luxe - ALDEN Hotel Splugenschloss, Zurich
Written by Gail Mangold-Vine
Fairytale castle or city palazzo – this heritage jewel in the heart of Zürich has been likened to many historic models; not surprisingly, in view of its fin de siécle façade. Yet, inside, this stylish five-star boutique hotel is utterly contemporary.
A few minutes’ walking distance from Bahnhofstrasse and its chic shops, and the world-renowned Tonhalle concert hall; steps away from a lakeside park (great for early-morning runs) and leisure harbour; the Alden could not be better located – especially as city traffic noise fades away in this upmarket residential area.
Built in 1895 as a fashionable apartment house, the protected five-floor building may feature elaborately carved stone, swirling ironwork, and a corner tower topped with dome and finial, but step through the door and you enter a world of white, contrasting dark shades, and middling ranges of greys and beige, created by interior designer Jürg Brawand. The minimalism is offset by stucco ceilings, parquet floors, and antiques: a gilt-framed mirror, a period clock, a wood table with elegantly curved legs. White orchids provide continuity throughout.
The look continues through in 22 generous rooms and suites, with lots of natural light, tech-cons, and bathtubs with jacuzzi. Opt for an executive suite unless you prefer lofts, in which case the top-floor suite with roof terrace is for you.
A library, bar, highly-rated restaurant serving hyper-fresh Mediterranean cuisine, and friendly service complete the picture.
The Art Of Shopping
Zürich may be about banks and stalwart burghers, but equally this Swiss-German city is steeped in culture, with its own trendy design scene – and offers superlative dining and shopping.
Bahnhofstrasse features international brands; but why not focus on Swiss ones – such as watches, from the classic Rolex Oyster to Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, the complicated marvels of Franck Muller, or bejewelled creations by Piaget or Chopard?
Equally Swiss: sweets. Don’t miss the Luxemburgerli (macaroons) at Sprüngli on Paradeplatz, or chocolate truffles at Teuscher (Storchengasse 9).
Wander through the Old Town on both sides of the Limmat River; see the stained glass windows by Marc Chagall in the Fraumünster abbey. Visit the Kunsthaus (art museum), which boasts Old Master, Impressionist, and modern masterpieces, and houses the Alberto Giacometti Foundation – the largest collection of work by the stellar Swiss sculptor in any museum in the world.
Also worth a visit: the Rietberg Museum (Gablerstrasse 15) where Asian and other non-European art is partially housed in Villa Wesendonck, made famous by composer Richard Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder. Cap it all off with a Tonhalle concert, an opera, or a ballet performance at the Zürich Opera.
Tel. +41 44 289 9999
Distance: 4,490 km
Flight Time: 6 hours, 25 minutes