This is my disclaimer: I love design. If I sound upset or enraged, it is because I am passionate.
Now that this is out of the way, it is my honour to be showcasing one of the most stunning hotels that has just opened, The Dolder Grand Hotel. The lovely hotel was opened in 1899 as a Spa Hotel ("Curhaus") and was closed in 2004 for an extensive renovation. After 4 years of rest, the hotel reopened in April 2008 rejuvenated after its long beauty sleep. The hotel's renovation costs SFR420 million and it's no wonder especially when the architect was Sir Norman Foster (no introductions needed), the interior was done by United Designers (who have done quite a few notable projects like Metropolitan Hotel, London, Four Seasons Hotel, Canary Wharf) and veteran Spa planner and designer, Sylvia Sepielli. It is obvious that the owners are after the best craftsmen the universe can offer, and they have successfully put together the right team.
The restoration maintained the original appearance from 1899, and several buildings that were added in the 1920's were removed. Additionally, there were two new wings added, adjancent to the old building. Under the old foundations there were two additional floors added. Not only the architecture, but also the hotel concept went back to its origins - now it is positioned as a luxourious spa hotel (before it was marketed as just a luxury hotel).
All the bath furniture is Villeroy & Boch, with gold fittings. Everything there is designer-named (even the garbage pail is Brabantia). Main toiletries are Kerstin Florian but they have included Farfalle pure relaxation and pure vitality oils. The minibar’s champagne is Veuve Clicquot, and all the glassware, of course, is Riedel. Why would you expect anything less in a room of a luxury hotel?
Now where I am a tat upset about is the fact that in Singapore, we are about to have a new Sir Norman Foster designed hotel (sorry, I shan't name the hotel, but enough clues given to start your hunt). It is of the same concept. The old buildings marry the new annexes and together are to create the perfect union of east and west, old and new; the best definition of our Singapore heritage and roots. However, after seeing this gorgeous hotel and also because this hotel opened earlier than ours, I feel short changed. Why? The annexes of both the main buildings of the hotels are uncannily similar. Both of them have a heritage building flanked by curved, glassy annexes. What happened? Designer's block? My initial excitement to see the new hotel in Singapore has been eclipsed by disappointment.
Nevertheless, The Dolder Grand Hotel is a stunner. With such a beautiful location and well thought of creature comfort to boot, forking out SFR 540 to 3700 a night to bask in its beauty may be well worth it.
The exterior of the hotel.