Alden Hotel Splügenschloss
While I adore being pampered, I am not a big buyer of large fancy hotels (I find them a bit impersonal), so I was pleased to discover the Alden Hotel in Zurich, the city’s smallest five-star boutique hotel. While the Alden is centrally located near the Paradeplatz, the Bahnhofstrasse and Lake Zurich, the 22-room jewel is situated on a peaceful corner of an exclusive, residential neighborhood. “Even people in Zurich don’t know this hotel,” I was told by Andrea, the hotel’s concierge who has worked at several Zurich hotels including the grand dame Bauer au Lac.
When I checked in with my beau on Saturday, the receptionist cheerfully gave us our room three hours before the 3 p.m. check-in, and our luggage arrived in the suite before we did. I did a quick inspection before heading out for lunch with friends: nice largish bedroom with a great bed, firm mattress and the kind of crisp cotton sheets and duvet that make me want to crawl in and hibernate. The bathroom was spacious, with an extra-long bath and Jacuzzi jets, a shower and an antiques wooden table with an old-fashioned radio. Our suite had a comfortable, contemporary living room, as well as a very nice extra bathroom for guests. Overall, the hotel is full of nice touches, like the minibar where all non-alcoholic beverages are free, the multi-tasking safe which can safeguard and charge laptops, and the thoughtful plastic-encased map hanging from a necklace in the closet for joggers.
My only criticism was that suite 1E lacked the ‘wow’ factor; it has a narrow hallway and slightly grim courtyard view (our trip coinciding with winter in Switzerland). However Andrea later showed us some rooms which did impress, and are worth knowing about when booking a room. For those who like to gaze out of windows and want a grand entertaining space, executive suite 3C is very light and has a pretty view of the lake. Romantics might want to nestle into 5D in the rear of the hotel, a chic love nest with wooden beams and a sauna. My beau opted for 3D because it has a good view of the lake yet is cosier than 3C. This suite also has a huge bathroom and attractive ceiling molding. In the summer, go for 5A or 5D at the rear of the Alden, with their lovely outdoor terraces perfect for relaxing and catching the afternoon sun. The hotel has a Mediterranean-style restaurant. The staff couldn’t be more pleasant without being in your face. So while they aim to please, they also leave you alone. In short, I have Zurich sorted.