The privately owed and run The Dolder Grand in Zurich is one of the rare luxury urban resorts in the world, located on the Adlisberg hill, less than 10 minutes drive from the city centre, with spectacular views. Built in 1899, the hotel spreads out over 40,000 square metres and offers 173 rooms and suites, two restaurants, a bar, 13 conference rooms and a 4,000-square-metre Spa, which is one of the main attractions.
The Dolder Grand Hotel & Curhaus was built between 1897 and 1899, to a design by the architect Jacques Grosfor the restauranter Heinrich Hürlimann. Hürlimann had previously developed the nearby Dolder Waldhaus hotel, also designed by Gros, and the Dolderbahn to serve it. The Dolder Grand opened on 10 May 1899, and was extended in 1924 and 1964.
In 2004 the hotel closed for an extensive renovation, reopening on 3 April 2008. The renovation and enlargement were led by Norman Foster and cost CHF 440 million. The restoration maintained the original appearance from 1899, and all the extensions added after that date were demolished. Two new wings were added, adjacent to the old building, whilst two additional floors were added below the existing building. The architects succeeded in finding a unique balance between the castle-like main building and the contemporary new wings, maintaining the same key features of ultimate comfort with breathtaking views.
Since re-opening, the hotel has also succeeded in establishing itself as a luxury lifestyle centre-point based on wellness (Spa), sports (golf), exceptional gastronomy and arts. The most striking piece is Andy Warhol’s “Big Retrospective Painting”, spanning 11 metres, which takes pride of place above the reception. The majority of the works of art are displayed in the public areas of the Hotel and are accessible to all guests.
Fernando Botero’s opulent “Woman with fruit” is waiting to be discovered as well as artworks by Niki de Saint Phalle, Jean Tinguely and many more famous artists such as Duane Hanson, Mel Ramos, Takashi Murakami, Duane Hanson, Bob and Roberta Smith.
The lobby lounge and bar was one of my favourite spots in the hotel – certainly a meeting point for guests and locals. With its unique mix of historic elements, modern design and contemporary art, the venue achieves a sleek atmosphere. Sophisticated home-made cakes, tortes and pastries are the signature of Christian Hümbs, Executive Pastry Chef. You may also indulge in a a superb selection of home-made ice-creams, the best I have tried in a long time. In the evening the bartenders mix classic cocktails and Signature Drinks, such as the Wasa Khaan or the Saffron Mojito.
Dining venues also include The Saltz restaurant, designed by artist Rolf Sachs with a philosophy of understated opulence. It has been awarded 14 GaultMillau points. There is also the 2 Michelin starred The Restaurant which serves fresh and innovative gourmet cuisine created Chef Heiko Nieder with an array of intriguing dishes that defy classic culinary preconceptions. And thirdly, the Oriental Cuisine (also available as the ultimate take-away)
The SPA is what Dolder Grand Life Balance is all about – four packages that are tailored to deal specifically with the stresses of your everyday life. All of our treatments are designed and carried out by professionals and based on our Dolder Grand Life Balance programmes, Beauty, Detox, Vitality and Relax. They range from facials, body scrubs and wraps to bath rituals, massages and endermology treatments.
The hotel also offers Day Spa packages which are very popular with locals too. One such example is the DETOX programme to promote detoxification and support weight loss. It includes an organic Spa Clinical Facial by Amala, a body ritual with Algae Drainage Wrap by Dr Burgener and custom massage (60 min.). Also included are, a light lunch in the cozy Spa Café.
Oliver Petcu in Zurich
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