We just met with Mark Jacob—not the designer, but the managing director for the Dolder Resort in Zurich, which includes the iconic Dolder Grand Hotel. He brought us up to date on what's new for the historic property (which dates back to 1899) and what's coming next year.
Perhaps the biggest news was the announcement of a new three-bedroom suite that is scheduled to open in July. This will be ideal for multi-generational families or CEOs traveling with an entourage: At 4,000 square feet (and with a dedicated street entrance), the suite will be more like a private apartment than a hotel room. (We hear it will have two floors to maximize privacy.)
Then there's the new violin treatment at the Dolder Spa, which combines music therapy with classic spa therapies. A local musician comes in once per week and will accompany a massage with a performance of her own compositions on the violin. (The idea, Jacob explained is to soothe both body and mind at once.) Two music-focused programs are available—one for detoxification and one for wellness.
Art fans are also in luck: The hotel now has a dedicated app for its impressive art collection, but it isn't available to the public. When guests check in, they can borrow an iPad pre-loaded with the app and go exploring on their own. As they draw near each piece (think artwork by some guys named Warhol, Hirst and Dali, among others), the app will provide background information and new insights.
All About Zurich
Zurich, somewhat small as major cities go, is seeing something of a renaissance, Jacob said. It's always been a financial and business-travel hub, but with more young people moving into the outskirts and a rise in new developments, the leisure travel market is also on the rise. New restaurants have opened in recent years, and the overflow from festivals in neighboring Basel (popular for its art and jewelry festivals) are increasingly turning to Zurich for its galleries and hotels. In its own right, Zurich has a film festival that attracts some notable celebs and a fashion week.
The Dolder Resort is also getting into cultural improvement: Each summer, when the outdoor ice skating rink is closed, the venue becomes an outdoor stage for a 12-night music festival. (Icons like Sting, Elton John and Bryan Adams have all performed there.)
Switzerland is famous for its public transportation system (by law, every town with at least 300 people must have some kind of public transport access), and Zurich's is particularly impressive. (Can we get away with saying that the trains and buses run like a Swiss watch?) The Dolder Grand runs its own shuttles from the hotel right into town, and there is also a funicular that runs up and down the hill to bring guests to the city center in less than 10 minutes. And don't feel awkward about using the public transportation network: In Switzerland, we've met government ministers who have never owned a car. Hopping on a train or a bus is a great way to see the city (and the countryside), and meet locals for new insights.