STAY in Zurich:
Greulich (sounds like grey or gruesome in German) is not the best name, however, it derives from the street name there, and the street is named after a renowned labour movement politician. The refined understatement is palpable all over the district. Where once the clack of heavy boots resounded, the creative scene walks high-heeled about its showrooms. Designers also gave the finishing touches to the hotel, paying tribute to the thirties and fifties above all. Function and colour dominate the interior of the design hotel - here a bit of secretive blue, Mediterranean shades over there, interrupted by a lot of glass for the perfect view of the inner courtyard. And it's this view that surprises: Instead of the usual three wooden tables with open sunshades you find birch trees, conveying a lot of tranquillity amidst the scene district. The rooms are devoted to Zen as well: Purity, indirect lighting and minimalism at its best. The business people like that and the cuisine as well, Catalan specialties following the topical principal of slow food. And if you have eaten your food real slowly, you can slowly light a cigar at the Cigar Lounge. Double room from 180 euros per night.
The Hotel Zürichberg is well off with its top location: on a hill above the town, amidst rolling hills, meadows and woods, with a terrific view of Zurich and the lake. Here, guests can rest and recreate, protected from noise and stress. The Art Nouveau building's façade hides what awaits you inside: top-class design. Noble parquet floors, shades in mauve and red and great designers such as Arne Jacobsen and Jasper Morrison forebode only good things for a good night's sleep. And late sleepers and caffeine junkies have only to steps to walk before reaching their own Nespresso machine on their room. While George Clooney is not included, the noble Restaurant R21 has other goodies in store. The Mediterranean cuisine is almost as attractive as George. We recommend a glass of champagne on the breathtaking terrace of Zürichberg and lots of idleness. And if that's not enough for you, you can also set out on a discovery trip in the woods behind the hotel. Double room from 219 Euros per night.
And here's another hotel of the Swiss private label "Come in and feel good". While the Hotel Otter is 770 years old, neither its furniture nor its clientele are outdated. There's a lot of art everywhere, the rooms having been designed by various artists, so you won't get bored even at night time. There is an African lodge with bamboo elements, a Japanese variant with the usual minimalism, a maritime room with blue-striped wallpaper or fancy single rooms. At the Hotel Otter they know that there are different strokes for different folk, so individualism ranks high here. But the clientele - somewhere between model and musician - has to live up to James Joyce's harsh dictum: "Love, lie and look good because tomorrow we have to die". There are no limits to the cravings for pleasure and the door is open to the bar. While the latter's name is "Wüste" (desert), it is no desert at all. Here, true Zurich people get together for Swiss chats and a genuine Swiss beer. Do you need more? Double room from 105 Euros per night.
SHOPPING in Zurich:
Have you experienced something like that, too? You step into a store and immediately ask yourself where you will place the stuff you are going to buy in a minute. And still you buy it, and later on you have garden shears although you have no garden. At Limited Stock you can devote yourself to passionate collecting. You'll find anything that makes your heart leap, always combined with the buzz words you want to hear: rare, for example, or unique piece, or limited edition. Hubert Spörri and Ulrich Zickler have travelled to the remotest spots in the world to bring along all those things that look simply good but probably are of no use at all. You want them anyway? Then come by here and discover a world of rare snails, fossil wood, noble viennese glass or garden gadgets. You will find something you would never have guessed you could use, for sure!
The bulky pelican in the label is fortunately not a guideline for the men's styling who stop by Pelikamo in Zurich. They rather come into the former bank house - only a few minutes away from Bahnhofstraße and the tradespersons - because of the straight menswear by Mismo, Lavenham, Aesop or Pelikamo. There are bilious green pants lying next to the pink sweater and the moss-green loafers - and everything looks impeccable. Evidently a woman had a hand in the store concept. Together with three men Mia Zeltner has opened Pelikamo in 2011. Apart from garments they also offer tartly scented candles and whiskey from a Swiss distillery. Between the fittings they let their male customers sit on the retro sofa and give them magazines to read - to reflect over certain matters. Randy Kündig, the kind soul at Pelikamo will bring an espresso. It might be possible that the suit trousers will still not fit after that. But that shouldn't be a problem as the in-house tailor will change the garment or make a new pair for you.
Where the world is still a disc, the world is fine. At the Zero Zero you won't find a double zero as it sells only the best the music world has in store. At the perhaps best-assorted and largest record store in town music fans will find anything their heart desires. A comprehensive discography of rock's history, a lot of reggae and much Indie is big here. Our tip: If you arrive here on Thursdays, DJ Rexx will advise you and he is a true expert. You cannot only buy records here but also the fitting streetwear. Labels like Superdry, Abercombie and Goorin are the right outfits for Hip Hop and Co. And if you own something that you don't need anymore you've found the right place, too. The Zero Zero buys anything in the fields of CD, DVD, records or games. They even pick up bulkier stuff at your home. There is one genre though that even deters the wildest record dealers: The store doesn't sell hits and they are not bought here either.
EAT in Zurich:
If you want to get closer to the water you have to be in the water. The outdoor lounge of Acqua promises the probably best view of sailing boats, mountains and Lake Zurich's sparkling blue. Such a panorama does only harmonise with the noblest interior, of course. The terrace is white and made of wood, suiting a fish meal after a long walk along the promenade. But the restaurant is luxurious inside as well: large windows, a lot of mother-of-pearl and space for a conservative clientele concluding perfect deals over a perfect dinner. The menu is as fresh as morning dew, combining seasonal and regional specialties. Fish and meat are grilled, the pizza comes from the wood stove and the guests come from the general assembly. And that's how the prices are defined. Acqua is not cheap but it is good. And you can get great brunches here. On Sundays they serve Mediterranean "Brunch al Lago" from 10.00 to 14.00.
Balance is the key - Indians have known that for 5,000 years. If you stick to this method and eat Ayurveda, you are in line with the universe. That's the idea behind the Restaurant Mohini, completely devoted to striving for harmony. And that's how it is done: Chef de Cuisine Valentin Schmid puts everything that the tongue can discern as taste in the pot, mixing bitter, sweet, hot, salty and sour in the right proportion. While he is the last to taste the meals, he keeps them hot three hours maximum, serving them only for lunch, because one shouldn't eat in the evening, and if at all, only light stuff. But lighter is not possible anyway: Zucchini with coriander, organic rice with tofu and mint tea make nutritionists hearts leap higher, promising meals that make guests find their balance, for sure. And if they haven't found it yet, the energy gained from so many vegetables is just fine for another city tour. Meat eaters, by the way, need not have a bad conscience: Ayurveda allows beef and other meats on the plate, however, only for the very sick and the emaciated. The Mohini, however, does not offer nursing services and is strictly vegetarian.
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.
SIGHTS in Zurich:
Marek Krynski thought "Why not?" in 1992 and applied for the permit of a demonstration on love & peace at the police. The result: 1,000 ravers, seven cars and angry politicians. In 1994, they tried to forbid the Street Parade but nobody had expected the public outcry that ensued. Eventually, the police gave in under public pressure, allowing 30,000 ravers the party of their lives. Nothing much has changed today. You can still hear the whistles and the roll of the drums in Zurich's downtown area every August. World-famous DJs are taking part. And still people dance for world's peace. In 2010, 650,000 party people participated when DJ Hell, Paul Kalkbrenner and Fedde le Grand proved their skills at the turntables despite cloudbursts. But this time there was a minute's silence for the victims of the Love Parade. All of a sudden there was complete silence onstage and in the Love Mobiles. But the show must go on: Also in 2012 Zurich's streets will resound from the shrill, loud and above all peaceful celebrating of thousands of ravers.
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!
Everything that's going on here was won hard: The former silk factory was due for dismantling but the avant-garde scene was against it. A 1973 referendum decided that the factory was going to continue as a centre of culture and encounter. But the conservatives were against it, maintaining that rock music was no culture and should not be allowed to be staged at a city centre of culture. Then, nothing happened for many years. Eventually, the youth movement demanded that there be life in the dead factory. And after innumerable demonstrations they succeeded. Today, the red factory has cult status. Even Nirvana and the Red Hot Chili Peppers had guest performances here. Diverse programmes are hosted every evening. The factory theatre stages artistic experiments on a regular basis, there is free jazz, and thanks to "Fabrikvideo" fledgling musicians can produce their own videos and use the factory-owned cutting machine.