I never really thought of Zurich as a weekend break destination. Until I visited the Dolder Grand. It is apt to have ‘grand’ in the name of this hotel. Because grand it is. But it’s not stuffy or traditional. It is a statement hotel, a place which makes an impression, a place you want to return to.
Set up high in the hills, only a 10 minute winding drive from Zurich’s city centre, it has the most magnificent views of Lake Zurich, of the city, the surrounding countryside and, on a clear day, of the snow-capped mountains. Most rooms have good views, the best of course have full lake views. Some have wonderful terraces, others floor to ceiling glass windows. The bathrooms are spacious and luxurious. The Junior Suite was my favourite room in the modern Spa wing; with curved floor to ceiling windows, great views, so much space I wasn’t sure what to do with it (though the white leather sofas weren’t really my cup of tea).
The hotel strikes a nice balance between old and new. The original building was built in 1899 and is a real landmark, with its turrets and Swiss-feel. The modern wings (the ‘golf’ and the ‘spa’ wings) contrast starkly in style (and are less attractive), cleverly connected by a glass corridor. There’s art everywhere. It’s all owned by the owner of the hotel, all personally chosen, and all very unique. There’s a Andy Warhol hanging in the lobby. Yes, it’s real.
The spa is a big draw. There’s a huge indoor pool, outside jacuzzis, a number of treatment rooms – the whole shebang. There are yoga workshops, fitness classes, detox and health programmes. Nutritionists ensure they match your menu to your ‘goals’, treatments and work outs. You could stay in the spa all weekend.
There are two top restaurants here. ‘The Restaurant‘ has 2 Michelin stars. It has a very exclusive feel to it, with beautiful views (of course) and excellent reviews. People often helicopter in from various surrounding ski resorts for lunches or dinners here. Their newer restaurant, Saltz, is more relaxed and casual, with a very Swiss theme (I love the bright colours). You can have breakfast here too and they have a huge terrace.
The service is highly professional, but they’re friendly too. It’s the ideal place for a weekend break to explore Zurich, in the summer to enjoy an outward bound holiday, or all year round simply to relax and unwind in an idyllic setting.
Tina Turner (who knew she lived in Switzerland?) and Rihanna are regulars. If it’s good enough for them, it will do for me too.
Photo credit: Dolder Grand’s own