Tel: 44 289 9999
Fax: 44 289 9998
Near everything, this late-19th-century hotel reopened in spring 2004 under new, family management after a total overhaul, blessed by Relais & Chateaux. All 22 suites are bigger than many an apartment dweller's entire home (well, in Manhattan anyway) and are coolly functional in slick neutrals with custom everything and a distinctly 21st-century aura. The restaurant and bistro are both way better than they needed to be.
Tel: 41 44 220 50 20
Baur au Lac, which has been overlooking Lake Zurich since 1844, is something of a touchstone for travelers seeking old-school elegance. And a $50 million renovation, completed in 2009, burnished this plush, 120-room landmark's reputation. Twenty-five of the hotel's rooms have been reconfigured as 13 suites, 3 deluxe junior suites, 4 double rooms, and 2 singles that all seamlessly combine Deco, neoclassical, and Louis XVI styles. While the new rooms come all dressed up with black lacquered desks, pillowy couches, and padded leather headboards, even the original rooms, characterized by their own timeless luxe classicism, don't seem dated. And the large marble bathrooms partially compensate for the hotel's lack of a spa (there is a rooftop fitness club). French designer Pierre-Yves Rochon reformatted the Pavillon restaurant, which is now open year-round, so that the rotunda dining room is framed by picture windows looking out on the hotel's park. Rive Gauche restaurant offers a relatively casual alternative to the Pavillon's modern haute menu (although casual here means grilled quail breast and lobster risotto). When the Alpine sun shines, guests tend to gather at the hotel's open-air Terrasse, where the preferred drink at the aperitif bar is, of course, ice-cold Champagne, befitting this mecca of grande dame style.—Raphael Kadushin
Tel: 41 44 456 60 00
After one of the most anticipated and ambitious hotel renovations of recent years, the Dolder Grand was relaunched in 2008 as a luxe urban resort that's almost more spa than hotel. Two incongruously modern wings designed by London architect Sir Norman Foster now flank the 1899 Belle Époque landmark on its wooded hill above Zurich. On one side, the Spa Wing houses 58 guest rooms and an explosion of amenities in the epic spa-cum–water park. In addition to separate men's and women's spas (each with a sauna, steam bath, Kotatsu footbath, solarium, and aromatherapy pools scented by relaxing jasmine and invigorating maracujá), there are a mosaic swimming pool, indoor and outdoor whirlpools, a meditation room crowned by a mirrored cupola, fitness studios, and 19 treatment rooms. The Golf Wing, which faces a nine-hole golf course, contains an additional 52 contemporary guest rooms—anodyne, art-free spaces that have a clinical feel and mammoth bathrooms that are spas unto themselves. Those looking for a `more traditional atmosphere should book one of the 63 (smaller) rooms in the original building, or head to the ornate lobby for a drink or snack beside an antique fireplace. Many of the rooms offer photogenic views of the city, as does the Garden Restaurant's terrace; for more formal meals, sample chef Heiko Nieder's exuberantly opulent dishes (think lobster with strawberries, beets, and nasturtium) at The Restaurant, which has already earned a Michelin star. Consider two caveats before booking a stay here, though. At about $850 for a standard double, the room rates can seem bloated (especially considering the relatively pared-down staffing). And getting to Zurich, which sits so invitingly below, necessitates a very expensive cab ride or a complicated combination of funicular and tram rides after the infrequent hotel shuttle stops running altogether in the evening. But that shouldn't prove too daunting for anyone who approaches the Dolder Grand on its own terms, as a complete, fully loaded retreat.—Raphael Kadushin
Herman Greulich-Strasse 56
Tel: 41 43 243 4243
This sinuous navy-blue five-story block is the work of architects Romero and Schaefle, but it's the contribution of landscape designer Günther Vogt that looms largest: All 18 rooms face into the interior courtyard garden. This is half-Zen, half-Brothers Grimm, with its fairy groves of slim-trunked silver birches and its reflecting pools with floating flower heads. Inside the bedrooms, a rounded pillar contrasts with a cubic block of closets; a frosted-glass bathroom wall with a sun-flooded skylight; all in shades of white. There's a wooden-walled cigar bar, readings (in German) and other cultural events, and a Slow Food restaurantall in keeping with the intellectually socially progressive ideas of the hotel's namesake, Swiss labor movement pioneer Herman Greulich. Unsurprisingly, its neighborhood, Aussersihl, is trendy.
Tel: 41 44 250 2626
If, instead of joining the Zurich design revolution, you hanker after old-Europe romance, this 16th-century patrician merchant's house is more your speed. The 33 rooms have quilted counterpanes on brass bedsteads, floral or striped walls, drapes and chairs, and antique or repro furniture in styles ranging from Georgian to Biedermeyer. Rooms under the eaves on the top floor are further prettified by sloping walls and grand rooftop views. Among them are the two Junior Suitesthe only air-conditioned rooms. Outside it gets even cuter, with a divine leafy, flowery garden with flagstones, wrought-iron chairs and tables, and the Neptune Fountain carved in 1770. Good, fresh Italian-Swiss market-driven food is served out here and in the cozy restaurant. The location, too, is good and central, by the university.
Tel: 41 44 297 99 99
Perched on the banks of the Sihl River in the hip Kreis 4 neighborhood, the 16-room Hotel Helvetia has become a hub for the city's edgy art community, many of whose members have made the cozy street-level café-bar cum lobby their preferred hangout and also pack the hotel's candlelit restaurant, reached via a sturdy oak staircase, for the comfort food of Zurich native chef Françoise Wicki, a rising culinary star. The hotel, which occupies a circa 1900 apartment building, has fun living up to its tongue-in-cheek motto, "Home Sweet Helvetia," with a new take on Swiss cozy that runs to dove-gray wainscoting and gray-, cream-, and olive-striped wallpaper in most rooms, beds made up with plump duvets, and retro architect's lamps. The friendly young staff create a relaxed, homey atmosphere, and there's a great terrace overlooking the river for good-weather idling.
Tel: 41 44 380 8010
The peculiar name makes sense when you learn that the Lady is indeed First if she wants a room with a view and a spathe top two floors are for women only, along with steam, sauna, and treatment rooms and a rooftop lake-view terrace. A 19th-century town house near the opera was renovated by architect Pia Schmid in a minimal, if colorful, style. Public rooms have slate-blue floors and brick-red walls; the 28 bedrooms (women's and coed alike) have unadorned herringbone parquet floors, spiky steel furniture, and walls painted plum or eggplant with a big graphic beige rectangle or just left white with the original moldingsand that's about it. There's a TV but no a/c and limited room service. The best rooms have big windows and a few have little balconies too. The net effect is welcoming, especially if you're a Lady.
Tel: 41 43 883 1234
Fax: 41 43 883 1235
In the financial district near the main shopping boulevard, Bahnhofstrasse, on the site of a former parking garage, stands this 142-room deluxe number. It opened in 2004 and was the first newly built five-star in Zurich in three decades. The place has all the Park Hyatt signature elements: big rooms with tan-taupe color schemes and lots of timber, walk-in closets, vast floor-to-ceiling windows, flattering lighting on dimmers, and every comfort, from desks with ergonomic chairs, broadband access, and dual voltage points to Bang & Olufsen multichannel satellite TV with DVD and CD. Oversized bathrooms have deep soaking tubs, separate showers, and unusual Blaise Mautin products. There's a fitness center, two restaurantsone fancy, the other fancierand a bar-lounge, all hung with color-rich abstract modern canvases. There's really nothing you can say against itif a modern, ultracomfortable, not awfully personal hotel is your bag, this is going to hit the sweet spot.
Tel: 41 44 224 2526
One of the earlier examples of Zurich's new design wave just celebrated its tenth birthdayand it's aging beautifully. Architect Tilla Theus constructed the hotel on the bones of a row of eight Augustiner Quarter medieval town houses, all designated historic monuments, and the result is a benign labyrinth of levels and nooks, connected by steel and glass stairs, porticos, and surprising little courtyards. The 49 rooms are very variedone has a checkerboard wall of ancient beams; another a fresco and a Corbusier lounger; yet another has a flagstone floor and a 17th-century four-poster; rooms in the Haus zum Pferch have ornate Baroque wood paneling. All have Bang & Olufsen electronics, cable TV, and a/c and at least some exposed beams or stone walls to remind you where you are. The views from the various roof decks are stunning; service discreet and complete.