I’m sure it comes as no surprise to readers of my blog that I read Lonely Planet magazine, nor that my bulging bookshelves contain Lonely Planet guides to far flung places such as the Amazon, Australia and Thailand. I buy them for inspiration, education and as often as reminders of places I’ve been.
This month, thanks to a Lonely Planet competition, I struck the jackpot and won the most amazing city and spa break in the urban retreat, Atlantis by Giardino just on the outskirts of Zurich.
From the moment we were chauffeured from the airport in the hotel’s sparkling white Range Rover (with heated massaging seats no less!) to the minute we were whisked back to the airport after five blissful days, I can honestly say we were treated like very special friends. Instead of having to stand at reception to check in, we were offered iced tea and hot towels whilst our details were taken.
The rooms are beautifully appointed and equipped with everything you might need, including robes and slippers, a free mini bar stocked with local soft drinks and Swiss chocolate, a Bose sound system, Nespresso machine, flat screen TV and my personal favourite, a huge walk in rainforest shower. Above is the view of the city from our room which had a huge balcony to enjoy in sunnier months.
Because the hotel is just outside the city, there was no noise pollution, unless you count the tinkling of cow bells (yes- the cows really do have bells in Switzerland) or the occasional sheep calling out. Oh, and in case you think being a couple of miles away from Zurich is a disadvantage, I should mention there is a free shuttle back and to into town at whatever time suits you.
The hotel has the most stunning floral decorations. Orchids (real ones) everywhere plus bowls of fresh fruit dotted around should you ever feel peckish.
The hotel has two restaurants, the two Michelin starred Ecco and the casual dining Hide & Seek where we had dinner and breakfast. The choice was staggering at breakfast, with continental breakfast, or cooked, with eggs prepared to order. The buffet even including a fresh honeycomb.
We had dinner at Hide & Seek on two nights, each including a wine flight of carefully chosen wines to accompany each course. My favourite dish was this shrimp coconut bisque which tasted out of this world.
We visited the spa every day to take advantage of the pool and Jacuzzi and the soothing Dipiu spa products. I enjoyed an aromatherapy massage too, with Franco, who has the most magical hands! I was massaged to within an inch of my life, and as a trained masseuse myself, I can tell you he was good!
There is so much I want to tell you about the city, that I will cover it in another blog post, but in the meantime, if you ever find yourself looking for a break in Zurich, then this is the place to book.