You know a hotel is the last word in opulence when simply renovating it costs $365 million (Dh1.3 billion). Zurich's Dolder Grand, which began life in 1899 as a "Curhaus" or health spa, re-opened in April after undergoing a four-year transformation into a luxury resort with 173 rooms and suites apart from 4,000 square metres dedicated to the spa.
Set between the city and the surrounding woodlands, the resort offers the best of Swiss hospitality and wellness.
Guests can enjoy breathtaking views of Zurich on one side and the forests and mountains on the other, while they enjoy the facilities at the resort, including a golf course and tennis courts apart from the spa.
Leading London architects Foster and Partners have combined the historic main building with the innovations of modern architecture. Two new wings, the Spa Wing and the Golf Wing, curve around the fully restored main building in a fusion of past and future. The Dolder Grand offers guests all the amenities of a luxury resort. Though the property is huge and sprawling, the number of rooms and suites combined is only 173.
Four top suites aim to cater for individual extravagance. The largest is the Maestro, housed in the tower of the historic main building. A stay in this costs Dh52,000 per night. Vanessa Flack, Public Relations Manager of Dolder Grand, told Emirates Business: "This suite has been inspired by the maestro himself, Herbert von Karajan, the renowned conductor of classical music. Classical music influences classical architecture at the highest point in the tower of the Dolder Grand. This extraordinary two-tier, top-class suite offers occupants about 1,310 sq mt of living space.
"Each of the two bedrooms has its own luxurious bathroom finished in pale marble, and, in addition to the whirlpool and steam shower, one of them also features a sauna. The classically appointed dining room situated in the circular tower room and can be served from the en-suite kitchen.
"It also has a library, which is ideal for reading or working in peace and quiet, and the living room on the upper floor is the perfect place to relax. Here, the spire's dark red timber work has been restored to its original state on the basis of historical documentation. Subtly coloured sofas, together with a bar and fireplace, complete the distinctive club style. The large balcony looking out from the tower room is the Dolder Grand's highest viewpoint." The Maestro Suite offers another highlight: the private lounge-style terrace provides breathtaking views of Zurich, the lake and the Alps in the distance.
"The living room, or the tower room as we call it, is the most historically rich room in the Maestro Suite and indeed the entire hotel. In this room you are at the highest point of the Dolder Grand and the view is just breathtaking," Flack said.
Interior specialists United Designers, also from London, shaped the new living spaces. While in the main building, their refined, eclectic configurations instill a sense of history, the two new wings epitomise the spirit of the modern age.
The facilities of the Dolder Grand Spa cover an area of 4,000 square metres. European and Japanese influences have shaped this complex, created by the famed American spa consultant Sylvia Sepielli. It comprises a pool with panoramic views, separate ladies' and gentlemen's spas, a state of the art gym, movement and mind-body studios, as well as 19 treatment rooms and two spa suites for exclusive, private relaxation.
The Dolder Grand offers a top-quality dining experience combined with first-class service. The main restaurant offers fine gourmet dining and the sophisticated Garden Restaurant has an unrestricted view of Zurich, the lake and the Alps. Both restaurants offer a wide variety of European-influenced dishes. So the next time you are in Zurich, put the Dolder Grand on the top of your list of things to check out.