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Hotel check: Atlantis by Giardino

TESTED BY Ramsy Qubein

HOW MANY ROOMS? 95 rooms and suites

PROPERTY HIGHLIGHTS Exquisite city views, retro elegance and extraordinary service

PRICE Internet rates for a 300-square-foot Cosy Room are CHF450 ($466) per night.

CONTACT Atlantis by Giardino Döltschiweg 234, 8055 Zürich, Switzerland, tel +41 (0)91 785 88 96,

VERDICT This is Zürich’s newest and most exciting urban retreat. After a day’s work, escaping to this hillside hideaway provided the kind of exquisite service and top-notch amenities one might expect from a high-end hotel in one of the world’s most expensive countries.

BACKGROUND Located along the slope of a hill overlooking downtown Zürich, this hotel was once a Sheraton, but not your convention center type, rather the most elite spot in town. Celebrities and diplomats galore bunked at this exclusive hideaway, evidence of which can still be seen today in the large black and white celebrity photographs along its hallways. When its doors closed as a Sheraton, it was dormant for almost a decade before Swiss hotel experts Giardino (this is the fourth in their Swiss portfolio) stepped in to restore this gem to its former glory.

WHERE IS IT? This property sits at the base of the Uetliberg Mountain. While it may seem out of the way from downtown Zürich, the views are exquisite, and the neighboring farmland is a welcome respite from downtown traffic. I loved swinging my doors open for fresh air and hearing the tinkling of cow bells and downtown church bells simultaneously. A free shuttle (by shuttle, we mean Range Rover or BMW) is available upon request into town; the deluxe journey is less than 10 minutes.

WHAT’S IT LIKE? The architecture dates back to the late 1960s, but the retro building has somehow re-found its original glory and looks quite striking in its curvaceous Y-shape. The central staircase, an original dating back decades and now under historic landmark protection (like the building’s façade), coils upward in elegant design and provides one of the most Instagrammable spots of the hotel. Staffers, hired for personality rather than skill (easily taught once hired), demonstrate deft regard for detail.

ROOM FACILITIES Exquisite and to-the-bone modern, the oversized accommodations here must be some of Zürich’s finest. Furnished balconies in each provide exceptional views, and due to the building’s curvature, they come in three forms: city, meadows, or both. Bespoke furnishings are found throughout and closets house complimentary minibars, while bedside USB ports and power outlets signal the type of modern-day clientele that stays here. This is the top suite with dual-sided views, massive bathrooms, and extra living space that wraps around the corner of the hotel giving it a residential feeling.

RESTAURANTS AND BARS With only 35 seats, Ecco is the hotel’s showpiece dining outlet and must surely be on the verge of Michelin star status (sibling Ecco restaurants in Giardino’s St. Moritz and Ascona properties already have two Michelin stars). Hide & Seek is the other hot spot serving three meals a day starting with a lavish breakfast buffet which is included in all room rates. In the lobby lounge, pay close attention to the furnishings, which are specially made for Giardino.

BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES I made constant use of the hotel’s free and speedy wireless signal, and the meeting rooms each boast ample sunlight and high-tech amenities. Outdoor space is easily accessible from the meeting rooms for cocktail functions or breakout sessions. Two computers with printers are available near the reception area, and the staff is exceptional when it comes to special requests, exactly the type of full service a business traveler needs.

LEISURE FACILITIES An indoor swimming pool and whirlpool are perfect for chilly Swiss days, but it is the dipiù Spa that steals the show with its handful of treatment rooms, relaxation area, sauna, and steam room. A basement gym is housed in the hotel’s bunker (a requirement for Swiss buildings). An outdoor swimming pool with built-in whirlpools and nearby sundeck and children’s splash pool was under construction during my visit and about to open just in time for summer.