Twenty years ago the Widder was converted from nine different townhouses into a modern hotel. The result is an establishment that looks small but is actually large. You wouldn't think so when you first enter it, but the Widder has several bars and restaurants, meeting rooms, a library, business centre, gym, even a museum. (Alas, no pool or spa, but you can't have everything!)
We were upgraded to a suite that's as large as our London pied-a-terre. Modern chairs and sofas sit alongside antique armoires; the walls are panelled in dark wood (mahogany?). The bathroom is modern with plenty of room for two people. Both the sitting room and bedroom have air conditioning, an absolute godsend when the temperature hit the high 80s F. Everything in the mini-bar was included in the price of the room. (In hindsight, we should have taken the Toblerone before we left!) I could of course complain about the king bed that's actually two single beds pushed together, and the too-soft pillows. But these are a feature of nearly every hotel in Switzerland, so it seems fair just to accept them.
The Widder isn't on the river or lake, so you don't get much of a view. But it is in the middle of Zurich's picturesque Old Town. We enjoyed strolling around during the warm summer evenings, before and after dinner. You could easily walk to a restaurant, but we chose to stay in the hotel for all of our meals, which we ate outdoors in the courtyard. It meant that we never experienced the hotel's famous bar or its other restaurants, but I'm sure they're wonderful when the weather turns cold.
The conversion has stood the test of time. It looks like it was done yesterday, and it will probably still look great in twenty years. The Swiss know how to create things that last! Everything about this hotel feels substantial; nothing is flimsy or cheap, so there's no need to update the interiors every 18 months. Now THAT's living the "green" ethos.
If we return to Zurich, it'll be a toss-up between the Widder and the Storchen, where we also stayed. (See my separate review.)
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- Also Known As:
- Widder Hotel zürich