La Réserve Eden au Lac Zurich opened on January 8, 2020 following a two-year restoration project helmed by Philippe Starck. The property joins hotelier Michel Reybier’s La Réserve collection of hotels in Geneva (2003), Ramatuelle (2009) and Paris (2015).
The French Empire-style building dates back to 1909 and houses the only luxury hotel located on Lac Zurich. The majority of the 40 rooms and suites have views of the lake and many have their own private balcony or terrace. Taking inspiration from the location, Starck wanted to give guests the feeling of being on a yacht. He lent his signature contemporary touch with neutral tones and sleek metal accents, while honoring the building’s historical elements, revealing the original exposed red brick, marble and hardwood floors, and keeping the iconic blue-and-white-striped awnings that adorn the lake-facing façade.
Guest rooms make the most of the space, with glass walls separating the living area from the bathroom and natural light pouring in from the large windows. Quirky nautical touches include wooden oars, paintings of sailboats and room numbers printed as if they were on a racing sail.
The lobby’s original wooden staircase and iron elevator have been preserved; the latter re-imagined with a glass enclosure for a mix of modernity and timelessness that epitomizes the property’s new look and feel. Another focal point is the stained-glass windows by artist Ara Starck (daughter of Philippe) depicting landscapes that evolve throughout the day as the sunlight streams through them.
The ground-floor Eden Kitchen & Bar features an open kitchen and large bay windows overlooking the lake and serves globally inspired dishes and Swiss classics like sautéed veal and potato rosti. The sixth-floor rooftop restaurant, La Muña, has a Peruvian-Japanese menu in an eclectic space that resembles the interior of the hull of a ship. Come spring, guests can dine and have drinks on the rooftop terrace, which offers 360-degree views of the city and the Alps in the distance.
Located blocks from the Opera House, the Bell Époque hotel is sandwiched among a row of historic buildings. La Réserve’s central location is within walking distance of Pavillon Le Corbusier, the iconic architect’s last completed project that reopened in Fall 2019; and the Old Town, the medieval heart of the city full of guildhalls, churches and romantic cobblestone streets lined with independent shops and galleries selling antiques, rare books and musical instruments. The lake is the place to be during the summer months. Lakeside beaches with terraces and lawns are a popular place to picnic, play beach volleyball and go for a swim in the crystal-clear water. By night, many of these spots turn into badi-bars, or outdoor clubs.
Despite being Switzerland’s banking capital, Zurich is fondly referred to as a ’boutique city’ and for years has been ranked among the world’s top places in terms of its quality of life. Bureaucratic barriers that have hindered innovation in the past have given way to a government that is nurturing students and entrepreneurs through its universities and incubators, recalling a Zurich of the past that was a hotbed of dissent. It was here that the Protestant Revolution began in the 16th century and the Dada movement was established in 1916 at the Cabaret Voltaire. In early 2021, the veil will be lifted on a David Chipperfield-designed extension to the Kunsthaus art museum, home to the world’s largest collection of Dada art. The project is part of a development plan for the city to create an ‘education mile’ where the museums together with the Schauspielhaus theater will create a gateway to a trail of cultural buildings through the city. The area is already creating buzz with talk of a new art quarter and galleries vying for prime spots on the narrow medieval lanes around the museum. In other cultural news, fall 2021 will mark the release by Zurich publisher Diogenes of the hidden diaries of Patricia Highsmith, author of The Talented Mr. Ripley. The release coincides with the launch of the new Showtime series based on Highsmith’s Ripley novels, which will begin filming in September 2020.
Given all that is going on in the destination, it is fitting that Zurich is now easier to get to from the U.S. Two new direct flights are launching in early 2020: United’s first nonstop flight from Chicago-O’Hare to Zurich and Swiss Air’s new direct flight from Washington DC (IAD).