The lowdown Peeking out of the skyline like an enchanted Walt Disney castle with its magical turrets and spires, Zurich's landmark hotel, The Dolder Grand, has been the ultimate luxe getaway since it opened in 1899. It may have attracted the old money set and everyone from Elizabeth Taylor to Michael Jackson to the Rolling Stones, yet four years of extensive renovations in 2008 (and a whacking great bill later) have not only restored the charm of the original hotel, but added two ultra-modern super-wings and a seriously cool 4,000 square metre spa. Elevated high above the city on woodland grounds and a golf course, with cracking views of Zurich (yet just 15 minutes ride away from the centre) and the Alps in the distance, this is one beautiful destination.
The rooms In the new wings, everything is high tech and seriously slick. Just opening your ridiculously heavy, vault-like door gives an idea of the quality of the furnishings. Laze on the pillowy beds and choose your lighting mood, then adjust the curtains from your remote control pad, or soak in the tub surrounded by marble and your in-bathroom TV. Or stay in a piece of history in the main building, and catch the view from your turn-of-the-century balcony. If your budget can be blown, book one of the four top suites; the Rolling Stones-inspired Suite 100, with its Sixties retro furniture, pink couches and pink and black colour scheme, or we love the Carezza Suite's white marble bathrooms and in-room cosy fireplace.
The spa By far the coolest, slickest spa in Zurich with its Japanese feel, light-filled pool and terrace overlooking the city. Either parade in your Pucci two-piece or snuggle down on the loungers with a book and G&T. When you're not sampling the La Prairie facials, muscle-melting massages or even having a facelift consultation, cool off in the 'Snow Paradise' room or warm up over the Japanese heated pebble baths. If you're feeling too lazy to even leave the confines of the hotel, just bubble in the outdoor hot tub instead; the views of the city are one of the finest in Zurich. Just remember to book an appointment in the hair salon for when the steam ruins your 'do.
What to do In winter, breathe in the fresh air as you skate around the hotel's private ice rink, explore the lake, take a tram into the city centre and pick up vintage bargains in the open air flea markets, browse the art galleries, or spend your Swiss Francs in Chanel, Dior and Hermes along the exclusive Bahnhofstrasse - Zurich's answer to London's Bond Street.
Dining The pinnacle of the Dolder's dining experience comes in the shape of The Restaurant. Fine dining (it's a two Michelin star affair), but everything on the menu is a little unexpected: scallops with pineapple, sea weed, dill and walnut, venison with bircher muesli or spiny lobster with coconut, peanuts, mango, coffee and basil. For a more laid back vibe, The Garden Restaurant with floor to ceiling windows serves up a mean breakfast, or dine under the stars (and the flicker of hundreds of suspended candles) outside.
The details The Dolder Grand, Kurhausstrasse 65, 8032 Zürich. Room rates start at Swiss Fr 470 (approx £322) per night based on two people sharing a Superior Double Room. Reservations can be made via thedoldergrand.com or by telephone: 0041 44 456 60 00.
By Lisa Durant