Hotel Atlantis by Giardino, Zurich

by  Laura Motta | Jan 16, 2020
Hublot Suite at Atlantis by Giardino, Zurich
Hublot Suite at Atlantis by Giardino, Zurich / Courtesy of Atlantis by Giardino, Zurich

Away from the cobblestone streets of Zurich’s busy old town and its stately financial district, you’ll find an unlikely enclave of high-gloss glamour. Set into a green hillside that gives it incredible views of the city, Hotel Atlantis by Giardino feels a world apart from Zurich’s city hotels. We recently stayed at this property, which has been fully re-imagined within its original 1970s shell. Here’s what we saw.

 What’s Inside

 Hotel Type: Luxury hotel set back from the busy city

 Number of Rooms: 95 rooms and suites

Bars and Restaurants: There's Ecco, which has two Michelin stars, and Hide & Seek, with cuisine inspired by Ayurvedic principles.

Hotel Trivia: The property makes much of its star-studded history. You’ll see photos of its famous former guests — Abba, Muhammad Ali, Freddie Mercury — throughout the hotel. 

Hide & Seek Restaurant / Courtesy of Atlantis by Giardino, Zurich

 What It Looks Like

The Design: The mythical lost city of Atlantis gives the hotel its name, and its sense of opulent aquatic style. Velvet cushions, densely piled rugs, and blown glass set the scene as soon as you enter. This rich sense of color and texture is a surprise after encountering the hotel’s Brutalist exterior.  

The Rooms: Rooms and suites are less showy and supremely comfortable. Linens are plush and the bathrooms are grand, all-marble, and are complete with walk-in showers and soaking tubs.  

The Public Spaces: The glamorous lobby is a pass-through area more than a place to spend lots of time, but there are few lovelier or more comfortable spots to wait for your taxi. Take time to explore the incredible Dipiù Spa, the highlights of which are two soothing swimming pools (one indoor, one outdoor). 

Accessibility: Elevators and a step-free lobby make this property manageable for for guests with wheelchairs and those with walking disabilities. 

What It Feels Like

Dipiù Spa / Courtesy of Atlantis by Giardino, Zurich

 The Mood: Privacy and quiet are the unspoken rules of this property, and guests tend to rely heavily on the hotel’s polished, always-at-the-ready staff to facilitate requests big and small

Who Stays Here: A sophisticated, almost entirely European crowd tends to frequent this property — especially Italians and people from the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland. This makes sense, as the first Giardino hotel opened in this region.  

Trend Watch: Wellness is the hallmark of all Giardino properties, especially in its deep commitment to Ayurvedic practices. 

 You’ll Love It If: You love a sophisticated stay at a polished property — especially one that’s relatively undiscovered among American travelers. The hotel’s hillside location also gives you a taste of Switzerland’s excellent hiking opportunities, even if you can’t make it all the way to the Matterhorn. 

Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You: If you need to stay in the heart of Zurich, this property may feel remote to you, even though shuttle and public transportation connections into town are relatively straightforward. 

 What You’ll Get

Spa, Pools, and Fitness: Make time to stop into the spa, if only to take a dip in the beautiful indoor pool, sweat it out in the sauna, or laze on a lounger. Treatments include the basics (massages, facials, body wraps) as well as a comprehensive list of Ayurvedic therapies. The outdoor pool is open seasonally from April to September. The gym, which has Technogym equipment, is open 24 hours.  

Four-Legged Guests: Pets are welcome; call ahead to make arrangements. 

Minibar Report: All non-alcoholic beverages in the minibar (juices, soft drinks, water) are complimentary. 

Notable Brand Collabs: Bath amenities are provided by Dipiù, the spa brand that you’ll find at Giardino hotels. 

 What You’ll Pay

Average Rates: Standard rooms — some of the most spacious in town — start at $250 per night. Suites starting at around $500 per night, though these rates are only available on limited dates. Expect standard rooms to average $300 to $450 per night for much of the year. 

When to Stay for Less: January and February are where you’re sure to find the lowest rates. In summer, standard rooms start at around $500 per night.

Resort and Other Fees: All taxes and fees (including VAT) are included when you book through the hotel, with the exception of a 2.50sf ($2.57 USD) per night city tax. 

 Know Your Neighborhood

In the Immediate Area: Located west of Zurich’s busy downtown, Giardino Atlantis is situated in the Friesenberg area. You'll find hiking trails just beyond the property; the hotel staff is happy to help you plan the best route. 

 Important Local Attractions: Reaching Zurich’s old town, with its cobblestones and steepled churches, will require about a 15-minute taxi ride. Ask the hotel staff to call one for you, or hop on the complimentary shuttle, which whisks guests to and from town. A walk along Lake Zurich, which has a long promenade along the eastern shore, is a must-do in nice weather for unbeatable people-watching. 

Getting There and Getting Around: The property is a 20-minute drive from Zurich Airport that will cost about 30 to 45sf ($31 to $47 USD) with a ride-sharing app. Expect a taxi to cost about twice as much. If you’re connecting to Zurich HB train station, a taxi will take about 15 minutes and will cost around 40sf ($41 USD). A ride-sharing service will cost about 17 to 23sf ($18 to $24 USD).

Walkability: The hiking trails around the property are designed for your feet, but reaching the hotel on foot — especially with bags — isn’t recommended unless you’re comfortable with hills and limited sidewalks. 

 What to Eat

The Best Food: The hotel’s two-Michelin-starred restaurant, Ecco, is a must-visit and, for many, justifies a stay at this property all by itself. Seasonal ingredients and an emphasis on highlighting (not masking or over-dressing) their natural flavors is at the heart of chef Stefan Heilemann’s dishes. A curry of Norwegian king crab, yuzu, and carrot is a particular highlight, as is the Swiss bison filet with hazelnuts. 

The Best Drinks: Ecco’s wine pairing dinners make for a perfect special-occasion culinary experience. Expect lots of French vintages, with a glass or two of local Swiss wines. 

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