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 35 standard rooms, 14 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 a TV, Quadriga communication system, and two telephones.

Widder Hotel also features three great restaurants, a bar with more than 1,000 spirits, and a cozy garden restaurant and lounge open in the warmer months.

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In recent years, designer hotels have popped up all over Zürich, but the Widder, one of the city’s first, still outdoes them all with its envious location and bold anachronistic style. Set among nine linked historic buildings steps from Bahnhofstrasse, each of the 49 rooms has a unique look—for instance, Corbusier armchairs against a 16th century oil fresco. There’s also art in each room, including a Robert Rauschenberg piece commissioned by the hotel in the penthouse suite.

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