And then I’m sitting on the romantic terrace of the Florhof having breakfast, in Zurich, at the end of September – in mild weather! It’s 9 o’clock, rather later (because I’m always later!), sunshine above me, a Bircher Müsli in front of me, Kipferl & Honig plus cappuccino by the side. And I understand this morning in one fell swoop: this is in the middle of Zurich, in the middle of life, this is what I have wanted for a minimum of 1 1/2 years. It’s not “after Corona”, unfortunately, but still pure happiness, with salmon-coloured sunrises and picturesque sunsets, feeling joy and blinking sun on the boat trip on Lake Zurich, Apérol Sprizz on the rooftop of the Hotel Storchen (with sunglasses!), there are macarons & tartlets and salmon carpaccio and every evening glowing angels in the garden of the Florhof, showing me the way to my soft king-size bed. Thank you to life! And can it be more beautiful? …
But first things first! Zurich fits, I thought after our holiday in South Tyrol, which, as we all know, is before the holiday, when you already want time off from everyday life. – What does it cost? That’s the second thought, which shouldn’t come before the first, but which I know too! Nevertheless: If the holiday head cinema wants a date with YOU, then don’t come to it with petty mammon state descriptions. Doesn’t do any good, not one nice travel thought! But I digress …
Zurich! “What do you think?”, I said to my husband, who takes a much riskier approach to holiday ideas. “Great”, he replied, and the travel luck took its course.
If we’re going on a city tour, now is the time! Before everything gets more crowded again and also more expensive, we both thought. But why Zurich and how now? Does that go in cheap??? Okay! Switzerland and cheap are almost mutually exclusive – at least from a German perspective. But perhaps your own plans for Zurich will take on a more concrete form when I tell you about our experiences and what gave me particular happiness and joy in Zurich.
The Florhof in Zurich
It has been on this earth since the 18th century. No new resources were consumed for the beautiful patrician house, but the inner and outer radiance was lovingly & carefully harmonised with the renovation in 2014. If I may recommend a hotel in Zurich to all women & men, then this is it: The who’s who of the international art scene comes and goes in this 3-star boutique hotel with 32 rooms.
Isabelle Zeyssolff is the director of the Florhof and tells us what it was like during Corona: where new ideas were needed, but nothing was allowed to cost anything (not even in Switzerland!) because nothing was coming in during the pandemic hotel drought. How, with the help of Peter Young, friend and interior designer of Holland & Young, they redesigned the lounge into a distance restaurant 2.0, with brainstorming, moving furniture, manual work and teamwork … And how the old lamp from her parents’ house has now found a place here and is now telling itself new stories with the parrot lamp, the green design armchairs (“Utrecht Chair”), with antique coffee house tables and flower tendril wallpaper. “Good vibes” where you have to take a seat because reading, drinking coffee, talking about life and being silent, falling in love and drinking 1 or even 2 glasses of wine feel so nice here.
Drinking wine in general! You have to be shown the wine cellar of the Florhof, preferably by Susana Sampaio, the fabulous restaurant manager of the Florhof. Order a greeting from me and drink a “Nounat”, from Mallorca from the “Binigrau” winery. Don’t forget to book a table for two at the Florhof restaurant and eat gnocchi with truffle sauce, pumpkin and sweet and sour marinated quince, or millefeuille with morels, potato mousseline, peas and spring vegetables, or fillets of sole with a cedro and elderberry hollandaise. Let Susana recommend the wines to go with it, or if you’re a Somelier yourself, don’t bother! By the way, Marc Homberger is the chef in the kitchen of the Florhof and cooks – MON DIEU how delicious! – French-Mediterranean for you and your unforgettable evening at the Florhof, and well, maybe there’ll be a little drink to go with it.
If you want to get to know a city, you have to get lost in it. So they say. We didn’t move the car from the hotel car park for 3 days. We explored Zurich, or rather the old town. As soon as we arrived, we went to Laurence’s vestibule shop. The good-looking French woman has 3 shops in Zurich and super tips on how to wear fashion with that certain little French flair. Please give her my love and be sure to get her advice, it’s sooo much! I’m still dreaming about those little black cowboy boots from her shop and the green checked shacket (jacket-hybrid of shirt-jacket). So stylish!
Because it gives pleasure
And if you can find a little more time, stop by Roman’s too: In Roman K’s hairdresser’s shop, TOUT Zurich gets its hair done. Intersection on the 1st floor in Storchen-Gasse, around the corner from the aforementioned rooftop bar. Say hello to him, too, and maybe you’ll just get your fringes cut or listen to the tips on new hair colours or how to counteract that darned grey on the crown of your head with a glossy coat of paint.
And then you have to go to “À ma chère” in Torgasse, even if you don’t want any haute couture. The shop is a show! Not only because there are second-hand finds (clothes, shoes, bags) in a class of their own, but also beautiful fabrics (made in the Wiener Werkstätten) from which you can have something tailored. I immediately fell in love with a paisley fabric in the shop window. Tip: Take a nice fabric with you and have it made into trousers, a blouse or something else at home later. By the way, the shop is affiliated with an association that buys second-hand clothes – everything under 25 years old goes for resale, older pieces are vintage and can be admired in various exhibitions.
But you don’t just have to “get lost” in Zurich, you also have to go boating. We took a one-hour sightseeing tour of Zurich from Lake Zurich: Lots of luxury buildings lined up along the water. What an architectural show! Conservative can be really beautiful.
Life is there for us
As we pack our bags again and September still feels like summer, I think: If I’m not allowed to travel again (pandemic) or can’t (money), I just have to close my eyes and think of Zurich. Of the paradise blue from above, the sandstone-coloured monumental churches and buildings below, the breathtaking Chagall windows in the Fraumünster, the wonderful macarons that I forgot to buy at Sprüngli, the “Nounat” that is unfortunately drunk up online (bummer!).
My Zurich tips!
Hotel: Florhof, Florhofgasse 4. This is where silk was once produced, today the 18th century patrician house is the charming boutique hotel in the middle of Zurich. Host Isabelle Zeyssolff & her 19-member team create a lovingly familiar atmosphere. The gourmet restaurant with chef Marc Homberger creates Mediterranean, young and regional cuisine. And restaurant manager Susana Sampaio serves “convincing wines that have something to tell” – exclusively European wines are stored in the historic vault/wine cellar. Palate souvenirs from the chef are also available: homemade jams and chutneys, for example, from figs that grow on the hotel’s terrace.
For shopping: Vestibule Shop, Laurence Antiglio has 3 shops in Zurich, St. Peterstrasse 20 and online is also possible: Vestibule Online Shop. Panta Rhei, Boutique Limmatquai 1. Not Shy Cashmere, Oberdorfstr. 26, Not Shy E-Shop. À ma Chere, fashion second-hand & fabrics, Torgasse 4.
Must-Go: Kirchgasse has many antiquarian bookshops, galleries and the imposing Grossmünster. Spiegelgasse, here Georg Büchner wrote his “Leonce and Lena”, the Dadaists founded the famous “Cabaret Voltaire” – today a restaurant/bar including a cultural centre. The Fraumünster, landmark of the city, with a lot of history, famous Chagall and Giacometti windows. Be sure to listen to the audio guide!
Restaurants and bars: Kronenhalle – where the who’s who of Zurich meets, Rämistrasse 4. Widder-Bar + Restaurant & Hotel, Widdergasse 6. The Nest, rooftop bar in Hotel Storchen, Weinplatz 2. Terasse, Italian, Limmatquai 3. Haus Hiltl, oldest vegetarian restaurant in the world, Sihlstr. 28 . Klinglers, Italian, Münzplatz 3. Aurora Bar & Restaurant, Bahnhofstr. 61.