Boutique stay Marktgasse Hotel in Zürich’s Old Town is a trio of interconnected centuries-old townhouses, with clean, minimalist, Scandi-inspired interiors. All rooms are bright and airy, but each has unique period details thanks to the historically-protected status of the building. Wake up to sumptuous breakfasts of smoked salmon, home-made granola and cinnamon rolls, before you spend your day exploring the winding streets of historic Zürich and meander along the edge of its glittering lake. Spend leisurely evenings enjoying international dishes in the modern restaurant before spiriting away to a cosy corner of art deco-style Baltho Küche and Bar.
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A cocktail, glass of wine or champagne each at Baltho Bar
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from $217.76 (CHF216), excluding 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-in.
Rates include free coffee and tea in the lobby, but usually exclude the buffet breakfast (CHF19 for adults, CHF10 for children).
Browse for a book in the hotel’s library or decamp to the adjoining salon for a night of drinks and board games. Both rooms can be hired out for special events.
At the hotel
Free WiFi throughout, library, terrace, and access to the off-site spa (a two minutes' walk from the hotel). In rooms: TV, water carafes (with a filling station in every corridor), Aesop bath products, air-conditioning; suites and Junior Suites also have Nespresso coffee machines and Geneva sound systems.
Our favourite rooms
All rooms in this listed building have unique layouts and period details, including parquet floors, original tiled stoves and large windows; rooms on higher floors tend to have less-lofty ceilings than those on lower floors, and rooms at the back are a bit quieter than their street-facing counterparts. For an alfresco space to call your own, swing for the Junior Suite with Roof Terrace and you’ll be rewarded with lake and cityscape views from your private perch.
Hotel guests have access to the Fitnesspark Hamam Münstergasse, a two-minute walk away. There’s a hammam and steam rooms, whirlpool, rhassoul mud room, and a spa pool with massage jets, bubble benches and waterfalls. Choose from a range of classic and hammam massages, or hit the cardio equipment.
Bring your cobblestone-ready footwear and an appetite for cinnamon rolls and chocolate.
All common areas in the hotel are wheelchair accessible, there’s a lift to all floors and two guestrooms have specially-adapted bathrooms; check availability with our Smith24 team when booking.
Welcome. There are games and books in the library, and baby cots and highchairs can be provided on request.
Try for a table near the windows in buzzy Baltho Küche, and in Delish, tables at the back have street views for prime people-watching.
In casual Delish, don your casual brunch best; opt for a hint of dark emerald green to subtly match Baltho Küche and Bar.
In modern, open-plan Baltho Küche, industrial-tinged geometric lights hang over black wooden tables, and Stefan Burger’s painting Die Rückkehr (the Return) hangs opposite a bank of large picture windows. Chef Lukas Rüfenacht is the mastermind behind the international menu, which changes weekly, but always includes a range of lighter to heartier fare; we recommend the ravioli if it’s on offer. It's also here that breakfasts of smoked salmon, regional cheeses, freshly-baked breads and made-to-order egg dishes are served. Home-made granola, yogurt and fresh fruit are also on offer, alongside freshly-squeezed juices, heavy-duty Hochstrasser coffees and Schwarzenbach teas, but the sweet-and-spicy cinnamon rolls hold a special place in our hearts. Casual café Delish is open in the mornings, serving coffee, fluffy pastries and light bites.
With dark green walls, a wooden bar and a marble floor, Baltho Bar serves up art deco style alongside a long list of classic cocktails and creative concoctions shaken up by the engaging mixologists. There’s also a heady selection of craft beers from local breweries and a smattering of fine wines to choose from. We like it best for after-dinner drinks, but Baltho Bar is open from 11am every day, and serves drinks until midnight Mondays to Wednesdays, 1am on Thursdays, 2am Fridays and Saturdays, and a sedate 11pm on Sundays (except from 1 May to 30 September, when Baltho is closed on Sundays).
Baltho Küche is open for breakfast from 7am to 1pm, and dinner from 6pm to 11pm (closed on Sundays from 1 May to 30 September; 10pm on Sundays the rest of the year). Delish is open daily from 7am to 10.30am.
A slightly pared-down version of the restaurant menu is available from 10am to midnight (not available on Sundays from 1 May to 30 September, available until 11pm on Sundays the rest of the year).
Marktgasse Hotel is on a pedestrianised cobblestone street in the heart of Zürich’s old town.
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.
Eurostar and TGV trains regularly pull into Zürich Main Station, 10 minutes by car from the hotel.
You won’t need a car to navigate the city – and they’re technically verbotten in Old Town – but you can drive right up the traffic-free street to the hotel door to drop your bags; just have a print-out of your reservation handy to show to traffic police if asked. There are several paid (CHF40-50 a day) public car parks within a short walk from the hotel.
You can catch a city tram from Zürich Main Station or the airport to the Rathaus stop; the hotel is a minute’s walk away on Marktgasse.
Worth getting out of bed for
Keen swimmers are in luck: lakeside Zürich loves its lidos (there are 18 in total); we especially like Seebad Enge. Boutique lovers will find they’re only a five-minute’s walk from main shopping promenade Bahnhofstrasse, and foodies can explore their way through artisanal shop Berg un Tal for local treats and regional drinks. Modern-art aficionados can get their fix at Kunsthaus Zürich, which has a Swiss-centric collection that spans from the Middle Ages to nowadays. Opera enthusiasts can easily swing by the city’s main venue, just a few minutes’ walk from the hotel, to check out the schedule, and for board-treading action, there’s the nearby the Schauspielhaus theatre. For little Smiths, the zoo is 15 minutes away by tram, and the city’s toy museum is a five-minute walk away. If you're planning on shopping, note that everything's closed on Sundays.
It wouldn’t be a holiday in Switzerland without at least one raclette or fondue night, so get cheesy at Le Dezaley. If it’s an authentic Swiss meal you’re after, upscale Kronenhalle has you covered. Specialties include Balleron sausage salad, thick-cut Chateaubriand fillets and dreamy mousse au chocolat.
Café Schober has been crafting decadent chocolates and cakes for over a hundred years. Swing by this baroque-style century-old space for a sugar-buzzing Kaffee und Kuchen break; in warmer months, try to snag a seat on the terrace.
It’s difficult to think of Zurich without thinking of order. Everything just works, much as one might expect from Switzerland, from the calm 10 minute train journey from the airport to the middle of the town, down to the signage, restaurants and streets: no traffic, no mess and no stress.
Mr Smith – who, despite hailing from Croydon, considers himself Germanic due to his love of wellness, design and organisation (he’s already located the stunning 1930s 50m swimming pool, the Hallenblad) – is in his element the second we step off the train. Well, until he’s nearly taken out by one of the super-efficient and deceptively quiet trams whizzing along the roads in every direction; but that’s Zurich for you – seamless organisation waits for no man.
But Zurich’s order doesn’t mean it’s sterile; it’s a vibrant, lively city with an ancient heart and a thoughtful, brave approach to town-planning regeneration, particularly in the cool western part where design boutiques and cafés under the Viadukt and around Josefstrasse bring a creative edge and an utterly modern contrast to the chocolate-box old town.
We stroll along cobbled streets towards the Marktgasse hotel, which perfects the art of modernising the ancient. The walls in the reception offer glimpses of 15th-century frescoes alongside mid-century furniture, understated dove-grey panelling and stunning wooden floors. It’s the kind of pared-back style that makes you want to immediately go home and throw out every scatter cushion.
Its position could not be better for a weekend of pottering around and pretending to be a Globally Important Business Person; nestled in the heart of the old town behind the riverside, it has shops, restaurants and lively bars right on its doorstep.
Swiss efficiency extends with style into the bedrooms; Aesop products, soft linen and hyper-silencing glazing on the windows ensure a good night’s sleep. Despite a check-in time of 2pm, the hotel has rustled us up a beautiful room by 10am (not guaranteed but do ask), and after a high-power shower our pottering can begin in earnest.
The pretty rivers running through the city lead to the tranquil Zurichsee lake, with spectacular snow-capped mountains behind and a skyline punctured by myriad spires. It’s a focal point for local sports, with jogging routes, paddleboarding, and stylish swim/sauna clubs on jetties. We head across one of the many pretty bridges across the river to Zurich’s equivalent of Bond St: Bahnhofstrasse, where the Old Money doggies drip with diamonds and the windows of oligarchs’ cars remain blacked out. Despite the restaurants here being very expensive, a trip to one of the huge historical kellers (beer halls) is a must; an atmospheric way to while away an Aperol Spritz whilst people-watching out the windows.
Delish, the Marktgasse hotel’s café, serves super-fresh deli-style food all day, so we head back there for a healthy lunch before shoving a couple of tasty strudels in our faces; surely the best preparation possible for taking our clothes off in front of strangers in the gym?
The Marktgasse offers all guests the chance to use the Fitnesspark, a minute’s walk down the road, without extra charge. Mr Smith being, in his view, focused (in mine, boring), heads for the well-specced gym. I, however, cannot resist the allure of the hammam. The hours of 4-6pm usually being filled with work, commute, kids and quotidien stresses means that the chance to be sitting in a steam room in absolute silence is an opportunity not to be missed.
It’s fair to say that an efficient Swiss gym system, plus a vast underground Moroccan hammam with ten individual rooms, absolute silence and naked people of both genders, provides the kind of opportunity for social embarrassment and logistical confusion that may keep an average Brit away.
Being an average Brit, I almost turn tail when, armed with my high-tech entry bracelet from the hotel and wearing a swimsuit, I am instructed to take off everything and only wear a small towel (provided), whether in or out of the water. This being central Europe, of course, many of the men consider this an optional extra, so be prepared to keep your eyes high…
I’m presented with a waterproof map of my hammam journey, and sent downstairs to follow the (thankfully English) instructions in each luxuriously calm subterranean room to be loofahed, soaked, relaxed, steamed and mud bathed (the ‘Rhassoul’). Malene’s oil massage then kneads you into such a catatonic state of relaxation that it’s all you can do to crawl back to the hotel for a reviving gin and tonic and an outstanding meal in the hotel’s Baltho restaurant.
All this wellness and relaxation – thinking only about what to eat, buy or look at next – seems at odds with our preconceptions of Zurich as a super-busy business hub. But if everything works, it supports your relaxation; you can drift off rather selfishly into your own thoughts and take in the history, the landscape and the culture. Just don’t drift off too much, or the trams will get you.
Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel or villa, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Marktgasse Hotel’s Guestbook below.
Aesops products in the shower… paper takeaway cups for the nespresso machine… It's calm, cool, and superbly located.
Slippers, dressing gowns or anything else that will crowd your space. This is pared down lux – Swiss style. Everything you need. Nothing else.
Stayed on 21 Feb 2019
The style and decor of the hotel.
Stayed on 7 Jan 2019
The bathrooms were absolutely amazing - great shower, plenty of space, perfect lighting. The location is ideal as our stay was quiet but only a quick walk to both the train station and the lake. Rent a paddle boat and go out onto the lake on a warm day.
There is a basic bar. Cocktails are all unique and special, and the price tag reflects that!
Stayed on 29 Jun 2018
The Mr & Mrs Smith extra – the cocktails were fab. The staff were friendly, especially Cindy and the staff in Delish at breakfast (which was excellent by the way). Zurich is an easy city to walk and has so many excellent restaurants, cafes and bars to suit all tastes. The hotel is perfectly situated in the Old Town.
Stayed on 23 Jun 2018
Felt chuffed to be able to stay in a Swiss historic hotel that has been existing for the last 600 years. The central location in the Old Town is fantastic because it's within walking distance to major attractions, great restaurants and shopping. Neni Zurich Langstrasse (Middle Eastern/Moroccan), Bianchi Italian Seafood, Restaurant Zeughauskeller (a traditional Swiss restaurant).
Stayed on 18 Jun 2018
Very stylish quirky hotel. Friendly staff, and the hotel is exceptionally clean. The bar and restaurant are very cool. Perfect location for walking round the old town and exclusive shopping areas. Zürich is beautiful, the old town and just across the river are full of fabulous boutiques and your usual high end shops. We also didnt have one bad meal, book a table then catch an Uber to Giesserei Oerlikon, it's a great restaurant set in an old foundry; the food was delicious.
Make sure you request a back bedroom, particularly if you like to sleep with the windows open. We had to move after our first night as it was so noisy (we were on the first floor facing the street, and it was Saturday!). Moved to the top floor at the back of the hotel – perfect sleep the second night!