My husband and I have been going to Zürich, Switzerland every year for the past 23 years. It has become a second home for us. We have fallen in love with the people, the natural beauty, the art and culture, and everything else this beautiful city by
the lake has to offer. Our love affair with Zürich began at first sight and continues to this day. The Swiss hospitality and love of life is now part of our DNA.
Whether you are planning to visit Zürich for the first time, or have been going there for years, you will appreciate the array of welcoming accommodations that this “Little Big City” has to offer. One of our favorite places to stay in Zürich is the Baur au Lac (Talstrasse 1, Tel: +41-44-220-5020. www.bauraulac.ch).
This unique grand hotel overlooking Lake Zürich with the Swiss Alps in the distance is celebrating its 175th birthday this year. To join in the festivities, we hopped on a SWISS International Airlines flight from New York City to Zürich and checked into the Baur au Lac for a few days.
Upon our arrival, we immediately felt at home again. Even though it had been over three years since our previous visit, seeing the familiar faces of the hotel staff was like seeing old friends. Staying at the Baur au Lac is always a pleasure for us. It is centrally located and within easy walking distance to the world famous shops along the Bahnhofstrasse, and to the Old Town with its pedestrian only streets, eclectic array of international restaurants, and stimulating nightlife. If you like to run or swim, Lake Zürich, just across the street from the hotel, is a wonderful place to enjoy these activities and more.
To truly appreciate what makes the Baur au Lac so special, besides staying here, you must explore some of the fascinating history behind this 5-star hotel.
The Baur au Lac, one of Europe’s few grand hotels owned by the same family since its inception, was opened in 1844 by Johannes Baur as a lakeside resort. Originally intended as an escape for Europe’s aristocracy, the Baur au Lac was the first hotel built directly on the banks of Lake Zürich. Despite its tranquil location, it was strategically situated near the city’s top attractions: the opera house, theaters, museums, the main train station, and Zürich’s old town. As the 19th century progressed, the Baur au Lac became world famous for its luxury and hospitality. It was in the hotel’s lobby lounge, “Le Hall,” that Bertha von Suttner convinced industrial magnate Alfred Nobel of the need for a world peace prize. Marc Chagall sketched his glass paintings for Zürich’s Fraumünster Church while staying as a guest of the hotel, and it was here that Franz Liszt accompanied his son-in-law, Richard Wagner, on the piano for the world premiere of Die Walküre. The Baur au Lac has welcomed the likes of Kaiser Wilhelm II, General Ulysses Grant, Margaret Thatcher, Indira Gandhi, Henry Kissinger, Queen Elizabeth II, Elton John, Joan Miró, Fernando Botero, and many others.
During our most recent stay, we had the pleasure of dinning at the hotel’s Pavillon restaurant. Chef Laurent Eperon, who has been awarded two Michelin stars, enchants his guests with seasonal and modern interpretations of classic haute-cuisine.
Marc Almert, the 27-year-old Head Sommelier, was crowned “Best Sommelier in the World” at the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale’s (ASI) Best Sommelier of the World competition on March 15, 2019, where 65 sommeliers from 62 countries competed for the title over four days at the event held in Antwerp, Belgium. The award comes on the heels of the recent announcement that the Baur au Lac’s Pavillon restaurant, where Almert manages the wine service, was awarded its second Michelin star.
“A sommelier is not just a wine connoisseur. He is rather a pleasure manager,” said Almert, who selected all of the wines
during our dinner at the Pavillon.