Why the Baur Au Lac Is The Best Hotel In Zurich For Affluent Business Travelers

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Baur au Lac exterior
Baur au Lac exterior

Johannes Baur officially opened Baur au Lac in1844 as a noble hostelry for aristocratic and other eminent guests who traveled incognito to Zurich, Switzerland. Obviously, the five-star hotel has continued to evolve since its opening, and while it offers every modern-day amenity one can think of, its clientele remains the same: affluent and powerful. Business travelers flock to this elegant, 120-ROOM locale for its central location—it’s a short walk from Zurich’s world-famous Bahnhofstrasse, the central Paradeplatz, Lake Zurich and the city’s bustling financial district, the Michelin-starred restaurant, Pavillon, and its guy-friendly bar. Here is what you can expect should you book a stay at this haute hotel.


STAY

Deluxe junior suite
Deluxe junior suite

In 2009, the hotel completed a $50,000,000 renovation. Designer Frédéric d’Haufayt designed the 119 new suites and rooms to convey the warmth and personal ambiance of a private apartment. Expect to find exquisite art deco artifacts in the style of Jean-Michel Frank and Jansen, which seamlessly contrast with French period furniture. We were particularly impressed with the bathrooms at the Baur au Lac (and we should note that this was one of the first hotels in the world to provide guest rooms  with their own sanitary facilities and running water), which feature custom-made natural stone tiles, protective glass panels and glass doors, double sinks and underfloor heating. The sumptuous rooms are also filled with a gratis mini-bar, a rarity among high-end hotels. Guests here are also treated to 24-hour concierge service; an IT butler; in-house laundry, dry-cleaning and ironing services; a shoe-cleaning service; a limousine service and individual car fleet; a private hotel car park with refueling, an interactive TV system with international news channels; an individual fax number upon request; and a BOSE sound system and iPod dock.


 

DINING

Pavillon
Pavillon

The piece de resistance of a stay at Baur au Lac is its Michelin-starred restaurant, Pavillon, a contemporary eatery that offers contemporary fine dining with ambiance to match: the restaurant is almost completely enclosed by glass with a rotunda built by star architect Pierre-Yves Rochon that offers fantastic views of the park and river. Chef Laurent Eperon‘s modern interpretations of classical French cuisine will melt in your mouth. In fact, this is one of the best meals we’ve had anywhere in the world. The prices aren’t for the faint of heart (the turbot entree was priced at 118 Swiss francs), but they’re worth it. Layered flavors in each course were more intriguing than the last, with interesting elements that most wouldn’t have paired together to become something unique, special and utterly amazing. Meanwhile,  Aurélien Blanc is one of the most knowledgeable sommeliers we’ve had the pleasure of speaking to. Like Eperon, he likes a challenge, and delights in finding guests the perfect bottle from the Baur au Lac’s own extensive wine cellar that absolutely perfectly completes your meal. Go on, test him: we tried, and failed.

To note, Pavillon isn’t the only dining option at the hotel. Rive Gauche is a fun, masculine spot with an extensive cocktail list and a heavy meat and fish menu, though options are rife for both vegetarian and vegans; Rive Gauche Terrasse is an outdoor terrace perfect for summertime that offers light summer snacks, refreshing drinks and home-made sundaes; while Le Hall is a fantastic place for afternoon tea during the winter months or an afternoon cocktail (pretty much whenever). This lobby bar is steeped in history: it’s the birthplace of the Nobel Peace Prize. Thomas Mann wrote here. Marc Chagall sketched here. Empress Sissi sipped afternoon tea here. And it was here that Franz Liszt accompanied his son-in-law, Richard Wagner, on the piano for the world première of “Die Walküre.”


 

WHAT MAKES BAUR AU LAC SPECIAL

LeHall
LeHall

There are a plethora of reasons that the Baur au Lac is supremely special. We’ll break down the ways for you here.

  • The Baur au Lac’s fleet of cars, first introduced in 1905, includes a Rolls Royce Phantom! This tradition continues to this day, currently the brilliance of a Rolls Royce Phantom shines in the hotel’s driveway. This model of Rolls Royce was even specially equipped for the Baur au Lac with a spacious trunk to allow for extensive luggage.
  • This haute hotel is one of the very few European luxury hotels to employ two in-house florists, who decorate the hotel with over 1,000 flowers every single day! Equally significant is the idyllic private garden which belongs to the hotel. The impressive California redwood soars for the past 122 years into the sky and is today a natural memorial.
  • The hotel has its own “Baur au Lac Vin” wine trading company. Over 700,000 bottles are stored in its century-old wine cellar. Hosting the worlds’ most exclusive Chateaux.
  • Following his visit to the Baur au Lac in 1969, Walt Disney even dedicated a special comic to the hotel.
  • While business travelers flock to the hotel, it has long been a favorite of Europe’s nobility and aristocracy. Some of the most powerful people in the world considered the Baur au Lac the leading address in Switzerland. In addition to King Ludwig I of Bavaria, the King Carl XVI of Sweden, the Queen Sonja of Norway and the Emperor I. Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, Empress Elisabeth of Austria, better known as Sissi, together with all her retinue, were just a few of the regular guests. It is also a beloved favorite of the rich and famous. Alfred Hitchcock was a regular guest, as were Sophia Loren, Gina Lollobrigida, Audrey Hepburn, Jayne Mansfield and Brigitte Bardot. Today, Hollywood stars such as Renée Zellweger, Richard Gere and Daniel Craig are regular guests.



Baur au Lac is located at Talstrasse 1, 8001 Zürich, Switzerland

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