I see the snow lightly fall, illuminated by the corner street lamp as I sit in the early morning twilight and sip my espresso coffee as my feet are warmed by the central heating.
Out of my hotel window trams glide on their tracks past the architectural historic buildings and the Opera House nearby. The rooftops of Zurich have a light dusting of white, and I am glad I am snuggled inside our room.
We arrived here in Zurich by a crowded train (using Eurail First Class) after ten nights in Liechtenstein where Explorason had been learning to ski. We’ve had just the best time, and really fallen in love with this corner of Europe.
Zurich is only a little over an hour by train from theLiechtenstein border (we used the Buchs station), so it was an easy ride, except somehow when I went to reserve the seats, the lady in the office told me “we didn’t need to reserve seats”.
How wrong she was!
It was a sold-out train, so for the first part we stood, then sat on the floor, until a passing man lost his balance and fell on top of me.
I’d injured my hand on New Year’s Eve, so this was not the best thing to happen. Then the guard was checking our tickets right at the time when this occurred, so thankfully he found us both a seat immediately.
Life is full of surprises!
When we arrived at Ambassador a l’Opera Zurich there was a virtual screen on the reception desk showing an igloo on the roof. My son spied this, and instantly wanted to go and explore the rooftop.
We went up there to the roof a couple of times – oh how divine. The first evening before it snowed, and then the next day after the snow.
It is a gorgeous place to view Zurich and Zurich Lake, and ideal for the keen photographer.
Picnics or Fondue can be organized through the hotel up on the roof in the igloo which would be really lovely and can be romantic or a fun small party for up to six people.
This Part Of A Former Castle
For most of our time in Zurich, I was hotel room-bound due to my son’s tonsilitis.
This, however, wasn’t a bad thing at all. Explorason slept and rested for two days whilst I planned our coming weeks in Europe for the new year – which I was pretty excited about!
I loved the elegant and contemporary interior design and soothing colours, and I discovered this building was part of the former Uto Castle, built in 1898. Even our entrance to our room had double doorways that formed a metre-deep chamber.
I was really glad there was a plentiful supply of coffee pods for me, and peppermint and chamomile tea for the ailing boy (a great suggestion from the waiter at breakfast).
Bottled water was supplied daily, drinks under CHF5 in the mini bar are complimentary I believe, and platters and bowls of fruit are in the hallways and reception area to top up the Vitamin C.
It was also wonderful that the bathroom was fitted with a full-size bathtub so that on a couple of occasions I could run a nice warm bath to assist with his temperature.
We were also given two lovely shower aromatherapy fizzers which I’ve never seen before, let alone been supplied within a hotel. Lavender for me, and lemongrass for Explorason (interestingly, both two of our favourite fragrances.)
These fizzy tablets sit on the base of the shower and as the water runs the fragrance rises – fantastic!
A Welcoming Glass Of Champagne
On our first evening at this ‘Neo-Baroque’ architecturally styled hotel, we both enjoyed a ‘Welcome Drink’ (a glass of Champagne for me) in the area adjacent to the hotel reception in the lobby and bar area.
This relaxation area was naturally fairly full of people, and guests chatted, checked their emails on the hotel internet, sipped their cocktails, or relaxed reading the newspaper or a book.
On returning to our room, Explorason yelled “oh my goodness. Oh my goodness” as he looked out of the fourth-floor window, and I thought something was really wrong! But it was snowing and he was excited!
I must say, I slept REALLY well in this hotel room. a comfortable matress, king size twin bed, and soft quilts, all helped me enjoy a deep sleep.
We headed up to the rooftop next morning to see the beauty of Zurich under a layer of soft white snow. Just breathtakingly beautiful!
Boutiques And Designer Stores
The next day I took a short stroll to the store for supplies (there is a supermarket on the next corner) and to wonder though a few of the lovely boutiques and designer shops nearby.
Award Winning Opera Restaurant
Having a really late Swiss Buffet Breakfast – they serve until 10:00 a.m. – at Ambassador à L’Opéra’s fabulous restaurant meant we didn’t need to consume lunch. There was such a good selection of hot and cold food (and with a focus on healthy choices) that support local fair trade. There seemed no rush with the staff, so we could take our time and graze our way through several breakfast plates.
I love the artistically painted walls and artistic décor of the restaurant – just gorgeous!
Tonight I dined alone for most of my meal at The Opera Restaurant which is renowned in Zurich for its gourmet cuisine and also as one of the best fish restaurants – its fish specialties have won awards!
Explorason came down, ordered. Then hardly ate and went to bed. However, I enjoyed fresh truffle grated with care on my Italian Risotto with an accompanying Italian wine – ‘Perfecto!’
Rest And Relaxation
By the end of that first night, Explorason had completely lost his voice and his eyes were filled with pink road-map lines in them, and underneath were blue-grey rings – he looked a sight. Sleep was the best thing for him.
The room temperature we found to be perfect. We had the choice to turn the central heating on or off under the window, and we could even open the window for fresh air. Having the ability to open a window is something we both love, and find that way too many modern hotels don’t provide. Any room with a window that opens is a big plus for both of us as we love fresh air.
Time To Explore
By late afternoon the second day, Explorason was well enough for an hour or two sightseeing all rugged up.
Adjacent to Ambassador a l’Opera Zurich is the lake, so we strolled along that as it softly began a flurry of snow. The boats may be tucked away for winter, but it is very pretty and there is so much to see, and my camera liked the outing very much too.
So glad we went out! We did check out some great Dada art (which just celebrated its 100th Anniversary!)
There is so much we missed here in Zurich which is sad – the FIFA Museum, The Railway Bridge that now has shops under it, and much more – we will have to come back!
One thing we loved is that everything is in walking distance and that the hotel is really central in The Limmat Zurich City. If Explorason had been feeling better, I think a brisk morning stroll around Zurich Lake would have been wonderful.
Not the time in Zurich we planned or imagined with Explorason being ill, but thankful that we were able to stay in such a lovely hotel with everything we needed and in a fabulous location.
Time To Leave
Tomorrow we say goodbye to this charming boutique hotel and travel once more by train. I am really glad the train station is in the next street from here – so convenient! I’m getting better at ‘not getting the wheels caught in the tram tracks’, and ‘avoiding cobblestone streets’ too (which are both requiring skill) so as not to damage the luggage wheels. Plus Switzerland rail stations has elevators to all the train platforms we’ve had to use so I don’t have to lift the luggage.
We stayed at Small Luxury Hotel Ambassador a l’Opera Zurich for three nights.
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