This 1899 landmark hotel, built in the Swiss rustic style popular at that time, has hosted Winston Churchill, Arturo Toscanini, Albert Einstein, the Shah of Iran, Henry Kissinger, and the Rolling Stones, among others. Situated high above Zurich, with a sweeping forest and a golf course for company, it offers breathtaking views of the city, the lake, and even—on clear days—the Alps.
Renovated in 2008 by Lord Foster for a cool 450 million Swiss francs, it now features a bold contemporary edifice that wraps around the turreted original, two entirely new wings (the Spa Wing and the Golf Wing), and a completely revamped interior. While the rooms in the Main Building (the historic structure) are appointed with traditional furniture and hand-painted wallpaper to give a regal, turn-of-the-century feel, the newer rooms are equipped with balconies, bathrooms of white marble or sand-colored Jura limestone, and floor-to-ceiling windows that accentuate the sense of space. They also come with flat-screen televisions with integrated Bang & Olufsen CD and DVD players.
The four signature suites were created by London-based United Designers, and they sprawl over hundreds of square meters and come with steam showers, whirlpool baths, and even (in one case) a grand piano. The hotel also offers an expansive spa and wellness center.
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Despite the hotel’s relative seclusion atop the Zürichberg, it’s only 10-15 minutes (by funicular and tram) to Zurich’s city center. You can walk or jog around the surrounding area on your own, or book a personal trainer from the spa. Mountain bikes are also available free of charge, and there’s a golf and tennis club nearby, as well as an outdoor pool and children’s play area (entrance is free for hotel guests). In winter, the local open-air ice-skating rink, built in 1930, is also fun, and skiers can find ski resorts a one-hour drive away, among other day trips.
Need to Know
Rooms: 176 rooms and suites, from $585. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: The Restaurant has historic, painted ceilings, walls of silver plate, and two Michelin stars; it offers gourmet cuisine in 5-, 8- and 12-course tasting menus. In the summer, the terrace offers spectacular views of Zurich, the lake, and the Alps, and the bright and breezy Garden Restaurant serves light European cuisine and modern Swiss dishes. The Bar is open daily, serving drinks, cocktails, and snacks. Spa and gym details: The Japanese-influenced spa is comprehensive and segregated into single-sex zones that come with baths, saunas, and plunge pools. The communal area has a large, light-flooded pool, a terrace with whirlpool baths, and lake-and-city views. There are also Japanese pebble baths, a steam room, a sauna, and a snow-filled room at 5 degrees Fahrenheit. There are 19 massage and treatment rooms for additional pampering, a fully-equipped gym for workouts, and a meditation room. The Spa Café serves light meals, salads, and soups.
Who’s it for: The super-wealthy, the super-indulgent, and the occasional superstar. Our favorite rooms: The Terrazza Suite, adjacent to the Golf Wing, is a three-bedroom residence—with its own private entrance—comprising 1,280 square feet of luxurious living space. The suite has flooring made from Arzo Macchia Vecchia marble and a glass elevator that takes you to a lower "living area" floor decorated with a golden ceiling and crystal chandeliers. An integrated dining area is serviced by the private kitchen, and a large window frontage and terrace offer the requisite views of Lake Zurich. Expansive service: Guests in the suites, Top Suites, or residence get an on-call butler, who does everything from unpacking bags, ironing clothes, and cleaning shoes to making reservations.