FROM MY HOTEL WINDOW

What could be a better perch than looking down from my hotel room at the swanky 5 star Savoy en Ville Hotel on the Paradestrasse, considered the best location in Zurich, and from my balcony eyeing Konditorei Sprungli, the largest confectioners in Switzerland.

switzerland 2 028And if you don’t recognize the name, when in Zurich you have a treat awaiting. It’s here the most sumptuous, mouth watering pastry and chocolate are made and displayed so perfectly in glass showcases . Just thinking about the dark chocolate cubes and amazing truffles and my favorite, the Luxemburglis, I could hardly wait for my morning gratification. The Luxemburgli (or Luxemburg) is a small round light cream filled meringue in various flavors and colors.switzerland 2 025

Ah, but still sightseeing from my 5th floor room I can see what is awaiting me below. There the luxurious and yes, costly cashmere shop, Loro Piano, next to the fashionable Zurich owned boutique Gassmann Couture (5-7 Poststrasse and Bahnhofstrasse) with racks ladened with La Perla, Ralph Lauren Black Label, Missoni, Akris, Burbury and Annette Goetz. Since there’s a bit of a mish mash and nothing seems to be where I thought it should be, it took time and patience and a bit of effort to get the staff to assist. But when they finally did help, it was possible to see that the fashions are well selected.switzerland 2 139

Of course, I could also see the Fraumunster Church and the Grossmunster Cathedral) towers fills the skyscape but we’re talking shopping . Sightseeing is for another day.

LUXURY EVERY THING ESPECIALLY FOR THE FASHIONISTA

The Bahnhofstrasse, Zurich’s main street, is where it seems every car is either a Rolls Royce, Bentley, Porchse or Mercedes Benz, still expected in this economical and ban- south street and a few miles down at the end is Lake Zurich. If you’re staying a few days, buy a Zurich Card which is accepted for transportation from and to the airport, the buses, trams and touring boats.

switzerland 1 blu 070To put this all in prospective, the Bahnhofstrasse is the 3rd most expensive street for retail shops in Europe and 5th in the world. With their historic, long history of being costly, who would have ever thought that Zurich is an inexpensive city? But if you’re intend on keeping your hands in your pocket or out of your wallet, It’s one of the great streets for window shopping.

However for those who just happen to have fallen into a great gene pool where money isn’t an issue, with no problems with the plastics and a nice reserve in your account, then there are probably few streets in the world that offer this incredible quality and luxury so close, so accessible, so easy.

switzerland 2 103When you’re staying at the Savoy Hotel, everything is just within reach. On the Bahnhofstrasse side is Turler, one of the finest watchmakers and jewelry shops. Mr. Turler showed me a costly strand of perfectly matched champagne colored South Sea pearls.

It makes sense that every other store is a jewellery/ watch boutique and appropriately juxtaposed to another building which just happens to be a bank. Another given is that this ‘strasse’  has all the famous label design boutiques like Chanel, Prada, Louis Vuitton and although there’s a large representation of tourists, it’s probably the 370,000 population of this city and environs that keep the retail economy afloat. It’s a far cry from 58 BC when the Romans were here. But I digress. Shopping, not history, is this day’s activities.switzerland 2 147

However, for me it’s a given to start at the Lake Zurich end. On this day I hold off my nibble at Sprungli until my coffee break and I’m working my way up to ‘strasse’. However, the best starting point is at the Baur au Lac Hotel which sits a stone’s throw from Lake Zurich.

This is the city’s most glamorous hotel and if it’s warm, it’s a must to sit in the sculpture garden under a shady umbrella with a view of the marina. The indoor restaurants are also special and the public area sumptuous and extremely luxurious as are the rooms since the recent renovations.switzerland 2 053

But then a true shopper needs no encouragement to pace the resting time. Go slowly. Shops that may look staid and too proper from the outside windows may well have just what you’re looking for inside.

It’s always difficult for me not to head directly to Gilbert Albert, a jewelry designer shop with a difference. Albert is a several times prize winning designer. My first purchase from Albert was over 20 years ago when I noticed in the window a collier of scarabs set in gold and diamonds and also natural coral mixed with various precious stones, so unusual then as now. These items were so avant garde then but interestingly they still are. Those 2 decades ago, I couldn’t leave the boutique without an interchangeable bead and matching color leather strand for which I choose a coiled textured gold and small diamond twist that fits over the leather and miraculously holds the stone. Now I have 5 color changes. switzerland 2 133

On this trip, I saw heavily encrusted diamond and gold colliers with fish scales texturing. And on the more practical everyday wear, there is a cluster of hand hammered silver and gold pebbles. Another grouping had various shapes and colors of pearls that work again on the signature leather neckpiece. The shop is small but the variety is large enough to keep you looking for some time.

Gross Couture, has very current outfits and a helpful staff. The styles are not conservative and can take you from office to cocktails. ( Bahnhofstrasse 22)

The perfumeries on this street and others, have stunning fashion jewelry. So don’t think these venues are for scents only. Some of the best costume pieces can be found in these stores.

Now set aside a few hours for Greider, the renowned fashion department store for men and women from footwear and jewelry to top end outfits and casual wear. Attached is the Louis Vuitton store where, as with all LV shops around the world, have wonderful handbags, luggage and clothing. The problem here is the unhelpful and snobbish salespeople.

The 150 year old Leder-Locher is fabulous for leather goods. But perhaps one of the great surprises and best kept secret is the Beyer Clock and Watch Museum which is daunting. It’s in the basement below the Beyer watch/jewelry store. The museum has the most important collections in the world (Bahnhofsstsrasse 31) with the earliest of the 500 timekeeping pieces from 1400 BC.

The Swiss love to eat and cook. To see a great assortment of food, perhaps even buy a gift or two or three, Jemoli (Bahnhofstrasse and Seideng) has a food court floor devoted to outstandin jams, oils, vegetables, fruits, meats, often with tasting tables. However, it is also known for their medium priced clothing too.

Just across is the Augustinergasse. This small enclave has some up and coming and arrived local designers. Among them with panache is the small boutique, Tops (Augustinergasse 21) where there’s a fine selection of well priced, well fitting, well made, great quality bottoms as well as tops.

And since you are now near the Widder Hotel, it’s worth taking time to have a small meal or drink here. These 8 historic townhouses were renovated from 1990-95 into 42 guest rooms and 17 suites. All are individually styled and represent some of the top decorators, furniture designers and artists of the 20th century. Le Corbusier, Mies Van der Rohe, Eileen Gray, Frank Lloyd Wright, Harry Bertoia to name a few have been chosen as has American artist Robert Rauschenberg whose large canvas is on the stairway’s wall in the pent house suite. Also seen are paintings by Augusto Giacometti, Serge Poliakoff, Andy Warhol to name a few that have their presences in this tranquil neighborhood’s hotel. (Rennweg 7).

It’s worth the walk through the smaller alley -like streets, passed tinkling fountains and restaurants and more shops to get to Storchengasse. It’s here that there’s a mother lode of the finest trends, fashion- forward shops in the city. Among the locals, it’s now called ‘Trudie Goetz Strasse’. This incredible woman with a most discriminating eye that can’t be equaled, started off with one store, Trois Pommes, several years ago. Now there are several Trois Pommes boutique in a grouping within the same area, where on this narrow pedestrian plaza where there was once a world famous jewelry designer and Bisang Furs and other fashion and cigar/wine shops.all gone now and taken over by Goetz. One store is devoted to Gucci, another to Alexander McQueen and Etro and the list goes on. And if you happened to have walked or gone into Prada on the Bahnofstrasse, that too, is one of Goetz’s well designed , well stocked boutiques. Her taste is totally impeccable, her staff well trained. They treat the deep pocket, oil rich Sheiks and their many wives as they would any tourist or local. Just know that the price points aren’t low and luxury costs. That seems to be Goetz’s hallmark signature.

switzerland 2 033After a triumph of some purchases at Trois Pommes head to the large open plaza in front of many of Goetz’s shops.   Hotel zum Storchen with it’s great location beside the Limmat Canal is a great meeting place with a great indoor bar. And on a sunny day, the outdoor terrace has to be one of the great meeting places for a snack and perfect for a refreshing drink

AND NOW TO FAB. FOOD

switzerland 2 171 And since Zurich is as much about shopping as it is about eating, book a table at the legendary Kronenhalle Restaurant (Ramistrasse 4).

switzerland 2 177With original art by PablorPicasso, Marc Chagall, Henri Matisse, Paul Klee, Jean Miro to name some, many actors, artists, top celebs and billionaires have sat surrounded by this array of masterpieces in this soft lit atmosphere, eating roesti and Zurich veal with mushrooms in a creamy sauce and having wine from a great list.. Ah, if only the wall could talk. But my shopping spree took my mind off intriguing gossip from another era.

 

 

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