A Grand Scale
Home to a large number of financial institutions and banks, Zurich is well known as a leading global city that attracts business people from all over the world. It is also popular among tourists looking for a classic European city experience that includes a variety of museums, an abundance of shopping, and cobblestone streets lined with outdoor cafes. And for those looking for a luxurious place to kick back at the end of the day, there is the historic Dolder Grand. Located in the forested hills above the city, the resort was originally built in 1899 and was known as a kurhaus, or a health spa, before being turned into a hotel a few years later. In 2004, it closed for renovations, which were completed in April 2008. In addition to maintaining the resort’s original appearance from 1899, several buildings that were added in the 1920s were removed, and two new wings were added. Now, the 173-room hotel is back to being one of Switzerland’s finest. Along with incredible views of Lake Zurich and the Alps, the luxury resort also provides guests with top-notch dining options; the opportunity to view more than 100 pieces of fine art, the latest of which is from Andy Warhol; an upscale boutique; and, undeniably a main attraction, the 43,056-square-foot Dolder Grand Spa.
Located on the hotel’s ground floor, the sprawling spa includes many unique offerings for guests, most of whom are staying at the hotel on business. In addition to 18 treatment rooms, there are two suites, both of which feature a treatment couch, a mud bath area, a whirlpool, a snail shower, a relaxation area, a fireplace, a television, and butler service. Starting at $350 for two hours, guests pay additional fees depending on which treatments they select. Those who don’t utilize a spa suite still have an abundance of amenities from which to choose. The spa’s unique Aqua Zone includes a swimming pool; indoor and outdoor Jacuzzis; saunas, solariums, and steam baths in the men’s and women’s relaxation areas; and a meditation room. Other unusual offerings include the Snow Paradise, a room filled with snow on the ground and walls, where guests are encouraged to chill out after spending time in the steam room or sauna. There are also Sunaburos, which are tubs filled with tiny, warm pebbles, that design consultant Sylvia Sepielli added to contribute to the spa’s Japanese theme. “Sylvia wanted aspects of the spa to tie into the menu, which offers European and Swiss treatments characterized by traditional Japanese influences in a modern setting,” says spa director Jann Hess. This philosophy is also evident in the spa’s overall decor, which features limestone, marble, and black granite throughout.
There are also plenty of options available for those who want to stay on dry land. The Spa Café offers smoothies, light cocktails, and spa cuisine for guests; the spa library features more than 600 books; and the Chillout Area features hanging loungers where guests are encouraged to sit back and relax.
When it came to choosing which product lines to carry, Sepielli suggested European brands for authenticity. Most facials are performed using La Prairie, while massages and body treatments incorporate Kerstin Florian. The newest addition is the organic German skincare line Amala. All lines are also sold at retail in the spa’s boutique. “Retail is important revenue for our spa,” says Hess. “When guests feel relaxed and they are consulted by the therapist, they want to buy the products. Our shop is quite busy.”
According to Hess, the spa sees upward of 60 clients daily, who are attended to by 50 full-time and 10 part-time staff members. Most are hotel guests, but the spa does see its fair share of locals, as well. To attract day guests, one of the spa’s most popular promotions is the Spa Lunch Break (starting at $200, 3 hours), which includes a 60-minute treatment and two hours to enjoy the Aqua Zone. Starting at $7,000 a year, locals can also sign up to become a spa member. Membership includes access to all the facilities, including group fitness classes; individual training with a fitness coach; 24-hour parking; invitations to exclusive presentations; and access to special offers and discounts. “Most of our spa members are from Zurich, while day guests come from all over Switzerland to experience what we offer,” says Hess.
Only four years old, the spa is decidedly still in its infancy, but the level of success has been astounding, says Hess. “We offer things no other spa does, so people want to come back for more,” he says. “And to make sure that stays the case, we are committed to offering the highest quality of service every day, because our guests deserve nothing less.”