I’ve stayed at some epic hotels, but The Dolder Grand hotel in Zurich, Switzerland, where I currently am on the Amala Beauty press trip, takes the cake.
The Dolder Grand defines luxury.
Most five-star hotels I’ve stayed at are either super luxurious but extremely stuffy, or very cool and trendy with quality sacrificed. The Dolder Grand merges both: it’s been around since 1899 and is the jewel of Zurich (a town that is all about the good life), yet there’s Salvador Dali, Keith Haring and Andy Warhol artwork everywhere, with a young staff, a cheerful spirit, and the flair of a brand-new, modern boutique hotel. With 173 rooms and suites, a 4000 square meter spa, an ice skating rink, a world-class art collection, and a tram stop, it feels like a mini-city…yet it it’s as intimate and hushed as any hotel I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing.
The Spa at the Dolder Grand is particularly noteworthy: when Oprah was in Zurich recently, she tweeted that it was the best spa ever. (I mean, Oprah knows.) An entire wing of the hotel is devoted to it, and the menu rivals those I’ve experienced at epic spots like The Boulders Resort in Arizona and The Claremont Resort in Berkeley. Most importantly, the spa has soul, which is especially impressive considering its massive size.
I had two treatments in the spa, including a signature massage using Amala Lavender Body Oil, and a 90 minute Organic Seasonal Facial by Amala that essentially changed my life. It was the best facial I’ve ever received, bar-none. (If you’re at the Dolder Spa, ask for Sarah!)
Amala is primarily an organic essential oil spa brand, and so they don’t launch any new products without creating a bespoke accompanying treatment for the corresponding spa. At the Dolder, the Organic Seasonal Facial I experienced started with a cup of rose tea and a rose sweet, before a foot soak in rose petals, a back and neck treatment, and then a soothing facial with Amala oils that lulled me to sleep on the heated, ergonomic table. Post-facial, I was given a cup of ginger tea and a foot massage, and even though I normally look like I’ve been run over by a truck after facials, I just had to snap a photo because I was so glowy and blissed out.
Amala gave me some products to use since I’ve been on the trip, and I’ve been dutifully applying the Amala Brighten Narcissus Brightening Corrective Complex morning and night, as well as cleansing with the creamy Amala Soothing Cream Cleanser. I’ve never been much for organic and natural products, preferring my skincare to go to work, but after touring the Amala headquarters in Germany, seeing how the essential oils are meticulously sourced and extracted to preserve their integrity, learning about the researchers tirelessly seeking out indigenous treatments all over the world, and meeting the passionate, visionary Amala founder Ute Leube, I’m a convert. (Of course, you know how fickle I am about skincare, but for the time being, I’m genuinely loving Amala!)
Last night, we had dinner at the two-Michelin-starred The Restaurant, helmed by Chef Heiko Neider, who has also received 18 GaultMillau points (that’s like the even-more-prestigious European version of a Michelin star) and who prepared a customized vegetarian menu for us. His creations were like works of art. Meanwhile, in the private dining room, there are four Pissaro paintings, just casually hanging out.
That’s the kind of hotel the Dolder Grand is: you’re sitting in the opulent lobby which looks like something out of a James Bond film, and Harvey Weinstein and Georgina Chapman walk by in sweats and sneakers. You’re having a class of champagne in the library, and a 33-foot Andy Warhol Big Retrospective Painting above the front desk stares back at you. You’re walking down the grand staircase, about to go choose from one of the 1200 bottles of wine in The Restaurant, when you realize the gorgeous neo-impressionist painting at the foot of the stairs is by Sylvester Stallone.
You ask for a tour of the suites, and are taken to Suite 100, inspired by the Rolling Stones and with a guitar signed by both Keith Richards and (after staying in the suite one night) Slash. You are just as likely to run into Bill Clinton, Vladimir Putin, or Prince William in the lobby (both former guests) as you are Leonardo DiCaprio or Rihanna (who snapped a famous half-naked Instagram photo of herself in the Maestro Suite).
In short, The Dolder Grand is a series of contradictions, surprises, and delights–equally subversive and old-school. It’s the perfect Jolie hotel and I could not recommend it more enthusiastically. A very special thanks to the tireless concierge who worked (literally) around the clock to secure my lost luggage!
More photos from my time at The Dolder Grand in Zurich (as well as pictures of Zurich and our brief stop at Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany) below!
Disclosure: While The Dolder Grand and Amala graciously hosted us, as always, all opinions remain my own.