Alex, Lake Zurich, Switzerland

While many turn their nose up at hotels claiming to be "a home away from home", the Alex hotel's warm decor, clever design and breathtaking views turn the cliché into an all-too-tempting reality.

One of only two hotels perched on the shore of glittering Lake Zurich, the Alex makes sure that its surrounding nature is ever-present. Floor-to-ceiling windows, minimalist interiors and bespoke furniture both by BradyWilliams studio, and eco-friendly initiatives prove that the hotel embodies Zurich's modern outlook. Dine on Swiss cuisine at The Boat House restaurant, sip on cocktails in the art-deco bar or kick back with science-backed treatments at the PureGray Spa.


The hotel's decor is inspired by its neighbouring boat house. Wander along corridors designed to feel like the inside of a cruise ship (complete with nautical lanterns and wood-slat walls) to arrive at your room. Inside, wooden flooring, gold-trimmed furnishings and cloud-like double beds are subtly stylish, but all attention is undeniably commanded by floor-to-ceiling windows with views across Lake Zurich to the chocolate-box villages and tree-covered hills that lie on the opposing shore. In the morning, freshen up in your blue-tiled bathroom and step into fluffy bathrobes before heading out onto the balcony to sip coffee and soak up the view.

What's for breakfast?

Head downstairs to The Boat House, a lakeside restaurant serving Mediterranean dishes with a Swiss twist. Stock up on yoghurt topped with fresh fruit, seeds or nuts and drizzled with fresh honey, or opt for a platter of cold meat and cheese for something more substantial. A hot menu featuring eggs, meat and vegetarian dishes is available too.

How about lunch and dinner?

The Boat House doubles up as a romantic dinner spot. Softly lit interiors place emphasis on the twinkling lights of towns across the lake, while the menu offers dishes inspired by its waters. Start with a light dish of salmon carpaccio or tuna tataki and follow with more fish for main course - the lobster tagliatelle and shellfish bouillabaisse steal the show.

Is there a bar?

The pistachio-green chairs and gold-trimmed barstools of the art deco-themed bar provide the perfect setting for a pre- or post-meal tipple. The menu doesn't list any classic cocktails - talk to the bartender to learn about Swiss liqueurs and try something new. Prefer to be alone? Cuddle up by the fire in the pastel-pink lounge, where you can nurse your cocktail in peace.


Designed to welcome both short- and long-stays, rooms come with a fully equipped kitchen including a hob, fridge, microwave, dishwasher and kettle. Rustle up some food to enjoy on your balcony or retire after dinner to concoct a cocktail (rooms come with shaker and short crystal glasses). Bathrooms benefit from Swiss-made toiletries such as natural black-pine soap and Soeder* products, and any clothes washing can be done in the laundry room downstairs.

Things you should know

The hotel prides itself on its eco-friendly initiatives. Set in a certified minimal energy building, Alex uses its lakeside locale to its benefit, harnessing the temperature of the lake to cool and heat the building. In a bid to reduce waste, the hotel uses glass bottles, compostable bags, no straws and endeavours to minimise the use of plastic. All products found in the PureGray Spa are locally made, primarily with SWISSLINE by Dermalab.

Within a short walk you'll find…

Not a lot bar views of snow-capped Alps, but you can ask at reception for the hotel's speedboat to drop you off at the city, where you can spend the day exploring Zurich's cobbled alleys and feasting on fondue.

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City Guide: Zurich