Aile Est pier for long haul wide body flights is nicely done, though of GVA's nice features was climbing aboard bigger jets using stairs, though not always convenient in inclement weather and not efficient.

  8. Linda C Guest

    The lounge is certainly small but it is really well serviced and stocks a wide variety of drinks and eats, including healthy items like fresh fruit. As a business traveller all over the world and hence frequenter of many lounges, I can confirm that some 1st class lounges are definitely not of the same standard. And the longish walk to the gate? Come on... a little exercise after all that's been consumed in the lounge...

    The lounge is certainly small but it is really well serviced and stocks a wide variety of drinks and eats, including healthy items like fresh fruit. As a business traveller all over the world and hence frequenter of many lounges, I can confirm that some 1st class lounges are definitely not of the same standard. And the longish walk to the gate? Come on... a little exercise after all that's been consumed in the lounge and before a long flight of just sitting, is certainly an advantage, non? .

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Linda C -- The point about the distance to the gates wasn't at all a criticism. We love getting extra steps in, so didn't mind it one bit. It was just intended as a heads up for anyone passing through the airport, so they can budget their time accordingly.

  9. Conrad Guest

    Dear Ben,

    Looking at your photos, this lounge seems to have 5 different kinds of hot food, a fairly nice salad bar, pastries and rolls, a selection of fresh food, sweets and candies, all kinds of hot drinks + 24 kinds of booze + 5 different wines + 3 different sorts of beer.
    And yet you are still unhappy?

    I think you used to be cooler back in the days. I was just browsing...

    Dear Ben,

    Looking at your photos, this lounge seems to have 5 different kinds of hot food, a fairly nice salad bar, pastries and rolls, a selection of fresh food, sweets and candies, all kinds of hot drinks + 24 kinds of booze + 5 different wines + 3 different sorts of beer.
    And yet you are still unhappy?

    I think you used to be cooler back in the days. I was just browsing through your older reviews and you are becoming more and more a diva. Even a couple years ago, the Tarom lounge received an excellent rating from you (2019). But I remember 2015 and before, when you were happy about flying and exited and appreciated being able to travel.

    If you do not get champagne and barista-made coffee, you’re not happy. And I have the impression that you are especially unsatisfied with any Lufthansa-group lounge by default.

    I feel sorry for you and I miss the times when you were more passionate about traveling than about completing.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Conrad -- I appreciate the feedback, but I think you're reading too much into the star rating rather than the actual review. Was what I wrote not fair? Look at my conclusion:
      "The SWISS Senator Lounge Geneva is a good place to kill some time if you're at Geneva Airport, though it's not much to get excited about. The lounge is fairly small and doesn't have bathrooms. The food selection was decent, though."

      ...

      @ Conrad -- I appreciate the feedback, but I think you're reading too much into the star rating rather than the actual review. Was what I wrote not fair? Look at my conclusion:
      "The SWISS Senator Lounge Geneva is a good place to kill some time if you're at Geneva Airport, though it's not much to get excited about. The lounge is fairly small and doesn't have bathrooms. The food selection was decent, though."

      Perhaps the disconnect is that we live in a society where everyone gets five stars. Basically if a rideshare driver doesn't kill you, they expect five stars. I'm trying to be a bit more balanced and constructive with my reviews, with three stars being the average.

      Three stars isn't bad, it's just average, and it allows me to better differentiate exceptional lounges, flights, hotels, etc. And I stand by this lounge being slightly below average for a major European airline lounge. It doesn't even have bathrooms.

      Is that so unreasonable?

  10. Chris Guest

    I flew GVA to YUL on AC and this lounge is quite simply unremarkable. My Canadian friend did say it's just a bit better than Canada and USA AC maple leaf lounges.

  11. John Ryan Guest

    @Ben, the link for the Swiss A220 review isn’t working and when I click on it, it says “whoops, no page was found.” Great review though!

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ John Ryan -- Sorry, put link in early. The flight review post goes live shortly after 11AM ET. Thanks for the interest!

    2. John Ryan Guest

      Oh, got it! Thanks for responding and keep these excellent reviews coming!

  12. Jimmy’s Travel Report Gold

    Looks very lackluster.

  13. Grey Member

    Kind of interesting that Delta lounge in Miami gets 4 stars and this gets 2,5. The food seems better here. The drinks seem better here. But I guess it is all very personal...

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Grey -- It's because expectations are different in the United States vs. Europe. I'm comparing this lounge to other European airline lounges, while I'm comparing a Delta lounge to other US airline lounges.

  14. S Member

    If this is the lounge that UA uses for flights to the US then it should be rated even lower.

    1. Cosmo Guest

      Why does that make it a worse lounge?
      But most UA business class passengers would be in the main (hopefully larger) business class lounge, and that lounge would be those with Star Alliance Gold.

    2. Tim F Guest

      Ben no lounge at GVA has its own toilets, the airport imposed the decision. I don’t really have a problem with it either both toilets on the mezzanine level have always been clean and I’ve never waited either.

      Other than the Swiss First lounge, the nicest lounge in GVA is ironically the Swiss business lounge. It’s way larger than the senator lounge and the food offered is very similar. It also tends to be less...

      Ben no lounge at GVA has its own toilets, the airport imposed the decision. I don’t really have a problem with it either both toilets on the mezzanine level have always been clean and I’ve never waited either.

      Other than the Swiss First lounge, the nicest lounge in GVA is ironically the Swiss business lounge. It’s way larger than the senator lounge and the food offered is very similar. It also tends to be less crowded.

      Considering how close GVA airport is to downtown and high portion of point-to-point travelers, most people (other than during the ski season) don’t really stay very long at the lounges at GVA.

      I think 2.5 stars is quite harsh for a lounge that is better than most lounges in North America.

    3. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Tim F -- I hear, you and respect your take. A few thoughts:
      -- Interesting that the bathroom situation is an airport policy, and I wasn't intending to suggest this was a choice by SWISS, but ultimately the impact is the same
      -- Indeed this is better than most lounges in North America, but I also don't think that's a fair comparison; similarly, I don't compare Holiday Inn Express properties to Four...

      @ Tim F -- I hear, you and respect your take. A few thoughts:
      -- Interesting that the bathroom situation is an airport policy, and I wasn't intending to suggest this was a choice by SWISS, but ultimately the impact is the same
      -- Indeed this is better than most lounges in North America, but I also don't think that's a fair comparison; similarly, I don't compare Holiday Inn Express properties to Four Seasons properties, since I view them as being in different competitive sets
      -- I think my star ratings are throwing people off (with three stars intended to be average), so maybe I need to rethink how I approach that

    4. Tennen Gold

      @Ben, please don't adjust your star ratings. I never understood how or why anything less than 5 out of 5 stars became "bad." As long as you keep your ratings consistent (where 3 is average), I think it's fine. IMHO, a whole bunch of 5-star reviews that range from "good" to "exceptional" is useless.

    5. Daniel from Finland Guest

      What you need to do with the star ratings (that I've criticized before) is explain how you intend to use them.

      I believe many of us would appreciate a dedicated post where you explain that a three-star lounge in Asia is different from a three-star in NA or why a certain flight receives four stars when a similarly apperaing one receives 5 etc.

    6. Linda C Guest

      LOL. You clearly haven't been to the UA lounge in Newark. Far from the standard I'd expect - big yes, but brash and cheap too!

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Ben Schlappig OMAAT

@ Tim F -- I hear, you and respect your take. A few thoughts: -- Interesting that the bathroom situation is an airport policy, and I wasn't intending to suggest this was a choice by SWISS, but ultimately the impact is the same -- Indeed this is better than most lounges in North America, but I also don't think that's a fair comparison; similarly, I don't compare Holiday Inn Express properties to Four Seasons properties, since I view them as being in different competitive sets -- I think my star ratings are throwing people off (with three stars intended to be average), so maybe I need to rethink how I approach that

3
Ben Schlappig OMAAT

@ Grey -- It's because expectations are different in the United States vs. Europe. I'm comparing this lounge to other European airline lounges, while I'm comparing a Delta lounge to other US airline lounges.

3
Ben Schlappig OMAAT

@ Conrad -- I appreciate the feedback, but I think you're reading too much into the star rating rather than the actual review. Was what I wrote not fair? Look at my conclusion: "The SWISS Senator Lounge Geneva is a good place to kill some time if you're at Geneva Airport, though it's not much to get excited about. The lounge is fairly small and doesn't have bathrooms. The food selection was decent, though." Perhaps the disconnect is that we live in a society where everyone gets five stars. Basically if a rideshare driver doesn't kill you, they expect five stars. I'm trying to be a bit more balanced and constructive with my reviews, with three stars being the average. Three stars isn't bad, it's just average, and it allows me to better differentiate exceptional lounges, flights, hotels, etc. And I stand by this lounge being slightly below average for a major European airline lounge. It doesn't even have bathrooms. Is that so unreasonable?

2
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