Baur au Lac

Talstrasse 1, 8001 Zürich, Switzerland

This esteemed, five-star hotel, set in its own park overlooking Lake Zurich and the Alps, has a remarkable history. Opened in 1844 by Johannes Baur, the property hosted the world premiere of Wagner’s Die Walküre (Wagner himself performed), and Alfred Nobel’s former secretary, Bertha von Suttner, came up with the idea for the Nobel Peace Prize in one of the hotel’s salons.

The 119 rooms are individually decorated with styles ranging from Art Deco to French Louis XVI and English regency, but all feature exclusive fabrics and furnishings from Europe, plus marble bathrooms with heated floors. The amenities are many, from valet parking and on-demand, chauffeured limousines to a round-the-clock concierge and even car-repair and flower-purchasing services.

There are two renowned restaurants on-site, along with an inviting bar and an idyllic garden.

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A Landmark Hotel Overlooking Lake Zurich

This grande dame of Bahnhofstrasse hotels has sat graciously at the mouth of Lake Zürich since 1844, welcoming through its white-columned portico the ultra well-heeled to bonafide royalty, including Kaiser Wilhelm II, and in more recent years, Prince William. It’s a privileged, sumptuous world: a gleaming Rolls Royce parked up front, bow-tied concierge at reception, hand-sewn silk curtains in rooms dominated by warm beige and gold tones, deep marble tubs in natural light-filled bathrooms, and take-your-pick views of the lake or the swan-speckled Schanzengraben Canal. A rotating art exhibit in the hotel’s park has seen works by Joan Miró (a one-time guest) and Fernando Botero.

A Room on the Lake

Zurich has several stellar five-star properties and naming one as the very best would be difficult, but the Baur au Lac would definitely be among the top contenders for the title. This classic favorite is located on the lake, but only a short walk from the city’s most elegant shopping street, the famous Bahnhofstrasse. The 120-room hotel has been owned and managed by the same family for six generations, but it continues to evolve. Most recently the lobby was renovated in 2014 and now serves light fare throughout the day. The Pavillon restaurant, helmed by Chef Laurent Eperon, has received a Michelin star if you are in search of a memorable gourmet experience. Pick up a bar of the hotel’s own 1844 Chocolat (the date refers to the year the hotel was founded) to help recall your visit to Zurich once you have returned home.

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