With the World Cup kicking off this week in Qatar, I could not help but think back to my visit this past summer to the FIFA World Football Museum in Zurich. If, like my husband, you are a football/soccer fanatic, this is a museum well worth visiting – showcasing the sport’s history, memorabilia, impact, and passion with interactive multimedia exhibits that will entertain fans of all ages.
Switzerland, a country I had not visited since childhood, was without question the greatest revelation during my late summer travels in Europe. I was taken aback by its breathtaking beauty, from its idyllic countryside to its charming cities, from its turquoise lakes to its snowcapped mountains. There is so much to see in this small country that I am already making plans to return.
My primary base from which I explored Switzerland was Zurich, the country’s largest city, itself a beautiful and impressive city of (to my surprise) less than half a million people, long known for its banking, chocolate, high-end shopping, and quality of life – and more recently as the home base of FIFA, soccer’s controversial global governing body. And my base within Zurich was a hotel which exhibits many of the same attributes as the sophisticated, immaculate, welcoming city in which it sits – the Park Hyatt Zurich.
Located on the impressive-sounding Beethovenstrasse in a quiet part of the city center, the Park Hyatt Zurich is an ideal spot from which to explore lovely Zurich. At the end of the block sits the Stockerstrasse tram stop, allowing easy access to the rest of the city (though the entire city is very walkable), while just two blocks in the opposite direction lies Lake Zurich. World famous Bahnhofstrasse, the epicenter of Zurich’s fashionable shopping scene, is just a 5-minute walk away, and the FIFA Museum, in Zurich’s Enge district, can be reached on foot in just 10 minutes.
Unlike most of Zurich’s highest echelon hotels, which tend to be more historic and old-world in style, the Park Hyatt Zurich is contemporary, bearing a striking, glass-fronted exterior. Upon entering the hotel it becomes clear that contemporary art is a focal point of the hotel’s décor, which is very much a signature of the Park Hyatt brand. The hotel lobby and its Lobby Lounge feature oversized murals and sculptures, and the hotel’s large contemporary collection can be found throughout the its public spaces and even in many of its rooms.
The Park Hyatt’s rooms are among the most spacious in the city, made to feel even more so by their vaulted ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows. Like the hotel in general, the rooms bear a sophisticated elegance, with a tasteful mix of natural tones and rich woods, leather, and marble. The large bathroom featured Carrara marble finishes, a deep tub, and a surprisingly effective separate walk-in rain shower – along with Le Labo toiletries. Our modern room also came equipped with a Koenig coffee maker, electronic curtains and blackout shades, and a large television stocked with channels from around the world (including from the U.S.). For an extended stay – as this one was – I will gladly give up old-world charm for space, comfort, and modern amenities – and our room at the Park Hyatt certainly checked all these boxes.
The Park Hyatt’s signature restaurant, the Michelin-listed Parkhuus, is where we ate our daily buffet breakfast. While the gourmet restaurant’s interior features an open show kitchen with wood-burning oven, we preferred to take advantage of the comfortable summer weather and eat most of our meals on the Parkhuus’ terrace. Both the terrace and the hotel’s trendy and stunning Onyx Bar tended to be lively during the evenings.
A highlight of our stay at the Park Hyatt Zurich was a fantastic 5-course dinner from the Parkhuus tasting menu, accompanied by wine tasting overseen by the restaurant’s terrific (and self-taught) sommelier, Christian Gulde. Interestingly, in our case, it was a tasting exclusively of non-alcoholic wines (yes, that is becoming a thing), of which the restaurant has an extensive collection and the sommelier extensive knowledge. It was certainly a night to remember!
In living up to the high standards of the Park Hyatt brand, not to mention the experience we had throughout the city of Zurich, the service and attention to detail at Park Hyatt Zurich were impeccable. From the warm greeting at the front desk upon our arrival to being chauffeured by the hotel car – a Rolls Royce Phantom – to the Hauptbahnhof train station upon our departure; from the nightly Swiss chocolates left in our room by housekeeping to the sage advice offered by Concierge Manager Sami Cankaya, the staff at the hotel were exceptionally professional, and it was much appreciated. With a 20-year-plus successful career at Hyatt, hotel General Manager Stephen Ansell runs a tight ship, and it shows. I will not hesitate to stay at the Park Hyatt again on my next visit to Zurich.
Zurich Travel Tips – Along with the FIFA World Football Museum and the more well-known sites and areas of Zurich, be sure to visit the posh Seefeld quarter, not only for its promenade along Lake Zurich, but for its super cute stretch of home furnishing and accessory boutiques, including the wonderful Frohsinn and unique Swiss lifestyle brand Label 17, with its studio tucked in an alley off the neighborhood’s main street, Seefeldstrasse.
Also, don’t miss eating traditional Neuberg sausage and potato salad at the famous Zeughauskeller located in an authenic 15th-century building right off Bahnhofstrasse. For traditional Swiss fondue, try the quaint Raclette-Stube, where a reservation is a must as it is very popular among both locals and tourists.