DISTINGUISHED by a model stork’s nest on its roof, the 600-year-old Hotel zum Storchen is the only hotel on the banks of the Limmat River, an unparalleled location in the heart of Zurich’s Old Town. The striped awning over its outdoor Terrace Restaurant shades diners gazing at the 12th-century Grossmunster church across the river.
For efficiency, however, the five-star Movenpick Hotel Zurich-Airport is hard to beat. Its newness, clean lines, red exterior and use of stainless steel make it look, at first glance, more like an artist’s impression than a real structure.
Bedrooms manage to be cosy as well as functional. Mine, a standard, single room, is furnished in soothingly pale hues (refreshing after a long flight) with a separate sofa near the bed and a bathroom clad in Carrara marble.
As its name implies, the hotel is near the airport — just 2km away— and is serviced by frequent shuttle buses.
All rooms are equipped with high-speed internet, satellite television and tea and coffee-making facilities.
The hotel’s restaurants include one specialising in Cantonese cuisine, but if you prefer something more Swiss, head for the Restaurant Appenzeller Stube.
Here, chefs in tall hats serve hearty, meaty local fare (plus a few Mediterranean options) with all the right backdrops: polished wooden floors, white tablecloths, smiling waiters and wines of the day marked up on a blackboard.
Walls are decorated with bucolic scenes of farmers in national dress tending contented-looking cows and smoking alpine-style pipes. The adjoining Summer Terrace is lovely for outdoor dining on hot days (the right time to sample the famous Movenpick ice cream).
I was back in Australia before realising I had left a favourite shirt hanging in the wardrobe, but a few days later it turned up neatly folded and sent by express air, at no charge. www.storchen.ch www.moevenpick-hotels.com
By the riverside: The Hotel zum Storchen
Five-star: Movenpick Hotel Zurich-Airport