In the 1980s two iconic giants, Swissair and Nestle, founded the Swissôtel, and over the next 30 years would grow to be world renowned for Swiss hospitality. With locations in 25 countries, including four in Switzerland, Resident explored the Zurich and Geneva properties.
We departed from JFK on Swiss Airlines (Swissair ceased operations in 2002) following a very nice visit to the VIP lounge, and after a comfortable flight, landed in Zurich. Both Zurich and Geneva are amazing cities with an abundance of shopping, activates, and cultural dining experiences. The Swissôtel in Zurich is the ideal place to stay for the business traveler. The rooms are well-appointed and its location gives immediate access to the city center. One thing that stands out at Swissotel Zurich is Le Muh restaurant.
Located on the ground floor, Le Muh's buffet -style service and outdoor dining option will satisfy any culinary palate. But it was the 45-page cocktail menu that really impressed me. At night, Le Muh transforms into a European lounge that provides the perfect relaxing atmosphere with a bartender who is so talented he could have easily replaced Tom Cruise in Cocktail.
Zurich is bustling with life, filled with cobblestone walkways zigzagging through architectural history, with unique shops and trendy restaurants. Surrounding the lake are walking paths and parks in which to lie down and relax or take a boat ride for a tour of the lake.
One thing that is a "must-see" is the Live at Sunset concert series in the summer months. If the Hamptons had a venue, this would be it. The arena, located just outside the city and tucked behind farmland, is relatively small compared to others, but it's pure luxury all the way. Here you can enjoy mainstream performers while experiencing not only a remarkable sunset, but also an evening cocktail or two.
Swissôtel Metropole Geneva was something much more on the grand scale. Built in the 1850s, you can feel the magnificence of this landmark building with views overlooking Lake Geneva.
I had anticipated more of a traditional look and feel with my room, but instead was very pleasantly surprised. The room was updated and contemporary but not overly modern. The first thing I noticed was the incredible view of Lake Geneva behind the two French doors and decorative balcony. The second thing I noticed was there was no television—but instead a large, almost 10-foot mirror. I thought about it for a minute and wondered if I actually minded there was no TV. Then I found a remote. Puzzled, I started pressing the on/off button and aiming it aimlessly around the room. Soon enough, there it was. The television was hidden in the mirror.
As you enter the room, one thing you can't miss is the shower. Surrounded by glass—so your view of the lake is never obstructed—the shower is more like a personal spa than just a shower. With its built-in rain and steam features, they may, in fact, have to drag you out of the room.
Metropole's Gusto Restaurant offers modern Italian cuisine, which changes by the season
and offers outdoor terrace dining in the warmer months—perfect for breakfast. The Mirror Bar, opposite the lobby, is a great spot to relax and enjoy light dishes and drinks. In the evening, 5 Lounge on the roof is the place to be. With its exceptional views, you can enjoy top-notch cocktails while watching the city light come alive.
Swissôtel Metropole really has the perfect location. Across the street sits a park that lines the lake. After having closed out 5 Lounge, I decided to grab a glass of Riesling and take a stroll along the lake. To my surprise, the park was bustling with people. Some having midnight picnics, some playing cards, and others, like me, just taking a stroll along the lake.
It seems any time of year is a great time to visit both Geneva and Zurich. The temperature can easily get up in the 90s in the summer, and you can still see the snowcapped Alps in the distance. Come winter, both cities are transformed into winter wonderlands.
Finally, another special thing I noted was how Swissôtel is connected with the community. We had the opportunity to visit a farm in Wagan an der Aare, a small rural area between Zurich and Geneva. This is where Swissotel gets its Purovel essential distilled oils for its spas. They are very rooted with the local economy, and do everything possible to help sustain that relationship and maintain their rich cultural heritage. So very Swiss, indeed.
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