Tucked a short distance from the bustle of the city, Alex Lake Zürich is a waterfront wonder on the western edge of Lake Zürich. The hotel optimises prime lake views at each turn, with minimalist decor designed to draw the eye to the water, through oversized picture windows or from a table on the terrace of the destination restaurant, Boathouse. Each studio-style room is equipped with a kitchenette, and many have a balcony. Escape it all in the sensational spa, or head into town in high style, on the hotel’s motorboat.
Get this when you book through us:
A house aperitif for two and, from June through September, boat transfers to the hotel (from October through May, return transfers from Thalwil station)
Double rooms from £196.93 (CHF236), including tax at 3.7 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of CHF2.50 per person per night on check-out.
Rates include a buffet breakfast of eggs, pastries, cereals, yoghurts, fruits and cheeses.
The hotel’s private marina means that it’s both easy and encouraged to travel by boat.
At the hotel
Spa, free WiFi throughout, terrace and valet parking. In rooms: TV, free bottled water, Nespresso machine, Soeder bath products and air-conditioning. Each room also has a kitchenette with a hob, microwave, dishwasher and kettle.
Our favourite rooms
The lakefront setting means that the 38 rooms that face the water have spectacular views. If you opt for a Deluxe Corner Studio, you'll have a private balcony and panoramic views overlooking the Lake; the Alex Studios are right on the waterfront for true lakeside living.
Unwind in PureGray spa’s sauna and steam room, or opt for a range of restorative treatments using elite Swiss skincare products for hi-tech facials, and wild local botanicals for massages, wraps and scrubs. There is a vitality pool, as well as direct access to the lake, for those looking for a more bracing plunge.
To look fabulous on the hotel’s shuttle boat, Mrs Smiths should bring a scarf to tie down their hair for the ride into town (channelling Grace Kelly instead of Bridget Jones).
All common areas in the hotel are wheelchair accessible, and there are dedicated Studios with adapted bathrooms.
All ages are welcome, though the distance from the centre of town, and the relative tranquillity make it less suitable for active little ones. Baby cots and rollaway beds are free for little Smiths under six.
The hotel is quite green, sourcing locally and organically whenever possible, recycling and aiming to create a paper-free property.
Request a table on the terrace for the best views of the lake.
All aboard: crisp linens, espadrilles and nautical, navy stripes.
The Boat House embraces its lakefront setting with a superlative menu of fresh fish, delivered twice a day. Chef Alex Kroll prepares a seasonal assortment of dishes that draw from Swiss culinary traditions, with a little inspiration also coming from the water. Warm up on winter nights over the shellfish-studded Boat House Bouillabaisse, or lobster-enriched spaghetti with tomato and chervil.
The pistachio-hued art deco bar serves Swiss wines and a menu of drinks inspired by the setting, including the herbaceous Lake Negroni and a bergamot-laced Kir. Glass partitions offer a water view through the Boat House.
Breakfast is served from 6.30am to 10am, lunch from 11.30am to 2pm, afternoon snacks from 2pm to 6pm, and dinner from 6pm to 10pm.
A menu of soups, pastas, salads and cakes is available to order up throughout the day.
Alex Lake Zürich is located south of the Swiss city, beside the lake.
Direct flights from major hubs in North America and across Europe land at Zürich Airport, 30 minutes away by car; our Smith24 team can arrange your flights and transfers.
Thalwil Station, a two-minute drive from the hotel, is a stop on the Lake Zürich left-bank main line and the Thalwil–Arth-Goldau railway.
Though it is easy to explore Zürich by public transport, a car is recommended if you fancy further-afield outdoor adventures. Valet parking is available for CHF25 a day.
The Alex House Boat shuttles guests between the hotel and the heart of town, for CHF30 each way. It can also be rented by the hour.
Worth getting out of bed for
Want to take a dip in Lake Zürich? There are two lidos by the hotel, though the water is brisk. Those who prefer to enjoy the lake while still fully clothed can board the hotel’s boat for a trip into the heart of town, to stroll the historic cobblestoned streets of Niederdorf and Oberdorf, and dip into some gooey fondue. The Swiss are known for mostly two things: their timekeeping skills and their chocolate. For a glimpse at some exceptional watches, stop by the Beyer Clock and Watch Museum in Bahnhofstrasse, which has a dazzling selection of hundreds of timepieces dating back centuries. The cocoa-inclined can sample world-famous Lindt at its source, in Kilchberg, and join a chocolate masterclass. To work it off, scale the Uetliberg mountain, for soaring views of Zürich and the surrounding region, including to the Alps on clear days. Hike to the summit or board a train for a 30-minute ride from Zürich Main Station.
Some of the city’s best restaurants have been around for over a century, and meals there offer a glimpse into Zürich’s storied past as a food and art haven. Open since 1836, Sprüngli has had plenty of time to perfect its coffee and pastry game. Stop into the Bahnhofstrasse space to try the famous macarons, and pick up some chocolate from the adjacent shop. Set in a converted beer hall, Kronenhalle on Rämistrasse is now more like an art gallery, with walls cluttered with works by now-renowned artists who once frequented the restaurant and would pay in art. Admire works by Chagall, Miró, Picasso and more over sausages, veal, steak and other meaty specialities. Specialising in warming pots of bubbling cheese, Le Dézaley has been a fondue destination since 1903. Order cheese and meat fondues with a bottle of local Chasselas blanc.
The city’s culinary scene features plenty of exciting new talents, too. Set in a converted warehouse, Rosso is hip and buzzy, with thin-crust pizzas that are the best in town. Towering over the city in a high-rise with panoramic views of the city and lake, Clouds serves an inventive combination of Swiss, Mediterranean and South-East Asian dishes, with exceptional cocktails.
For cocktail inspiration at destination drinking spot Raygrodski, look up. Liquor bottles are strung from the ceiling to maximise storage space for the talented mixologists. The menu changes frequently, but always features creative combinations using local ingredients. It's busiest on weekends, when a DJ keeps things buzzing.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this waterfront hotel in Switzerland and unpacked their chocolates and boat shoes, a full account of their spa break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Alex Lake Zürich…
The Swiss have practically patented indulgent living, with exceptional food, postcard-worthy vistas and the world’s best high-end watches to keep everything running on time. Tuck away your timepiece and succumb to the food, setting and spa relaxation at Alex Lake Zürich. South of Zürich, on the western bank of the lake, the hotel is near enough to have guests in town within 10 minutes, but worlds away from the bustle when it comes to the promise of tranquillity and a true escape.
Make the most of the waterfront setting and opt for a room with lake views and a balcony, to best enjoy morning coffees as sunlight dances on the water. Rooms are bright and minimalist, with light woods, stone walls and pops of blue to keep the focus on the lake, through giant picture windows.
Head down to the PureGray spa for treatments utilising the best Swiss products and botanicals, as well as direct access to the lake for restorative plunges. Or enjoy the lake from a boat, by hopping into the hotel’s house vessel for a cruise into town (ideal for shopping trips in the city). The Boathouse restaurant, serving fresh-from-the-water seafood on a sprawling terrace, is right downstairs, and a favourite of savvy locals. You’ll want to be back in time for dinner.
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