Boutique flourish without the fuss: 25hours Zurich

Room Service: a design hotel that bridges the gap between budget and boutique

Finding somewhere to stay in Zurich can be a headache. There are some superb luxury hotels, but with the Swiss franc so strong against our puny pound, you'll need deep pockets to enjoy them. There are some decent pensions, but they can be a bit spartan unless you just need a place to crash. In the bland corporate hotels, you could be anywhere. But now there's 25hours, a design hotel that bridges the gap between budget and boutique. If you're looking for flair without fuss, this is probably your sort of place.

Currently confined to German-speaking cities (but surely not for too much longer), 25hours is gradually emerging as one of central Europe's hippest hotel chains. The first 25hours opened in Hamburg 10 years ago and the brand has gone on to be a big hit. Today, there are two in Hamburg, two in Frankfurt, one in Vienna and more to come; 25hours Berlin is already under construction, due to open later this year. Future locations include Munich and Cologne. Zurich West is the first location in Switzerland. It opened only in November 2012, but it hasn't taken long to bed in – the lobby bar already has the laid-back buzz of a local rendezvous.

First impressions aren't all that promising – a bland modern building hemmed in by office blocks and flyovers. Thankfully, the interior is a lot more inviting. There's table tennis in the lobby and a comfy library with some good art and travel books. The food is by Haya Molcho, an Austrian chef of Israeli descent, who runs Neni, a prestigious restaurant in the Naschmarkt, Vienna's culinary quarter. Her menu is internationally inspired, paying homage to cuisine from Austria to the Middle East. "I call it nomadic cuisine," says 25hours CEO, Christoph Hoffman.


If you thought all Swiss cities were squeaky clean and a bit boring, Zurich West will make you think again. Formerly an industrial zone, it's now an edgy cultural enclave. The area is still emerging (there are some bleak bits between the hot spots) but if you're willing to snoop around, you'll find plenty of trendy shops and cafés.

An old brewery houses the Migros Museum, Zurich's leading contemporary art gallery. The Schiffbau, a former shipyard, is now a splendid theatre space and lively restaurant. Look out for Freitag, the functionally cool messenger bag company – its flagship store is housed in a high-rise stack of transport containers. (You can also buy its products at the hotel.)

For more conventional sightseeing, board a No 4 tram from Toni-Areal, right outside the hotel. It's only a 10-minute ride to the historic Old Town and the tranquil waterfront of Lake Zurich. Trams stop at the Hauptbahnhof (central station) where you can catch a train to the airport – the transfer takes about 20 minutes on a local train, a little less on an inter‑city express. Bahnhofstrasse, by the station, is Zurich's main shopping street.


The interior is by Alfredo Häberli, who's worked with top fashion firms such as Camper. He lives in Zurich but he's of Argentinian descent, and his house style combines Bauhaus functionality with South American flourish. There are various categories of room. The Gold rooms are a spacious 26sq m. Platinum rooms are about the same size, with individual balconies. Even the smaller Silver rooms feel fairly roomy, at 22sq m. Gold and Platinum rooms overlook the park rather than the busy main road. Some of the rooms have bunk beds – useful for families and great fun for children (or fun-loving grown-ups). There are no baths, but the power showers are an exhilarating treat. The decor is similar in all – groovy Vitra chairs, Alias beds and Iittala crockery (on sale in the lobby kiosk).

There's no gym, but there's a smart modern sauna on the top floor – open plan with fantastic views over the city and the snow-capped Alps on the horizon. Every room has a LAN port and a docking station for your iPhone or iPod. There's free Wi-Fi throughout, but if you're tired of hunching over your laptop, there are Apple computers in the cosy business suite, which you can use at no extra cost.

Travel Essentials

25hours, Zurich West, Pfingstweidstrasse 102, Zurich, Switzerland (00 41 43 243 6310;

Rooms ****

Value ****

Service *****

Doubles start at Sfr180 (£126), room only

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Suggested Topics
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
Arts and Entertainment
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
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
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

    Oracle 11g SQL 2008 DBA (Unix, Oracle RAC, Mirroring, Replicati

    £6000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Oracle 11...

    Recruitment Consultant (Graduate Trainee), Finchley Central

    £17K OTE £30K: Charter Selection: Highly successful and innovative specialist...

    SQL DBA/ C# Developer - T-SQL, C#.Net

    £45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Working with an exciting ...

    Sales and Office Administrator – Sports Media

    £23,000: Sauce Recruitment: A global leader in sports and entertainment is now...

    Day In a Page

    Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
    Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

    Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

    Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
    Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
    Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

    Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

    Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
    eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

    eBay's enduring appeal

    The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
    Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

    'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

    Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
    Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

    Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

    Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
    Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

    Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

    After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
    Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

    Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

    After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
    Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

    Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

    Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
    7 best quadcopters and drones

    Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

    From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
    Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

    Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

    The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
    Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

    Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

    British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
    Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

    A descent into madness in America's heartlands

    David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
    BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

    BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

    Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home