ZRH is a very pleasant airport. Zurich is a very pleasant city. It proved to be a nice transition between the hectic pace of life on the road, and my return to Paris.
I was without checked bags, so I was quickly off the Airbus A340-300 (I love the A340 series, but prefer the A340-600 with the stretched fuselage), stamped back into the EU and on my way to a taxi. I pulled some Swiss Francs out of an ATM near the exit to the terminal, and was soon on my way to the Dolder Grand Hotel.
Thank to a tip from Flyertalk (luxury hotels forum), I had been put in contact with a Virtuoso Travel Agent. Basically, Virtuoso travel agents get you all kinds of free upgrades and amenities at hotels they have relationships with. I am not going to pretend I got a bargain on the room at the Dolder Grand, but it’s Zurich, nothing is cheap.
At check-in, I was given an automatic upgrade to the next room class (this was an absolutely lovely room with great views), as well as an 80 CHF food & beverage credit at the hotel. There was some confusion at check-out, because I had been told food & bev credit when I checked in, but the girl handling my check-out thought the amenity was supposed to be a spa credit. In the end I explained I was told food & bev, and as a result used the hotel bar instead of the spa. They agreed with my tenuous rationale, and everything was ok.
I was escorted from the desk to my room. dropped my bags off and then checked some e-mails. I only had one day, so I wanted to go into Zurich and do a bit of wandering around.
As the Dolder Grand is far from the city center (not walking distance), they offer a shuttle. I caught the last shuttle into the center, and was then left to my own devices.
I spent a few hours walking around and taking pictures, then stopped into a sausage house a friend had recommended to me. I am a great fan of Germanic cuisine, but the food at this place wasn’t memorable, so I wont bother endorsing them. As it got dark, I caught a cab back to the hotel.
I was finally starting to feel the fatigue from flying Bangkok-Tokyo-Zurich in what amounted to less than two days. Too many time zones, not enough beds (at least beds not at 36,000 feet). Still, I had a friend in Zurich that I had agreed to meet for drinks, and I am a man of my word.
I struggled through about an hour, maybe two hours of being social, then went back to the Dolder Grand to get some rest.
I did not have the chance to check out the hotel gym, spa or sample their restaurants, but the bar was very stylish and the hotel and the surrounding grounds were well maintained and appealing. I will let the pictures do the talking:
Dolder Grand Zurich:
Dolder Grand Zurich Report Card
Pros: Amazing rooms with stunning views of the lake, 2-michelin starred restaurant on site, award winning spa, stylish bar, great staff, gorgeous ground
Cons: Not walking distance from the center
Verdict: If I was looking for a relaxing weekend get away, the Dolder Grand would absolutely be my top pick. However, if I wanted to spend anytime out in the center or had business in Zurich proper, I would avoid the Dolder unless I had a car or a friend driving me around. Zurich is tremendously expensive, and those cabs to and from town can add up quickly.