Business Travellers’ Guide
Work meets play in the Swiss city of Zürich
A secret Swiss bank account has long been a symbol of power, yet centuries before Switzerland became a safe haven for the wealthy, it was an important European trade hub with Zürich at its centre.
This has been both a blessing and a curse, for although the city regularly tops quality-of-living indexes with its pretty Old Town and neat-as-a-three-piece-suit financial district, Zürich suffers from the perception of being, well, a bit boring. The past few years, however, have seen the city reclaim the bohemian character it enjoyed during the First World War, when the city was an asylum for artists and writers who founded the anarchic Dada movement in the darkness of the Cabaret Voltaire nightclub. These days, young urban creatives on fixies are driving the city’s cultural renaissance in the former industrial district of Kreis 5, where, in converted railway arches and shipping-container restaurant spaces, you’ll find a flourishing contemporary art, food and night-life scene.
A knock-on effect is that cool cafés and bars can now be found around Paradeplatz – the Swiss equivalent of London’s Square Mile – alongside the luxury hotels and excruciatingly expensive restaurants for which the area is known. Compact and easily navigable, the financial district is only minutes away from the Bahnhofstrasse boutiques and Lake Zürich foreshore, while the cobblestoned Old Town is a 10-minute walk from Paradeplatz. Here’s how to mix business with pleasure in the “city of banks”.