The B2 Hotel & Spa is set in the delightful Hurlimann Quarter of Zurich. A largely pedestrianised riverside area on the outskirts of the city centre it comprises offices, a handful of cool design shops and a restaurant or two – as well as the largest Google campus outside the USA.
It is a peaceful and relaxing area to use as a base for a Zurich city break, especially if you wish to avoid the busy, although very pleasant, city centre and lakeside. The B2 Hotel is also convenient for the airport and we regularly enjoy a stay as an easy and welcome stopover en route to, and from, any of the resorts of Eastern Switzerland and the Austrian Tyrol.
The B2 Hotel moniker is itself a reference the words Bookmark and Boutique, although one of them could easily have referenced ‘beer’ or ‘brewery’ as the industrial building occupied by the hotel was originally the beating heart of the old Hürlimann Brewery, once the largest in Switzerland and the main attraction of this fashionable pedestrian zone.
‘Bookmark’ in turn references books – some 33,000 of them. The B2 Hotel’s owner was acquainted with a retiring bookseller and spotting an opportunity to ‘decorate’ the ten-metre high bar and restaurant, he swiftly purchased the lot and fitted shelves from floor to ceiling. The whole is illuminated by giant chandeliers constructed from bottle racks and (empty) green beer bottles.
The library area provides the beating heart of The B2 Hotel. Connected to the lobby and utilised variously as a coffee lounge, cocktail bar, restaurant and breakfast area, the end result is a striking place to relax – perhaps whilst browsing a book two and with a cold glass one of the delicious local beers in hand.
The hotel’s origins are proudly preserved in the wonderfully sympathetic conversion from industrial building to stylish hotel. The brick, stone and steel bones of the old building (more B’s) are revealed in the corridors, ceilings and walls and you can even find the massive original engines and pumps exposed in the function room and gym – a place where pumping iron for once has real meaning.
The design of the rooms is understated and clean with classy touches like lovely wood flooring, modern-style designer chairs and Tom Ford lamps. The full length white sheer curtains have efficient black-out options behind.
Most rooms feature bathrooms with rain forest showers in coolly designed glazed, open plan areas, whilst some have free-standing baths within the rooms. The beds are very comfortable and there are nice extras like a Nespresso machine and free wifi.
There are also some particularly soft and fluffy bathrobes and slippers to be used at the quite remarkable Hurlimann Thermal Spa
Drinking and dining at the B2 is atmospheric in the soaring library and does justice to the environment. A very good inclusive breakfast has a variety of regional cheese and meat specialties, a variety of fresh bread, fruit and vegetables, home made Birchermüesli and various juices. Egg dishes are freshly prepared according to your wishes as is coffee, tea, or chocolate. A special highlight is the local trout filet.
The all-day menu is relatively straightforward, focusing on the very best local meat and cheese specialities whilst the wine selection is features the very best Swiss wineries handpicked by Wolfram Meister, wine journalist and wine magazine publisher.
We knew from the hotel name there was a spa here but nothing prepared us for its quality and extent, the main hotel site being relatively modest in the promotion of its qualities. Also accessed publicly as The Hurlimannbad & Spa, it is is exceptional in scope and quality and provides a full bathing and spa experience in contrast to a typical city hotel’s basic ‘bolt-on’ spa facilities.
Located at opposite ends of the building – top and bottom – this is one of the best and most atmospheric that we have ever seen. Robes on, take the lift up to the rooftop to discover a fabulous, and very steamy, infinity pool. Zig-zagging between angular architectural elements, you can gaze over the spires and rooftops of historic Zurich and on to the snowy Alps beyond as you soak in thermal waters. Hotel guests have privileged private access to the area early mornings whilst access to the full spa is at half price (usually Euro 60).
Try the lovely spa bistro just below before taking the lift down to the main spa in the bowels of the old brewery. In a series of huge brick vaults are a whole series of pools (we lost count of how many), some in vast wooden ‘barrels’ – cleverly re-purposed from the historic brewery – along with various steam rooms and complex showers.
The spa’s natural waters come from deep in the earth below Zurich and are exceptionally rich in minerals – apparently very good for relaxation and wellbeing. We particularly enjoyed the Irish-Roman experience (Guinness not included) which takes you through a sequence of scrubs plus varied temperature steams and pools.
This is a very good hotel without the spa, but extra special with it. We highly recommended.
For more information visit www.b2boutiquehotels.com
Images by CELLOPHANELAND*.
CELLOPHANELAND* were guests of B2 Hotel & Spa.
Please see others hotels accessible from Zurich which we have covered: here