A historic hillside retreat in Zurich
163 Rooms / 12 Suites
Nestled between forests and a golf course and perched on a hill above Lake Zurich, The Dolder Grand majestically overlooks the financial center of Switzerland. From the lake's shore, the hotel is a notable feature, looking palatial in its surroundings.
Up close, the blend of traditional German hunting lodge and modern curvatures of architect Norman Foster beautifully blend into one. Fun fact: Where the original 1889 building and the 2008 extension join is called The Kiss.
There is nothing standard about this historic gem. Situated about 15 away from the hustle and bustle of Zurich's Bahnhofstrasse (the city center), the hotel affords you privacy and tranquility. While not centrally located in the city, The Dolder is easily reachable via its own funicular (Dolderbahn), private car or the hotel's limousine service and antique coach shuttle.
Arriving at the Zurich hotel is itself an exclusive experience. In the driveway, you’ll see Barry Flanagan's sculpture Leaping Hare on Curly Bell. Stepping into the Dolder's foyer, you'll spy an 1870 bronze statue by the French artist Albert Carrier-Belleuse.
The Dolder is in many ways an art lover's dream, an impressive hotel-cum-gallery. The hotel knows this and offers guided tours with art experts or with an iPad. A few additional pieces worth noting are Andy Warhol’s largest creation, Big Retrospective Painting; Salvador Dalí's Femmes métamorphosées – Les sept arts; and Joan Miró's Grand personnage: projet pour un monument.
Perks include free bike rentals to hit nearby trails through the forest, the use of BMW cars for short excursions, an on-call butler service and a dynamic kids room with child care.
What makes the rooms and suites in the luxury hotel so marvelous is that they have been individualized with close attention to detail. Like a Russian nesting doll, the hotel is a destination within a destination.
The Dolder has 173 rooms and in true Swiss fashion, it has traditionally understated its luxury suites (though those in the know are loyal guests). Equipped with all of the modern amenities, these suites also come with a butler and concierge service for long-term stays. The Maestro Suite includes a Steinway & Sons baby grand piano, a harp and fireplace — there could hardly be a better place to entertain. There is also the Rolling Stone's much-loved Suite 100 inspired by 100 Club in London.
Rooms vary in style from the main original building (contemporary classic) and the newer modern wings (sleek elegance), but all feel thoroughly modern and up-to-date. Spring for a room with a view of Zurich or the Alps. The Junior Suite Grand category has particularly spectacular panoramic views of the city, lake and mountains through curved floor-to-ceiling windows and a balcony.
Expect typical top-of-the-line amenities such as Nespresso machines, stereo systems, separate whirlpool baths and newspaper service.
When the historic hotel was originally built, it was a health spa, and that spa element was been rejuvenated during the 2008 renovations and expansion. The all-day spa with coed facilities as well as separate facilities for men and women feature both indoor and outdoor pools (including a stunning infinity steam pool), kotatsu foot baths, a nail lounge, a full fitness studio, a hair salon, spa café, and a quiet room for meditation.
The Dolder also has a full staff of professional trainers who can take you through the weight room, in the pool or out on running trails. For those who forgot their training gear, the hotel also has a shop featuring sneakers from On, a Zurich-based running shoe company that has taken the triathlon and marathon scene by storm.
The Dolder features two restaurants. The first is the newly renovated and alpine-inspired Saltz where you can enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner. The wine cellar is extensive and stocks an excellent array of selected wines from around the world, including Switzerland's best. The garden terraces afford beautiful views over Lake Zurich and the city. Saltz beautifully blends old and modern with a conceptual design; it has several alcoves to provide you with privacy while dining.
The stylish fine-dining eatery The Restaurant is open for lunch (during the week) and dinner. It is helmed by chef Heiko Nieder and offers five- and eight-course dinners, a 12-course tasting menu and an à la carte menu filled with flavorful dishes like lobster from Brittany served with melon, tomato, mole and saffron.