The Dolder Grand certainly lives up to its name and reputation. Positioned high on the hill with commanding views across Zurich, it’s renowned across Europe for its history and service. A total overhaul taking four years saw architect, Norman Foster create two new wings, with his signature style, which modernised the resort, yet manage to complement the original look and feel of the main hotel building (which dates back to 1899). Surrounded by woodland with the most incredible views, it combines modern five-star luxury, with old world charm. It was magical. The spa occupies the ground floor of the spa wing, with accommodation suites above. I stayed in the spa wing and had magnificent vistas of the lake and the forest. In total there are 176 rooms and suites, two restaurants (the food is exquisite and I tried Swiss wine for the first time). Breakfast is taken on the terrace in summer months. The hotel manages to create a welcome feel, combining wellness resort with world class luxury. I honestly didn’t want to leave.
THE SPA AT THE DOLDER GRAND:
It’s modern, spacious and covers an area of 4,000 sqm. There is room to move and the spa offers a grandeur that few spas achieve.
Designed by Norman Forster, the interiors and concept were developed by American spa expert Sylvia Sepielli. It offers unique glimpses around sweeping corners and all eyes leading naturally to the outside views of the lake and woods. The concept combines European and Japanese influences – they weren’t that obvious to me. A generous sizes indoor pool, 20 treatment rooms separate men’s and women’s changing and wet areas make way to an outdoor terrace – once again making full use of the views with plenty of sun loungers and a hydrotherapy pool. This is where everyone hangs out.
For some quiet time I rested in the Sunbaro, which has loungers filled with tiny pebbles. You sink into them, cosy and cocooned. Behind this is the ice cave to help cool off after the sauna. There’s so much to do in the spa – it could fill a day or two. The modern design was a touch too clever at times, as I couldn’t find the door to the terrace and needed the guidance of a spa attendant.
Natural lighting is maximised throughout the spa, especially in reception which enhances the welcome. There’s a hair salon, spa library, meditation walk and well equipped gym. That’s not to mention to Medical Wellness centre on site, which works closely with the spa.
Opting for the signature treatment – Heavenly Hydration, I knew I was in for a treat as it combined Kerstin Florian’s expertise with the very best the spa had to offer.
Starting with a foot soak and scrub using the renowned Kerstin Florian Turkish Scrub, it was a vibrant start the treatment, and – time to breathe, as my therapist told me. So I did.
Hopping onto a water-filled massage bed I was treated to a vigorous dry body brush. And let me assure you, it was really vigorous and enlivening. It got my circulation going and was a great prelude to the following stages. Each part of the body was attended to in turn. A super hydrating body masque applied and left to work its magic. Each body section massaged in turn applying the balm like cream. This is then followed by total wrap being cocooned further into the water bed. I was almost catatonic. This was concluded with a mini facial. It was a top to toe extravaganza. There are no other words for it and a supremely impressive signature treatment. I really enjoyed interacting with the therapist who had a personality which made me think: so few spa therapists allow their personality to shine.
THE BEST BITS:
The views from the pool
Cycling in the forest behind The Dolder Grand
Modern art throughout the hotel
Views of the lake and forest from the room
Relaxation beds of stones
Hydraheaven by Kerstin Florian (90 min) costs CHF 250.00 (approx. £164)
Lead in rates at The Dolder Grand start from CHF 700 (approx. £458) based on a double occupancy basis