When you’re all wrinkled and pruny after not being able to tear yourself away from the hypnotising baths at the Thermalbad spa, you can take comfort in the fact that, if you’re a guest of the B2 Boutique Hotel, you can simply slip through the special entrance exclusively for guests
The B2 Boutique Hotel is the second phoenix to rise from the ashes of the old Hurlimann brewery, and its history is nostalgically kept alive.
Be sure to take in the original brewery settings throughout the halls, from the intact factory wall, to the bottle-drying machine – the building’s previous incarnation is very much present. Each of the 60 rooms also features a blown up photograph of the brewery’s final days; exposed and raw, a tribute to its past.
The finest choice of accommodation at B2 is a duplex suite, of which there are just eight. Each one spaciously set out over a mezzanine level, they’re in a separate wing that was once the beer cooling house, giving them extraordinarily high ceilings. The brewery’s original cooling vents are a fixture of the balcony, another reminder of B2’s industrial past.
33,000 books and beer bottle chandeliers
B2’s bar and restaurant is like no other: featuring shelves a dizzying 11 metres high, packed with 33,000 books, welcome to the library. Feast your eyes too on the specially commissioned chandeliers made from Hurlimann bottles that are design wonders in their own right.
Swiss produce dominates the menu, revolving around “Swappas”, or Swiss tapas – a twist on the Spanischbrodli Danish-like pastries introduced during the 1714 War of Spanish Succession in the spa town of Baden, near Zurich.
You can have your Spanischbrodli with smoked trout, ham, goats cheese, steak tartar, minced veal, truffle brie or a Swiss beef burger – the smoked trout and truffle brie pack a real punch. Or opt for the cheese board; a creamy, pungent tour of the Zurich highlands, with evocative names such as Mountainspruce, Jersey Blue and Pilgrim Cheese, to Bachtelstone and Standing Stone. The Swiss might be more adept at producing cheese than wine, but the Schiterberger Cabernet Dorsa 2010 Swiss red is a worthy meal partner.
The Swiss approach to bathing – unforgettable!
If this is how the Swiss keep a level head, perhaps we could all take a leaf from their book. Even in dreary January, Thermalbad brightens up the social calendar with its New Year’s Eve event – a champagne-fuelled party within the spa and a pool-top fireworks view. Whether it’s new year or simply an autumn break, make sure you book, as there can be a waiting list to get into the spa!
Finally, I just wanted to leave you with this quote from the Swiss cultural historian Sigfried Giedion: “The role bathing plays within a culture reveals its attitude toward relaxation. It is a measure of how far individual wellbeing is regarded as an indispensable part of life.”
All images courtesy B2 Boutique Hotel.