STAY in Zurich:
Different styles behind each door: The Hotel Widder is the Omelette Surprise among the design hotels. And so you are spoilt for choice: Baroque wall painting or loft with metal balcony? In the mood for heavy wooden beams or Andy Warhol? You'll find everything at the Hotel Widder: While the nine Medieval town houses feature different styles each, they have one thing in common: individualism. Minimal meets maximal here: You are offered heavy curtains, Biedermeier furniture and playful styles just as much as armatures sparkling with chromate, masculine leather sofas and pure lines. The restaurants feature a similar mix: The breakfast pavilion below a glass roof is so bright that you can see the yolk shimmering through your egg. While the Widder Restaurant is darker it is equally excellent (15 Gault Millau points). The Widder Bar features jazz in the evening. And with Hank Jones and Phil Woods you can easily round off the day over a single malt whisky. Double room from 550 Euros per night.
The Kindli is one of these honest hotels one likes to visit and likes to leave again. And one likes to remind it. Here, they've been in the hospitality business for 500 years already. While in former times the pious ones with their very pious thoughts flocked to the Christian hospice and its very pious landlord, today's guests wash away their sins on Grander water. They put their heads on Hästens pillows and pray that their credit cards last through their shopping sprees at Zurich's top designers around the corner. But also the restaurant is worth its price: While the Mediterranean-inspired cuisine has not much room for tight belts, it has made room for Hanny Fries, whose pictures are on the restaurant's wall. On the wine card you find the noblest champagne as well as red and white wines from all over the world. One thing for sure: With its fountain in front of the windows, its Laura Ashley style and the church bells in the morning, the Kindli is one of the most romantic hotels in town. Whether it's still as pious as in former times we can't say. Double room from 277 Euros per night.
Everything's a bit artsy here, a bit casual and easy-going. The Hotel Seegarten adapts to the vicinity of the lake, pouring oil on troubled water with its famous calm before the storm. The Seefeld district is not a quiet one, after all. Many bars, stores and galleries demand a high degree of shopping discipline, weigh heavy on credit cards and make visitors dizzy with shopping frenzy. We recommend you keep your nerve and quickly check into the Seegarten Hotel because there you will be able to catch your breath. Its Mediterranean flair, its rattan furniture and the terracotta floors make the world appear much more relaxed. No wonder that the hotel became a pilgrimage shrine for the stressed-out. Among the media and advertising trades the hotel enjoys great popularity. Apart from its nice atmosphere you can also enjoy delicious culinary treats dished up by Restaurant Latino, very leisurely and stress-free, of course. You will seldom find a more uncomplicated hotel than the Seefeld in clockwork Switzerland. Double rooms from 187 Euros per night.
EAT in Zurich:
Breakfast in England - always worth a discussion. Some smile about it and many refuse it, but it has cult status anyway. And the Lion even serves Guiness with it. For breakfast? So what the heck, some guests think and stuff themselves on bacon, sausages, beans and fried eggs. The vitamins in the form of grilled tomato are only garnish, but there is orange juice, coffee, tea - or beer - with it. But is beer not a bit too early? No, there is no "too early" at the Lion because guests can enjoy breakfast any time, even late at night. And then the beer is a good choice again. Yet one question remains unanswered: Why do the English, as loftily as they are having tea, serve breakfasts that make every fitness trainer faint? The answer is: for tradition's sake and because it tastes good. And if you are having brunch at the Lion, you better stay and have another beer, another toast or another helping of brown sauce.
What you understand by that corresponds to your imagination. Kronenhalle means dinner deluxe for royalties or those that want to become a nobleman or noblewoman. You'll find Matisse and Kandinsky on panelled walls, there's a lot of crystal on white table-cloths and Picasso and James Joyce are on the guest list. The atmosphere is dark and dapper, perfect for a business agreement between bankers or the small bite preceding an opera evening. But not only are the guests classics at the Kronenhalle but also is the menu. Instead of Nouvelle Cuisine it is tradition that is served here on silver platters: Wiener Schnitzel (astonishingly!) and veal bratwurst with hash browns. You also get French Fries at the otherwise conservative restaurant. And if you are tempted to try the "Mistkratzerli" you've become a true fan of Zurich.
Industrial design: While the Swiss have not invented it, they like it anyway. At the trendy Rosso, for example, they overdo it a bit, with cables hanging loose and bare light tubes on the walls. Also the view you have from the long window front will only appeal to railway fans. Tracks and trains dominate the scene, and dinner is little romantic. But while you can get your water directly from the tap, you have to be patient awaiting your pizza. But when it finally is served, the waiting has been worthwhile. It tastes equally fantastic as the grilled calamari, making up for bare walls and bad service. The clientele that comes here likes the hippie chic because it's part of the scene. Medical students like the clinical surroundings, eagerly dissecting their wood-stove pizzas. Sometimes a local DJ acts as pizza man, unless he is occupied with his own business. All in all the Rosso is certainly an adventure not to be missed - but if you come a second time is a question of patience.
SHOPPING in Zurich:
The Boutique Roma has style, i.e. Belgian and not Italian style. While the name is somewhat misguiding, you may rest assured: What you buy here has a name. And a big one at that. You'll find Dries van Noten and Ann Demeulemeester here. And they are not alone because Roma also hosts international designers together with the Belgian ones, Junya Watanabe, Rick Owens or Haider Ackermann among them. If you have found the fitting noble outfit you can also leave your old sandals here. The new shoes come from Shoto, Fitzroy and Camper, the bags from Sak and Numero 10. And while SHE lives out her shopping frenzy, HE is also offered the fitting designer wear. Boutique Roma offers Royal Shirt, The Viridi-Anne and Georgio Brato for men. Once you leave the store you've shopped in three countries: Belgian designers on Swiss ground and with Italian names.
Here comes our tip for a perfect day in Zurich: a visit to the Kunsthaus, a gourmet lunch at the Kronenhalle and if you are in the mood for gift shopping visit Steinhauer's around the corner. The store offers a wide variety of international gifts. The perfumed candles come from Paris, the towels from Japan and the leather bags from Vienna. Steinhauer is equally popular for its wedding presents. And if you have been married before you know that one can always use silver cutlery - and salad servers and champagne glasses. What a shame when the serviettes are missing at your new home! That's why the wedding list by Steinhauer comes in so handy. The store offers individual complete packages for couples so that the relatives know what they should buy and the newly weds don't have ten toasters in the end. But even if you don't want to get married you will find the right present for any occasion here. The garden furniture might be a bit bulky, and you might not be able to get all the china into the suitcase. But handkerchiefs and felt slippers will even fit into the hand luggage, for sure!
Here's another Swiss designer devoted to avant-garde: While not every woman will like Sissi Zöbeli's designer pieces, they are at least unique. The exclusive clothes are often a combination of jacket and long pants. That's why they perfectly fit the hard-working woman over 30, for whom they are tailored as well. The suits are casually combined with other designer labels. Genuine Sissi Zöbeli shoes match well with Anita Moser, T-shirts by Daniel Herman or jewellery by Ma Schellenberg. And the interior decoration matches excellently with the original style of the designer. The former butcher's shop was renovated with loving detail and has a kind of kitschy but wearable style. And, while avant-garde, the clothes that sell here are wearable as well. Sissi Zöbeli mixes jeans, plush, silk and cotton but always stays on the safe side. Her clothing is never too extravagant, even when the western shirt goes with the cotton skirt.
SIGHTS in Zurich:
Good ideas should be handed on. Especially those like the Senior Design Factory in Zurich which brings the young and old together: for meals, chats and getting creative - for example during a knitting workshop. The idea for this project - building bridges between generations - comes from the Zurich designer Debora Biffi and Benjamin Moser. Crucial: her diploma thesis and Andy Warhol with his Silver Factory in New York melting art and consumption. The result: in March 2011 the first Senior Design Factory subsidiary opened with shop, atelier and workshop room located on Josefstraße. You can buy interior accessories, recipe cards, tea, brushes and household items. In autumn a second subsidiary opened on the pulsating shopping street, only a few houses away - with café and restaurant. Maybe you need to wait a moment longer for you coffee which you order from the 70-year-old waitress. But you'll possibly receive a charming smile in compensation. Also at the knitting workshop for beginners and advanced knitters with senior designers aged 90. Stop by, it can only get exciting!
The Museum of Design holds everything its name promises, accommodating almost all kinds of art under its roof. The collection comprises design, graphic art, posters and art, and if you don't know what that means we are eager to explain. What is exhibited here might be a TV from 1969, or an eggcup with salt shaker. But you can also see advertising material, film posters, a French perfume flacon, or even a cocktail dress here. Everything that's connected with design, everything that's art, everything that people do when they do art, is exhibited at this museum. While the artists are often anonymous, everything that's shown here - from make-up to burnt furniture - is definitely worth seeing. And if you want to know more about the topic you can participate in diverse workshops or talk shop with exhibition experts. And once you are leaving the museum again you can be sure that you've learned something new. So take your time!
Dada doesn't rest - Dada reproduces itself, says a phrase on the topic. And we add the following: If you say Dada too often, you become a bit gaga. But that's how it should be, probably. As what began at Cabaret Voltaire in 1916, soon became known as a playground of crazy emotions. Thus, Hugo Ball, Emmy Hennings and Hans Arp did not only stage their protest against World War I when opening their artists' pub but also invented a new art movement, which can hardly be described in words, therefore being simply called Dada. Dada is a collage from cubism, futurism and Medieval mystics, a wild blend of abstract dance and atonal music, of poetry, painting and the performing arts, i.e. Dada. If you got lost by now just come by. The Cabaret Voltaire is still flying the flags for Dada, delivering magic moments with exactly the right amount of irony palpable in every work of Dada.