Widder Hotel – Zurich, Switzerland: Possibly the best hotel in Switzerland, the Widder Hotel in Zurich combines the comforts of a private upscale residence and the luxuries of a true five star hotel. It is actually ten historical residences (dating back to the Middle Ages) combined together to create such a unique property. The buildings are interconnected via seamless links of staircases, courtyards, gardens, and porticos. The architectural structure is innovative and contemporary without neglecting traditional designs. I must say, it has been a long time since I have stayed in a hotel that left such an impact on me, providing me with a truly memorable experience.
First Impression/Lobby: My first contact with Widder Hotel was over the phone when I booked a room with them. The lady I spoke with was so nice and welcoming; her voice had a certain warmth and cheerfulness that made you feel eager to get to the hotel just to see how special it really was.
When I arrived at Widder, however, I was less than impressed. From the outside, it looked just like any old 16th century building in Europe. The entrance is a pedestrian shopping street that made it even less appealing. Fortunately, a sharply dressed bellman waiting by the door gave us a warm welcome and showed us to the lobby. As we walked into the lobby I noticed the drearily low ceilings and the rather sparse décor. I wondered to myself what had gotten me so excited about the property in the first place. Sure, there were a few beautiful flowers along the wall, but somehow the whole thing just did not wow me.
Reception: Reception was warm which was exactly what I needed (Zurich in January is COLD), and so very welcoming. The feelings I had when I called to book the room started to come back to me. With just a swipe of my credit card and a few signatures, we were registered and on our way to our suite, A7.
The Suite: It was only on our way to the suite that I began to appreciate the unique and innovative architectural structure of the hotel, and understood why it had such a formidable reputation. To get to our room, we had to go from one building to the next like a maze. Each building and floor was designed with an eclectic collection of furnishings and styles. Even with its quirky interiors, overall, it had such a warm and cozy feeling; it was simply amazing how they were able to pull it off.
The suite, A7, had a low ceiling and was as eclectic as eclectic a room can get; it felt ancient and futuristic at the same time. The collection of furniture in the living room was crazy, even cluttered—black leather couch, red leather chair, a large stone topped coffee table and oversized wood desk, but again, they were able to pull it off, remarkably. Together, the ornate design made the entire room a charming and compelling work of art.
Down the hallway was a small bedroom, again with a low ceiling and not much free space. It had one full sized bed that was oh-so-comfortable, two end chairs and a large built-in wardrobe.
The main bathroom (there was a half-bath off the living room) was tiled in green marble and had twin sinks, a stand-alone shower, bathtub and toilet. As bathrooms of luxury hotels go, this one was plain and unexciting, but with its long sink counter, it felt almost large enough to be called spacious.
Room Service: As you would expect from a true luxury hotel, the room service at Widder was perfect. The menu was varied and extensive, and when we didn’t see exactly what we wanted, they allowed us to order off the restaurant menu. This is what I call true five-star service. Whenever our meals were delivered, be it breakfast or dinner, they made sure everything was complete and that our table was perfectly set. Again, pure luxury, five-star service.
Housekeeping: For most of the time that we stayed at Widder, we started the day late, sometimes staying in our hotel room well into noon. Remarkably, we never were bothered by housekeeping, asking us if they could clean our room before we left for the day. It was obvious that the hotel made it a point not to disturb their guests. Even on days that we didn’t leave until after 3 PM (thanks to jetlag), housekeeping didn’t knock on our door. I find nothing more annoying than being bothered by housekeeping all the time, stopping by to see when you were going to be out. When we did go out to explore the city, housekeeping jumped into action and did a marvelously impeccable job. This luxury hotel surely knows what true, five-star service is all about!
Concierge: We were in Zurich the first week of January and many establishments were closed for the holidays so the number of dining options was quite limited. Still, the concierge did a wonderful job finding us some great restaurants, whether we wanted a casual dinner or fine dining. Overall, they never failed to come through with good suggestions.
Restaurant: The Widder has a small breakfast room with a glass ceiling that allows the sunlight to stream in, making it an ideal place to sip coffee and read the paper. Their main dining area is a simple, country-style French restaurant that also serves local dishes. For entertainment, they have a bar where live jazz music is played some nights.
Pool/Spa/Activities: Recreational activities in the hotel are quite limited. They have a well-stocked library and a 24-hour fitness center. A nearby pool (not in the property) is available, pre-arranged for Widder guests.
Overall Impression There is no doubt about it. Widder Hotel is an amazing, fantastic bombastic hotel. Service at all levels was top-notch and the warmth and beauty of the hotel and its staff was simply unforgettable. If you are in Zurich, Widder is a must. Rating for this luxury hotel in Zurich—Fantastic Bombastic.