Associate editor, Bruce Woelfel, surveys Zürich's moderate to inexpensively priced hotels and restaurants.

Zürich has plenty of good hotels and a few that are "modestly-priced." The trick is to find one that is both. Accommodations in first-class hotels are to be had for $100 to $150 single and $175 to $250 double. Even in these, rooms are relatively small and lack the grand appointments available in luxury class hotels which start around $250 and run to $500 or more. Most lower priced hotels are across the Limmat - on the "right bank" - a five to 10-minute walk from the rail station.

Hotels

Here is a look at some of these hotels, arranged from most expensive to least expensive. Unless otherwise noted, rates listed here include buffet breakfast.

Hotel Florhof

(Editor's Choice)

Only a few blocks from the heart of Zürich, the Florhof looks like one of those classic village inns one sees in the Alps. Indeed, the Florhof feels distinctively, authentically Swiss as compared to sterile high-rise hotels where one might as well be in Miami.

Another considerable virtue is the hotel's proximity to the Kunsthaus, with its premier collection of 20th Century painting and sculpture.

Inside the Florhof, we discovered public rooms full of beautiful Swiss antiques and we enjoyed playing our favorite card game by the 18th Century fireplace, where the staff brought us coffee and cookies on a silver tray.

In contrast to the old-world ambiance of the public rooms, guest rooms were remodeled in 1994 with all the bells and whistles. Our room also had big dormer windows, a classic Swiss bed, and a gleaming new bathroom.

This intimate, quiet hotel is owned by Brigitte and Beat Schiesser, who have a cordial, hands-on management style. No detail of our comfort was overlooked.

The little Florhof is most appealing.

Address: Hotel Florhof Florhofgasse 4, CH-8001 Zürich
Phone: 10/2614470
Fax: 01/2614611
Location: 10-minute walk or five-minute tram ride from the main railroad station. Near University and Museum of Fine Art
Rooms: 10 singles, 23 doubles
Proprietors: Brigitte & Beat Schiesser
Prices: Singles 195-240 Sfr. ($156-$172), doubles 290-320 Sfr. ($232-$256)
Facilities: Outdoor terrace
Credit Cards: All
Disabled: Two steps up to lobby
Closed: Never
Parking: Five spaces in courtyard, 10 Sfr., 10 free street spaces, 6 p.m.-9 a.m.
Rating: Excellent 16/20 G

Hotel Glockenhof

A well-maintained hotel in an 80-year old art-deco building centrally located two blocks from Bahnhofstrasse. its public facilities include a large and formally decorated restaurant with outdoor terrace for multi-course meals and a small but pleasant tavern with lower prices and simpler fare.

We found our average-size room a bit cramped after a stay in more spacious accommodations at Lucerne's Hotel Montana. But it was well ventilated with three windows, tastefully decorated and well equipped, including a spacious bathroom with large tub. The buffet breakfast, laid out in the large room which serves as a restaurant during the day, was plentiful.

New management has been in place since June, 1994. The staff is friendly, service was prompt and efficient and the concierge knowledgeable and helpful.

Address: Hotel Glockenhof Sihlstrasse 31, CH-8023 Zürich
Phone: 01/2115650
Fax: 01/2115660
Location: Central Zürich, just off Bahnhofstrasse, 10 minutes walk from the railway station
Rooms: 57 singles, 51 doubles
Proprietor: Josef P. Schmidtpeter, Director
Prices: Singles 178-196 Sfr. ($142-$156), doubles 260-290 Sfr. ($208-$232)
Facilities: Sauna, two restaurants, outdoor food service on terrace in summer
Credit Cards: All
Disabled Access: Four specially equipped rooms
Closed: Never
Parking: Five minutes walk to public garage
Rating: Above Average 12/20

Hotel Arlette

The Arlette is small, comfortable and modern. Renovated in 1987, its average-sized rooms, simply decorated in yellow and green, are enhanced by colorful oil paintings. Conveniences include VCRs as well as color TV. The small restaurant and cozy bar are available from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m.

Address: Hotel Arlette Stampfenbachstrasse 26, CH-8001 Zürich
Phone: 01/2520032
Location: On the right bank of the Limmat River, three blocks from main rail station
Rooms: Five singles, 25 doubles
Proprietor: E. Schlotter family
Prices: Single 125-185 Sfr. ($100-148), double 165-250 Sfr. ($132-$200)
Facilities: Restaurant and bar
Credit Cards: All
Disabled: Good access, no special rooms
Parking: Public garage 5 minutes walk
Rating: Above average 13/20

Hotel Rütli

This small, alcohol-free hotel with no restaurant is modestly priced by Zürich standards, and its post-World War II building was renovated seven years ago. Guest rooms, some of which are generous in size, have simple decor but are pleasant and comfortable. Number 461 is a large single in beige and blue with a couch, and bathroom with tub. Number 315 is a spacious, quiet double with sofa and chairs, shower and lots of floor space. Upper floor rooms look out on the rooftops of this densely packed section of the city.

Address: Hotel Rütli Zhringerstrasse 43, CH-8001 Zürich
Phone: 01/24515426
Fax: 01/2612153
Location: On the right bank in Zürich's older section eight minutes walk from the rail station
Rooms: 44 singles, 18 doubles
Proprietor: Ann Raftery, Director
Prices: Singles 130-180 Sfr. ($104-$144), doubles 185-260 Sfr. ($148-$208)
Meals: Breakfast only
Facilities: Breakfast room
Credit Cards: All
Disabled Access: Some rooms with extra wide doors
Closed: Never
Parking: Public garage, five minutes walk, 25 Sfr. per night
Rating: Average 11/20

Hotel Arc Royal

Another modern, well-appointed hotel. Rooms are light and airy, with light oak furniture and white walls. Number 403 is a quiet, average-sized single with tub and shower and Number 406, facing a pedestrian street, has a double bed and shower and is available either as a single or double with a special weekend rate of 115 Sfr. single ($92) and 170 Sfr. double ($136). Lower priced rooms face the noisier side of hotel.

Address: Hotel Arc Royal, Leonhardstrasse 6, CH-8001 Zürich
Phone: 01/2616710
Fax: 01/2514780
Location: On a pedestrian street, north side of Limmat, l block from the river
Rooms: 22 single, 36 double
Proprietor: Sylvia Steiger
Prices: Single 120-170 Sfr. ($96-$136), double 160-250 Sfr. ($128-$200)
Meals: Breakfast only
Facilities: Breakfast room
Credit Cards: All
Disabled Access: Ground floor rooms available
Closed: 23 December to 2 January
Parking: Own garage, 17 Sfr. per night
Rating: Above average 12/20

Hotel Bristol

The Bristol's 1900 art-deco building, also on the Limmat's right bank, was renovated six years ago. its average-sized rooms are light and cheery with white walls and blond wood furniture. Most have showers though a few singles have tubs. Rooms which face the street are moderately noisy when the heavy, double-paned windows are open.

Though classified as an alcohol-free building (breakfast room but no restaurant), there is no limitation on smoking and guests are permitted to consume alcoholic beverages in their rooms.

Address: Hotel Bristol Stampfenbachstrasse 34, CH-8035 Zürich
Phone: 01/2618400
Fax: 01/2511951
Location: In Zürich's old section, five minutes walk from the station
Rooms: 11 singles, 44 doubles
Proprietor: Martin Hammerli
Prices: Singles 110-130 Sfr. ($88-$104), doubles 130-185 Sfr. ($104-$148)
Meals: Breakfast only
Facilities: Breakfast room
Credit Cards: All
Disabled Access: No special facilities
Closed: Never
Parking: Garage five minutes walk, 20 Sfr. per night
Rating: Above Average: 13/20

Hotel Scheuble

Though the Scheuble's guestrooms are rather ordinary, it is a good choice for couples who dislike the traditional European double bed arrangement of two singles placed together under one headboard. About half the double rooms contain queen-sized beds. This is another alcohol free hotel with no restaurant, though smoking and alcohol are allowed in guestrooms.

Address: Hotel Scheuble Mühlegasse 17, CH-8001 Zürich
Phone: 01/2518795
Fax: 01/2617678
Location: Near the river, 5-10 minutes from the rail station
Rooms: Five singles, 64 doubles
Proprietor: Herr Meier
Prices: Singles 100-140 Sfr. ($80-$112), doubles 140-180 Sfr. ($112-$144)
Meals: Breakfast only
Facilities: Breakfast room
Credit Cards: All
Disabled Access: No special rooms
Parking: Public garage five minutes away, 30-40 Sfr. per night, free street spaces available free 7 p.m.-9 a.m.
Rating: Average 12/20

Hotel Uto-Kulm

This remote, mountain-top hotel is hard to classify. It is accessible only by rail, a half-hour's ride from Zürich's main station (6.4 Sfr./$5). Upon arrival one must trek 10 minutes up a steep pathway to reach the hotel's rustic three-story building. Persons with heavy luggage and those not desiring a good workout prior to check-in may prefer to call from the station and be met by the hotel's four wheel drive vehicle.

The somewhat drab guestrooms, decorated in shades of brown, are otherwise comfortable and well appointed; some with large outside porches and many have fine views of the city.

Address: Hotel-Restaurant Uto-Kulm Berggasthaus, CH-8138 Uetliberg
Phone: 01/4636676
Fax: 01/4631400
Location: Top of Uto Kulm mountain, 30 minutes train ride from Zürich
Rooms: 21 doubles
Proprietor: Mr. Fry
Prices: Singles 100-150 Sfr. ($80), doubles 160-250 Sfr. ($128-$200)
Meals: All available
Facilities: Outdoor park and terrace with fanciful animal sculpture
Credit Cards: All
Disabled Access: Poor
Closed: Never
Parking: Utikon rail station garage.
Rating: Average 10/20

Hotel Krone

The modest Krone is small and conveniently located on the Limmat. Rooms, many without private bath or shower, are rather dull and sparsely furnished, in some cases only a chair and a place to hang clothes, but are clean and some have nice views of the river.

Number 38, a single without private facilities, faces the river and rents for 68 Sfr. ($54). Number 24, also without private bath or shower and also with river view, is a triple for 138 Sfr. ($110). Number 50, an average-sized, corner double room with private bath, also has a river view and rents for 134 Sfr. ($107). The hotel has a small, reasonably-priced restaurant.

Address: Hotel-Restaurant Krone Limmatquai 88, CH-8001 Zürich
Phone: 01/2514217
Fax: 01/2514763
Location: Old town, right bank, eight minutes from the station
Rooms: 14 singles, 12 doubles
Proprietor: Yves Schoch
Prices: Single without shower or bath 68 Sfr. ($54), doubles without shower or bath 114 Sfr. ($91), doubles with bath 134 Sfr. ($107), triples without bath or shower 138 Sfr. ($110)
Facilities: Restaurant
Credit Cards: All
Closed: Never
Parking: Free street parking until 7 a.m., public garage 25 Sfr.
Rating: Average: 10/20

Hotel Biber

The new, low-priced "City Backpacker," centrally located 10 minutes walk from the station on Limmatquai, has been designed for younger travelers. Accommodations include dormitories and some private rooms. Unlike a hostel, there is no curfew and residents may remain during the day.

City Backpacker/Hotel Biber Schweizerhofgasse 5, CH-8001 Zürich, phone 01/251/9015, fax: 01/251/9024. Dormitory rooms 28 Sfr. ($23), rooms with shared baths 55 Sfr. ($44) to 88 Sfr. ($68).

Restaurants

Restaurant Florhof

(Editor's Choice)

Another good reason to choose the Florhof as a Zürich headquarters is its excellent restaurant. In contrast to its daytime informality, at dinner time the restaurant takes on a more gracious and romantic air. Service at all times is friendly and prompt and the food first-rate.

One recent dinner began with a fresh assortment of lettuce bathed in an exquisite herb and lemon dressing. Pumpkin soup had a delicate cream base and came garnished with spinach, gnocci and fresh herbs. An unusual combination plate of salmon, white lake fish and sweetbreads was served with a sauce of fresh morels on a heart-shaped pastry shell. With local wine, the bill for two came to 60 SF ($48).

Highlights of a second dinner included an herbed soup with gnocci, venison filet with a dark, very rich onion and mushroom sauce and delicately cooked dover sole meunire with rice.

Florhof Restaurant
Florhof Hotel, Florhofgasse 4, CH-8001 Zürich, phone 01/2614470. Moderate-Expensive.

St. Gotthard Café

(Editor's Choice)

This colorful and elegant restaurant, just a block from the train station, is a longtime favorite. When severely jet-lagged at the beginning of a trip or jaded with travel at the end, it has always raised our spirits: bright chandeliers grace the ceiling; marble walls are hung with huge, brightly-colored prints and the crowd at the bar and tables is always animated and exuberant. Often there is live piano and violin music. On a recent wintertime visit to this wonderful lounge and bistro, a large Christmas tree added its seasonal presence and color to the festive scene. The ambiance contributed greatly to our pleasure.

A standout among several reasonably-priced menu items is paprika chicken breast with spätzle, priced at 21.50 Sfr. ($17).

Hotel-Restaurant St. Gotthard Bahnhofstrasse 87, phone 01/2115500. Moderate-Expensive.

Zeughauskeller

(Editor's Choice)

The interior of this Zürich institution, in a 500-year-old building on swanky Bahnhofstrasse, is reminiscent of a Munich beer hall, especially when it comes to the quick service, shared tables, ample steins of Hürlimann beer vom fass and reasonable prices. The cuisine is Swiss farm-style and excellent. The rösti is as good as we've found anywhere. A cold sausage salad plate was 14.80 Sfr. ($12), veal sausage with German-style hot potato salad was 12.80 Sfr. ($10).

Here you will rub shoulders with rich Zürich bankers and raggedy young travelers living out of backpacks. Not to be missed.

Restaurant Zeughauskeller Bahnhofstrasse 28 by Paradeplatz, Zürich, phone: 01/2112690. No credit cards. Moderate.

Brasserie Lipp

The frantic Lipp, with its polished black walls, large mirrors, white tile floors, well-dressed patrons, quality food and expert waiters going at breakneck pace is an extension of the famous Paris bistro of the same name. Portions are large and can be divided. Typical of the fare is the cassoulet with white beans, chicken, duck, pork, sausage and topped with crisp bread crumbs. It, a huge mixed salad and a glass of Fendant each, came to 50 SF ($40) for two.

This is another "action" spot, great for people watching.

Brasserie Lipp Urania Strasse, near Bahnhofstrasse, phone 01/2111155. Moderate to expensive.

Glogge Egge

A very small and friendly bar/restaurant with plain Swiss food. Quick service, generous portions in an informal wood interior, with wood benches and plain wooden tables. A meal for two consisting of stewed chicken in a mushroom cream sauce with spätzle and a second entrée of white sausage with dark onion gravy and rösti came to 34 SF ($27), including two glasses of wine.

Glogge Egge Snack Bar and Pub, Glockenhof Hotel, Sihlstrasse 31, phone 01/2115650. Inexpensive.

Concertino

For those weary of fondue and rich sauces, the Concertino is a convenient place for a light lunch of American-style food. One can order a hamburger, a club sandwich or a rump steak, each for 15.5 Sfr ($13).

Concertino Café-Restaurant-Piano Bar, The Central Plaza Hotel, Central 1, phone 01/2515555. Moderate.

February 1995