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The Dolder Grand, Zurich 

65 Kurhausstrasse
Switzerland 8032
Tel: 41 44 456 60 00
view web site ›'s insider take:

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

From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:
Four years, $380 million, and the talents of architect Norman Foster have given this 110-year-old fairy-tale castle hotel a stunning update, with two new modern wings, a 43,000-square-foot state-of-the-art spa, and 173 guest rooms. Several unique original details were kept or restored—such as the lobby's painted wood ceiling (smartly matched with metallic chandeliers) and the old-fashioned floral wallpaper in Deluxe Suite 4112—but in general the decor, even in the historic building, is more 2009 than 1899. A dramatically lit skywalk-style hallway leads to either the new golf or spa wings. Standard doubles, while comfortable and with a bathroom that centers around a deep tub, are hard-pressed to merit the $707 asking price, as there are no butlers on hand—unusual at this price point—or technological standouts. But the staff are efficient and the location unbeatable.—2009 Hot List

When to go: You can most appreciate the grounds—which include a pool and tennis courts—in summer.

Which room to book: Those in the spa and golf wings are larger and more contemporary than those in the original building. For a view of the city, splurge for a deluxe double.

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