JACKIE: We want to Talk about David’s last stop in his big Italian/Swiss train venture (and my return from Maui.)
DAVID: The Storchen Hotel in Zurich first opened its welcoming doors in the year 1357. This lovely bird is now 655 years old, but looks like it went to kindergarten for storks. It is fresh and new and up to date. I asked the generous, helpful, friendly Front Office Manager, Mrs. Regula Hanny, what American travelers should know about her hotel. “It is our location and our history.” I agree without a doubt.
My last rail journey took me from Lugano, through the snow covered countryside and mountains, to Zurich. Warm and safe inside the speedy train, once more I appreciated the ease and comfort of travel with my Eurail Pass.
JACKIE: Vicarious enjoyment, one of my favorite spots in the world is Switzerland.
DAVID: The Storchen is in Zurich’s Weinplatz fronting the Limmat River, alive with soaring white birds and regal swans. A 2-minute walk in one direction from the elegant Bahnhofstrasse which leads from the train station down to Lake Zurich and is bordered by the most famous names in fashion, banks, and jewelry (watches up the kazoo!) Just across from the bridge, steps from the hotel, is Zurich’s lively Old Town with cafes, restaurants, and fascinating shops. And along with the Storchen’s history, you can soak up that of the majestic Grossmunster (just beyond the narrow river and just outside my balcony) and the Fraumunster with the glorious windows of Marc Chagall.
JACKIE: Poor David’s flight home was canceled due to the catastrophic storm “Sandy” so he was “forced” to spend two more days in Zurich.
DAVID: Would have been perfect if you had been here, Lieben! (German for love) Next time you will be, and we will live in one of the 67 super rooms and suites of the Storchen. Each with air conditioning, Wi-Fi, duvets, and feather pillows covering big comfy beds that raise and lower with the touch of a button, fresh fruit and bottled waters daily, and they would even allow our sweet dog, Skye. There’s 24-hour Concierge service (Genarro, the chief, and Salvatore helped me sort out a rebooked flight). And General Manager Jorg Arnold and Mrs. Hannay generously helped arrange the two additional days.
The Storchen boasts the fine cooking of Chef de Cuisine Fredi Nussbaum in the Rotisserie Restaurant. The hotel has a lively Piano Bar as well as Barchetta alongside the river and the Boulevard Café fronting the Limmat. And from April to October, the hotel can be reached from the rail station by boat direct to the Storchen landing pier.
JACKIE: Sounds like the Storchen is a great recommendation for our readers. Good find, Mr. Lawrence.
DAVID: And here’s another: the Park Hyatt hotel’s Parkhuus Restaurant. My dinner date was way-too-young Laura Amanzi, Marketing & Communications Manager, who proved to communicate very well indeed. Before we were seated in the Manhattan-like dining room, Laura showed me around the hotel. Clean, contemporary, and very livable. Smashing! As was my dinner: Ruinart Blanc de Blanc Champers accompanied 6 loch Fine oysters, angel size (meaning obese!), veggie tastings: cassoulet of beans, bacon and herbs, root vegetables — parsnip, carrots, celery — spinach sautéed with pine nuts and parmesan along with silken mashed potatoes. And quite a large wood roasted veal chop, crispy golden brown outside and pink in, house made sour dough bread, and two splendid reds, one French, ‘05 Reserve de la Comtesse Pauillac, and one Italian, ’09 iL Bugiardo Valpolicella Ripasso. I had a little trouble deciding which was best; so, when in doubt, keep on tasting.
JACKIE: Another light supper for Dave! A little more about your dinner date, please.
DAVID: Very bright, totally focused, and obviously ambitious. In her 8 years at the Park Hyatt (she started when the hotel first opened) she has moved up the ladder to her current impressive position (a real asset to this venue and the whole company.)
One last travel note: a special “thank you” to Samina Sabir, PR Manager of Rail Europe, who helped make my terrific train trip through Italy and Switzerland comfortable, safe and swift via my Eurail Pass. Check it out! (and checking in … with JJ)
JACKIE: And I’m flying home from Hawaii, having said our final farewells to my beloved Billy Barnes, and as fate would have it, just in time to see a special evening of “Songs of Billy Barnes,” at Kritzerland at Sterlings on March 2, featuring Toluca Lake’s brightest stars, Nancy Dussault and JoAnne Worley (my dressing room mate for the “Billy Barnes People” Revue). Reverie, we’ll Travel….