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23 August 2014

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Destination focus: Zürich

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Banking on Zürich

Switzerland’s largest financial centre might have a serious reputation, but with some hip hotels and quirky event spaces, it’s not all business.

Words: Heather Steele.

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(Image courtesy of Zürich Tourism)


Meet

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(Image courtesy of B2 Boutique Hotel + Spa Hürlimann-Areal Zürich)

As one of the world’s top ten conference destinations, Zürich has no shortage of meeting space. To maximise contact time, book an airport hotel like the Radisson Blu, where you can be down to business within 30 minutes of your arrival. If it’s a super-slick setting you’re after, the James Bond boardroom (above) at the B2 Boutique Hotel (below) – within a converted brewery – seats up to 18 delegates in spy-friendly seclusion. Larger groups are well catered for at the art deco Kongresshaus, which seats up to 1,200, while Swissotel and Renaissance Tower Hotel both offer ample space in the city centre.


Eat

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(Image courtesy of B2 Boutique Hotel + Spa Hürlimann-Areal Zürich)

Fly your guests business class on Swiss airlines and they’ll kick off the day with a typical Swiss breakfast. For lunch, Lake Side, a restaurant with conference facilities for up to 300, delivers famous views across Lake Zürich from both its terrace and main dining room. You’ll find atmospheric evening dining and historic revelry at the Zunfthaus zur Wagg. The home of the city’s 12th-century guildhall will hold a traditional banquet in a medieval setting for up to 120 guests – make sure you try the Zürich dish of geschnetzeltes (veal with rosti). For more intimate dining in a contemporary setting, the glass-fronted, two-storey Wine Library PDR at the Park Hyatt Zürich is another impressive space for up to 12.


Stay

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Park Hyatt Zürich is a five-star hotel which mixes modern art with avant-garde architecture and sits between the financial district and Lake Zürich. Each of its bedrooms features large desks, broadband and Bang & Olufsen televisions. For those with bigger budgets and smaller groups, the 54-bedroom Widder Hotel (above), made up of nine townhouses dating back to 1190, is both modern and medieval, decked with original artwork by Andy Warhol and furniture by Frank Lloyd Wright. For a more affordable but equally individual option, 25 Hours Hotel in the artsy, up-and-coming Zürich-West district is a modern option with 126 bedrooms, three meeting spaces and a kitchen kitted out for teambuilding activities.


Play

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Swiss wine is lesser known – but just as good – as its chocolate, and groups can combine the two with a tasting at chocolatier Truffe. A trip on one of Zürich’s (famously punctual) trams to the zoo is worth it for the city panoramas alone, but events at the venue’s glass Masoala Hall – a rainforest complete with monkeys – are just as impressive. Drinks receptions for up to 50 guests can be combined with a private tour (the tropical microclimate is a bonus if the weather outdoors isn’t so good). For evening events, consider a gathering at the post-industrial Die Giesserei, a collection of cool concrete spaces in a reclaimed pharmaceutical plant; or a prohibition party in a warehouse at Chicago 28.


Getting there

For more information on getting to Zürich or for any meetings / incentive enquiries, contact Zürich Tourism 0041 44 215 4000 or visit squaremeal.co.uk/scib.


This article was first printed in Square Meal Venues & Events, spring 2013.


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