Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Head to Zürich for a snow-capped New Year

Zurich Hero.jpg
Zurich Hero 2.jpg
Z hero 3.jpg

I have to admit, I didn’t know much about Zürich before my recent mini-break.

Thanks to its reputation as a business hub and millionaire’s tax haven I expected lots of suits and extravagant jewels on my recent trip there, but my visit proved that you don’t have to carry a briefcase or drive a Formula One car to make the most of its bounty.

This is a city with a real heart. It offers cobbled streets dotted with boutiques and bars plus open-air flea markets selling Fifties furniture on Lake Zürich (which you can swim in, skate on or boat across depending on the time of year). The city looks like a giant chocolate box image of Christmas and, thanks to the locals’ penchant for schnapps and its thriving nightlife, Zürich is now a New Year destination.

The trend for feet-friendly biker boots suits Zürich down to the ground; it’s a city to luxuriate in when walking around. From the windows of Hermès and Vuitton along Bahnhofstrasse (the city’s version of Bond Street) to the bar of The Dolder Grand hotel (lit by hundreds of suspended candles); the best thing about being somewhere so cold is having an excuse to hide in the warmth.

And if you want to prolong that Christmas feeling and start 2012 in luxurious style, the Dolder Grand hotel is the place to stay – a luxurious hilltop haven set high above the city resembling a Walt Disney castle, complete with turrets, balconies and ballrooms. Thankfully it also boasts some rather adult charm too. I stayed in a superior suite (there are 173 in total), which was the size of an apartment with views of the city and canopy of lush trees below. Esteemed architects Foster + Partners gave the hotel a facelift in 2008 and the Bavarian turrets now sit next to the hotel’s new wings (above the 4,000sq-metre underground spa).

Why it’s hot

No visit would be complete without a quick train ride to Zürich-West; a vast expanse of ex-industrial space that’s been developed into an arty hub packed with designers, warehouse spaces turned tea shops and a nine-storey Freitag shop made entirely from shipping containers. It’s edgy, chic and has that bohemian ‘anything could happen’ atmosphere which east London and Berlin had 10 years ago. While you’re there, try Rosso, a pizza restaurant in a converted warehouse and investigate the contemporary art galleries on Limmatstrasse.

Eating and drinking

The jewel in the Dolder Grand’s palatial crown is undoubtedly The Restaurant, chef Heiko Nieder’s two Michelin-star restaurant. Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of the name. Even the bread and butter (with six types of bread and four types of butter) were complex. Highlights were octopus with lemon ice cream, beef with cinnamon and potato foam and rhubarb cake; a dessert with candied rhubarb cubes, marshmallow and rice paper crisps. Also try Haus Hiltl , a vegetarian restaurant and bastion of the Zürich restaurant scene for over 100 years. Mingle with the locals at Mère Catherine in the old town or try the best hot chocolate at Sprüngli, specialising in Luxemburgerli – native Swiss confectionery which look like mini macaroons.

Photo opportunity

Just five minutes’ walk from the Dolder Grand is its own private ice rink, one of the largest in Europe and a real beauty spot. On New Year’s Eve, the fireworks over Lake Zürich will be the perfect way to bring in 2012

Swiss Air flights to Zürich start from £114. Rooms at the Dolder Grand start from £407 per room per night including breakfast.

Comments

More

The adventure-hungry pilot encouraging female aviators everywhere

Eser Aksan Erdogan is high on life

by Anna Brech
17 Feb 2017

Need solo travel inspiration? Find your dream destination here

City break or beach holiday...?

by Sarah Biddlecombe
16 Feb 2017

Where to go in spring: the best holidays for March, April and May

Insider knowledge on falling prices, the best springtime skiing and avoiding tourist hordes

by Amy Swales
15 Feb 2017

The 12 hippest European neighbourhoods to visit this year

Coffee shops, vintage boutiques, and outsider art, from Athens to Oslo.

by Moya Crockett
14 Feb 2017

Soak up sea views and culture in Barcelona

Stylist's entertainment editor Helen Bownass rediscovers Barcelona's cool

by Helen Bownass
07 Feb 2017

There's a new Gin School and we're desperate to enrol

Me please, Miss

by Kayleigh Dray
01 Feb 2017

A winter wonderland in the Canadian Rockies

As Canada celebrates its 150th birthday, Stylist’s Sue Fowler straps on her skis and tours the Rockies.

by The Stylist web team
31 Jan 2017

Who needs the Caribbean? The best islands in the UK

Time to book that time off work and enjoy a staycation

by Deborah Cicurel
30 Jan 2017

LA to launch sexual harassment hotline on public transport

It's the first city in the world to launch a dedicated hotline

by Sarah Biddlecombe
18 Jan 2017

Enjoy London in style - and on a budget

Soaking up London's cultural delights needn't cost the earth finds Stylist's photographer and specialist director, Tom Gormer

by The Stylist web team
17 Jan 2017