Story by Barbara and Manos Angelakis
Photos by Manos Angelakis

Dolder Grand Exterior Entrance

The Dolder Grand
Kurhausstrasse 65
8032 Zürich
Switzerland
Tel: +41 44 456 60 00
Fax: +41 44 456 60 01
info@thedoldergrand.com

It’s called The Dolder Grand and it’s an incomparable example of what made the Swiss “Grand Dame” hotels coveted by royalty and celebrities alike  in the 19th and 20th centuries. Now upgraded for the 21st century, with the addition of two modern wings - the Spa Wing and the  Golf Wing - behind the original 1899 historic building, The Dolder Grand still maintains the elegance of a bygone day. On arrival you are  greeted like a cherished guest and introduced to the property with the  enthusiasm shown by every staff member from the General Manager to the  Doorman and everyone in between.

The hotel is located at the edge of the Adlisberg forest, on the side of  the mountain overlooking the city of Zürich and its eponymous lake. It  is considered a prominent landmark and was pointed out by our city guide as a must-see highlight when visiting Zürich. One of the main reasons  is the extraordinary collection of over 100 paintings and sculptures  from some of the most famous artists of the 20th century, many of which actually stayed at the hotel. These works are on display in the gardens, the terraces, the courtyards and throughout the reception and the public spaces and are an open-air museum par  excellence. The art work is so extensive that a computer listing of all  the work is available at the Reception for guests to take a guided tour  throughout the property. This is a modern art lovers paradise, a 5-star  hotel accommodation and museum all in one.

Dolder Grand Entrance Lobby

The Dolder Grand is considered a city resort, with 175 rooms and suites and is as prominent today as it was at the end of the 19th century when it first opened. I consider it as the epitome of the  famous Swiss hospitality industry and our recent stay there, following  our UNIWORLD Rhine & Mosel cruise, confirms my belief that when it  comes to hotel management and guest accommodation, the Swiss are still  at the top of the game.

Our visit also dispelled the stories I hear about the stodginess of Swiss  gastronomy, especially when it comes to the restaurants of some of the  5-star properties. I guess, the Red Guide that gave the hotel’s  restaurant and Chef Fine Dinning€ Heiko Nieder two Michelin stars, is  well aware of the innovative dishes and exceptional service of the  dinning room, which is simply called “The Restaurant€”. But more about  our dinning experience later.

Dolder Grand Junior Suite

We stayed in one of the junior suits in the modern Spa Wing. It was a  large room with floor to ceiling windows and a terrace - perfect for  dining el fresco in pleasant weather - with views that overlooked the  driveway, golf course, the city and the lake far below. There was a desk as you entered the room, then a semicircular settee with a round glass  table and a large flat-screen TV across from the king-size bed.  Falenopsis orchids decorated the room and were refreshed daily.

Dolder Grand Jr. Suite Bathtub

The bathroom was amazing, with a walk-through to the red marble double wash-stand on one side with the toilet and the shower glass-enclosures  on the other side. A glass partition led to the water-jet bathtub  accessorized with a tray holding bubble bath, candle and a small book of humorous illustrations along with fragrant soaps and gels. Opposite the tub was a glass door opening to the terrace with its glorious views and an automated wall control to open or close the curtains and shades as  desired. Along the wall was a make-up shelf holding a large sized  reversible mirror with daylight lighting attached, perfect for putting  on make-up and securing jewelry.

Dolder Grand Sculpture

We were escorted to our suite via a glass-walled corridor decorated with art work and luxury items available at the gift shop. The back garden  had one of our favorite revolving sculptures, Jean Tinquely’s and Niki de Saint-Phalle’s “Le Monde” seen through the glass walls; the corridor  let to an all glass elevator which whisked us from the ground floor to  our suite on the third floor.

Dolder Grand Saltz Restaurant

The hotel has two restaurants: Saltz, a 14 point GaultMillau restaurant is  charmingly decorated in a modern fashion. It is a bright airy space open all day. The menu is modern European featuring a number of seasonal  dishes. The highlight is breakfast and, on Sunday, brunch with an  abundant buffet. In the summer there is an open-air barbecue on the  terrace but we were there during the cold months and the barbecue was  not in operation.

Dolder Grand The Restaurant

Heiko Nieder is the Chef Fine Dinning, in charge of the Michelin-starred “The Restaurant” since the property’s reopening in 2008. The Restaurant is open for both lunch and dinner during most of the week, with the  exception of Sundays and Mondays. The Restaurant is closed for winter  break, from February 19th to March 6th. The lunch offerings include a 5 course amuse-bouche menu (it is similar to tapas, highlighting successful small dishes created by the kitchen). Plus a 4 or 5 course menu featuring numerous seasonal recipes with or  without wine pairings, and an a-la-carte menu.

For dinner, one can select from a 5 or 8 course menu, a vegetarian menu, an a-la-carte menu or a 12 course tasting menu with or without paired  wines. And talking about wines: The Restaurant has a selection list of  500 wines that includes rare bottles and some verticals that would  delight wine aficionados. And yes, La Tâche and other Romanée-Conti exceptional wines were there amongst the other noteworthy offerings.  Altogether about 1,200 bottles are stored under ideal conditions in the controlled environment of a wine cube, seen as one enters.

Dolder Grand Scallops with Caviar and Cubbed Tuna

There seemed to be Asian influences in many of the dishes the kitchen  creates. Especially tasty were the Radish with blossoms and herbs, the  summer role, the Peking duck chips, and the “baked potato”..

Dolder Grand Crayfish with Tobiko

Spectacular was the Crayfish tail with Tobiko (flying fish) eggs, and the rice role with egg, sea weed and Togarashi.

Dolder Grand Peanut-caramel bonbon and fruit stones

And the patisserie was not shabby either. Loved the Peanut-caramel bonbon  with sea salt and the “fruit stones” were as desirable as the written description was cryptic.

Some of the dishes we were offered did not seem to be part of the regular  tasting menu and I have no formal description of the dishes. It doesn’t  matter... they were as scrumptious as the rest of what was prepared for us.

Zurich Bürkliplatz

One more item I should mention. The hotel has a shuttle bus that takes you  down the mountain to Zürich’s Old Town, every hour on the hour, or you  can take the Dolderbahn funicular just outside the rear of the building  which brings one to the bottom Römerhof station, where one can change to a tram or taxi to go into town. The shuttle ride goes to Bürkliplatz  square across the river Limmat over the Queibrücke, from where you can  take a taxi or other means of transportation to visit the rest of the  city. Or you can explore many of Zürich’s notable churches,  guild-houses, museums and other buildings of the Old Town including the  Zeughauskeller, a restaurant in a historic armory that serves “typical  Swiss-German food” such as grilled sausages, of which they have quite a  large selection, served with potato salad and a side dish of sauerkraut, and decent beer. There you can experience indigestible Swiss-German  gastronomy at its best!

Thanks to Swiss Air International for their gracious support.

For further information on Zürich see: www.zuerich.com
For information on the hotel see: www.thedoldergrand.com

 

 

 

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