Disclosure: I was one of a small group of writers invited to attend the 2011 Masters of Food and Wine event in Zurich. My stay at the hotel was complimentary.
Nothing like tarnishing a review like admitting I did not pay a cent out of pocket for my stay, eh? Relax—I am not a tool and if my experience had been bad, I would not sugarcoat it here. But, I will lead off my review by stating that I enjoyed a wonderful three-night stay at the hotel and left with such high regard for the hotel team that I would move the hotel into the “must stay” list while in Zurich.
Stepping off our short flight from Frankfurt and out into the arrivals hall my brother and I were immediately met by a suited man with a placard bearing our names. After making a withdrawal from the ATM, we were driven to the hotel in a black Mercedes Benz S-Class. This is a service available for an additional fee, but certainly cuts the hassle of fighting brisk afternoon traffic or a long tram ride to the hotel.
We were expected, so a representative was waiting outside the door as we pulled up to greet us and take us directly up to our room. We were assigned a standard room on the fourth floor that was spacious, clean, and comfortable. Sitting on the table was a number of welcome gifts to the Master’s of Food and Wine event and a delectable assortment of finger foods on the small table next to the chaise.
Warm afternoon sunlight streamed in from the large windows overlooking the street below and a large desk with multiple plug-ins made for a very convenient work area (as much as I loved the room, unfortunately I would spend more time in the room working than I would have liked over the next three days). The bed was tremendously comfortable and plenty big enough for my brother and I and the bathroom was spacious and featured a rain shower.
One minor annoyance (though I thought the outcome was even better), was that the hotel’s spa and fitness center was shutdown throughout my stay due to some sort of electrical problem. The Park Hyatt had everything covered, though: a large private fitness center was just a couple blocks away and the hotel issued passes to guests wanting to workout. In fact, not only did they issue the pass but they escorted my brother and me around the corner and down the street to the gym. I am sure the hotel’s gym would have been more than adequate for my needs, but it was nice to workout in a large gym with hundreds of pieces of equipment and a full-size swimming pool.
I will save my review of the hotel’s restaurant for my upcoming Master’s of Food and Wine review, but I do want to discuss the wonderful breakfasts my brother and I enjoyed each morning. The first and third morning we ate downstairs in the hotel restaurant, a spacious open dining room next to the lobby. The buffet is composed of cold breakfast items and baked goods—hot items like French toast or eggs can be ordered.
The second morning, we ordered room service and found the food equally wonderful. We ordered a huge breakfast (I would not have ordered as much had I known I would soon have a huge lunch during my tour of Zurich) and thoroughly enjoyed it. Every part of the breakfast below was wonderful and even remained hot as we leisurely ate (there was even a small warming oven attached to the table).
I mentioned earlier that I spent a lot of time in the room during the three days—let that be a testament to how comfortable the room was. Internet was fast (complimentary for Hyatt Platinum and Diamond members) and the signal strong in all parts of the room.
The first night my brother and I were craving some Italian food and asked for a recommendation from the hotel. A couple places were recommended but we got lost walking around town and ended up at a place called Santa Lucia. Do yourself a favor and skip this place—the menu was, of course, pricey compared to the cheap American and German meals I am accustomed too, but that was to be expected: it was Zurich and the CHF was strong. The main problem was the food just was not that great (I had pasta with pesto)—a far cry from some of the restaurants I have dined at in past trips to Zurich. Should have asked for directions to one of the hotel’s recommendations…
When we returned to the hotel, we rented a DVD from the hotel’s large collection and utilized the DVD player in our room. Look for a directory inside your hotel information folder or ask for one at the front desk when you check-in.
Finally, a word about the hotel staff. Indeed, I was a “VIP guest” and I expected to be pampered, but not everyone at the hotel knew I was part of the Master’s of Food and Wine event—as I’ll write about in my next installment, the event was quite small and low-key. Whether at the restaurant, bar, or front desk; whether the maid, the concierge, or the bellman—everyone was exceedingly kind.
I’ve now tried a number of hotels in Zurich and the Park Hyatt blew away the competition in terms of personalized service, quality of food, room comfort, and a sense of warmness that captures the unique warmness of the Swiss people. Bottom line: if you are coming to Zurich, you will have an outstanding stay at the Hyatt. Next time I am in town when the stay is not complimentary, I will look no further than the Park Hyatt—it was that good.