The Dolder Grand

Kurhausstrasse 65, 8032 Zürich, Switzerland

This landmark hotel, built in the Swiss rustic style popular at the turn of the 19th century, 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 385 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 and bathrooms of white marble or sand-colored Jura limestone. Imagined by London-based United Designers, they also come with flat-screen televisions with integrated Bang & Olufsen CD and DVD players.

The four signature suites sprawl over hundreds of square meters and feature 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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Swiss Fairy Tale Meets Andy Warhol

The Dolder Grand’s castlelike turrets resemble something out of a fairy tale, flanked by two modern stone-and-glass wings. In keeping with the exterior’s old/new dichotomy, the owner decorated the 175 rooms as well as the public spaces with pieces of art, both classic and quirky. Guests get a Pop art welcome from Andy Warhol’s Big Retrospective Painting behind the front desk. In the hotel bar (above), Finnish artist Jani Leinonen’s We Love Vodka & Freedom installation sets the scene for guests to try the signature Mongolian vodka-and-wasabi cocktail. An iPad art tour chronicles the entire collection, which includes works by Salvador Dalí, Keith Haring, and Fernando Botero.

A Modern Castle High Above Zurich

The castlelike Dolder looms large, both literally (it’s a massive complex, hovering high above the city) and in local lore (guests have included Winston Churchill and Elizabeth Taylor). In 2008, it received an over-the-top extension and renovation by Sir Norman Foster to match, with two gleaming steel-and-glass wings partly enveloping the original 1899 main building. Rooms are luxe and understated with lots of dark wood, creams and crimson, but the real draw is the epic spa, with fanciful treatments that include a caviar firming facial.

Star Spotting in Zurich

Set-jetters will want to stop by the Dolder Grand, even if it didn’t appear in a Bond film. Instead it will look familiar from a film starring Daniel Craig in one of his non-Bond roles, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Rooney Mara’s Lisbeth Salander stays here while doing nefarious Swiss business). Sir Norman Foster’s sleek modern architecture perfectly complements the original 1899 classic “Curhaus” (cure house) spa hotel. Bond fans couldn’t find a more luxurious Swiss watering hole than the Dolder’s bar where saffron mojitos are the house cocktail. You don’t have to be a guest of the hotel to sit on the balcony, listen to live jazz, and watch the sun go down over Zurich while sipping one of these golden mojitos. You can also wander around the lobby and the dramatic hotel frontage—both seen in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. The hotel is a regular favorite with film stars and location managers and it’s often used for movie press junkets. You might just find yourself sipping your cocktail next to the future James Bond. Ask nicely and the manager may let you in for a peek at the Masina Suite (also seen in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) named for Giulietta Masina, the muse and wife of director Federico Fellini.

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