The final stop on our Thanksgiving trip was Zurich. We arrived a bit later than we intended, thanks to the helpful people at Sixt Car Rental. We drove straight to the Park Hyatt, where we’d be spending our last night. I had never stayed in a Park Hyatt before and was very much looking forward to seeing what this property had to offer.
As discussed earlier in this post, we booked this hotel by transferring Chase Ultimate Reward Points to my Hyatt Gold Passport account. 30,000 Ultimate Reward Points was pretty steep, but using these points saved us about $750 – that’s about a 2.46 cents per point, which in my book is a pretty good rate of return.
We snaked our way through Zurich to Beethovenstrasse, which is just across the river (5 minute walk) to Bahnhoffstrasse with great shopping. We valeted our rental car and handed off our luggage to the bellman. We had many shopping bags that we picked up from our stops in Paris, Beaune and Bern — all of which needed to be packed into our already overloaded luggage for our return flight the next day.
We approached the front desk and were greeted by a woman who was more interested in her internet activity than checking us in. She asked if we had stayed at the hotel before and if we were familiar with the property – to which we responded no. I was expecting her to tell us about the restaurant, the bar, the gym, the wifi and anything else pertinent. She did not. She told us if we needed anything just let her know. She scanned our passports and escorted us to our room. She was nearly silent as we walked to our room on the third floor.
She opened our room and escorted us in. At this point she provided us so much detail on the room. She showed us the bed, the windows, the closet, the min-bar, the safe, the bath tub, the shower, the WC, the coffee station. She showed us how to access the wifi, how to use the phone and told us that in a few minutes the butler service will be by. It was nice to have the in-room service, but the details were a little excruciating. She was very well prepared and once we got to the room she was very warm and lovely.
About 5 minutes after she left both the valets with the luggage and the butler service arrived. The wrong luggage was delivered but a lovely fruit platter was delivered. The luggage snafu was fixed within 15 minutes with heartfelt apologies from the valets.
The room was quite large, even for two guests. We had a nice little sitting area, for one, near the window and a large desk with a glass top (making the area seem bigger and airy than it really was) – there was even a little vanity area with a mirror so you could apply makeup and occupy the bathroom.
The king sized bed was very comfortable and much to my surprise, the room had ample electrical outlets near the bed. One of my hotel pet peeves was not found here – that’s a major win. One thing I didn’t like was the sliding panels that separate the bathroom from the main part of the room. These panels, which I see more and more now, and I just loathe them, are to allow extra light into bath and lets you watch the TV while in the bathtub. This is nice in theory, but I prefer more privacy for the bathroom than these panels provide.
We headed downstairs to begin our quick self-guided tour of the City and stopped off at the concierge desk asking for help for dinner reservations. We had a list of 5 different restaurants – all traditional Swiss, ranging from very high end to middle of the road. The gentleman who was working the concierge desk was a bit short with us – he seemed frustrated that we were looking to book dinner reservations only a few hours out on a Friday night. After about 15 minutes of discussion with him, I realized he wasn’t frustrated with us, it was more of a language issue (we were communicating in English, not German). After realizing this, I was much more understanding. None of the restaurants we wanted to visit were available the night in question. The concierge recommended another authentic Swiss restaurant a few miles away- around the lake from hotel. He warned us it would be a 15-25 minute taxi ride. More on that restaurant later.
The next morning, we were up early as we had to head to airport, drop off our rental car and return home. We had mostly packed the night before. We had slept pretty well as the room was quite quiet and the bed was one of the more comfortable ones on this trip. I hopped in the shower, which as you saw above, was a separate shower and not a shower-tub combo. The water pressure was great, as was the temperature — but that shouldn’t be surprising, I guess, since we were showering at 06h00 on a Saturday morning. The bath products were by Laura Tonatto, which I will admit, I was not familiar with. They were perfectly fine – not worth seeking out or even taking home, in my opinion. I’m sure others love it though. It got the job done. We did not eat breakfast in the hotel – it was available for an extra charge and those who read this blog regularly, know I’m not really a breakfast guy, so unless there is an unlimited Bloody Mary or Mimosa Bar, I’m perfectly content grabbing an orange juice and a croissant and heading out the door.
Many hotels have a “signature scent”, a smell that when you walk in, you know you are in that brand of hotel. Both the Westin and the W have such a scent. I’ve noticed it less frequently at the Peninsula and Waldorf though. The scent at the Park Hyatt Zurich was a bit off putting. I don’t know if it is the same at all Park Hyatts or just in Zurich, but it had citrus floral notes coupled with a bit of cat pee. Honestly, when we got home Saturday night, and I had to clean the litter box, the smell reminded me a bit of the Park Hyatt. It wasn’t a pleasant smell, but it brought back the memories of our trip. This smell wasn’t in the rooms or even in the lobby, it was just on the guest room floors (it was on 3 of the floors, as I stopped off on different floors to see if it was just a 3rd floor issue or a consistent issue — it was consistent).
So, after only staying one night, would I return to the Park Hyatt Zurich? Let me start off by saying (again) that Switzerland is expensive. Even the lower end hotels were over $300USD/night. This is a great City to use miles/points to get a free stay. Nothing about the Park Hyatt wowwed me. It was in a great location, the service was a bit above average (but below my expectations — although, my expectations were set in a complete vacuum, so I blame myself, not the hotel). The room was nice, the bed comfortable and the water temp/pressure great — all things that are critical to me — plus there were ample outlets near the bed! If I had 30,000 points/night to spend in Zurich, I would probably stay here again. It isn’t a slam dunk return for me, but I’d see what other options were available, but I wouldn’t hesitate in returning.
This isn’t a winning endorsement, I know, but all-in-all, I was pleased with my stay and with my miles/points redemption.
Have you stayed at the Park Hyatt Zurich before? What did you think? How was the service? Did you notice an odd “signature scent” – or was it just me?