Baur au Lac Hotel Review, Zurich

Baur au Lac Review, Zurich

 

My Review of the Baur au Lac is of Zurich's most personal luxury hotel, and one of the few Swiss luxury hotels that is still family owned. I was looking forward to my stay, especially given the hotel's enviable location by the lake, and with its own garden, a unique amenity in the heart of Zurich.

Interested in a trip to Switzerland? See 8 Things I Love About Switzerland and all posts tagged Switzerland.

TravelSort Clients can reserve the Baur au Lac with these Virtuoso benefits:

  • Daily full breakfast, for up to two in room guests
  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • $100 USD Equivalent Food & Beverage credit, to be utilized during stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
  • A welcome gift from our hotel’s chocolatier upon arrival
  • Early check-in/Late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

Garden, Baur au Lac Review

 

Baur au Lac Location, Lobby and Check-In

The Baur au Lac was presciently built by Lake Zurich in 1844 by Johannes Baur, before lake-side dwellings were desirable. It's located at Talstrasse 1, and it takes just 10 minutes to get there from Zurich's main station, by taking tram line 11 to Borsenstrasse then walking a minute to the hotel.

I arrived in the early evening, and there was just one other guest checking in at reception. I was soon assisted to my room, which had generously been upgraded to a lovely Junior Suite on the 5th floor. Because the original hotel has been expanded, the elevator closest to reception doesn't go all the way up to the 5th floor, so you can either take it to the 4th floor and walk up or walk to the glass elevator that goes up to the 5th floor. That was a small inconvenience given how much I liked the Junior Suite.

While the immediate reception area isn't large, there's lovely seating in “Le Hall,” which the hotel recently redesigned with a beautiful atrium-effect ceiling. It's perfect for relaxing and reading a good book, or afternoon tea.

Lobby, Baur au Lac Review

The Hall, Baur au Lac's Lobby Lounge

 

Junior Suite 

Junior Suites, which are 540 square feet and face either the inner courtyard, side street, or Schanzengraben Canal, are a potential upgrade from Deluxe King or Twin Rooms, which are 380 square feet and face the city, inner courtyard, or canal. I was in Junior Suite 531, which faced the canal, and was an elegant blend of contemporary and Asian decor:

Junior Suite 531, Baur au Lac Review

Junior Suite, Baur au Lac Review

 

If you opened the window from the bathroom, there was a glimpse of Lake Zurich to the left, only a bit marred by some construction work being done in the area.

View from Bathroom Window of Junior Suite 531, Baur au Lac Review

 

The bathroom featured two stand alone sinks, a toilet chamber, soaking tub, and a separate shower.

Junior Suite Bathroom, Baur au Lac Review

Shower, Baur au Lac Junior Suite Review

 

Bath products are specially made for the Baur au Lac by La Bottega of Italy.

Baur au Lac Bath Products by La Bottega of Italy

 

The open plan Junior Suite had a seating area with sofa and chairs.

Junior Suite Sitting Area, Baur au Lac Review, Zurich

 

A fruit welcome amenity was an apple, grapes and apricot. But what really got my attention was a large dark chocolate (70% cocoa mass) with toasted almonds, made by the Baur au Lac's own chocolatier. Switzerland may be best known for its milk chocolate, but I infinitely prefer dark chocolate, so this was my favorite chocolate gift over my entire week of traveling in Switzerland and being gifted several pounds of chocolate (not joking). In fact, I'm still savoring it here at home in NYC.

Fruit Welcome Amenity, Baur au Lac Review

Dark Chocolate Welcome Amenity, Baur au Lac Review

 

Another nice touch is that the mini bar drinks (waters, juices, soft drinks) are complimentary:

Complimentary Mini Bar, Baur au Lac Review

 

And while I'm personally not particular about my pillows, for those who are, there is one of the most comprehensive pillow menus I've ever seen. In addition to the various feather, foam and tempurpedic pillows, there were choices such as spelt, pine shavings, and even cherry pits, which were traditionally heated and used in winter as a Swiss version of a hot water bottle, since the pits retain heat well.

Baur au Lac Pillow Menu

 

Here's a quick video of my Junior Suite at the Baur au Lac:

 

Baur au Lac Breakfast (Complimentary Virtuoso Benefit)

While I had an early train to catch, I certainly wish I could have lingered longer over the scrumptious breakfast spread at the Baur au Lac. Given that it was before 7am, only one other guest was in the dining room of The Pavilion, which is also the fine dining restaurant at the Baur au Lac. Had I been hungrier the prior evening, this or on the outdoor terrace is where I'd have liked to dine.

The Pavilion Restaurant, Baur au Lac, Zurich

 

I was warmly greeted and asked where I'd like to sit, then offered fresh squeezed juice and invited to choose an egg dish cooked to order.

Meanwhile, I helped myself to fresh fruit, smoked salmon, cheese and yogurt from the cold buffet:

Breakfast Buffet Fresh Fruits and Yogurt, Baur au Lac Review

Fresh Whole Fruits, Baur au Lac Breakfast Review

Cold Cuts, Baur au Lac Breakfast Buffet

Cheese Plate, Baur au Lac Breakfast Review

Breakfast Breads, Baur au Lac Review

Breakfast, Baur au Lac, Zurich

 

The fresh squeezed juice (I ordered a mixture of orange and grapefruit) and omelet came quite quickly, which I was grateful for, given the limited time I had for breakfast.

Omelet, Baur au Lac Breakfast Review

 

I loved that there was honey from the Baur au Lac's own hive (which is whimsically shaped as a miniature Baur au Lac):

Jams and Baur au Lac Honey

Baur au Lac Bee Hive, Garden

 

The Verdict

Zurich is a busy city, which makes the Baur au Lac a wonderful base: convenient if you have meetings downtown, but almost resort-like given its location by Lake Zurich, and lovely garden. It's important to note, however, that the hotel does not have a swimming pool or spa. Combine your trip with a visit to another Swiss hotel with a lovely pool (say the Four Seasons Geneva, the Alpina Gstaad or The Chedi Andermatt) though, and you can have ample pool and spa time there.

I particularly liked the Junior Suite I was in, which was spacious, well-appointed, and very quiet. I also appreciated the thoughtful touches such as fresh flowers, fresh fruit, complimentary mini bar drinks, and in particular, the dark chocolate. There were already power adapters in the room, so no need to worry if you haven't had a chance to get a Swiss adapter. My own quibble was that the bed was a bit too firm for my taste, but nearly all European beds (except Four Seasons beds) are.

And while I only had breakfast at the hotel, it was excellent in quality–a nice variety of fresh cut and whole fruits, great yogurt and granola, fresh squeezed juice, and a well-made omelet and latte.

If you've stayed at the Baur au Lac, what was your experience?

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