The Hedonist: Zurich
What to see and where to be seen
Saturday 16 July 2011
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; tonttu.ch), 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; widderhotel.ch), 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; seerose.dinning.ch), 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; jade.ch) 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; hiveclub.ch).
All too soon it's 4am, and a stroll to Kreis 4 finds me outside Zukunft ( zukunft.cl), 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; peclard-zurich.ch) 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 hg2.com
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 Edward Heath 'raped 12 year-old boy at Mayfair flat'
- 2 Sabrina Corgatelli: US hunting tourist posts picture of herself with dead giraffe after Cecil the lion outrage
- 3 Porn block in India: hundreds of sexual websites banned, internet outraged
- 4 Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale divorce: One of music industry’s most enduring couples announce split after 12 years of marriage
- 5 A-level results 2015: UK exam board OCR admits it 'estimates' hundreds of pupils' grades after papers 'go missing'
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Calais Migrant Crisis: Deputy Mayor of Calais labels Cameron's use of 'swarm' as 'racist' and 'ignorant'
Chris Leslie: Jeremy Corbyn's anti-austerity agenda will harm the poor, says Labour shadow Chancellor
Landlords renting properties to illegal immigrants to face up to five years in prison
While we fixate on Calais, the Home Office is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'
Labour leadership race: Jeremy Corbyn could be the next Prime Minister, says Ken Clarke
Circa £26,500 DOE: Guru Careers: An International Project Coordinator / Accoun...
£25k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Plumber / Mainten...
£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...
£19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you looking for an exciting...