The Dolder Grand experience started the moment we walked into the arrivals terminal at Zürich Klote airport: a stylish, friendly gentleman awaited us, swiftly took hold of our luggage and directed us towards a black limousine that was parked right outside the terminal. We wanted to sit down in the soft leather seats, but the driver explained the control panels so we could practically lie down which, with the cold towels, water and snacks, made us feel like we were in first class of a luxury airline! I was almost disappointed the drive to the Dolder Grand only took 20 minutes, but that changed when we turned the last corner and saw the Dolder Grand appear in front of us.
The Dolder Grand could be the castle that the princess of a Disney movie lives in. It is a majestic property, surrounded by beautiful nature on a hill overlooking Zürich. Built in 1899 as a hotel and ‘curhaus’, a health spa, The Dolder Grand is a 5 star superior hotel that spreads out over 40,000 meticulously maintained square metres (430,000 square feet). The world renowned spa takes up 10% of the entire property, so I was especially curious to experience it. Interestingly enough, The Dolder Grand has only 173 rooms and suites, which indicates the focus lies on quality over quantity. It must have been relatively easy to create many more rooms when the hotel was renovated a few years ago and two entirely new wings were added.
FROM ANDY WARHOL TO SALVADOR DALI //
As we were checking in it was hard to overlook the remarkable art collection at display throughout the hotel, because a 12 meter (36 feet) long mural by Andy Warhol hangs above the reception. Later that day we passed by a Salvador Dali painting and lounged next to a Ferdinand Botero sculpture on the spa terrace. Clearly, Forbes did not exaggerate when it called The Dolder Grand an art mecca! I’ll readily admit we didn’t immediately recognise all the artists, but we were given an ‘art iPad’ with information about the entire collection, which was really helpful. I loved Duane Hanson’s ‘Traveller’, who seems to have passed out after a long hike – right next to the reception.
SUITE LIFE //
We stayed at the new wing in a very spacious suite. Tastefully decorated with copious amounts of beautiful dark wood, our suite offered a super comfy bed, automatic curtains and lights, exquisite views over Zürich and a wonderfully large and luxurious white-marble bathroom with separate bath and shower areas. The walk in shower has multiple heads (I counted no less than seven!) and enough water pressure to wake you up after the longest flight – or longest night. The large soaking tub is placed strategically at the window and the top to bottom glass window offers sweeping views over Lake Zurich, which was very relaxing. The boyfriend enjoyed the radio and television in the bathroom mirror during shaving, while I marvelled at the amazing amenities by Kerstin Florian.
We also had a chance to take a look at the most luxurious suites of The Dolder Grand. Each suite has a different theme and is therefore entirely unique, which obviously takes a tremendous of effort and I really appreciate that. One suite was occupied but we were able to marvel at the Maestro Suite (with an amazing terrace and tower room), the Masina Suite (Italian glamour), the Carezza Suite (panoramic views) and the Suite 100, a rock’n roll style suite inspired by the Rolling Stones with gems like a guitar signed by Slash.
4,000 SQUARE METER SPA //
The Dolder Grand Spa is one of the most beautiful spas I have ever visited. There are separate ladies and gentlemen’s quarters, each with their own steam bath, kotatsu foot baths, aroma pools, steam pots, cold water basins and meditation areas. Some people will love the freezing cold water bath and “snow room”, but I just adored the superb range of pampering treatments. I had a unique treatment called ‘Hydro heaven by Kerstin Florian’. The entire experience was very relaxing and ultra pleasant, with the hydra massage table, essentially a heated water mattress placed on a massage bed, as the center of all the pampering activities. Combined with the accompanying foot bath, mini-facial and head massage this creates a soothing, relaxing and nurturing experience. Afterwards I took a swim in the beautiful, large pool and relaxed in the various warm water beds on the spa terrace that overlook Zürich and Lake Zurich.
Dinner at Saltz Restaurant was spectacular, with every dish presented like a little piece of art that tasted heavenly. Just around the corner is The Restaurant, where 2 Michelin star chef Heiko Nieder presides over one of the best kitchens in Switzerland.
The service… oh, the service //
We were offered complimentary car use one afternoon and we were shocked the car of choice was a BMW 6 series convertible. And not one with a little engine… The Dolder Grand simply never cuts corners and only offers the highest quality, in every aspect possible. Although every 5 star hotel offers quality service, The Dolder Grand takes the concept of service to an entirely new level. The staff is courteous, helpful, speaks many languages and is always smiling. At the end of the day, with all the features, the spa, the art and the amazing rooms, these people create the atmosphere that make The Dolder Grand more than a hotel: it is an experience.
Location // The Dolder Grand