The Hedonist: Zurich

What to see and where to be seen

Zurich is a cosmopolitan, financial powerhouse better known for tax exiles than techno music. But alongside picture-postcard prettiness and business wizardry sits an edgy, underground scene and dynamic nightlife, making it a great, if unusual, destination for hedonists.

We'll get to that in a bit, though; this tale starts one steamy summer's afternoon, long before Kreis 5's warehouse clubs open their doors. On a day like this, lakeside lounging is the only option and there is no better place than Seebad Enge (00 41 44 201 3889;, the most stylish lido in town. Settling on to a raised, wooden platform alongside Zurich's most attractive bathers, I indulge in the local fetish for mid-afternoon prosecco and take a dip in the lake to cool off.

Back at The Widder Hotel (00 41 44 224 2526;, I stay just long enough to slip into something glamorous before heading out. A crying shame because this is a place that deserves to be enjoyed; a chic, modernist boutique hotel forged from nine medieval townhouses, with a who's who of furniture design inside, including Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier, and Charles and Ray Eames.

I take a water taxi to Seerose (00 41 44 481 6383;, Zurich's favourite summer restaurant, which lies a little way out of the centre of town. With a lakeside setting and crowd of glamorous habitués, Seerose has a touch of Côte d'Azur cool about it, the French connection reinforced by a Bordeaux-heavy wine list and a menu of retro-classic Mediterranean sunshine. I tuck into avocado and crevettes, tartare de boeuf and grilled sole and have to restrain myself from ordering another bottle of the crisp Provençal rosé. After all, I have a table reserved for the Hed Kandi night at Jade (00 41 44 202 8002; and it's time to head back into town.

Jade, the reigning queen of Zurich's more stylish clubs, is an elegant space with a glossy cream and dark wood aesthetic. A rather good restaurant during the week, come the weekend international DJs take to the decks, drawing in a sexy, Euro-chic party crowd. I find the lack of proper dancefloor a minor peeve but have booked a table, so there's plenty of space to throw some moves. A team of efficient waiters keeps the Dom Pérignon flowing.

After several hours of uplifting house music I'm in the mood for something a little edgier. Venturing into the dark heart of Zurich's warehouse club scene, Kreis 5, I find myself on Geroldstrasse – clubbing nirvana if trance floats your boat – dithering between Hive, Cabaret and Supermarket. As one of Zurich's best electro-techno clubs, Hive wins out (00 41 44 271 1210;

All too soon it's 4am, and a stroll to Kreis 4 finds me outside Zukunft (, the city's most popular after-hours club. A low-ceilinged basement club, it's short on glamour (bar the stunning arrangement of massed disco balls), but rich with DJs playing a mish-mash of house, techno and disco.

I emerge, blinking, into bright sunshine and jumping into a cab outside Zukunft (another plus of Zurich: cabs everywhere) for the trip to Café Schober (00 41 44 251 5150; in the pretty Old Town. Then it's back to The Widder to bid a sad farewell to my beautiful, unsullied room.

A Hedonist's Guide to... (Hg2) is a luxury city guide series for the more decadent traveller. For more information, see

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Bid Writer

    £25000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in Manchester, Lon...

    Recruitment Genius: Membership Sales Advisor - OTE £20,000 Uncapped

    £15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

    Guru Careers: Membership Administrator

    £23K: Guru Careers: We're seeking an experienced Membership Administrator, to ...

    Day In a Page

    Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

    Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

    Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
    Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
    Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

    The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

    Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
    The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

    The future of songwriting

    How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
    William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

    Recognition at long last

    Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
    Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

    Beating obesity

    The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
    9 best women's festival waterproofs

    Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

    These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
    Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

    Wiggins worried

    Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
    Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Big knickers are back
    Thurston Moore interview

    Thurston Moore interview

    On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
    In full bloom

    In full bloom

    Floral print womenswear
    From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

    From leading man to Elephant Man

    Bradley Cooper is terrific