Review: Milan Malpensa Lounges – Respighi vs. Monteverdi

Milan Malpensa is one of two airports serving Milan, Italy. The other one being Milan Linate Airport. Today we’re going to look at two lounges within Malpensa- Sala Respighi and Sala Monteverdi. We’ll see which one is better if you had to choose just one to visit, perhaps before your flight on Air Italy or Alitalia.

The entrance to Sala Respighi. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying

Sala Respighi

This lounge is unique in that it is landside, before security. Tucked at the far end of Terminal 1, it’s open from 06:00 to 21:30 – although when I arrived at 6am it was still locked up and no staff had shown up.

When I came back at roughly 6:20, one member of staff was slowly putting out the food.

Sala Respighi is one big open room. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying
A few different seating options. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying

When I checked in, the reception staff member asked me if I was arriving or departing, which indicates that this can be used as an Arrivals lounge as well. They accept Priority Pass here, which is exactly what I used.

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The “desk” the staff member was at was unique, in that it looks as if it’s somewhere that you can check-in and drop your baggage off as well. I haven’t personally ever experienced anything like that before – maybe other travelers have. Anyways, I haven’t confirmed this, but I’m sure you’d agree, baggage-drop-off is exactly what it looks like based on the photo below:

Reception seemed to be a baggage drop off too. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying

Respighi food and beverage

Food and beverage here is extremely basic. It maybe have been because of my extremely early arrival to the lounge, or perhaps the time of day. The only food available was tiny flavorless sandwiches and some bread.

Beverages included some alcoholic drinks, as well as your normal assortment of soft drinks. And of course, the standard coffee machine plus selection of tea.

The Respighi lounge itself is pretty basic too. Seating is comfortable and lighting is easy on the eyes but not too dim. I can say that the best thing about this lounge is that it’s straightforward – what you see is what you get.

Sala Monteverdi

The entrance to Sala Monteverdi. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying

Sala Monteverdi is airside, past security at the South Satellite building. It requires a bit of walking but is located there because it serves the Schengen flights departing from that part of the terminal.

The Monteverdi lounge is separated from the rest of the airport by an escalator. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying

Walking in to Monteverdi, it was noticeable bigger than Sala Respighi, with many more seating options and small subdivisions to break the space up a little more. Again, I checked in at reception and used my Priority Pass. It was a quick and painless procedure and staff were courteous and efficient.

An overview photo of Sala Monteverdi. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying
More seating options at Sala Monteverdi. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying
And one last shot of Monteverdi seating. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying

Monteverdi food and beverage

The food options definitely seemed a lot more varied at Monteverdi. Again, this could be due to the fact that I showed up at Respighi before they had the chance to put everything out.

A variety of sandwiches, including tuna, cheese/tomato, salami. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying

As you can see in the photo above, there is a nice selection of sandwiches. Also available was salad with a small assortment of dressings. After a certain amount of time, hot food was put out. The hot food (photos below) consisted of some “calf with sweet peppers” and “carrots with mentuccia”. I think the more commonly used term for calf is veal; and apparently mentuccia is an Italian herb.

The selection of salads, dressings and refreshments. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying
The hot food at Sala Monteverdi. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying
A closer look at the names of the hot dishes served. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying
The juice and wine selection at Monteverdi. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying
The cold beverage selection at Monteverdi. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying
Dessert options at Sala Monteverdi. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying
Sparkling water was distributed in large glass bottles. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying
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The Monteverdi coffee machine. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying

Conclusion

It’s actually quite difficult to compare the two lounges. I think they serve very different purposes: While Monteverdi is a more traditional lounge you would wait in before your flight, Respighi is meant to be a shorter/faster experience – one that you are more likely to use as you exit the airport just to satisfy a thirst or hunger, or wait for a ride.

For the more common use as a pre-flight lounge, I would have to pick Monteverdi. There is more seating, seemingly more food options, and obviously it’s much closer to the gate so you don’t have to worry about how long security might be.

Staff were friendly and courteous throughout the airport. However, the lounges were fairly disappointing in terms of food options – especially when compared to lounges like the KLM Crown Lounge in Schiphol. I would definitely give both of these Malpensa lounges a 6/10 for food.

Otherwise, the vibe and seating was good. Neither lounge has windows; I wouldn’t mind having a view of the tarmac/apron and watch planes come and go, but obviously that is not something a lounge can really change.

Have you tried either of these lounges? We’d love to know what your experience was and if it was similar to this review and walkthrough.

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