Located high above Zurich with breathtaking views of the lake, it has been Zurich’s most prominent hotel address since the completion of its four-year renovation in 2008. Starchitect Norman Foster’s new design combined a new pair of contemporary curved wings (spa and golf wing) with the existing Belle Epoque fairy-tale-esque towers of the former 119-year-old Kurhaus, neatly fusing past and future.
Today, the hotel (now complete with golf course and ice rink during winter) is a place where heritage meets modernity, where the customer still comes first and where innovative architecture and design only underline the importance of top-notch service. The hotel is now a remarkable blend of atmosphere and architectural distinction, with its restored ceiling and antique fireplace in the lobby. The traditional look sits comfortably alongside modern touches.
The hotel’s attractions go well beyond its setting, however. The concept behind the 4,000-sqm Dolder Grand Spa was developed by American spa expert Sylvia Sepielli, who created a wellness temple with both European and Japanese influences. It features a black swimming pool with panoramic views, a state-of-the-art gym, movement and mind-body studios, 19 treatment rooms and two spa suites for private relaxation. The dynamic architecture, carefully selected materials and sensual light could tempt you to stay there all day. Among the options are relaxing classic massage and body treatments, detox wraps, bamboo shiatsu, rejuvenating Kerstin Florian and La Prairie facials, aesthetic dermatology and laser medicine, as well as anti-ageing and cosmetic plastic surgery. Be sure to take some time to relax in the meditation room with its mirror mosaic cupola, and don’t miss out on the heated outdoor whirlpool at the end of the day, allowing you to take in the jaw-dropping view of the lake and city as the sun slowly sets.
There are a number of ways to prolong the blissed-out, post-treatment state. Relax in the library and enjoy one of the 600 books, or head over to the Spa Café, which offers vegetarian sandwiches, as well as healthy salads and juices.
After visiting the spa, retreat back to one of the hotel’s 175 luxurious rooms and suites, all exquisitely outfitted by London’s United Designers. The largest of its suites, Maestro, was inspired by a former guest, legendary Austrian conductor Herbert von Karajan. The suite extends over two floors, built into the tower of the main building. Its dining room is situated in the circular tower; sitting in it, you feel you’re perched at the top of your very own castle. On the upper floor, the spire’s dark-red timberwork has been restored to its original condition, and subtly colored sofas and chaises longues cluster around the cozy fireplace for cold winter days. Guests can choose between two outdoor areas: a big private terrace that provides the perfect setting for cocktail parties with its stunning view of Zurich and the snowcapped Alps, and a balcony looking out from the tower which is the highest viewpoint in the hotel.
One of the smaller suites, and probably the most stylish, is Carezza. Inspired by Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti, it is outfitted with sculptural, organic-looking furniture and lighting. A terrace runs around the entire suite, offering a fabulous panorama of the city and the woods and hills surrounding the hotel.
A Single Room Superior starts at $550 per night.
WHAT WE LOVE
- One of the hotel’s most popular attractions is without a doubt its unique collection of museum-worthy art, hung along its corridors and showcased in the foyers. Be stunned by an ubersized Warhol piece above the reception counter, a giant Murakami mushroom sculpture in the hallway, and a Dalí in the restaurant. Keep your eyes open for more works by Niki de Saint Phalle, Keith Haring and Henry Moore.
- The views of the lake and city are breathtaking. There’s nothing quite like waking up in the morning in this modern version of a fairy-tale kingdom, especially during winter, when the first rays touch the frost that still lingers on the trees and their leaves.
- The hotel has impressive eco-credentials. That’s because, when they redeveloped the Dolder, the architects sunk 70 geothermal probes 150 meters into the ground, achieving a 50 percent reduction in energy consumption.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
- Make time for a day at the spa and set aside at least four to seven hours to make use of all the facilities.
- Should you ever get hungry, rest assured that The Restaurant, which boasts two Michelin stars, will take good care of you. They offer a 12-course Tasting Menu.
175 Rooms and Suites: 15 Single Rooms, 101 Double Rooms, 48 Junior Suites, 7 Suites, 4 Top Suites, and 1 Residence.
The 4,000-sqm Dolder Grand Spa is a haven of wellness. While away the time before and after shopping excursions and sports activities.
TRAVEL IN STYLE
When you’re not spa-ing or jogging through the forest, dress up for a dinner at one of the hotel’s restaurants. Comfortably chic is the dress code here, after all, numerous people come here to see and be seen.
WHEN YOU SHOULD GO
During snowfall in the colder winter months, The Dolder Grand’s fairy-tale reputation really comes alive. You’ll be able to go ice skating on its very own ice rink nearby.
That said, the hotel’s beauty can be seen throughout the entire year. During spring and summer you’ll be able to enjoy more activities and events in the city.