I had a few different options for airport hotels on this trip. Having previously stayed at the downright depressing Hilton I was keen to avoid a repeat visit, especially since it is a shuttle bus ride away from the airport. I discounted the regular Radisson on the basis of its shuttle transfer as well.
If anything, hotels in Opfikon are easier to get to given that a few of them are on the tram line, accessible directly from the terminal.
However, I ultimately opted for the Radisson Blu which is situated within the airport terminal itself. Radisson is a brand which seems to have something of a stranglehold on European airports, I seem to almost exclusively stay at their hotels when needing to catch an early morning flight, such as: Copenhagen, Stockholm, Oslo.
I really like the modern Scandinavian design of Radisson properties and tend to get very good treatment thanks to my Club Carlson Gold Status (given for free to Amex Platinum cardholders). It also doesn’t hurt that I have a friend working at Carlson Wagonlit who gives me access to the Friends and Family discount rate 😉
Most of all though I wanted to be able to head straight to the famed SWISS First Class lounge as quickly as possible after waking up, in order to maximise my time there!
I was really impressed when I first walked into the central atrium. What a contrast to the dreary old Hilton down the road. The reception area resembled a Kraftwerk concert with hosts stood at geometric podiums greeting guests…
However the focal point was undeniably the bar with its 16 metre tall wine tower, glowing like an incandescent monolith and complete with acrobatic servers dangling from high wires!
Check-in was handled very smoothly and efficiently. Staff are clearly aware that people here will often be in a hurry and they seemed very adept at checking people in with minimal fuss. I was thanked for my loyalty as a Club Carlson Gold member and given two drinks vouchers valid for any drink I wanted as well as being upgraded to a business class room.
Unlike the main atrium, the hallways of this hotel are rather drab and dark.
Despite being on the small side, the bathroom had a few cool touches like the concertina lamp, red accent wall and a frosted window looking onto the bedroom. I know that these bathroom windows can be quite divisive but when closed I personally don’t think there’s a significant compromise in terms of privacy, whereas the added brightness makes quite a difference to the overall feel of the space.
The addition of a small sitting area and desk made this room feel a little more residential and comfortable than would otherwise have been the case.
Given the compact nature of the room there wasn’t exactly a huge amount of storage space but to be fair most people won’t spend more than a few hours here and there is plenty of space to open up two suitcases under the TV. I was very pleasantly surprised to see a commercial Nespresso machine as used in some Four Seasons hotels, rather than the standard domestic machines (with the plastic capsules) favoured by most hotels.
Breakfast was included as a result of being in a Business Class room but in the morning I was keen to check out as quickly as possible and head straight to the SWISS First Class lounge instead…
Overall this was a fantastic stay. A hotel directly attached to the airport terminal could very easily have rested on its laurels but everything here was a genuine cut above. The design in both the room and the common areas was eye catching and modern. Elite recognition truly went above and beyond and I slept incredibly well thanks to the soft mattress, pillow menu and blackout blinds. If I really wanted to nitpick I’d say that a walk in shower would have been preferable to the step-in combo and the lack of universal power and USB ports was a little inconvenient. All in all though a great stay and a hotel that I’d recommend without hesitation.