Switzerland has always been a dream to visit, from the best luxury brands, to food, to gorgeous sceneries, to cheese and chocolates, this country seem to have it all. My introduction to Switzerland couldn’t be more perfect, being welcomed in the sleek, luxurious, five-star superior historical Zurich city hotel, Atlantis by Giardino. The spacious rooms with balconies, two great dining options including the 2-Michelin star restaurant Ecco, outdoor and indoor pools with jacuzzi, and its’ penthouse suite which is the largest in Europe definitely set it apart from the rest.
Hotel Atlantis originally opened in 1970 and was designed by Zurich architects Hans and Annemarie Hubacher, in collaboration with Peter Issler. Its’ Y-shaped three-winged four-story building sits in a prominent location at the foot of Üetliberg mountain, just three miles from Zurich city center. In the 1970’s the hotel hosted well-known guests including international celebrities like the actors Steve McQueen, Sophia Lauren, Shirley McLaine and boxing legend Muhammad Ali.
As our car pulled up, we were impressed with round teal lights of the curbed driveway, with the mod 70’s feel of the glass copper wall bearing the hotel’s name. Our car doors were immediately opened and our luggages retrieved right away, as if we were already expected even with our unannounced arrival. An impressive brass lion greeted us as we made our way into the lobby and the reception desk, after which we were transported into a stunningly stylish large foyer with the feel of being in a state of the art living room of a modern mansion rather than a hotel.
The London-based design firm HBA decorated the interior of the hotel, mixing the Scandinavian style with the 1970’s character and charm in the present-day setting. Hand-crafted furniture from Italian manufacturer Molteni were combined with best fabrics from Pierre Frey, Atlfield and Zimmer + Rohde. In the lobby, a beautiful double-sided fireplace is surrounded with comfortable sofas while impressive leafy styled light fixtures in the ceiling gave us the calming garden feel, synonymous to the whole “urban retreat” theme of the hotel.
We arrived early at 8:50 am and was assisted right away by Theodora from the front desk. After confirming our reservation, we were asked to fill out a short paperwork then received warm wash cloths and homemade iced tea welcome drinks served in customized bottles bearing the hotel’s name and logo. Few minutes after, we were given a little tour of common areas passing by two grand staircases, then were escorted to our room with our luggages already waiting for our arrival.
Although it was the height of winter, we were happy to receive a bright and airy room with open floor plan. Big large windows lead to the spacious balcony with sitting area and a lovely panoramic view of Zurich rooftops. The rooms were decorated with fabric and suede-lined walls combined with art-deco style furnishings. The floor to ceiling marble bathroom with separate bath and tub was spacious with bears toiletries from dipiù, the hotel’s spa. Nespresso coffee machine and a non-alcoholic minibar were present and filled with complimentary bottled water, different flavored cold drinks, crips and Swiss-brand Laderach gourmet sweets. My favorite feature of the room which is a traveling photographer’s necessity were the ideally placed international power sockets and USB ports all around which let me charge all of my electronic equipment (camera, laptop, phone, portable hotspot and power bank) all at once.
The large 25-meter outdoor pool was sadly not available to use because it was covered due to the winter season. However, we were able to relax and end our days in the beautiful indoor pool and spa with it’s jacuzzi. The hotel spa, “dipiù” is translated from Italian which means “a little more” represents the brand’s Mediterranean dolce vita vibe. It is located in the hotel’s basement and with the view of a Japanese zen garden from the pool and sauna areas. The spa also offers classic and therapeutic massages, facial treatments and cosmetic line. A workout room, next to the spa, is available to use anytime during the day. In addition, there is also dipiù hair salon which features Aveda products and is located next to the hotel entrance.
Atlantis by Giardino is also known for Ecco, it’s in-house 2-Michelin star restaurant. Stefan Hielemann and his team, under the guidance of Ecco founder Rolf Fliegauf is said to artfully combine the natural flavors of season ingredients to create unexpected and distinctive plates. Ecco was unfortunately closed for it’s winter break but we were able to dine in the other casual dining in-house restaurant.
The impressive grand staircase in the lobby will lead you to the sleek Hide & Seek restaurant with floor to ceiling windows overlooking a lovely view of the city. White marble floor combined with black marble topped tables and sage-green seating set the tone of the beautiful dining area. After we were escorted to our seats, we were given hard copies of the menu with the lunch specials available, as well as electronic tablets where we can view the full menu offered. We opted for the 3-course meal, mine with panda cotta carrot for appetizer, beef with cauliflower for the main course, and chocolate brownie with ice cream for dessert. The restaurant serves cuisine that is a fusion of European elements with Asian influences and Arabic ingredients. The results are perfectly-cooked generous-sized plates full of familiar but unique flavors served with the most beautiful presentations making it hard not to take a photo prior to taking a bite. This lunch and dinner restaurant is also where they serve their buffet breakfast every morning with a large selection of bread, cheese, ham, fruits and fish. Prosecco is even available in the buffet area, but fruit juices are also an option. I once asked for scrambled eggs and even that was a work of art.
What sets Atlantis by Giardino apart from all the other hotels I’ve stayed at, is it’s luxurious penthouse suite also known as the Royal Residence. This is Europe’s largest suite with total area of 1,975 m2 and has 8 bedrooms and 8 bathrooms and can accommodate 18 people. We were lucky enough to be given a tour of this area by Georg Steiner, the hotel’s General Manager. The top floor is only accessible via private key card on the main elevator but also have private entrances hidden from the public.
From the stunning Grand Entrance hall, we were first led to the Blue Salon, which immediately reminded me of Chateau de Versailles. Bright and large floor to ceiling windows open to the terrace which wraps around the entire floor. Adjacent to the salon is the Master Suite which carries the blue color theme. The room even has its’ own living area separate from the bedroom which was fit for a king. The bathroom was my favorite, all marble with real gold accents all around, definitely the most luxurious bathroom I’ve ever seen. The Royal Residence also has a Red Salon, a large dining room, and a shisha lounge.
It’s hard to believe that all of these beautiful features belong to just one hotel in the heart of Europe. It is definitely a calm haven amidst the busy city of Zürich with outstanding staff helping make the stay even more memorable.
While there may be many hotels in Zürich, I highly recommend checking out. A city hotel with the a resort feel and all the comforts of a luxurious stay, making it your holiday unforgettable and one of a kind.
Special thanks to Atlantis by Giardino for providing us complimentary stay and meals at their restaurant. As always, all photos and opinions are my own.Follow Sky Envy: Bloglovin' / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Pinterest