Built on the site of Roman and Celtic ruins, the unassuming 5-star Widder Hotel comprises nine medieval townhouses that were painstakingly renovated over a 10-year period by Swiss architect Tilla Theus. The results are jaw-dropping, from the unusual structures such as circular rooms and passages that refer architecturally to a Roman well uncovered during construction, to the mix of antiques and modern designer furnishings (Eames, Frank Lloyd Wright) in the rooms.
Alongside the 32 standard rooms, 17 suites also mix the old with the new, featuring works of art by the likes of Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol, contemporary design classics by Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe, and original medieval frescoes, exposed-beam ceilings, and brick or stone walls. All rooms are equipped with Bang & Olufsen flat-screen TV and stereo, Quadriga communication system, and two telephone lines.
The Widder also features two great restaurants, a bar with more than 1,000 spirits, and a cozy garden restaurant and lounge open in the warmer months.
Have you been here? Share a tip or a photo with fellow travelers.
Centrally located in Zurich’s Old Town, the hotel is close to the Bahnhofstrasse shopping area. The Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Museum for Contemporary Art, is housed in a former brewery, and exhibits numerous important, contemporary artists from the 1960s onward. For a memorable lunch or dinner, try the Wirtschaft zur Schtund. One of the last traditional Zurich eateries in the Rennweg business quarter, Wirtschaft zur Schtund is popular for its original Swiss specialties, from Flammkuchen (tart flambée) to fondues.
Need to Know
Rooms: 49 rooms (32 standard rooms and 17 suites), from $530. Check-in: 2 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: The Widder Restaurant serves creative fusion cuisine that melds Swiss, Mediterranean, and Asian flavors in an elegant environment. AuGust doubles as a brasserie and delicatessen, serving Swiss specialties and cold meats in a gorgeous space with a striking black-and-white show kitchen. The swank Widder Bar offers 250-plus single-malt whiskeys and is well-known in the jazz world for hosting stars like Diana Krall and Benny Green during the hotel’s biannual concert series. Spa and gym details: There is a fully equipped gym, but no spa.
Who’s it for: Folks with taste and money; history buffs and celebrities wanting quiet and privacy; anyone seeking a private-residence level of service and quality. Our favorite rooms: The penthouse suite is set in a former laundry room and offers indulgent luxury, with white leather sofas, a 50-inch cinema screen in the bedroom, and a rooftop terrace that affords superb 360-degree views of the Old City, Lake Zurich, and the mountains. Nearby indulgence: Although there is no on-site spa, you can head to Thermalbad Zürich, which has a beautiful setting in the centuries-old vaults of an old brewery.