In early May I had the opportunity to spent a brief amount of time at the non-Schengen KLM Crown Lounge at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport. The flight connection was tight, the lounge was crowded, and there was work to be done, therefore, this won’t be an exhaustive account of everything in the lounge. This is an initial review with a photo walk-through of the space and what it has to offer.
Getting to the lounge
Getting to the lounge really depends on where you’re coming from. If you are connecting through Schiphol and your plane arrives at a B or C gate then you’ll have a lot of walking to do. This was the case for me! In addition to a lengthy walk I had to get through passport control because I was leaving the Schengen zone. This was also a lengthy ordeal because of the day of the week and time of day.
At Schiphol I’ve found that, if it’s busy enough, they’ll open up the automated gates for various non-EU nationalities. However, if it’s a quiet time at the airport they opt to close that feature and have everyone go through a human border guard.
I eventually arrived at the ground entrance to the lounge. It was shining bright and white from a distance and as a first-timer it does make quiet the impression. As you get closer you see that an escalator leads you up. As you ascend you see the ornate pattern of Delft miniature house pottery along the mirrored wall.
At the top of the escalator is the reception area with several lounge staff waiting to answer any questions or deal with problems. Otherwise, you are more than welcome to make use of the boarding-pass scanners which will automatically validate your entry into the lounge.
Initial impressions upon entry
As a first-timer there were two things I noticed upon entry. Firstly, how big the lounge was and secondly, how busy the lounge was. As a Priority Pass holder I had visited the Aspire Lounges at Schiphol plenty of times and was much more used to that size of facility. The grandness of this particular lounge was overwhelming.
This was also my first experience of a multi-level lounge. Because of this, I didn’t checkout the other floor until my last few minutes there. I suspect others were in the same situation as many were walking around and around looking for an empty seat. I know next time to head right up to the second floor to grab a seat if it’s crowded and busy in the main area.
I was lucky and found myself a freshly cleared private workstation area. Quite possibly the last available space on the main level. This was perfect since I needed a darker space to concentrate on my laptop.
Food and beverages
From what I could see, the food and beverage selection is fairly good at the lounge. The lounge-staff serve hot food; on this particular day, guests could choose from a combination of rice, macaroni, and meatballs. Cold dishes included tomatoes, rice, and more notably a snow pea and edamame salad. Also offered were other, more conventional mixes of leafy greens. Snacks included cookies, waffles and crackers.
In terms of beverages, there was a carbonated beverage machine as well as a selection of milk and juices. For alcohol, self-serve draft beer and wine were available on the main floor. Upstairs the same was available at a staffed bar. Coffee/espresso machines were available throughout the entire lounge as well.
The other level
Upstairs, on the other side of the escalator, was a full-service “Blue Restaurant” serving from an a la carte menu. I was completely unaware of this until the restaurant manager asked if he could help me – probably wondering why a random person was walking through taking photos of the place. I later found out it was their first day of operation. Ever.
In conclusion, I just really wished I had more time to spend at this lounge. It was a decent first-time experience and I was pleased with all that they had to offer. The army of lounge staff were great at keeping the place clean and clearing dishes promptly. You can’t really control how busy or full the lounge is, but I can say that staff did a good job of managing the space. Next time I’ll know to head to the upper floor!
I have an extremely short layover on the journey back. Since I’m not in any hurry to get to my final destination, I’m hoping my first flight will be delayed and I can be put on a later one in order to enjoy more time at this lounge. Unfortunately for me (in this situation), KLM has been pretty good at getting me to places on-time…