Zurich on my own...

Old Feb 22nd, 2006, 08:44 PM
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Zurich on my own...

I will be spending three nights in Zurich in August as a layover on my way home from Venice and am looking for a 3* hotel that will be in ana area where I can walk to and from my hotel to do the standard stuff...eat, shop, sightsee...and feel safe on my own. I don't know much yet about Zurich yet so I'd love to get some input on an area in which to look for a hotel, and even better yet, some suggestions for specific hotels. Thanks in advance for your help!
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Old Feb 22nd, 2006, 10:59 PM
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Zurich is a great town and is very easy to get around by yourself. English is very widely spoken and English menus are available at virtually all restaurants. The city is extremely safe, other than certain bar areas very late at night, but I assume you will not be out on your own at 2 am. Public transportation is cheap, but if you stay in or near the Old Town areas on either side of the river, you really can walk to virtually everything you will want to see and do.

That being said, if you really have 3 nights, you could consider going to some of the beautiful mountain areas of Switzerland instead of staying in Zurich. These would be areas like the Engadine area, the Bernese Oberland/Jungfrau area, or even the Zermatt area. Coming from Venice, the best way is to fly as train time is long, but a train is doable. For example, Venice to Zermatt is about 7.5 hours by train. The lovely village of Guarda in the Engadine takes about 10 hours. The good news is that in August the days are very long so you could do an 8-10 hour train ride all in daylight, leave after breakfast, enjoy the countryside outside your window, and still arrive with daylight to spare for a walk after dinner. If you have not been to the mountain areas, do some reading and think about this option, three days would probably be workable. (There are night trains but I think they are awful, hot, crowded and not comfortable but younger people might still find them enjoyable.) Go to rail.ch for an idea of train times, and look at flight times to Zurich. You could even fly to Geneva and go to the beautiful Lake Geneva area, as train time to Zurich from here is only 3 hours.

Also note that Saturday 12 August 2006 is when the Street Parade is held in Zurich and I would AVOID Zurich during that weekend. This is the annual hip hop parade, much like the Love Parade in Berlin, and about a million 20-somethings descend on the town for a weekend of incredibly loud music and Ecstasy-fuelled street raging. If you want to stay in the Zurich area that weekend, let me know and I will make reccos for towns nearby, or even places further afield like Zug or even the dreaded Lucerne which might be a better alternative.

With a 3-star hotel in Zurich you will be unlikely to have air conditioning. I don't know if this matters to you. It may if there is a heat wave, and it may for noise, esp on a Thursday through Saturday night which can be noisy. Just two things to consider. Some 3 stars may have air-con, you just have to ask, it is however unlikely. The chain hotels like Marriott, Sheraton and Hyatt all have air conditioning. The Park Hyatt is very beautiful and would be worth a splurge, the Marriott and Sheraton are nice as well, none are in the Old Town, but all are walkable to it. If you have points, this is the town to use them in, as you will find even the 3 stars are pretty pricey.

Besides my reccos below, please take a look at the following websites for ideas:

karenbrownguides.com
alpineclassics.ch
relaischateaux.com
romantikhotels.ch
www.swisshotels.ch
summithotels.com

Also look at tripadvisor.com which ranks hotels based on reviews.

The Hotel Kindli
Pfalzgasse 1
8001 Zürich
tel: +41 (0)43 888 76 76
fax: +41 (0)43 888 76 77
http://www.kindli.ch

3 or 4 star. This hotel gets generally good reviews on this site and seems to have good prices. It is probably the most Swiss-like in terms of charm of the hotels listed here. It is in a very lovely pedestrian-only part of the old town. It has a very good restaurant and is within close walking distance of several other good restaurants. the most expensive of the hotels listed here, but they do have good weekend rates.

Hotel Adler
Hirschenplatz
Tel: (01) 266 9696. Fax: (01) 266 9669.
E-mail: [email protected]
Website: www.hotel-adler.ch

3 or 4 star. In the Neiderdorf area on the university side of the river, also an area of charming cobblestone streets which is car-free and has a lot of bars and restaurants. This hotel gets generally good reviews here, although noise is sometimes cited as a problem. On a Monday night in May should be OK, but ask for high floor. Probably the lowest priced of all the hotels listed here.

Hotel Seehof
http://www.hotelseehof.ch/
Seehofstr. 11, Zürich CH-8008, Switzerland
Phone: 01/2545757
Fax: 01/2545758

3 stars, built or renovated last year or so. This is just behind the Opera House, just at the edge of the old town, so not in the charming area, but very close to it, and about 100 metres from the lake. There are several good restaurants in this neighbourhood and others within close walking distance. It gets good reviews here. It is about a 3 minute walk to the Stadelhofen train station in Zurich so is very convenient for getting to the airport.

Hotel Seefeld
Seefeldstrasse 63
8008 Zurich
41-1-387-4141
41-1-837-4151
http://www.hotel-seefeld.che 63
[email protected]

3-star, built 2 years ago. They have a roof terrace. It is in a nice neighbourhood of restaurants and some interesting shops, and is about 2 blocks in from the lake, but not in the old town. The Seefeld area would be much quieter at night than the Neiderdorf/Oberdorf areas. It is on a tram line and so is convenient. Would be about 5-10 minutes by tram from the old town, would also be walkable. (You can also get bikes for free from any train station and use it during your stay in Zurich, just show your passport.) The do not have air-conditioning, but have an "air cooling" system which some Swiss buildings have which is supposed to keep the rooms relatively cool.

Hotel Helmhaus
Schifflände 30
8001 Zürich
tel: 41-1 251 88 10
fax: 41-1 251-0403
http://www.helmhaus.ch

3 star in the Neiderdorf/Oberdorf area. They definitely have air-conditioning. A very good location for sightseeing, shopping and eating. More modest than any of the other hotels listed here, but I have included it because it has air-con and because its old town location is excellent. This is about a five minute walk to the Stadelhofen train station.

Hotel Alstadt
4 Kirchgasse
Tel: 41-44-250-5353
Fax: 41-44-250-5354
http://www.hotel-altstadt.ch/cms/index.html

This is right in the heart of the old town on a charming cobblestone street, steps from the river, very close to the Grossmunster church, and close to some good restaurants and shops. They have a sleek modern design for their lobby and bar. I have never been in the rooms, but have seen them because my house was across the street and I had a few of several from my dining room and study. They look nice, a good size. I don't know about the bathrooms. They do not have air-conditioning as far as I know, and the street can be a little noisy on weekends evenings due to the restaurants in the neighbourhood. There were some negative comments on tripadvisor.com or this board a few years ago about smoky rooms so I have not previously listed it in my reccos, but am kind of searching my brains for old town hotels in that price range, and thought I would list it. It also has had a redo, so might overall be a good choice.


Romantik Hotel Florhof
Florhofgasse 4
8001 Zürich
Tel: 41 1 261 44 70
Fax: 41 1 261 46 11
E-Mail: [email protected]
http://www.florhof.ch

3 or 4 stars. This hotel, which I have only seen from the outside, gets some good reviews here. It is just on the outside edge of the old town, up the hill above it and basically across the street from the last street in the old town, and close to the University. It is very close to the excellent Kuntshaus Museum, and is basically on two main tram lines. They are part of the Romantik chain, and I think their hotels are generally very good and charming.

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Old Feb 23rd, 2006, 02:59 PM
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Thank you very much for your very informative reply. It hadn't occurred to me to go to another city with only three nights but that is a great idea. I'm flying into Zurich from Venice but I think it would be nice to stay that night in Zurich, take the train to Lucerne and spend the next night there and then return to Zurich the next day before flying out. Thanks very much for the idea!
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Old Feb 23rd, 2006, 05:32 PM
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Well Luceren would really be at the bottom of my list of places to go, its not any more in the mountains, it looks up AT them; alebit closer than you can see them from Zurich. That's also a lot of moving for one night. I was thinking more of towns up in the acutal mountains. I am not a fan of Lucerene at all, its full of tourists. It does have the little wooden bridge and a very small old town and you can take ferries on the lakes, but really I have never understood what all the excitement was about. I know lots of people on this board go there, but IMO there are so many other much more beautiful places to go that are up in the mountains. Lucerene is easy to get to by train, so that may be why people like it. You might want to read up on mountain areas.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2006, 06:22 PM
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I, on the other hand, am a big fan of both Lucerne and Zurich!

I am staying (for about the 6th or 7th time) at the Hotel Seidenhof in Zurich. It is only about one block off the Bahnhofstrasse, which is the main street with shops shops shops and eateries. It's very easy to walk all around this area.

I have also stayed at the Glockenhof in Zurich, also about one block from Bahnhofstrasse, and very close to the Seidenhof. I'm not sure how many stars either of them are given, perhasps four, but maybe three; but they are both quite adequate.

In Lucerne I have stayed at the magnificent 5* Grand National on the lake (easy walk to the old town area) and I have also stayed at the NH Hotel and the Hotel de la Paix. The de la Paix is probably the better location of these two 3* options. It is right on the edge of the old town area of Lucerne. Very easy to walk around. The lake is truly lovely, and is only a block or two away. In August I think you would really enjoy a boat ride on the lake. I've not done this as I'm always in Lucerne in April and November and don't relish getting out on the lake when it is a little bit cool. We've had snow in April before... not good for a boat ride!!

Do enjoy your time in Switzerland. I'll be back there again in about 6 weeks, and always look forward to it!!

Carol
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