With the World Cup kicking off this week in Qatar, I couldn’t help but think of my visit last summer to the FIFA World Football Museum in Zurich. If, like my husband, you are a football/soccer fan, this is a museum worth visiting – showcasing the history, memorabilia, influence and passion of the sport through interactive multimedia exhibits that will delight fans of all ages.
Switzerland, a country I had not been to since my childhood, was undoubtedly the greatest discovery during my recent summer travels in Europe. I was surprised by its scenic beauty, from its idyllic countryside to its charming cities, from its turquoise lakes to its snow-capped mountains. There is so much to see in this small country that I am already planning to return.
My primary base from which to explore Switzerland was Zurich, the country’s largest city, itself a beautiful city, home to (to my surprise) fewer than half a million people, long known for its banking, chocolate, upscale shopping and quality of life – and more recently as a home base for FIFA, Football’s controversial global governing body. My residence in Zurich was a hotel that displayed many of the same attributes as the sophisticated, clean and hospitable city in which it is located – Park Hyatt Zurich.
The Park Hyatt Zurich is located on gorgeous Beethovenstrasse in a quiet part of the city centre, and is the perfect place to explore beautiful Zurich. At the end of the block is Stockerstrasse tram stop, allowing easy access to the rest of the city (although the whole city is very walkable), while Lake Zurich is only a couple of blocks in the opposite direction. The world famous Bahnhofstrasse, the center of Zurich’s trendy shopping district, 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 highly rated hotels in Zurich, which tend to be more historic and old-fashioned, Park Hyatt Zurich is contemporary, sporting a stunning glass facade. Upon entering the hotel, it becomes clear that contemporary art is a focal point of the hotel’s decor, very much a signature of the Park Hyatt brand. The hotel’s lobby and lounge feature massive murals and sculptures, and the hotel’s large contemporary collection can be found throughout its public spaces and even in many of its rooms.
The Park Hyatt’s rooms are among the most spacious in town, made to feel even more so with their vaulted ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows. Like the hotel in general, the rooms exude refined elegance, with a delicious mix of natural tones, rich woods, leather, and marble. The large bathroom features Carrara marble finishes, a deep soaking tub, and a surprisingly effective separate walk-in rain shower – along with Le Labo toiletries. Our modern room was also equipped with a Koenig coffee maker, electronic blinds and blackout shades, and a large TV with channels from around the world (including from the US). For an extended stay – as this was – I would gladly give up old world charm for space, comfort and modern amenities – and our room at the Park Hyatt certainly checked all of those boxes.
The Park Hyatt’s signature restaurant, the Michelin Guide-listed Parkhuus, is where we ate our daily breakfast buffet. 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 hotel’s stunning and trendy Onyx Bar and Terrace tend to be lively during the evening.
The highlight of our stay at Park Hyatt Zurich was a wonderful 5-course dinner from the Parkhuus tasting menu, accompanied by wine tasting under the direction of the restaurant’s wonderful (self-taught) waiter, Christian Gulde. Interestingly, in our case, it was an exclusive non-alcoholic wine tasting (yes, that has become a thing), with which the restaurant has a wide range and extensive knowledge. It was definitely an unforgettable night!
True 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 was impeccable. From the warm welcome at reception on our arrival to the hotel car driven – a Rolls-Royce Phantom – to the Hauptbahnhof train station on our departure; From the overnight Swiss chocolates left in our room by housekeeping to the wise advice given by the concierge manager Sami Kankaya, the staff at the hotel were exceptionally professional, which was greatly appreciated. With a successful 20+ year Hyatt career, Hotel General Manager Stephen Ansel runs a tight ship, and it shows. I would 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 Zurich’s most famous sites and areas, be sure to visit the posh Seefeld neighborhood, not only for its promenade along Lake Zurich, but for its pleasant stretch of home furnishing and accessory stores, including Brilliant Frohsinn and uniquely Swiss lifestyle brand Label 17, with its studio down an alley off the neighborhood’s main street, Seefeldstrasse. Trois Pommes is a must have for luxury branded fashion apparel and accessories.
Also, don’t miss traditional Neuberg sausage and potato salad at the famous Zeughauskeller located in a historic 15th-century building off Bahnhofstrasse. For traditional Swiss fondue, try the enticing Raclette-Stube. Reservations are essential as it is very popular with locals and tourists alike.