STAY in Zurich:
Greulich (sounds like grey or gruesome in German) is not the best name, however, it derives from the street name there, and the street is named after a renowned labour movement politician. The refined understatement is palpable all over the district. Where once the clack of heavy boots resounded, the creative scene walks high-heeled about its showrooms. Designers also gave the finishing touches to the hotel, paying tribute to the thirties and fifties above all. Function and colour dominate the interior of the design hotel - here a bit of secretive blue, Mediterranean shades over there, interrupted by a lot of glass for the perfect view of the inner courtyard. And it's this view that surprises: Instead of the usual three wooden tables with open sunshades you find birch trees, conveying a lot of tranquillity amidst the scene district. The rooms are devoted to Zen as well: Purity, indirect lighting and minimalism at its best. The business people like that and the cuisine as well, Catalan specialties following the topical principal of slow food. And if you have eaten your food real slowly, you can slowly light a cigar at the Cigar Lounge. Double room from 180 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.
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.
EAT in Zurich:
Who made it here made it everywhere. No, we are not talking about New York but about Zurich. To be precise, we are talking about cheese fondues in Zurich. This Helvetian specialty is heavy stuff - heavy too eat because melted cheese sticks and heavy to digest because you feel the fondue's effect even days afterwards. And yet, if you don't honour the Caquelon you are not worth to visit Switzerland. The fondue pot is a must for all Swiss, and if you want to become a cheese adept you have to visit the Fribourger Fonduestübli. You'll pay some 20 Francs for it but considering the quantity that's not really bad. Besides, you've saved your next meal, for sure. Bread with fondue is important but you won't be able to eat the pearl onions and forget about the potatoes. Tough ones go for a mousse au chocolat afterwards but all the others ask for the digestif card and choose the one that has the best effect. If you regret your decision be assured: The Fonduestübli has been melting cheese for 30 years, so you will survive!
Tao's is the small brother of the Zurich restaurant Indochine and one of the city's ultimate places to be. Because of the garden terrace there are especially bankers coming for lunch into the lounge on Augustinergasse. But it's not only them. By night many romantics flock to the side roads of Bahnhofstraße with its countless corner oriels. They all have lots of space to spread out in the house which is full of nooks and crannies. For example in the bistro-like Tao's on the ground floor or the Asian restaurant on the first floor. The menu is the same, the standards make the difference. Downstairs you stay for sashimi, a drink and the Zen touch. Upstairs the business crowd is paying court to their guests on heavy upholstery, and lovebirds are dining until the early hours. The restaurant is decorated with old oriental ornaments and Chinese sculptures. Joachim Karsten is in charge for the culinary part - his cooking skills have already been rewarded with several Gault Millau toques.
Eating like a pig but not eating pork. The latter applies to the Tibits, because you won't spot a pig or any other animal here. But relax: Nobody eats like a pig here either. Yet the vegetarian restaurant favours a casual atmosphere. Guests may serve themselves at a buffet, but that doesn't mean that meals taste like canteen food. Instead of boring cordon-bleu like mainstream meals you are offered fresh vegetarian dishes: Bircher muesli in the morning, gingered tomato soup for lunch, organic sandwiches in the evening. You won't find more seasonal and regional food anywhere. Prices depend on the weight of your food. 100 grams from the buffet cost 4.10 Francs. Does it come as a surprise that vegetarian food gets increasingly popular? Even in London they know the Tibits Take Away by now. The idea stems from the three brothers Reto, Christian and Daniel Frey. They were supported by the Haus Hiltl, a restaurant having specialized in vegetarian food since 1898.
SHOPPING in Zurich:
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!
Have you experienced something like that, too? You step into a store and immediately ask yourself where you will place the stuff you are going to buy in a minute. And still you buy it, and later on you have garden shears although you have no garden. At Limited Stock you can devote yourself to passionate collecting. You'll find anything that makes your heart leap, always combined with the buzz words you want to hear: rare, for example, or unique piece, or limited edition. Hubert Spörri and Ulrich Zickler have travelled to the remotest spots in the world to bring along all those things that look simply good but probably are of no use at all. You want them anyway? Then come by here and discover a world of rare snails, fossil wood, noble viennese glass or garden gadgets. You will find something you would never have guessed you could use, for sure!
Here's another Swiss designer devoted to avant-garde: While not every woman will like Sissi Zöbeli's designer pieces, they are at least unique. The exclusive clothes are often a combination of jacket and long pants. That's why they perfectly fit the hard-working woman over 30, for whom they are tailored as well. The suits are casually combined with other designer labels. Genuine Sissi Zöbeli shoes match well with Anita Moser, T-shirts by Daniel Herman or jewellery by Ma Schellenberg. And the interior decoration matches excellently with the original style of the designer. The former butcher's shop was renovated with loving detail and has a kind of kitschy but wearable style. And, while avant-garde, the clothes that sell here are wearable as well. Sissi Zöbeli mixes jeans, plush, silk and cotton but always stays on the safe side. Her clothing is never too extravagant, even when the western shirt goes with the cotton skirt.
SIGHTS in Zurich:
Jeremie Maret, Lenny Staples and Christian Weber are the initiators of The Proposal in a Zurich backyard in the district Wiedikon. Since autumn 2011 the gallery has been housing new art projects - proposals, that is creative offers and suggestions which are both pool for ideas for further artistic works as well as exhibition objects on sale. In the past there has been a big, ballooned plastic man who filled the whole gallery space, towered up europallets in the courtyard symbolising the quest for meaning in life or faint freckles on textiles. Until summer 2012 The Proposal exhibits three more proposals followed by a retrospective. Beside its function as exhibition space The Proposal also serves as a Bed & Breakfast for up to four guests. They sleep either in the room right next or also in the exhibition, or in a Peugeot bus J7 from 1977, located in the courtyard.
The Museum of Design holds everything its name promises, accommodating almost all kinds of art under its roof. The collection comprises design, graphic art, posters and art, and if you don't know what that means we are eager to explain. What is exhibited here might be a TV from 1969, or an eggcup with salt shaker. But you can also see advertising material, film posters, a French perfume flacon, or even a cocktail dress here. Everything that's connected with design, everything that's art, everything that people do when they do art, is exhibited at this museum. While the artists are often anonymous, everything that's shown here - from make-up to burnt furniture - is definitely worth seeing. And if you want to know more about the topic you can participate in diverse workshops or talk shop with exhibition experts. And once you are leaving the museum again you can be sure that you've learned something new. So take your time!
As far as souvenirs go, there's probably no other country that has more than Switzerland. Okay, the Scots have their skirts and the United States have their cowboy hats. But we can bet that when you think of Swiss souvenirs at least three will come to your mind spontaneously: watches, chocolate and Swiss knives. You can buy these and more at Teddy's Souvenirshop, a store that is crammed with cuckoo clocks and other Swiss precision work. There are pennants and flags as well and everything worth printing an edelweiss on it. There are cuddly Saint Bernard toys, the famous cow bells to wear around your neck, and Swiss pocket knives with thousands of necessary functions to brag about. Teddy's is a hotchpotch of Swiss clichés probably worth only a mild smile by the Swiss themselves but the items still sell like hotcakes. Because once you are here you have to buy something, and be it a white cross on red background.