UPDATE: Hotel Atlantis by Giardino has been permanently closed as of end of April, 2020.
So close, yet so far.
At the base of Zürich's Üetliberg hill sits a legendary hotel with a five-star superior rating: Atlantis by Giardino. It is our first time to continue on tram line 14 all the way to the outskirts of Zürich. Here, at the final stop, we are met by the concierge who will be giving us a lift to the hotel at the top of the slope. It feels close to the pulse of the city center, yet far enough out to see and feel nature.
The Atlantis has a star-studded history
In the 1970's, international stars like Muhammad Ali, Steve McQueen, Shirley McLaine and Eric Clapton have congregated in the illustrious Atlantis lobby. Marble floors, mirror glass and vintage chairs from another century still adorn the grand entrance today.
After checking in, we switch our discovery mode to "ON" and make our way to the room on the third level. Our suitcases have swiftly been claimed by a bellboy and will be waiting in 304. With no luggage in tow, we skip the elevator and opt for those curious looking winding stairs.
It turns out that these twisting white stairs are under strict historic protection - no pun intended. Whether looking from the bottom up, or vice versa, we discover ever new vantage points.
And before we know it, we have left those everyday woes behind and are embracing the many playful angles of Hotel Atlantis by Giardino.
An urban retreat in close proximity to nature
The room class "Luxe" is just one level below a Junior Suite, and it leaves no wishes unanswered. Immediately upon entering, my eyes zero in on a block of chocolate. Could this be a miniature Matterhorn surrounded by ever smaller Matterhorns? It is, and it illustrates how the hotel staff goes to great lengths in creating memorable experiences for their guests.
Each of the two balconies is encased by wood, enhancing the views from inside the lounge and the bedroom. As day turns to night, our focus wanders to the yellow globe lamp in the lounge. That warm golden light - it won't get any more vintage than this!
We fall head over heels in love with the lamp - and we land on the couch with its puffy velour pillows. Looks like we will not be leaving this hotel anytime soon...
For dinner, we decide to peek into Restaurant Hide & Seek...
As we would soon find out, the Hotel Atlantis with its spa and restaurants pursues principles of Ayurveda. And so, the casual dining Restaurant Hide & Seek serves dishes that combine many tastes ranging from salty to sweet, from sour to bitter and from spicy to tart. The menu sparks our interest as the dishes are unique by all counts. (Hint: classics such as Caesar salad are available on the bar menu.)
Here is a tantalizing dish of smoked tuna with mango and papaya salad:
While I went surf, Mamiko went turf with this beef tartare on a marinated salad:
The Ayurveda philosophy continues at breakfast
During this weekend, we are learning a lot about Ayurveda by talking to the hotel, spa and restaurant staff. Mamiko's interest has been sparked and she is happy to discover a wide variety of healthy breakfast choices.
For instance, one of the pots contains toasted buckwheat groats (kasha) made with almond milk, cinnamon, vanilla and maple syrup. Its positive side effects are declared as controlling of blood sugar and lowering the risk of diabetes.
A little more relaxation at the dipiù spa
Today, it is snowing outside and a layer of fog appears to hover above Zürich. This is not the least of our worries, though, because we feel fine and dandy. Our day's destination lies exactlay four floors below: the dipiù spa.
The Italian name promises "a little more" and it comes through. You see, swimming pools are my weak spot. Give me a tub tiled in aquamarine colors and heated to a comfortable 30 degrees Celsius, and I will be the happiest person in the world! The Finnish sauna is a design object for its own right, giving the feeling like being aboard a luxury yacht.
After the spa is before the spa. And: pictures speak louder than words...
Tea Tox is a healthy spin on afternoon tea
The hotel extends its specialization in Ayurveda all the way to their Gatsby-esque bar. On weekends from 2:30 to 5:30 PM, a Tea Tox set is on the menu starting at 45 francs per person.
This price includes a sweet, salty or mixed étagère filled with snacks ranging from lentil salad to salmon wraps or matcha cake. Also, vanilla and raisin scones, as well as unlimited refills of tea from the extensive menu. (I particularly liked the "balance" tea off the Ayurveda menu.)
Which stars will be staying at Hotel Atlantis by Giardino in the future?
It remains to be seen, but surely anyone who likes to call a 250 square meter suite with a mirror hall, walk-in closet and fireplace their own. (That would be the Metropol suite.) Or those with the required petty cash to fund a night in Europe's largest suite, the penthouse Royal Residence at 426 square meters.
Included in the 50'000 franc per night price tag are a Rolls-Royce Phantom, eight separate bedrooms, a fully equipped kitchen, a ventilated shisha lounge, numerous TVs hidden inside mirrors, and a wrap-around terrace with city views. (Oddly enough, the king sized beds appeared overly small given the vastness of each bedroom.)
Or maybe, the future Atlantis guests are rather couples wanting to celebrate a special occasion... As for us, we will surely return for an Ayurveda diagnosis and subsequent treatment session!
Hotel Atlantis by Giardino
Phone: +41 44 456 55 55
(For the purpose of this review, the Giardino Group has extended a complimentary stay for two nights, including dinners and TeaTox afternoon tea.)