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Germany's Black Forest and Exploring Switzerland

Germany's Black Forest and Exploring Switzerland

Old Nov 16, 2023, 3:21 am
  #46  
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Originally Posted by wakesetter93
The seats on this train weren't the only thing in need of a cleaning. I took a visit to the restroom which smelled awful and could use a good scrubbing. This was especially surprising given the fact that we boarded at the second stop of the journey. The walls were covered in a panoramic photo of the Swiss countryside which was a nice touch in an otherwise unpleasant space.

Judging on the picture I thought it looked surprisingly good. Unfortunately these places are rarely nice places.
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Old Nov 16, 2023, 2:45 pm
  #47  
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Originally Posted by offerendum
Judging on the picture I thought it looked surprisingly good. Unfortunately these places are rarely nice places.
It was the smell that punched you in the face when you walked in.
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Old Nov 16, 2023, 4:04 pm
  #48  
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Originally Posted by wakesetter93
It was the smell that punched you in the face when you walked in.
Can imagine....
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Old Nov 16, 2023, 10:51 pm
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Originally Posted by offerendum
Can imagine....
Don't.
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Old Nov 18, 2023, 1:32 am
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Neues Schloss Privat Hotel Zurich, Autograph Collection

To wrap up our trip to Germany and Switzerland we decided to spend three nights in Zurich. Mrs. ATX and I hadn't been to Zurich before and we were looking forward to exploring the city and using it as a jumping off point for a day trip to Liechtenstein. We arrived in Zurich just before 5:00p and headed from Zurich Hauptbahnhof down to our hotel and home for the next few days.

Booking
With a stash of points sitting in my account, along with the expensive hotel prices in Zurich, we wanted to stay at a Marriott Bonvoy property for our visit. While there are a number of properties in Zurich and the surrounding area, only 4 were close to the city center and the main train station. The Sheraton and the Renaissance were both a little further from where we wanted to be and with the points being almost identical to the closer in Marriott and Autograph Collection hotels we quickly crossed those off the list.

Ultimately we decided on the Neues Schloss Privat which is located just a few blocks from Lake Zurich and had recently been converted over from a Sheraton property. We booked our Queen Room for 180,000 Marriott Bonvoy points for the three night stay directly through Marriott.com. Cash rates were over $500 per night so points were by far the better deal here.

Location
The hotel is located in the Enge district of Zurich, just a few blocks from the lake. The hotel is also a short walk from Zurich Hauptbahnhof and the Bahnhofstrasse which is lined with many high end shops. While the neighborhood is located in the center of town, the hotel is located on a side street, near the Park Hyatt Zurich. The location worked out well for us on this trip but may not be what you're looking for if you want to be next to bars and restaurants as it is more of a residential/business district.



Check-In
We walked through the front doors and up a short flight of stairs to reception. The hotel had a moody vibe in the lobby and featured lots of dark wood and deep blue throughout. There was a family being checked in that had some issues but we were helped within a few minutes.




Our friendly check-in agent took our Passports and explained some of the features of the hotel. We were also offered glasses of prosecco during check-in though the bottle ran out after Mrs. ATX got hers. They sent for another bottle but it never came for the duration of our check-in, though it was still a nice touch. As par of our stay we had complimentary breakfast in the hotel restaurant as well as a 30 CHF food and beverage credit to use during our stay. With our room keys in hand, a bellman took our bags and escorted us to the elevator and up to our room.

Room
We were assigned to a standard king room on the 3rd floor and located our room, 301, near the elevators. The entire property only has 57 rooms so it is definitely on the smaller side. I applied my Marriott Suite Night Awards but with only a few upgraded rooms we didn't get an upgrade on this stay.



Upon entering the room I noticed that it was on the smaller side though, contrary to our stay at The Westminster in London, it was laid out well and had a great use of space. The bathroom was to the left immediately upon entering while the remainder of the room opened up past that.



A seating area was located to the left of the bed and curved around to form the headboard portion of the bed. Nightstands were also built in and flanked the bed. While the couch was comfortable, this mainly was an area for us to store our bags during our stay.




Across from the bed was a chair with a comically small table as well as the bar/desk/TV stand. The hotel left a small plate of sweets here for us which was a nice touch.





The mini bar and coffee setup was hidden inside of the desk drawers. This was a great use of space assuming you don't use the drawers in a hotel desk, which I never do.




The refrigerator was hidden in the other side of the desk and was well stocked, though the pricing was on the high side.



To the right of the desk was a luggage stand which we used to hold one of our bags.



We didn't have a balcony in this room but the windows opened fully which gave us a view of the street below and the lake in the distance. There was also a metal shade that could be closed over the windows if needed.



The bathroom, like the bedroom, was on the smaller side but was also well appointed.




The shower was quite spacious considering the rest of the room and featured Soeder branded toiletries in reusable bottles.




Our only issue with the room, and it's a big one, was the thermostat. It was warmer than usual in Zurich during our stay in September but the room would not cool off. No matter if we had the shade up or down, the room temperatures stayed between 76 and 79 degrees for the duration of our stay. This made for a few very uncomfortable nights of sleep.


Food and Beverage
The hotel's on site restaurant, Castellan's, served breakfast each morning before turning into a restaurant in the evenings. We ate breakfast here each morning during our stay and the spread was quite impressive.



The buffet was self serve and there was also table service where you could order coffee and additional breakfast dishes. The food was being refreshed constantly but the service flow was short staffed as the restaurant seemed understaffed.






We also visited the bar here one night to use our 30 CHF food and beverage credit. The weather was nice so we sat on the outdoor patio and had a couple of beverages.

Amenities
In the lobby, there was a large sitting area that felt like a living room. This appeared to be seldom used during our stay and I only saw a couple of people utilizing this space for the duration of our visit.





The hotel also had meeting space and a fitness center on site, though we didn't utilize these during our stay.

Summary
Our stay at the Neues Schloss Privat Hotel, Autograph Collection was an up and down experience. The staff at check in was friendly and the location near the lake and center of town was fantastic. However, the air conditioning, or lack thereof, was an issue for us as the room wouldn't cool off no matter what we did. Also, while the Castellan's food was good, the service flow was lacking. For our next trip to Zurich I'll likely look at other options.

For more photos and additional trip reports, visit
ATXJetsetter.com or follow along on Instagram and Twitter!
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Old Nov 18, 2023, 9:15 am
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Originally Posted by wakesetter93
There were a few sets of seats still open and they were fairly spacious for 2nd Class though they could definitely use a cleaning.

Zurich is Stained? (Semi-obscure 90s alt-rock song title).
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Old Nov 18, 2023, 3:10 pm
  #52  
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Originally Posted by GoBob
Zurich is Stained? (Semi-obscure 90s alt-rock song title).
Definitely too obscure for me
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Old Nov 20, 2023, 1:16 am
  #53  
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Exploring Zurich

To round out our trip to Germany and Switzerland we were spending three days in Zurich. While both Mrs. WS93 and I have spent time in Switzerland before, this was our first time in the city. After dropping our bags at our hotel, we headed out to explore the city.

Our hotel was in the Enge district, close to Lake Zurich and the Limmat River, and was a short walk from many of the sights in the city. We had dinner reservations at a restaurant overlooking the river later in the evening so we headed that direction to start our evening.



Along the river we found an open air bar, Caf Rathaus, next to the police headquarters. We stopped here for a drink prior to dinner and watched as boats cruised by along the river and locals went for a swim.




After finishing our drinks we walked across a nearby bridge over the Limmat to the Hotel Storchen where our restaurant for the evening, La Rtisserie, was located on the 2nd floor.



We checked in at the hostess stand and were shown immediately to our table. La Rtisserie has both an indoor dining room and an outdoor terrace. The weather outside was fantastic and most guests were dining outside, though the dining room would still have been pleasant place to enjoy a meal.




On the terrace we were shown to a table overlooking the river and the Grossmnster, a 16th century Protestant church. The view from our table was great and, with a slight breeze, we couldn't have asked for a better night to dine outside.



As soon as we sat down we were handed the menu for the evening as well as an amuse bouche. I don't remember exactly what it was, some sort of foam crema, but it was very good.




After the amuse bouche, bread was brought out which was served with fresh whipped butter and our drink orders were taken. We both decided on champagne to start.



After the bread, our orders were taken for dinner and another round of amuse bouches were brought out. I had no clue what either one of these was, even after they were explained, but both looked and tasted amazing.



Next up were appetizers. Mrs. WS93 and I both had the Summery Tartlet. It was light, fresh and enjoyable.



For our mains, Mrs. WS93 went with the dinner portion of the veal shank ravioli while I had the Australian Wagyu short rib which was served with a side of fried rice. Unfortunately, I didn't think to get a photo of Mrs. WS93's meal.



By this point in our meal, the sun had fully set leaving us with a wonderful nighttime view of the river and the buildings on the opposite bank. It's times like this where Mrs. WS93 and I sit back and remind ourselves of how lucky we are to be able to have these experiences.



To wrap up this feast, it was time for dessert. I'm not a big fan of sweets so I grabbed a spirits menu while Mrs. WS93 looked over the dessert options. I had a bourbon while she had a chocolate dish featuring ice cream and bacon that she enjoyed.



Stuffed from our meal we asked for the check. When our waiter brought it out there was yet another treat from the kitchen accompanying it. It was unexpected but, like everything else tonight, delicious and we ate it quickly.



Stuffed from dinner, we started the walk back to the hotel through the streets of the old town. The streets were fairly empty but we did come across a lively little cocktail bar, the Old Crow, along the way that specialized in whiskey and bourbon.




We headed inside and grabbed a couple of seats at the bar. The bartender was extremely friendly and spent time chatting with us about where we were from and what types of drinks we liked. The selection they had available was absolutely massive and racks covered the entire back wall of the bar. We hung out here for a bit and had a few cocktails before calling it a night and heading to the hotel.





For our first full day in town we decided to visit the Kunsthaus Museum. After breakfast at the hotel, we made our way to the nearby tram stop to head across the river towards the museum. After a 10 minute ride we found ourselves at the entrance to the museum. Mrs. WS93 had already purchased our tickets online and we were checked in quickly.



Our tour started here, with works from the Giacometti family that included various statues and paintings. While there were some other Swiss artists mixed in, the Giacometti pieces took up massive sections on multiple floors.




On the opposite side of the building were a variety of old masters works from around Europe. There were also a few statues and tapestries scattered throughout the exhibits. While I couldn't photograph it all, the space was expansive and you could get lost in here for hours.




On the upper floors of this building were works post-1945 and featured Andy Warhol's famous Campbell's Soup Can painting as well as other modern statues and works of art.




We finished our tour of the first building before heading downstairs to the basement level and the connector to the second building. When the museum expanded in 2020, this passageway was opened to connect the two buildings underground, instead of making patrons cross the Heimplatz. The new building was large and much more open than the original, with a large atrium that had exhibition wings coming off on either side.



The exhibits in this building appeared to rotate more often and were only on display for a limited time. The majority of the works in the main building seemed to be permanent. While much of the artwork was modern, including a large black room filled with LED lights that changed to the music, there was a small van Gogh exhibit tucked away on the backside of the upper floor.





After the Kunsthaus it was time for lunch. We headed back to the tram and rode over to Mrs. WS93's office in Zurich for some free lunch. While we were there we explored the campus and found what may be the coolest break room ever, an airport style lounge complete with a live feed to the departure board at Zurich Airport and airline beverage carts.



We took the train from her office back to Zurich Hauptbahnhof and headed north through the Platzspitz. The park was full of people enjoying the beautiful fall weather. There were enough people out swimming that, for a brief second, I thought about jumping in with them.




At the end of the park we found the confluence of the Limmat and Sihl Rivers. We grabbed a couple of waters from a nearby vendor and sat on a bench overlooking the river.




Relaxed from our time in the park, we started walking along the Limmat back towards the Zurichsee. Unfortunately, I needed to take a work call so we ducked into a riverfront cafe to have a drink while I took my call.




With my call completed, we climbed the hill towards the Lindenhof, a hilltop park located on the site of an old Roman fort with views out over the city. Even though Zurich is a major financial hub, from here it seemed like a quaint little village.




After visiting the Lindenhof, Mrs. WS93 wanted to do some shopping. We headed down the hill towards the Bahnhofstrasse where, thankfully, our American Express made it out relatively unscathed. She did however add a few things to her list which will come back to bite me at the holidays.




With our shopping on the expensive side of the river complete, we crossed back over the Limmat and headed in the direction of the Opera House. We did a bit of window shopping along the way before stopping for a drink at a local bar on a side street.



While the bar staff was friendly, the alley was rather dark so we headed to a nearby market to grab some snacks before walking over to the lakefront. We took a seat along the seawall and enjoyed our snacks as the sun started to set.




We made our way from the opera house back around the lake towards the hotel. Along the way we found a large clock made out of flowers that overlooked the lake, though the time was definitely not accurate.



We relaxed for a while at our hotel before heading out to get some dinner. In what should come as no surprise, I was craving schnitzel. Mrs. WS93 located a place near the Bahnhofstrasse that looked promising and we arrived at the Zeughauskeller just after dark.

The hostess quickly checked us in and showed us to our table. The place was lively and felt like an authentic German beer hall, though it was clearly geared towards tourists.



I had the schnitzel which was a bit greasy but tasted great. Mrs. WS93 had a wurst which was served with a side of hash browns that she enjoyed.




Full from dinner, we decided to take a stroll through the old town to walk off our feast. Along the way we found a square where someone was entertaining nearby diners by dancing with fire. I'm not sure of she was part of the restaurant's entertainment or just passing by and looking for tips.



We made our way down towards the river and walked along the waterfront for a bit before we came across a beer garden located on the water. We ordered a couple of drinks and sat on the patio overlooking the river. There were a few rats running around that had clearly been feasting on the food so we headed back to the hotel and called it a night.




For our final day in Zurich, we took a day trip over to Liechtenstein which I'll cover in a separate post. After we returned we made the short walk from our hotel down to the lakefront. It was Friday evening and the area was packed with people enjoying the weather. They even had signs that made me feel like I was back in Texas.





We didn't have any real plans on where we were going until we stumbled upon Samigo, a lakefront eatery, so we stopped for a bite to eat. The menu looked good but the place wasn't really our style so we ate and then headed back out to walk along the waterfront.




By this point the sun had set and we headed back towards our hotel. The waterfront was still full of people enjoying the beginning of their weekend and a few groups even had barbeque pits going which made us consider getting some real food.



Mrs. WS93 found a local sandwich spot, called The BAB, and we grabbed a couple of sandwiches before heading to a nearby bar, Dr. Zhivago Bar, that we found online for a nightcap.




Unfortunately the bar was closing early for a private event but ,since we only wanted a drink, they sat us on the patio and the server spent time explaining to us how they make all of their liquors in house. He took our likes and dislikes and returned with two fabulous cocktails along with some popcorn to snack on. I was very impressed with both the drinks and the service and will return on our next trip to Zurich to get the full experience.




We had an early flight the next morning so we headed back to the hotel to pack. While we spent three days in Zurich, we left feeling like there was more to explore and will definitely return. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

Summary
Over our three days in Zurich we managed to cover a ton of ground but felt like we had just scratched the surface. We left feeling like the city was a place that we could see ourselves staying long term and would return at any opportunity.

For more photos and additional trip reports, visit ATXJetsetter.com or follow along on Instagram and Twitter!
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Old Nov 20, 2023, 1:31 am
  #54  
 
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Old Crow is great! They're not cheap, but the cocktails are among the best in Zri.

And while the Zeughauskeller looks and IS pretty touristy, it's surprisingly popular with locals (including me. ). The prices are pretty good for the location. I used to go with my co-workers from time to time when I was working downtown.
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Old Nov 20, 2023, 2:02 am
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Originally Posted by greg5
Old Crow is great! They're not cheap, but the cocktails are among the best in Zri.

And while the Zeughauskeller looks and IS pretty touristy, it's surprisingly popular with locals (including me. ). The prices are pretty good for the location. I used to go with my co-workers from time to time when I was working downtown.
We ended up next to a lady in her 70s-80s who was dining by herself at Zeughauskeller and she raved about the place. That was enough for me to know we found a good place.

Also, the selection at Old Crow was amazing, rivaled many of the best bourbon bars I've visited in the states.
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Old Nov 20, 2023, 5:05 pm
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Should've gone for a swim in the lake at the Enge Baths, just down the road from Neues Schloss. A swim in the lake (right in the middle of the city no less) is one of the best things about Zurich in summer.
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Old Nov 20, 2023, 5:17 pm
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Originally Posted by tom tulpe
Should've gone for a swim in the lake at the Enge Baths, just down the road from Neues Schloss. A swim in the lake (right in the middle of the city no less) is one of the best things about Zurich in summer.
We saw it and Mrs. WS93 thought about it. We swam in Lake Geneva and it reminded me that I'm not a fan of the cold water!
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Old Nov 20, 2023, 7:42 pm
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In the summer, the water in the Lake Zurich gets quite warm.
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Old Nov 20, 2023, 9:19 pm
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Originally Posted by greg5
In the summer, the water in the Lake Zurich gets quite warm.
You're in Switzerland and I'm in Texas, I'm guessing we have different definitions of warm
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Old Nov 21, 2023, 1:53 pm
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Originally Posted by wakesetter93
You're in Switzerland and I'm in Texas, I'm guessing we have different definitions of warm
LOL! It's a way bigger difference than that as I grew up in Seattle, and find Lake Zurich extremely warm. There isn't much in the way of direct glacier melt going into Lake Zurich, where as there are going into Lake Geneva (Lac Lman).
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