The Baur au Lac in Zurich
Luxury hotels and sustainability in the 21st century
In my hotel portraits I show you what distinguishes the luxury hotel I have carefully selected and what it has to offer. There is also a slideshow with hotel photos and one about the sights. At the end of each portrait you will find a personal description with the most important details.
Green thinking and action paired with social sustainability in the upscale gastronomy and hotel industry are no longer opposites these days. On the contrary; in Zurich, historic noble hotels such as the unique Baur au Lac and traditional coffee houses such as the pastry shop – the famous Conditorei Schober – set an example for ecological, economic and social sustainability.
An insider tip for local and international high society is the five-star Hotel Baur au Lac in the middle of a private park on Lake Zurich. Its strategic location within walking distance of Paradeplatz, the vibrant banking center, as well as the heart of Bahnhofstraße, one of the world’s most exclusive and fashionable shopping miles, gives the luxury hotel additional bonus points in terms of everyone’s environmental awareness. The business traveler can easily reach the world-renowned financial center on foot within five minutes; the shopping lover with the necessary money the noble boutiques; the city traveler the most important sights, such as the historic old town with its charming winding alleys, the St. Peter Church, which is equipped with the largest clock face in Europe, the Fraumünster, a former Benedictine convent with the famous stained glass windows by Marc Chagall and Alberto Giacometti, and finally the city’s landmark: the Großmünster, a former Augustinian canons’ monastery, with its two towers. From the viewing platform of the Karlsturm, named after Charlemagne, an unmistakable view stretches over the picturesque old town to the idyllic Lake Zurich and the majestic Alps.
Every time I enter the Baur au Lac, I feel an almost reverent atmosphere and I think of the countless crowned and uncrowned heads of this earth who have also stayed there and will enjoy the luxurious suites in the future. Since its founding date in 1844, the “Grande Dame” of Zurich is still in the family possession of the owner family Baur-Kracht. Thanks to its illustrious guests, this sophisticated “Grand Old Lady” continues to be one of the most famous hotels in the world. The grandiose staircase with ornate windows attracts my attention every time. The Baur au Lac presents a successful balance between the tradition that has been preserved for over 175 years and the contemporary innovations that have been made for decades.
Among other things, the Baur au Lac scores with a fascinating and sustainable restaurant scene, which has revealed itself to us as a gourmet paradise.
Baur’s, which recently opened in September 2019, is a classic French brasserie with an inviting art ambiance, serving culinary European classics as well as Zurich, vegetarian and vegan delicacies while paying attention to economic and environmental sustainability. It offers organic-quality food and seasonal ingredients from local organic farmers, and places great emphasis on responsible, sustainable use of farm-fresh and regional products. A daily order of fresh food – depending on the booking situation at the time – counteracts avoidable food waste and, ultimately, food waste. My husband and I were thrilled! He still fondly remembers the starter, the organic salmon smoked on cherry wood. The thought of the dessert classic, the profiteroles, always puts a smile on my face. After or before your meal, I highly recommend a visit to the adjacent Baur’s Bar. A glass of champagne can ring in dinner and a digestif can round a tasteful evening off.
The mindful approach to food is further continued in the gourmet restaurant Pavillon. As a hotel guest, you can have breakfast either in your room or in the almost completely glazed architectural masterpiece with a breathtaking rotunda and magnificent stucco work. Seasonal, regional and fresh dishes with palate-pleasing flavors and precise craftsmanship will delight any discerning guest in this Michelin-starred restaurant. The two Michelin stars as well as the 18 points in the Gault Millau Guide crown the “Contemporary Fine Dining” served there. The culinary offering expands in winter at sophisticated Le Hall and in summer on the beautiful Baur au Lac terrace. From late morning until late evening, mainly small snacks, light Mediterranean dishes, vegetarian as well as vegan delicacies freshly prepared on request, Zurich classics and homemade patisserie are served. The special feature in summer is the unique location of the terrace restaurant in the middle of the private hotel park on Lake Zurich. The sequoia tree, which is over 120 years old, is certainly another eye-catcher in this park-like garden, whose lime and chestnut trees partly provide the honey for the tea.
The traditional hotel not only fights against food waste on a daily basis, but has also been organizing the annual charity event “Tasting not Wasting” for the benefit of the Swiss Food Table (die Schweizer Tafel) since 2017. During this charity banquet, the hotel’s own chef and his motivated kitchen crew conjure up a unique gourmet menu and delight first the mind and then the palate. At Baur au Lac, sustainability is much more than just a word. The entire team consciously puts environmentally friendly and sustainable practices into action. Even the honey offered there comes from regional suppliers or – as already mentioned – from the trees in the hotel’s own park. This popular natural product literally delights the taste buds as liquid gold when first consumed in the morning. Of course, you can also buy it in the hotel’s own kiosk and enjoy the unique taste at home.
This economic and ecological sustainability continues throughout the hotel. The Baur au Lac is very committed to continuing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as energy use per overnight stay and is continuously optimizing these areas. The hotel’s technology is designed to conserve energy and reduce CO2 emissions. This luxury hotel truly understands how to combine tradition with “green high-tech,” which can be felt in the rooms and suites. Since we only booked a deluxe room with a small balcony overlooking the Schanzengraben on the 2nd floor, I can’t report on the 27 junior suites or the 18 new, exclusive suites. However, the generously sized deluxe rooms already feature custom-made furniture and the finest materials. Above all, we appreciated the complimentary minibar, which is refilled daily in the morning and evening. In particular, the individually wrapped in-house mini chocolates always tempted me to open the bar again and again. (Insider tip: The “1844 Chocolat Baur au Lac” is available exclusively in the kiosk on the ground floor as well as in the Baur au Lac Internet store). Finally, the marble bathroom with tub and separate shower guarantees a feel-good oasis in a deluxe room.
The economic and ecological sustainability concept is complemented by social sustainability. The approximately 270 employees from almost 40 nations work together in a collegial atmosphere and are held in the highest esteem. They are part of the legendary “Family au Lac” and many of them even regard their workplace as a “home away from home”. They have access to high-quality work equipment, attractive staff rooms and a good staff restaurant. In addition, the hotel arranges staff rooms in the best location for its employees on request at an absolutely reasonable price. The supervisors are interested in the concerns of each individual and explicitly ask for the opinion of the employees. Ultimately, all employees make every guest’s stay as pleasant and comfortable as possible, because the entire team is giving continuously its best.
The Baur au Lac, “The Place to be” in Zurich, Switzerland’s largest city, is definitely a destination for an environmentally conscious and stylish world traveler who wants to diminish their ecological footprint. The luxury temple values not only the environment, the food and its staff, but also the guest. No matter the occasion, no matter the season, the luxurious Baur au Lac is always worth a visit to vibrant Zurich. It is the meeting place for locals and guests alike who embody a sustainable and sophisticated lifestyle.
Baur au Lac – the luxury pearl on Lake Zurich
Baur au Lac
Anyone who has stayed once in this environmentally conscious traditional hotel will dream of coming back! There isn´t anywhere more luxurious, stylish and sustainable than this true Grand Hotel!
- incomparable location
- exquisite cuisine
- luxurious ambience
- great staff
- professional service
Best time to visit:
all year round
Zurich airport 20 minutes
Anne Hastert alias Amal Blu
I really hope you enjoyed this post. Leave your feedback in the commennts. Maybe you have already been a guest at Baur au Lac? Maybe in a suite? Tell me about your impressions?