Hot off the press from Zurich’s Baur Au Lac
Going to Zurich on business? Or looking for that perfect European vacay spot with enriching culture, beautiful surroundings, epic cuisine and fun activities? How does a family owned world-class hotel on the lake sound? Apparently, to many investment banker VIPs, business moguls, diplomats, royals, ultra-elite celebrities and…well… me, the Baur au Lac Hotel is an excellent choice!
Arriving at this property after driving through the charming and historic town of Zurich was truly a delight. Especially with the lake and snowcapped alps as its backdrop. Stepping inside revealed tasteful and classic décor, mostly in warm and neutral colors with occasional bursts of colorful accents. Exquisite flower arrangements adorn each area of the hotel and unique art is showcased throughout the property.
The hotel has 75 guest rooms, 45 of which are suites. They range in size from 270 sq. ft. to 1184 sq. ft. and have iPad room controls, a free minibar, a nice work space, multi-lined speaker phones, free wifi, terry bathrobes & slippers, and a Bose sound system. Some have flower adorned balconies overlooking the water, and if that isn’t enough to make guests feel pampered, they’ll also find a pillow menu in their room, allowing them to select just the right pillow for their stay.
The sweetest (literally!) surprise awaited me in my room when I arrived… they had prepared a marvelous display of chocolates and cake pops, and the name of my blog, “Wildluxe”, which was all edible and written in chocolate! I told myself I wasn’t going to eat it, but somehow as the hours rolled by, the sneaky chocolate monster prevailed!
The list of hotel amenities is extensive. There are 2 excellent restaurants, a beauty salon, twice daily housekeeping service, rooftop fitness center with personalized training and gorgeous views, 24 hr concierge, 24 hr room service, business center, IT butler, Medical massage and physiotherapy upon request, and a private garage with a car wash, to name a few. The hotel is also pet friendly.
The concierge booked a tour of Zurich for me, with the Zurich Tourism Board. It’s really a fascinating and beautiful city with a lot of history. It captivates with its phenomenal architecture, canals, brightly colored flower boxes, medieval churches and castles, and picturesque old town. For adventure-seekers, during the warmer months Lake Zurich offers swimming, sailing, wakeboarding, surfing and jumping off high dives. Others may prefer a serious shopping adventure, or a tour of the many excellent art museums. The Baur au Lac is within short walking distance of the famous Bahnhofstrasse shopping area and Zurich’s financial district.
Like many places in Zurich, the Baur au Lac has a lot of history behind it. It was first established in 1844 by Johannes Baur and has remained in the family to this present day, spanning 6 generations. During WWII, they grew potatoes in the park land to feed the starving population. Perhaps that’s what earned them the good karma to be the legendary hotel that they are today! The hotel has many fun stories of noteworthy events that occurred there during its history. It’s said that it was at Baur au Lac where the idea of the Nobel Peace Prize was given to Alfred Nobel. It was also the site chosen by Austrian Empress Elizabeth to spend a summer with a couple of princes and an entourage of 60. Richard Wagner performed the world premiere of his opera, Die Walküre here, accompanied by father-in-law, Franz Liszt, on the piano. It has also been frequent host to a long list of the world’s most famous musicians and artists, and has been the venue for many a wedding, art exhibition and posh banquet (they have several large banquet/convention halls).
A few words about the dining scene at Baur au Lac. There are 2 restaurants on site. One of them is The Pavillion, and is one of the most popular restaurants in Zurich. It is a lovely place set in a beautiful Victorian style glass conservatory with stunning floral arrangements. It has one Michelin-Star and 17 Gault-Millau points and features classic haute cuisine. The second dining option is the Rive Gauche, which is a hip and swanky hot spot in the city and has a creative and mouthwatering menu inclusive of vegetarian options and sumptuous desserts. Its patio overlooks the park and Lake Zurich. There is also a beautifully decorated lobby area with a fireplace and giant glamorous chandelier where guests can enjoy an afternoon tea or cocktail.
To top it all off, this hotel makes their own chocolate, honey and wine. This is a wine connoisseur’s heaven, with a massive selection of only the finest. Their chocolate, of which there are several varieties, is called 1844 Chocolate, named after the year the hotel was founded. A warning advisory to chocoholics: it is delicious!!!
I was hosted as a guest of Baur au Lac, but the opinions expressed in this article are, as always, my own.