Hotel Helvetia Where Dandy Chic meets Art Nouveau

Saturday, October 25 2014


Hotel Restaurant Helvetia
Stauffacherquai 1
8004 Zurich-District 4
.How to get there


+41 (0)44 297 99 99

For the second time this year I’ve landed at Zurich airport and, within 30 minutes, arrived at the front desk of the boutique Hotel Helvetia. Centrally located between the financial district and the emerging creative neighborhoods, the lime green corner house with its shutters appears quite inviting from the street. The reception is located in the bar of the house, known to the city for decades as 'Helvti Bar', a conspiratorial meeting place for creatives, students and journalists.

In 2008, the 130 year-old building was extensively renovated and the historic bar expanded into a first class restaurant and hotel. Here, the historical character was preserved and many elements under the protection of "Heritage listed buildings of the city of Zurich" were restored. This included the staircase railing, the hardwood floors in the restaurant and many of the wall panels.

The Hotel Restaurant Helvetia, as it is called precisely, has 14 rooms available in sizes S, M, and L, and two Business Apartments. The successful duo Stefan Roth and Leopold Weinberg created the rooms with a contrasting ambience by skillfully combined the old Art Nouveau elements with British dandy-chic, slightly reminding me of my beloved London.

Helvetia Hotel Zürich Zimmer mit Doppelbett
Helvetia Hotel Zürich Bad
Helvetia Hotel Zürich Badezimmer
Helvetia Hotel Zürich Zimmer Schreibtisch
Helvetia Hotel Zürich Rezeption
Helvetia Hotel Zürich Treppe
Francoise Wicki, Hotel Restaurant Helvetia,2009

The listed staircase is an absolute dream. On the walls of the extremely stylish rooms, and also in the restaurant, hang works by Max Bill, Sol LeWitt and Beat Zoderer, on loan from the vis-à-vis nearby "House Konstruktiv" Museum. The modern bathrooms, to my delight, stock a selection of toiletries by the cosmetics company Kiehl's and even include face moisturizer.

The interior is mostly black and white and works with striped wallpaper, industrial lamps and many design elements, creating a feeling of comfort and sophistication at the same time. Outside the windows facing the street the trams quietly rumble past, as they have done for a long time, and on the other side lies the Sihl river. The rooftop terrace offers a splendid view of the city, and is a gorgeous setting on warm summer evenings.

As I woke up in my attic room the next morning, I realized that I hadn't awoken once during the night. The mattresses are heavenly! Well rested, I indulge in an excellent à la Carte breakfast served in the original bar, its huge windows providing a clear view of the bustle of the surrounding streets. The muesli is delicious and the spinach - served with the eggs - is the best I've ever had.

I cast a last glance at the giant white paper-mâché chandelier by Mooi adorning the bar, and the 15 Gault Millau points awarded to the restaurant, where Françoise Wicki mastered her cooking. I leave the Hotel Restaurant Helvetia with a promise to myself to return again very soon.

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Hotel Helvetia – Where Dandy Chic meets Art Nouveau
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