Baur au Lac Hotel: Where 19th Century Charm Meets Modern Luxury

Zurich, Switzerland
Photo by RossHelen/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Luxury Travel Advisor's room during our stay at the Baur au Lac hotel in Zurich, Switzerland. This is a Deluxe Corner Suite. // Photo by Joe Pike

The luxurious Baur au Lac hotel in Zurich, Switzerland has all the modern touches that today's affluent traveler has come to expect without compromising any of its 19th century, classic elegance. 

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Luxury Travel Advisor recently visited the hotel, which first opened its doors in 1844, and thinks this is the perfect fit for both the VIP who needs all of today's chic touches, such as TVs embedded in mirrors and tablets in every room, and the A-Lister who craves some old school Swiss charm.

The view from Baur au Lac's rooftop, which can be rented out for private functions. // Photo by Joe Pike

The hotel is located right smack in the heart of Zurich's vibrant "City Center," which is the financial district. VIPs won't have to walk too far to find some of Zurich's best restaurants, homemade chocolate or that perfect Swiss watch.

Tip: The hotel's spacious rooftop area, which offers some impressive views of Zurich, can be rented out for cocktail receptions. The rooftop also overlooks a beautifully maintained park, which the hotel owns and uses for everything from weddings to "Art in the Park" exhibits. There is also an abundance of activities for children. 

The hotel also has a small park directly on property. Hint: This is the most popular place for VIPs to get married. Nice Touch: It is also home to art exhibits and VIPs can event get married in the middle of the art. Note: We were told guests looking to get married between the art in the park should book it anywhere three months to a year in advance. 

Room 321, a Deluxe Corner Suite

There are 120 total rooms, including 18 suites and 27 junior suites. Every room has a tablet to be used to look up information on Zurich, the hotel or to simply browse the internet. Nice Touch: The min-bar in every room is free and includes an array of nonalcoholic refreshments to go along with two, bottled Feldschlosschen beers. The mini-bar is restocked once a day, but guests can pay a fee to get it restocked more than once in the day. 

Of the rooms that we had the privilege to tour, Luxury Travel Advisor thought room no. 321, a Deluxe Corner Suite, perhaps provided the most value. There is also a terrific view of the city from the room's modesty-sized balcony. We also simply loved how much much light the bathroom gets. There are TVs in both the living room and bedroom. They are both embedded into the mirrors. There are also hidden speakers in the ceilings, including the bathroom. 

But don't let the splashes of technology fool you. This hotel was not born yesterday. In fact, Luxury Travel Advisor was told the idea of the Nobel Peace Prize was first discussed at this hotel. Britta Matthesius, director of sales, told Luxury Travel Advisor that a woman told Alfred Nobel that he should create the prize while chatting in the lobby area of the hotel. The hotel is also home to one of the first elevators in Zurich. It is still in operation and not at all scary to ride as Luxury Travel Advisor took several lifts on this elevator during our stay. 

Note: Although butler service is not typically offered, a butler can be arranged on request. And that doesn't even come close to the requests this hotel has been able to meet for its guests in the past. 

We were told some over-the-top requests the hotel has made in the past include hiring scuba divers to help a woman fish out a multi-million dollar piece of jewelry that she threw in the canal following an argument with her husband to arranging for a child to learn how to milk a cow. 

Sweet Touch: All of the chocolate at the hotel is made in-house. The hotel is also to a wine cellar that houses more than two million bottles of wine and even offers a roughly $20,000 bottle of Crystal. 

The Swiss Martini at the Baur au Lac hotel in Zurich, Switzerland // Photo by Joe Pike

Hint: Tell VIPs about "The Swiss Martini," which is offered, although it cannot be found on the menu. It includes the Swiss vodka, Louis 1880, which is a powerful grain vodka and a piece of homemade chocolate on top. Luxury Travel Advisor tried one of these and loved how much the chocolate aftertaste dominated the cocktail. 

We also advise VIPs to ask Simon Brandmayer, the hotel's bar manager, to make you one of his Bellinis, which is made of fresh peach, Prosecco, peach juice, fresh lemon and liquor. This is a very refreshing drink.

Nice Touch: The hotel arranges fun, casual "Kitchen Parties" about twice a year where they open up the back of the kitchen to both locals and guests of the hotel for a culinary celebration, featuring many of the Baur au Lac's finest dishes. Matthesius says this something that appeals mostly to locals. 

The best meal we had here was the veal filet mignon medallions at the extremely elegant, one-star Michelin restaurant, Pavillon, but also be sure to have a Wagyu burger at Rive Gauche RestaurantHint: We actually recommend eating this burger with a knife and fork as the juices that spew out of the tender meat might burn your hand slightly. 

Hint: Tell VIPs heading to the hotel’s Rive Gauche Bar about "The Swiss Martini," which is offered although it can be found on the menu. It includes the Swiss vodka, Louis 1880, which is a powerful grain vodka and a piece of homemade chocolate on top. Tip: We also advise VIPs to ask Simon Brandmayer, the bar manager, to make you one of his Bellinis, which is made of fresh peach, Prosecco, peach juice, fresh lemon and liquor. This is a very refreshing drink.

Visit and keep visiting for all your latest luxury news. Be sure to follow Luxury Travel Advisor's Joe Pike on Twitter @TravelPike.

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