As well as being famous for its Christmas markets, Zurich is big on culture, food and, recently, wellness. The Resident makes an enlightening trip to the not-quite-capital of Switzerland, Zurich
Words: Madeline Howell
My friend and I were after a weekend break that offered something a little different; good food, an inspirational dose of culture and the chance to unwind. Enter Kameha Grand Zurich: the Autograph Collection’s first hotel in Switzerland, and one that prides itself on being ‘exactly like nothing else’.
With a Michelin-star restaurant that offers fine dining with mind reader Tobias Heinemann – who can help you read the mind of your dining partner, or simply predict what you’d like to order – Kameha fitted the bill perfectly. We couldn’t wait to see the collection of themed suites created by the famed Marcel Wanders and experience the stunning spa terrace.
Arriving on a Saturday after a short flight we settled down in the Serenity Suite, a wellness suite complete with yoga mats and a gloriously spacious bathroom, and preened ourselves ready for dinner.
I defy any foodie not to appreciate the six-course offering in the opulent interiors of YOU restaurant. Perfectly paired with Swiss wines, such as a Riesling and a sparkling rose from the Vineyard Obrecht in Graubunden, the menu kept us guessing and led up to a decadent dessert of Valrhona chocolate with rhubarb. After dining, you can cocoon yourself in the shisha lounge.
Early risers should head to the gym and work up an appetite to enjoy the spectacular Sunday brunch before setting off. Zurich also packs quite the cultural punch, and the surrealist movement Dada was founded there 50 years ago this year.
Meandering along the quaint streets, you can transport yourself back to 1916, when the exiled artists gathered in the heart of the notorious Niederdorfli district. Sip a beer at their legendary cafe club Cabaret Voltaire, which is just a few steps from where Lenin lived in exile.
We also visited the Kunsthaus, home to a large collection of sculptures by Giacometti, as well as favourites by Picasso and Matisse. Had we more time, we would have checked out the cool ‘industriequartier’, Zurich West – but it was time for dinner.
We headed for the Paradeplatz and Bahnhofstrasse (a shopaholic’s mecca) before dining at restaurant Rive Gauche in the chic setting of the Baur au Lac, a 170-year-old, 5-star hotel overlooking the lake.
As well as being a destination for its famous Christmas markets, culture, food and shopping, Zurich is also suited to wellness fans. Come spring, the lakeside lidos come to life and healthy hikes up the Uetliberg mountain become more appealing. It gets a big tick from us.
For further information on packages, trains and air tickets see myswitzerland.com, call the Switzerland Travel Centre on freephone 0800 100 200 30 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Email email@example.com. Kameha Grand Zurich offers double rooms from £136 per night. For reservations at Rive Gauche see agauche.ch