ZURICH: Hotel Schweizerhof

During our trip to Europe this spring, our first stop was Zürich and The Hotel Schweizerhof, a hotel I selected because of its high ratings on TripAdvisor. While the Schweizerhof has many things to recommend it, there are also a few drawbacks.

The Schweizerhof is close to the Hauptbahnhof Zürich, the city's main rail station. It is convenient to the Bahnhofplatz, the Bahnhofstrasse (the Rodeo Drive of Zürich), and the trolleys that can take you to all parts of the city.

It is without a doubt luxurious. The breakfast is wonderful, with both traditional European breakfast items (such as muesli) as well as items that cater to the American tastes (like scrambled eggs, bacon, and perhaps the best Weisswurst I've eaten in quite some time) .

The staff is everything you'd expect it to be: gracious, accommodating, and helpful.

We arrived at 9 a.m., stressed from an overnight flight from the U.S. and from trying to figure out the rail system from the airport through the fog of our jet lag and too many years elapsed since we took German in school. Despite the early hour, they had a room ready for us and even plied us with deliciously rich Swiss coffee as we checked in. Had it been later in the day, we were assured, it would have been a glass of wine or champagne.

Our room faced the Hauptbahnhof and the ongoing construction (in the photo at left) but, thanks to the triple-glazed windows, we didn't hear a sound, day or night.

However, our room was very small (even considering that it was, after all, Europe) and it was, in my estimation, overpriced at CHF550 per night for two people.

Hotel officials told me that many multi-national companies have negotiated rates more favorable than that, so if you're able to secure a lower rate (or are traveling on business and the company's picking up the entire tab), absolutely stay at the Schweizerhof. Otherwise, I'd look into other hotels, either near the Bahnhofstrasse or the Altstadt (the Old Town). They are numerous and, although you may sacrifice a bit of luxury, your budget will thank you.

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Photos by Carl Dombek
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