Housed in a 19th-century town house, renovated by the local architect Pia Schmid, the Alma Hotel is a contemporary-styled boutique, a stone’s throw from Lake Zurich, with views of the water from the top floor rooms.
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Once a women’s boarding house, it’s now liberalized slightly, but not entirely. Men can and do stay in the lower-floor rooms, but the upper levels, including the spa and the rooftop terrace, are reserved for women only. All of the 28 rooms, though, are stylish, with parquet floors, modern furnishings, and plush extras like heavy robes, slippers, and top-quality bath products, a cut above even the better unisex hotels.
It’s the top-floor spa that’s the hotel’s centerpiece, with its timbered ceilings and canopied sun deck. Massage is offered, of course, as well as sauna, light therapy, Finnish sauna, and a solarium — all with a view of the city, the lake, and the mountains beyond.
There’s no restaurant, but there is an American-style breakfast buffet, and meals are catered by the Italian restaurant across the way. Drinks hot and cold are served by a fireplace in the lobby lounge. The surrounding area, right in downtown Zurich, offers plenty of options, with the Alma serving as something of a refuge from the city — for ladies in particular, naturally.