So. My Zurich hotel. Love at first, second and third sight. It was a ladies’ boarding house in the 19th century and much more recently was turned into a hotel – initially for women only, but now men are allowed too. The top two floors are a spa and wellness centre and there’s a roof terrace with a great view (ALLEGEDLY - it was raining by the time I went to look at it and so closed).
The receptionist was super-friendly when I arrived and gave me lots of helpful information about Zurich. I liked the lobby which had interesting art and a seating area around a stove.
The décor is simple, but chic: wooden floorboards, wrought iron details. I love the doors alternating blue and orange. (My only, tiny quibble is that the floorboards are squeaky.)There is a lift, but I took a fancy to the staircase which seemed to embody ‘Victorian ladies’ boarding house style’ – in the best possible way.
My bedroom was small, but perfectly formed. It was a single, incidentally, but had a nice big bed and a nice little balcony. The desk had a good lamp and there was free wifi.
Robe, slippers and gingerbread biscuits were supplied (also for use in spa) and there were cool products including (sorry male readers – this one’s for the girls) a ladies’ shaving kit.
After my initial exploration (poking into the bathroom, checking out the minibar, opening the window etc) I headed out to discover Zurich. But when I got back, footsore, I decided I really couldn’t stay at the hotel and not try the spa. So up I went (the spa is women only), got some peppermint tea, and had goes of three kinds of sauna. I wasn’t feeling brave enough for the cold plunge pool, but I did have a cold (fairly cold) shower in between times. Oh, let me just forewarn: the Swiss don't bother with swimsuits in the spa.
Then I went up to the quiet room under the roof, where I lounged very happily in the pretty space reading German fashion magazine – well, looking at the pictures, mostly.
The bed was very comfortable (big, fluffy duvet) and I slept beautifully.
Breakfast is a buffet: bread, croissants, brioches (num num) and very good coffee made individually for you. There was also yoghurt, fruit, meat and cheese, but nothing hot.
Anyway, I was in heaven for most of the time I spent there. Apart from the squeaky floorboards, the only other disappointment was discovering you have to pay a little more for use of the spa, which is a shame – it’s really nice as an extra, but I’m not sure the basic facilities merit the additional charge. But overall, a really great stay.
Oh, one more thing – the staff are all women and the hotel runs a programme to help unemployed women get back into the workforce.
Lady’s First Design Hotel, Mainausstrasse 24, Zurich http://www.ladysfirst.ch/