Nestled in the heart of Zurich’s enchanting landscape, Chirine Halabi dived into an unparalleled vacation experience combining culinary artistry, natural beauty and rejuvenation at The Dolder Grand Zurich.
When I learned the identity of some of this prestigious property’s previous guests, I couldn’t help but be excited. Everyone who’s anyone, from the Rolling Stones to Elizabeth Taylor and even Nelson Mandela, have passed through the elegant doors since The Dolder Grand opened in 1899.
From the outside The Dolder Grand presents contradictions, the 124-year-old main building resembles a fairytale castle, while two later wing extensions, added during the 2004- 2008 renovation by renowned architect Sir Norman Foster, display a modern design that somehow doesn’t jar but rather blends with the history.
Inside, you’ll find a renowned art collection that is worth a visit all by itself and, on checking in, guests can access an iPad art tour giving information about the pieces and their creators.
My arrival and check in went smoothly and soon I was headed for my home for the next three days. The Junior Suite at The Dolder Grand Zurich provides an immersive experience that seamlessly combines comfort and sophistication. The suite features a lavish king-size bed adorned with exquisite linens, offering an oasis of tranquillity. Adding to the sense of modern indulgence, electric curtains allow for effortless adjustment of natural light, enhancing the atmosphere with a touch of technological elegance.
The suite’s windows frame a captivating forest view, where the lush panorama of verdant woods invites you to unwind in the embrace of nature. The interplay of sunlight filtering through the trees created an ambience of serenity, providing a breathtaking backdrop to my stay.
A Bang & Olufsen TV graced the space, offering a superior audiovisual experience. Its sleek design and impeccable sound quality added a touch of luxury, inviting me to unwind in style.
In the generously appointed bathroom, a selection of curated toiletries from the renowned Dr Burgener brand pampered my senses, ensuring a lavish bathing experience, which was made all the more special by the fabulous woodland view from the Jacuzzi. The innovative inclusion of a discreetly integrated screen within the bathroom mirror introduced a blend of convenience and entertainment, seamlessly enhancing my daily routine.
The hotel also has a selection of other accommodation styles, including the Top Suites, each of which is inspired by an artistic icon and boasts a wealth of unique features and amenities.
With the Fact Dining Awards firmly in mind, I have become a dedicated foodie and I was in for an unforgettable gastronomic journey. My experience at the two-Michelin-starred The Restaurant was nothing short of a masterpiece. Under the guidance of Chef Heiko Nieder, every dish was a symphony of flavours and textures, showcasing the finest Swiss ingredients. The amuse-bouches, with options such as egg salad with seaweed and mustard, and tofu-fresh cheese with sesame, shoos and chilli, were small bites of pure delight that left me longing for more.
The highlight was undoubtedly the lobster dish. The delicate balance of the crustacean’s sweetness with the refreshing notes of melon, the aromatic touch of bronze fennel and the subtle heat of green curry created a harmonious dance on my palate. Equally memorable was the veal with chanterelles – my favourite mushroom – accompanied by Emmentaler cheese, lettuce and horseradish. Each plate was a canvas of creativity, a culinary masterpiece that spoke volumes about the chef’s skill and dedication.
The ever-evolving menu ensured that every meal was a unique adventure. Knowing that the offerings would change added an element of anticipation to every dining experience, making each meal a cherished memory.
At blooms, the second restaurant at The Dolder Grand, a different kind of culinary magic awaited. Set amidst the hotel’s enchanting gardens, the restaurant’s concept revolves around seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. The garden itself is a testament to the dedication and passion of the culinary team, as they hand-pick the freshest ingredients to craft their dishes.
The menu at blooms is a celebration of nature’s bounty, featuring dishes that are not only visually stunning but also bursting with flavours. The attention to detail in every presentation is remarkable, and the freshness of the ingredients shines through in every bite. Dining in the midst of the gardens added an ethereal touch to the experience, connecting me with nature as I savoured every delectable morsel.
Mornings at The Dolder Grand started with a trip to Saltz restaurant, designed by artist Rolf Sachs, where a sumptuous breakfast spread awaited. The wide selection of freshly baked bread, pastries, fruits, cheeses and cold cuts ensured that every breakfast was a wholesome and delightful affair. The attentive service and serene atmosphere set the perfect tone for a leisurely start to the day.
However, the true star at Saltz, and a dish I won’t forget in a hurry, was the iconic Veal à la Zurichoise. A quintessential Swiss comfort food, it was executed to perfection, with tender veal in a creamy mushroom and white grape sauce. The flavours were rich and comforting, a true homage to Swiss culinary heritage.
Relaxation and Rejuvenation
A stay at The Dolder Grand would be incomplete without a visit to its renowned spa, which is a sanctuary of luxury and rejuvenation, designed to envelop guests in a world of serenity. Its opulent rooms are exquisitely appointed, offering a tranquil ambience that sets the tone for relaxation. Upon entering, the soft and lavish bathrobe they offered immediately added to the sense of comfort and indulgence, setting the stage for a truly immersive experience.
The therapists are true professionals, possessing a wealth of expertise that ensures every treatment is tailored to perfection. During my visit, I was treated to a caviar facial by La Prairie, an experience that transcended mere pampering. The therapist was exceptional – not only did she administer a sumptuous facial, but also provided personalised skincare advice and meticulously analysed my skin’s needs.
From the plush bathrobe to the skilful therapists, every element of The Dolder Grand Zurich’s spa contributes to a journey of relaxation and self-care. The caviar facial, coupled with the therapist’s insights, elevated the experience to a whole new level of luxury and rejuvenation, leaving me feeling pampered and radiant.
Last but not least…The Dolder Grand Zurich goes above and beyond to enhance the guest experience, offering a range of complimentary services that elevated my stay to a heavenly level. Among these standout services were the specialised e-bikes, sourced from one of the finest brands, ensuring guests have access to top-notch equipment for their explorations.
The inclusion of these high-quality e-bikes provided a unique and exhilarating dimension to my stay. The seamless glide through the picturesque surroundings of Zurich was an unforgettable experience, allowing me to effortlessly traverse the enchanting, forested landscapes and take in the stunning vistas.
Despite a minor incident where I accidentally caused a fall, the Dolder Grand Zurich’s team displayed unmatched professionalism and understanding. They handled the situation with grace and warmth, assuring me that accidents happen and ensuring that, since the e-bikes come with full insurance, I wasn’t charged for any damage. Their empathetic approach turned what could have been a stressful moment into a testament of their commitment to guest satisfaction.
The Dolder Grand Zurich’s provision of specialised e-bikes as a part of their free services not only adds an element of excitement to the stay but also showcases their dedication to guest enjoyment and comfort.
A Heartfelt Recommendation
The Dolder Grand Zurich is a haven of luxury, culinary excellence and relaxation. Its prime location, surrounded by a lush forest environment, offers a breath of fresh air for those seeking solace from the hustle and bustle of daily life. The culinary offerings at The Restaurant and blooms are nothing short of exceptional, delighting the senses with a symphony of flavours and artistic presentations. The Dolder Grand Spa experience is a journey into serenity, guided by the expert hands of the spa team with the indulgence of the best Swiss products.
I wholeheartedly recommend The Dolder Grand Zurich to anyone in search of a vacation that encapsulates the very best that Switzerland has to offer. Whether you’re a food enthusiast, a nature lover or simply seeking a peaceful escape, this grand establishment promises an unforgettable experience that rejuvenates the body, mind and soul. ✤
GO: VISIT THEDOLDERGRAND.COM FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO MAKE A RESERVATION.