Wrapping around Lake Zurich, the city of the same name is home to some of the most luxurious hotels in the world. When choosing where to stay in Zurich, it’s important to note that Switzerland is quite an expensive country where even budget accommodations run $150-$200 a night. Zurich is divided into Kreise, or districts, and the most popular district among travelers is Kreis 1, also known as the Altstadt, or Old City. This is where the Limmat River flows out of Lake Zurich. The following selection of ‘Where to Stay’ options includes hotels of every level and style, from 5-Star hotels to inexpensive hotels; and we give preference to hotels that are in or near the Altstadt and that offer modern conveniences, such as free WiFi.
5-Star Hotels in Zurich
The Dolder Grand
A 5-star superior hotel with beautiful architecture, The Dolder Grand is one of the best hotels in Europe. It is located on Adlisberg Hill in Kreis 7, and it is easily accessible from the Altstadt by the smooth running Swiss public transportation system as well as the hotel’s free shuttle. It is ideal for those wanting to visit the city by day, and then escape to a resort at night.
An expansive hotel, it has 173 rooms, two restaurants, a café, a bar, a full spa, workout studio, and banquet facilities. The main building features classically decorated rooms with white-marble bathrooms, while those in the Golf Wing and Spa Wing feature modern décor—with floor to ceiling windows and sand-coloured Jura limestone bathrooms. The hotel offers free WiFi. For a real treat, reserve a room with a balcony and views of Lake Zurich on one of the upper floors.
Located inside of nine refurbished townhouses in the heart of the Altstadt, this hotel stands out thanks to its design, which includes hand-painted frescos and walls inlaid with small stones. Overall, the guest rooms, lobby, and facilities show a great eye for detail.
The staff is exceptionally welcoming and capable, and each of the 49 rooms, which includes 7 lavish suites, is uniquely decorated. In-room internet is free.
Amenities include a small fitness room, library, parking, the fine-dining Widder Restaurant, the Breakfast Pavilion, the fine-dining Turmstuebli, where guests can enjoy fine cigars, and the Widder Bar, which regularly presents live jazz.
4-Star Hotels in Zurich
An icon of the city, this hotel is located at the head of the famous Bahnhofstrasse street, and it excels at providing a pampered experience, from the welcome drink to a sizable breakfast spread, which is included in the price of the room. The rooms feature electronically adjustable beds, complimentary WiFi, a kettle with teas and coffee, and bathrobes, as well as several thoughtful touches, including fresh flowers, a trouser press, and triple-glazed windows.
Further, each evening the butler visits each room with a selection of newspapers, adapters, chocolates, cosmetics, and more. The hotel does not offer onsite fitness and spa facilities, but it does have a partnership with nearby facilities. The hotel’s La Soupière restaurant serves Swiss and French-inspired cuisine.
Ambassador Swiss Quality Hotel Zurich
Opposite the Opera House and featuring décor by Swiss designer Roland Schön, the Ambassador Swiss Quality Hotel is one block from Lake Zurich and short walk from Quailbrücke Bridge.
The spacious, quiet rooms each have complimentary WiFi, individualized climate control, pay TV, bathrobes, coffee/tea-making facilities, and comfortable Treca beds that are electronically adjustable.
Room price includes a comprehensive breakfast replete with champagne. The hotel has a bar, lounge, rooftop terrace, and the excellent Opera Restaurant, which features surrealistic-baroque design and serves contemporary Swiss cuisine for a good value.
Hotel Continental Zurich
Part of the MGallery Collection, this hotel is a 15 minute walk from the train station and located two blocks from the Limmat River. Featuring a classical décor of rich fabrics and polished wood paneling, each of the 138 rooms comes with Chopard’s body care range, minibar, kettle, safe, international satellite TV, tea/coffee making facilities, free wifi, and complimentary mineral water. There are two onsite restaurants: the bistro and bar, L’Entupada, and Lou’s, one of the few Chinese restaurants in Zurich. The staff has earned a reputation for being friendly and efficient.
3-Star Hotels in Zurich
Townhouse Boutique Hotel
Check-in takes place in a living room in this boutique hotel, located a block away from the main train station. The hotel, which comes at a good value, is ideal for travelers looking for a stylish stay; however, travelers looking for all the amenities of a large hotel should look elsewhere.
The living room lobby features comfy couches and an “honesty bar,” where guests can help themselves to a range of drinks, including a full bar, for a charge. The 25 rooms, including two junior suites with sofas, each come with Molton Brown amenities, WiFi (for a charge), hairdryers, bathrobes, and air-conditioning. Note that parking is difficult in this area.
Located in the university area on the edge of the Altstadt, this small hotel is an 11-minute walk from the train station and 20-minute walk from Lake Zurich and offers a decent value. The staff is friendly and the rooms are functional and comfortable, if short on amenities.
Each comes with a free internet connection, hairdryer, minibar, and safe. Some rooms have trouser presses. A basic buffet breakfast is included in the room rate.
Lady’s First Design Hotel
A boutique design hotel located in Kreis 8 near Lake Zurich, it is a 30-minute walk from the train station and a 10-to-15-minute walk to the center of the Altstadt. It focuses much of its attention on women, offering a women’s only floor (which is also where the hotel spa and sauna are located). The hotel is pleasantly decorated and has a rose garden and a fireplace in the lounge.
Each of the 28 rooms comes with high ceilings, design-furniture, parquet floors, Swissflex beds, and free WiFi. An American-style breakfast is served daily, and the price is included in the room rate. If traveling in the summer, note that this hotel does not have air conditioning.
Budget Accommodations and ApartHotels (Apartment-Hotels)
Ema House The Zurich All Suite Hotel
Adept at providing a luxurious, personalized experience, this hotel straddles the boundary between hotel and apartment-hotel. It offers 22 suites of various sizes and styles, from the Residential Suites, which have kitchens for those on extended stays in Zurich, to the Junior Suites, which have separate living, working, and sleeping areas and are good for shorter stays.
The hotel does not offer amenities such as a gym or spa, however, it makes up for this with a friendly staff and well-decorated suites. WiFi is available for a charge in all suites, and the train station is a 17-minute walk away.
Zurich Youth Hostel
Offering some of the lowest rates in the city, this clean hostel is a bit out of the city center, and, unless you enjoy a bit of walking, visitors should include the cost of a 24-hour or multi-day public transportation pass ($5.25-26) in the price. The tram stops right outside, making the Altstadt easily accessible.
There is no lock-out time; WiFi is free, though somewhat spotty; billiards are offered; and a basic breakfast is included in the price. Rooms feature two-to-six beds and all are mixed.
Written by Terri Fogarty for EuropeUpClose.com