Marriott Hotel Zurich

by Continental Club on May 28, 2009

Zurich’s Hauptbahnhof railway station is a grand edifice built on the banks of the Limmat River, which issues from the Zurichsee just a little way upstream. The station is well-connected with rail lines to all parts of the country and beyond, at both ground and basement floors and surrounded on three sides by a comprehensive tram network at street level.

Exiting onto Museumstrasse and crossing the river, it’s barely a 10 minute walk with light luggage to the Marriott Hotel which, thanks to its almost unique-in-Zurich high-rise stature, is plainly obvious from some distance away.

Easy to locate it may be, but a thing of beauty it most certainly is not. Clearly designed by an architect untroubled by the concept of curves or radii, whose desk posessed only ruler and grey pencil, the Marriott rises like a giant, incongrous, duo-tone Sticklebrick from above the trees which line the clear-watered river’s Northern bank.

Once inside the lobby, things improve markedly – though only to that most reliable of Marriott rosy dark wood, granite, brass and marble combinations, with the ubiquitous portrait of the kindly-looking JWs, Senior and Junior, surveying the passing traffic from within their gilt-edged frame.

Our Receptionist is most welcoming and confirms an upgrade in recognitoin of my Marriott Rewards Platinum status and, better still, advises that our room is ready despite the earliness of our arrival. He offers a city map and some brief suggestions of must-sees and points out the ‘Golden Door’ to the Club Lounge which that Platinum Card (and the upgrade) affords. A very positive first impression.

Having gone from the gulagesque exterior to the clubby American lobby, it’s something of a shock for the lift doors to open onto a guest room corridor which looks like that of a cross-channel ferry (although a richly-carpeted one) and smells ever so slightly like a municipal baths.

The odd wall finish and flush nature of the guestroom doors gives rise to the impression that the doors themselves must open outwards, leading to a distinctly Midvale School For The Gifted tussle with the handle until it’s realised that they do, in fact, open inwards.

The other oddity experienced in the lift is that the hotel appears to have mislaid almost 20 floors. Either a significant chunk of the tower’s midriff has collapsed, the hotel has size issues or there’s a disconnect in the space-time continuum above floor four. I jumped up and down on the bedroom floor a couple of times and it didn’t seem to wobble, so I’m guessing that option one is not the most likely of explanations.

Once inside, it’s back to standard Marriott again, and very comfortable too with the new ‘Revive’ bedding.

The view is expansive back across the river, over the city and towards the Zurichsee. On a clear day, the Alps would feature in the distance.

The bathroom is well-specified, spotlessly clean and stylishly fitted.

The rate included a complimentary bottle of unspecified champagne, which the Receptionist had noted and asked what time it would be required. When it arrived, on time, it turned out to be more than acceptable and didn’t last long whilst we enjoyed the view.

The short stay didn’t leave time to investigate the hotel’s swimming pool and gym, but suffice to say that they’re there and should meet the usual Marriott standards.

The famed ‘Golden Door’ leading to the Club Lounge was passed through for pre-dinner drinks and a largeish room with a central servery was found behind it. Mornings bring with them a light breakfast presentation, followed by access to the coffee machine and sweet treats during the day. In the evening, a wider selection of canapes are brought out, and a bar set up.

The cheeseboard is certainly to be recommended; the Montepulciano only if you propose to indulge in some evening paint-stripping whilst in Zurich. Avoid! There are both lounging and dining areas.

There is a small business centre immediately adjacent to Reception, with PCs and secretarial services. Web access is chargeable however.

The aforementioned light breakfast was passed over in favour of the more comprehensive offering served in the hotel’s dedicated first floor breakfast room. Here, service was to the same friendly standard as elsewhere in the hotel, although the kitchen did seem to be struggling on this occasion to keep all the buffet items fully replenished. There’s an in-room chef to prepare eggs and waffles, although the view is of a slightly Sega Racing flyover parapet.

A late check-out was also included in the room rate and, when the time came, it was a quick and problem-free experience with no extras to add.

Final verdict for the Marriott Hotel Zurich: 8.0/10. The hotel is a long way from being a budget option, so the lack of exterior presence and underwhelming corridors were something of a disappointment. Breakfast was not a completely seamless service and the Club Lounge suffered from a lack of free WiFi or PCs and some horrid wine. However, the overall value for money was good, the service first class and the bedroom clean, quiet, comfortable and with a more than pleasant view. A good, well-located choice, close enough to the centre to be convenient, but just a little away from the noise of the city.


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