SHOPPING in Zurich:
André (Andi) Stutz is a true sunshine and king in his field. Together with his sisters Elsa and Maya, he runs the company Fabric Frontline since 1980 and offers an immense range of precious silks. Not only his deer friend Vivienne Westwood but also Chanel, Gucci and Givenchy count to his clients. Apart from offering fine silk, Stutz and his team also design and produce accessories like neckerchiefs, scarves, foulards and ties. The headquarters with its complete range of fabrics is located in Ankerstrasse 118, whereas the boutique can be reached at Bahnhofstrasse 25, offering fashion made of cashmere and silk. Pullovers, jackets, blouses and coats made of silk are shining brightly in rainbow colours as if they were competing against each other. The boutique itself, designed by Ugo Rondinone, is richly colourful as well. For those of you who want it most exclusive can buy a custom-tailored silk garment by André Stutz.
Here comes our tip for a perfect day in Zurich: a visit to the Kunsthaus, a gourmet lunch at the Kronenhalle and if you are in the mood for gift shopping visit Steinhauer's around the corner. The store offers a wide variety of international gifts. The perfumed candles come from Paris, the towels from Japan and the leather bags from Vienna. Steinhauer is equally popular for its wedding presents. And if you have been married before you know that one can always use silver cutlery - and salad servers and champagne glasses. What a shame when the serviettes are missing at your new home! That's why the wedding list by Steinhauer comes in so handy. The store offers individual complete packages for couples so that the relatives know what they should buy and the newly weds don't have ten toasters in the end. But even if you don't want to get married you will find the right present for any occasion here. The garden furniture might be a bit bulky, and you might not be able to get all the china into the suitcase. But handkerchiefs and felt slippers will even fit into the hand luggage, for sure!
It's so typical: When you finally have time to read a book on your vacation, it's a boring book you've taken along. Either you've bought it somewhere shortly before your departure or you wanted to brag with it because it looked so good. Here comes our tip: The Orell Füssli Bookstore is centrally located and sells books that look good. Also the inside looks good. The specialist for design, photography and architecture has anything that makes the hearts of art fans leap, from Andreas Gursky to Adolf Loos or to essays on genuine British cottages. And if you are in no hurry you enjoy coffee over Helmut Newton and talk shop with your neighbour from the other table. But if you are no friend of coffee-table books you will also find literature at Orell Füssli, along with books on Switzerland and a selection of French books at that.
SIGHTS in Zurich:
Here's a short briefing: The Dadaists put their fingers in the open wounds of philistines, setting trends for Zurich's avant-garde in 1916. Trendsetters in art are Tzara, Ball and Arp, who exposed the absurdities of war with their sculptures and paintings and revolted against the bourgeoisie. If you are curious we recommend you visit the Kunsthaus Zürich. Behind its neo-classicist façade it hides anything the post-modern artist's heart desires. But apart from Matisse, Mondrian and Chagall you can also descend into the depths of the psyche and discover the expressionists, surrealists and all the others with Munch, Picasso, or Dali. TheKunsthaus also holds a large collection of graphic art from Dürer to Füssli in store. You'll also find photo collections by Gursky and Wall and Old Masters from Holland, Italy or the late Gothic period. All in all one can say: If you don't find something you like here, you don't like art at all.
Everything that's going on here was won hard: The former silk factory was due for dismantling but the avant-garde scene was against it. A 1973 referendum decided that the factory was going to continue as a centre of culture and encounter. But the conservatives were against it, maintaining that rock music was no culture and should not be allowed to be staged at a city centre of culture. Then, nothing happened for many years. Eventually, the youth movement demanded that there be life in the dead factory. And after innumerable demonstrations they succeeded. Today, the red factory has cult status. Even Nirvana and the Red Hot Chili Peppers had guest performances here. Diverse programmes are hosted every evening. The factory theatre stages artistic experiments on a regular basis, there is free jazz, and thanks to "Fabrikvideo" fledgling musicians can produce their own videos and use the factory-owned cutting machine.
Good ideas should be handed on. Especially those like the Senior Design Factory in Zurich which brings the young and old together: for meals, chats and getting creative - for example during a knitting workshop. The idea for this project - building bridges between generations - comes from the Zurich designer Debora Biffi and Benjamin Moser. Crucial: her diploma thesis and Andy Warhol with his Silver Factory in New York melting art and consumption. The result: in March 2011 the first Senior Design Factory subsidiary opened with shop, atelier and workshop room located on Josefstraße. You can buy interior accessories, recipe cards, tea, brushes and household items. In autumn a second subsidiary opened on the pulsating shopping street, only a few houses away - with café and restaurant. Maybe you need to wait a moment longer for you coffee which you order from the 70-year-old waitress. But you'll possibly receive a charming smile in compensation. Also at the knitting workshop for beginners and advanced knitters with senior designers aged 90. Stop by, it can only get exciting!
STAY in Zurich:
The Kindli is one of these honest hotels one likes to visit and likes to leave again. And one likes to remind it. Here, they've been in the hospitality business for 500 years already. While in former times the pious ones with their very pious thoughts flocked to the Christian hospice and its very pious landlord, today's guests wash away their sins on Grander water. They put their heads on Hästens pillows and pray that their credit cards last through their shopping sprees at Zurich's top designers around the corner. But also the restaurant is worth its price: While the Mediterranean-inspired cuisine has not much room for tight belts, it has made room for Hanny Fries, whose pictures are on the restaurant's wall. On the wine card you find the noblest champagne as well as red and white wines from all over the world. One thing for sure: With its fountain in front of the windows, its Laura Ashley style and the church bells in the morning, the Kindli is one of the most romantic hotels in town. Whether it's still as pious as in former times we can't say. Double room from 277 Euros per night.
A butcher's shop in the past, the hotel today serves breakfast until 16:00 daily. Are all the guests late risers? Perhaps. But it might have something to do with the rooms' names as well: "Williams", "Kirsche", "Zwätschgge", "Pflümli" or "Quitte" forebode nothing good (being names of schnapps altogether). Is the Kafischnaps a hotel for alcoholics? No, it's not. While the rooms are named after schnapps types, you don't get a hangover from the lovingly decorated rooms. Beyond pompous luxury chains one is devoted to working with the things that are within reach - and has a toast on them. Speaking about "beyond": While the Kafischnaps is not located in the direct centre, prices are beyond those of rents in the popular district. And if you have missed out on breakfast you can still enjoy the puff paste pies with hearty filling and have schnapps with them in a relaxed atmosphere. The sights can wait. Double room from approx. 36 Euros per night.
All show and all the substance - the Alden holds what it promises from its looks. It is a recently renovated fin-de-siècle artwork with state-of-the-art amenities. There is the classical cosy library with brown leather sofas and golden grandfather clock. There is the presidential suite in pastel and with textile-covered chairs and the ceiling features stucco, of course. There is the Piano Bar with heavy chandeliers above your glass with Hennessy and clinking ice cubes. The modern side of the hotel features the restaurant, a mixture of state-of-the-art and antique, garnished with fresh ingredients from the organic market, dominated by innovative cuisine. On the rooms you find the cutting-edge technology every modern hotel subscribes to today: high-speed internet, flat-screen, WLAN. There are whirlpools and there is the fitness equipment of your choice. But the hotel is old, of course: the walls are old, the structure is old. But that old does not equal outdated is proven by the Alden. Above all the hospitality is classical. Double room from 290 Euros per night.
EAT in Zurich:
A typical American diner with typical megalomania: Here, cholesterol junkies can enjoy the biggest burger in town. "Big Mama" is not apt for single eaters though. 2-4 persons can easily take a nip from the beef with bacon and cheese. If you still order side dishes you are either the chief or very hungry. But what else is on the menu? Tex-Mex of the finest, naturally. Chilli, nachos and tortillas are the restaurant's specialties, and also the Swiss like them. Don't ask how your stomach feels afterwards, but if you treat yourself to burgers every once in a while you can't do anything wrong. Only the lunches are slightly more European: Bratwurst, Greek salad and hash browns, while being less American, still taste good. The evening programme is a further highlight at the Iroquois: While having your meal at the bar you can watch the current soccer games on a giant screen. What's an American bar without sports TV anyway?
Breakfast in England - always worth a discussion. Some smile about it and many refuse it, but it has cult status anyway. And the Lion even serves Guiness with it. For breakfast? So what the heck, some guests think and stuff themselves on bacon, sausages, beans and fried eggs. The vitamins in the form of grilled tomato are only garnish, but there is orange juice, coffee, tea - or beer - with it. But is beer not a bit too early? No, there is no "too early" at the Lion because guests can enjoy breakfast any time, even late at night. And then the beer is a good choice again. Yet one question remains unanswered: Why do the English, as loftily as they are having tea, serve breakfasts that make every fitness trainer faint? The answer is: for tradition's sake and because it tastes good. And if you are having brunch at the Lion, you better stay and have another beer, another toast or another helping of brown sauce.
Balance is the key - Indians have known that for 5,000 years. If you stick to this method and eat Ayurveda, you are in line with the universe. That's the idea behind the Restaurant Mohini, completely devoted to striving for harmony. And that's how it is done: Chef de Cuisine Valentin Schmid puts everything that the tongue can discern as taste in the pot, mixing bitter, sweet, hot, salty and sour in the right proportion. While he is the last to taste the meals, he keeps them hot three hours maximum, serving them only for lunch, because one shouldn't eat in the evening, and if at all, only light stuff. But lighter is not possible anyway: Zucchini with coriander, organic rice with tofu and mint tea make nutritionists hearts leap higher, promising meals that make guests find their balance, for sure. And if they haven't found it yet, the energy gained from so many vegetables is just fine for another city tour. Meat eaters, by the way, need not have a bad conscience: Ayurveda allows beef and other meats on the plate, however, only for the very sick and the emaciated. The Mohini, however, does not offer nursing services and is strictly vegetarian.