Marktgasse Hotel, Zurich review: The modern hotel that's 800 years old

Our rating

4 out of 5

The location

The hotel is in Zurich's old town, an area dating back to the origins of the city. The ancient buildings are in narrow, cobblestone streets and most of the area is closed to traffic, making it a pleasant place to explore on foot. The Marktgasse hotel is on the corner of Marktgasse and Munstergasse streets. The latter feels like a small laneway by Australian standards, but it was once the main street of the city.

The space

The Marktgasse is a boutique property housed in an ancient building, reportedly one of the oldest inns in the city. The first written reference to the building occurred in 1291. But the interiors are modern and stylish after a renovation and restoration over two years, completed in 2015.

The lobby sits on the first floor, where you can relax on the lounge chairs and help yourself to tea and coffee (which are not inside the rooms). There's also a salon and a library available for guests on this level. There are 39 rooms.

There's no spa or gym on site, but guests get access to the nearby Hamam Munstergasse Turkish baths. Beyond just working out, it's well worth visiting the hamam and going through its various stages of dry and wet saunas, hot pools and showers. I visited before heading to the airport for the flight home, putting me in a highly relaxed state ahead of the long-haul to Australia.

The room

Each room is slightly different. Mine offers a small entryway where you can hang clothes on a rack and store luggage (there is no wardrobe) before stepping on the parquet floors into the corner room. There a small desk, a modern armchair and three large windows keep the white room bright even without direct sunlight.

At first I can't find any bathroom and begin to wonder if it's communal, before discovering what appeared to be a built-in wardrobe is actually the double door to the bathroom, which is compact but comfortable enough with classic styling. The toiletries are a touch of home – Aesop products from Melbourne.

Despite being in the heart of one of Zurich's food and drink neighbourhoods, with a bar directly below me on the ground floor, the double-glazed windows keep the noise levels down adequately.

The food

There are two dining options in the building, both on the ground floor which makes them popular with locals as well as guests.

The Delish cafe serves an excellent breakfast, with a variety of egg options, yoghurts, fruits and muesli (Bircher muesli was invented here in Zurich).

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In the evening, the Baltho Kuche & Bar offers drinks and dinner. The menu is simple but effective with meals like the Baltho burger with cheese and bacon, or beef bourguignon. There are also seasonal dishes. At the time of my stay these include an excellent burrata ravioli, along with tuna steak with sweet potatoes, or a grilled pork chop with house-made barbecue sauce.

Stepping out

Zurich is a city well suited for walking, and you can explore the old town and follow the Limmet River down to Lake Zurich.

If you're feeling adventurous and the weather is good, take a short tram ride or walk to Zurich's main train station and take the S10 to Uetliberg (about 20 minutes). Here you can make the short hike to the summit for spectacular views over the city.

If you have the energy, walk the 90 minutes to Felsenegg and catch the cable car back down to the Adliswil station for a short ride back to town. Trams, trains and the cable car are included in the Zurich Pass – a 24 or 72-hour tourist travel pass for public transport that also offers free entry or discounts for many of the city's museums and other attractions. (CHF24 or CHF 48)

The verdict

The Marktgasse is in a great location and feels like a modern boutique hotel despite being housed in a building dating back eight centuries. It's a perfect spot for exploring Zurich.

The essentials

Rooms at the Marktgasse Hotel start from CHF199 per night for a single and CHF259 for a double room. See marktgassehotel.ch/en for details.

Highlight

While the hotel is charming in itself, complimentary access to the nearby hamam is a definite highlight.

Lowlight

The attractive rooftop terrace featured in the brochure is part of one of the top floor rooms, therefore not open to other guests.