December 3, 2015
News and Views
A WHIRLWIND WEEKEND IN SWITZERLAND
Europe provides a multitude of options for a quick layover when traveling farther distances. On a recent trip to Marrakech for the annual PURE Life Experiences conference, I chose Zurich as my weekend destination before returning to Canada…why?
Flight connectivity – whether traveling from Canada, within Europe, to Asia or Africa, the options are plenty. For my particular trip there was nothing that would connect the same day returning back, and while Amsterdam is my routing of choice, I’ve been before so wanted to check out somewhere new.
Switzerland is efficient! I’ve always heard this, but it really is true. It literally took 7 minutes to deplane, go through immigration, and collect my bags before I was in the car headed to the hotel – not to mention one of the most efficient train systems in all of Europe.
Zurich is small, in comparison to other European cities – for the traveler who doesn’t have a lot of time to spend exploring, Zurich is small, pedestrian and transit friendly. And thanks to the wonderful train and roadways, its also very easy to visit neighboring towns.
There’s a blend of old meets new – from historic castles and cobblestone streets, to contemporary architecture and leading technology – it fits well together and provides an interesting contrast and atmosphere.
A FEW HIGHLIGHTS FROM MY WHIRLWIND WEEKEND…
The Dolder Grand is a destination in itself, a world-renowned property; the hotel sits on a hill overlooking the lake and city. Historic, and beautifully modern (choose the spa wing for ultra contemporary suites with sweeping views), I chose the Dolder Grand for its absolutely amazing 43,000 square foot spa. I knew that after a week of meetings, a day of relaxation would be in order. All I can say is – WOW – a full day here is definitely needed to take it all in. Even though the hotel isn’t centrally located, the hotel offers a complimentary shuttle every 30 minutes and is only 10 minutes away from the old city. Not to mention its attention-grabbing artistic features, outgoing and attentive service, relaxing lobby lounge with live music, or bar with glittering suspended candles – The Dolder Grand exceeded expectations and is a perfect choice for those seeking a combination of a relaxed city stay.
While I didn’t get a chance to see the city in its entirety, Zurich’s night scene passed the test.
Sternen Grill is a popular sausage and beer hangout – and yes, the sausages were delish! Right next door is Odean Café and Bar, one of the oldest bars in Zurich dating back to 1911, the bar is welcoming and friendly, lively but casual – both are located in the center of the city and not to be missed.
For a fun and truly unique way to see the city, the Bike Butler is where it’s. Offering city tours during the day and late into the night, the guides are outgoing, knowledgeable, and have just about everything in their chariots to make for an enjoyable ride – mulled wine, coffee & tea, champagne, beer, a full selection of cigars, never ending playlist of music (if you so choose, I’m sure this is more for the nighttime tours as I can’t imagine rolling the streets during the day with the tunes blasting), and for cool nights, blankets to keep warm. A great way to experience the city in the open air, stopping and going as you please (without having to do any of the work)! Highly recommended.
HOW MANY CITIES CAN YOU SEE IN ONE DAY?
Another reason I chose to Switzerland was to see a friend I hadn’t seen in 17 years – now a chef and owner of Restaurant Rosmarin in Lenzberg, a small village with a grand castle on the hill above, only 40 minutes from Zurich.
Philipp planned a whirlwind road trip, taking us to Lucerne to walk the famous chapel bridge; driving through tunnels carved across the mountains, and above beautiful mountain peaks to Interlaken for a beer at the Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel, overlooking Jungfrau Massif; and finally, to Bern for a sobering stop at the parliament building, lit up by candles and gathering for the recent attacks in Paris.
Switzerland has plenty to offer and proved to be a great place to plan a stopover, leaving with a desire to return to explore more of this beautiful little country.