The Dolder Grand: Zurich’s Premiere Destination Hotel

By Paul Joseph

Sitting high up in the rugged hills of Zurich, looming over the city with an almost magisterial presence, is the Dolder Grand Hotel; its eye-catching gables and spires adding to the sense of commanding authority as well as providing a useful reference point for finding your way back home.

Not that you would ever want to leave in the first place. The Dolder Grand is a true destination hotel in every sense of the phrase, offering a fantastic array of top-class facilities, including its centrepiece attraction, an ultra-modern spa featuring a pool, indoor and outdoor whirlpools, a steam bath, a “snow paradise” cool-off area, 19 massage and treatment rooms, a full gym, health-food bar and a meditation room.

Other amenities include an adjoining golf course, tennis courts, and a Michelin-starred restaurant, while in the Winter months the hotel provides equipment for use at a 6,000 square metre open-air ice-skating rink – the largest of its kind in Europe – located just a five-minute walk away.

Those who manage to drag themselves away from the vast confines of the Dolder Grand and explore Zurich itself can do so either by a brisk 30-45 minute downhill walk, or in shuttle buses supplied by the hotel. With its stunning lake, picturesque Old Town, and array of top-class restaurants and shopping opportunities, this is one of Europe’s finest (and cleanest) cities, and small enough to traverse in one afternoon.

But the main event for any guests at the Dolder Grand will inevitably be their stay at what is truly a world class hotel. Reopening in 2008, the Dolder Grand’s modern renaissance is in fact a return to its roots, having begun life in 1897 as a health spa. Two years later it was transformed into a luxury hotel but in 2004 it underwent a £312 million renovation and enlargement programme led by world-renowned architect Normal Foster. Today it stands proud as one Switzerland’s finest hotel and spa resorts.

From the spacious and contemporary lobby to the ultra-luxurious suites, the Dolder Grand simply oozes style. The care and attention that went into every facet of the hotel is palpable, with long sweeping corridors giving each journey through the residence a sense of occasion.

Sleek, pristine and comfortable rooms come with modern furnishings including Bang & Olufsen flat-screen TVs and DVD players, and large floor-to-ceiling windows opening onto a small balcony. Bathrooms comprise floor-to-ceiling marble, a stand-alone tub, a small TV built into the wall, and a huge walk-in toilet area and shower (with eight different heads situated at various angles) each separated from the main bathroom area by opaque glass doors.

And then there are the views. Granted, much like a bad meal, it is also similarly difficult to find a bad vista in Zurich, surrounded as it is by the Old Town to the north, lush green hills to the south, and the beautiful Lake to the east and west.

The premium spot at the Dolder Grand for casting an eye over the city is the hotel’s Garden Restaurant. Guests can dine on superb gourmet food (the Kobe beef being the stand-out dish on the menu) whilst enjoying stunning panoramas across the Lake and beyond. If you’re visiting during the harsher months, you’ll simply have to retreat to the two-times Michelin starred restaurant located inside. A hardship indeed.

Rates at the Dolder Grand start at around €370 (£324) for a single room and rise to approximately €2,500 (£2,188) for a Grand Suite, depending on the time of year.

By Paul Joseph