Right in the heart of Zurich's old town and a mere five-minute stroll from the central train station, the exquisite Widder Hotel couldn't be better placed for a weekend break in Switzerland's most dynamic city. Comprising of nine formerly distinct medieval townhouses dating back to the 1400s, the hotel is both an intriguing history lesson and an architectural marvel, painstakingly restored and renovated by Swiss architect Tilla Theus over a 10-year period. Converting alleyways into corridors, overlaying centuries-old stone walls with glass and chrome and creating gradual transitions where one house merges into the next, the ambitious transformation has resulted in a designer stay that successfully blends several chapters of history with supremely modern architecture.
A wander through the hotel (if you can do it without getting lost) will reveal uniquely curated spaces in every corner, from the dimly lit library criss-crossed with weathered wooden beams to the five distinct restaurants and bars. And once you've explored every nook and cranny, Zurich's winding laneways await just beyond the hotel doors.
In keeping with the rest of the building, each of Widder Hotel's 49 luxurious rooms is unique - and we don't just mean the colour scheme. You'll want to spend a night in every one, from the top-floor space-age loft suite, which spreads out over two levels and will have you sleeping underneath a futuristic hanging sculpture, to one of the more demure junior suites featuring aged beams, leather couches and shaggy floor rugs. This doesn't mean they've sacrificed amenities for design - you'll find a complimentary mini bar, coffee machine, Bang & Olufsen stereo, adjustable mattress and iPad in every suite. Meanwhile, the bathrooms are an experience in themselves, with hydro massage showers that will either lull you to sleep or pummel you into wakefulness while you catch up on the news (yes, there's a television in the bathroom) - if you can figure out how to work the high-tech control pad.
What's for breakfast?
Head down to the AuGust brasserie for a full breakfast spread, with a cold buffet and menu of classic morning dishes to choose from. Blue skies outside? Nab a table on the patio and enjoy your French toast in the sun - preferably with a mimosa on the side.
How about lunch and dinner?
Head to the Widder Bar & Kitchen for international flavours, Al Fresco in the outdoor courtyard for grilled meats and fresh salads, Wirtschaft Zur Schtund for cheesy tarte flambée or back to AuGust for traditional Swiss dishes.
Is there a bar?
As well as the 39-page-strong list of wine, spirits and cocktails you'll find at Widder Bar & Kitchen, the hotel also hosts a regular pop-up bar in Widder Garage - one that's as popular with Zurich's hip party crowd as it is with the out-of-towners. Styled with bookcases full of vinyl records, glittering disco balls and retro furniture, it's less like a hotel bar and more like the cool hotspot everyone's hanging out at back home.
Within a short distance you'll find…
What won't you find? The sights of Zurich's old town are on the doorstop, while there's plenty of shopping, dining and drinking options all within a five-minute walk.