In late 2008 / early 2009, when in central Zurich for business, I stayed at a number of hotels in different places. Of all the places in my 3 months there, Palais Kraft stood out in my memory as something a bit different, a bit out of the ordinary, so when I went back to Zurich for a short break with my wife it made sense to go back there.
It's certainly an esoteric place. Unless you know the specific name it won't turn up on many website searches for hotels / guesthouses in Zurich, and it doesn't even look like a hotel from the outside. It's in quite an exclusive residential area, so it's quiet apart from the churchbells at nearby Kirche Fluntern. There are only three guest rooms in a six-floor mansion block with giant pillars fronting it, meaning it feels very exclusive to enter.
The location is excellent for quick easy access to the city via tram or bus but far enough out of the very centre to be quiet in the evenings. The room we had was fairly spacious, with a shared shady patio at the back and a pleasantly-decorated bathroom sporting a shower with such strong water pressure it bordered on wire-wooling your skin.
The room also had a kitchenette, meaning if we wanted to we could self-cater - there was a hob and an oven with basic cookware available. It also had a fridge stocked to the gills with water, Coke / Diet Coke, Red Bull and lager - this is not a mini-bar; it is included in the price of the room. As the weather was scorching for our visit, being able to take a litre or two of chilled water with us as we explored the city was a lovely touch.
Breakfast was simple but tasty, and the general service was sporadic but quick to help and friendly. One of the staff had an adorable dog who apparently lived on-site - a very enthusiastic addition to the team, I'd say!
The downsides are limited but crucial. The first one is the price - like all places in Zurich, it's not cheap. The room we had was 330 CHF per night, which at present exchange rates was around £250. We had to ask for a couple of things that you'd hope would be in the room as standard, such as a hairdryer, and also the pillows were far too soft, meaning your head just collapses into them like you're drowning. Perhaps more of an issue is the fact that the proximity of the patio means the room can get a few insects in it - there's nothing that the staff can really do about this, but it does detract from the gleaming white walls and wood flooring if there are insects defiling them.
To be honest, these are minor quibbles. In some ways, the best aspect of Palais Kraft is the fact that it doesn't feel like a hotel: it's not a sterile environment with all the rooms looking the same and the same experience 365 days a year. It feels like having your own serviced appartment for a few days - and for me that makes it far more welcoming to come back to. I'd recommend it as a slightly quirky alternative for a trip to Zurich.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Palais Kraft is a large neo-classical mansion with splendid penthouses, large apartments and comfortable studios. Our friendly staff speak English, German and Thai.There are three guest rooms available by the night:The Hoover Room: A large (33 m2), comfortable studio room with king size bed, kitchenette, 33" LCD TV, spacious bathroom with tub, and a store room.The Coolidge Room: A 29 m2 comfortable studio with king size bed, kitchenette, 33" LCD TV, spacious shower room, entrance hall.The Wilson Room: A large (43 m2), comfortable studio room with king size bed, kitchenette, 42" LCD TV, spacious bathroom with tub, store room with washer and dryer.One serviced apartment available by the week:The Roosevelt Apartment: A large (182 m2), comfortable furnished apartment with a spacious living room, hall, master bed room (king size bed) suite with master bathroom and closets, second bed room (king size bed), nursery with children's bed, laundry, guest toilet, large terrace. ... more less
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