FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Zürich, Switzerland, Lady’s First Design Hotel

Dec 1, 2011
2011 / December 2011

From the private rooftop spa terrace of Lady’s First Design Hotel, Zürich fades into a horizon of mountain peaks, floating steeples and lit, glimmering clock towers. It’s after 10 p.m., and the fresh evening air is a welcome wrap, brushing the surface of my skin, still flushed from my sojourn in the spa’s aromatic steam bath. The graceful 19th-century house below me was renovated and modernized by Pia Schmid, a Swiss architect with a gift for manifesting her philosophy of construction and composition as a form of communication. Schmid’s design integrates the building’s traditional, historical elements — such as the beautifully restored parquet floors — with progressive concepts of generous natural light, bold colors and an amalgamation of surfaces and textures. Each of the 28 guestrooms features a Swissflex bed, electric kettle, complimentary WiFi and windows that can be thrown wide to allow a flow of fresh, lake-sweetened air.

When it originally opened a decade ago, accommodations were offered solely to the fairer sex. While all genders are now welcome, there are a host of features meant to appeal particularly to women travelers, including full-sized hairdryers, soft robes and slippers, a ladies-only fourth floor with women’s guestrooms and spa facilities, and exclusive access to the fifth-floor relaxation and therapy rooms. Topping off this women-only zone is the rooftop terrace, accessed by a staircase leading to a glass skylight that acts as a portal to a peaceful area filled with greenery, small tables and comfortable loungers.

My room is a few steps from the entrance to the wellness area. There’s an attendant on duty to oversee tea brewing and towel dispensing, but the local masseuses arrive only by appointment to deliver treatments. The menu of services is surprisingly eclectic. Besides a traditional Ayurvedic massage with warm, scented oils, there’s the choice of Hawaiian Lomi Lomi Nui, reflexology and a salt and sea algae exfoliation — along with the option of themed packages and cosmetic treatments with facials, waxing, brow shaping, body peels, cellulite therapy, manicures and pedicures.

I’ve selected the signature hour-long Lady’s Massage. Rather than using oil on my skin, my masseuse applies heated pouches of fragrant herbs, using them to rub and loosen my knotted muscles while supplementing their healing alchemy with massage techniques pulled from Swedish and Asian traditions. It’s delightfully relaxing, and by the time she moves to the end of the table to knead my scalp with her fingertips, I can feel myself drifting away.

The relaxation room is my next stop, and I cross the wood plank floors of the quiet space, selecting one of the low blue chaise longues arranged in a wide semicircle, edged by a wall of stone shaped in warm terra-cotta hues. Soothing, muted light emanates from a collection of low floor lamps that remind me of large, glowing boulders. They cast shadows across the room’s thick, wooden support beams — the effect is yacht-like and not out of place considering the nearby expanse of Lake Zürich.

Nestled into a residential area just east of the lake in the city’s elegant Seefeld quarter, the hotel is easily reached from the main train station via the efficient tram system. The next morning, after a fabulous breakfast selected from eggs cooked to order, freshly baked breads, ripe fruits, creamy Swiss yogurts, juices, meats and cheeses, I take the short tram ride to the center of the old city. Detouring briefly along Schlüsselgasse into the Truffe chocolate shop, I walk up the hill to the Lindenhof. Shaded by its namesake linden trees, this park — once the site of a Roman castle — provides brilliant views and a quiet refuge from the city bustle.

Tucked into my day bag is a worn copy of Alan Lightman’s exquisite novel Einstein’s Dreams, set in Zürich. The book imagines ways in which time passes, and I spend mine indulging in a restful hour reading beneath the branches of the lindens, followed by a walk to the city dock. After boarding one of the tour boats, I enjoy a leisurely cruise around the lake, lounging on the top deck with an unobstructed view of the colorful shoreline.

Later, back at the hotel, I slip into my robe and return to the spa for some water therapy — no doubt inspired by my cruise of the lake. I begin my circuit in the light therapy sauna, allowing warm air to seep into my muscles and bones while hundreds of tiny lights spiral through the color spectrum. Next is the Finnish sauna. It’s hot, and any part of me not adequately addressed in the first sauna cabin is definitely addressed now. After about 10 minutes, I exit into the main wellness space, bringing my body temperature back to normal beneath the spray of one of several multi-jet showers. Cooled, it’s time to enter the scented steam chamber. Making myself comfortable on a tiled bench, I breathe in the eucalyptus-infused air and relax in thick clouds of mist. My circuit ends with another cool shower and a walk through the Kneipp stream, a winding footbath of rounded pebbles in ankle-deep cold water. It’s marvelously refreshing and
feels like hundreds of fingers are simultaneously massaging the soles of my feet.

My sleep is deep and refreshing. The next day, before beginning the long trek toward home, I enjoy breakfast outdoors in the tranquil rose garden. The air stirs, moving down from the Alps and slipping across the lake. Inspired by the dreamy prose in the book I’m reading, I feel curiously ageless. And with all due respect to Einstein, my stay here has led me to reexamine my own theory of time — or at least, my philosophy of how it should be spent: abundant spa time supplemented with ample amounts of handmade Swiss chocolates.

Lady’s First Design Hotel
Mainaustrasse 24
CH 8008 Zürich, Switzerland
tel 41 44 380 80 10
www.ladysfirst.ch

Introducing

FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

#globility

Insta Feed
Daily
Aug 11, 2022

The Oberoi Marrakech’s New Wellness Program

The Oberoi, Marrakech introduces its new holistic wellness program, SAHA. Meaning health in Arabic, SAHA aims to help guests reach their full wellbeing potential. The program operates on four key cornerstones: soul & spirit, active body, holistic treatments and a better plate.

Discover a Journey Filled with Wonder in 2022

ISN’T IT TIME? It's time to treat yourself to the vacation you deserve, and Celebrity Cruises® offers the perfect escapes. With an award-winning fleet of ships that sail to more than 300 destinations around the world, Celebrity will take you almost anywhere you want to go in style. Enjoy stunning staterooms and suites, culinary experiences imagined by Michelin-starred chefs and intuitive service. Celebrity makes sure your vacation is effortless from the start, which is why drinks, WiFi and tips are Always IncludedSM on every sailing.

Daily
Aug 11, 2022

Museum Hopping in Valencia, Spain

Filled with sunshine and beauty, Valencia, Spain, is also a great destination for diving into culture and art. Named World Design Capital for 2022, Spain’s third-largest city boasts a wealth of museums providing glimpses into history and fine art.

Daily
Aug 11, 2022

Nassau Paradise Island Resorts Offer Foodies a Taste of the Bahamas

Nassau Paradise Island resorts pull out all the stops for foodies this season with new culinary offerings to elevate guests' experiences. The Bahamas is home to chef-driven, award-winning restaurants, authentic meals and delicious drink options. In the next couple of months, the offerings and festivals provide an unforgettable culinary experience for everyone.

Protected: Lose Track of Time in Savannah, Georgia

Sweet tea. Soul food. Y'all. Sound familiar? Though these words and phrases are commonly associated with the South, it's understood in any language. If you're seeking a city abroad that will enchant you, capture your attention from start to finish and welcome everyone as family, we cordially invite you to visit Savannah.

Daily
Aug 10, 2022

Rosewood Vienna Opens

Rosewood Vienna opened Aug. 1, marking Rosewood’s first hotel in the German-speaking market and its fifth European property. The 19th-century hotel, situated at Petersplatz, sits just steps away from many of Vienna’s historical and cultural sites, including St. Stephen Cathedral and Kunsthistorisches Museum. Guests won’t even have to leave the hotel to immerse themselves in the rich history of Vienna, as the hotel encompasses the apartment where Mozart lived and wrote The Abduction from the Seraglio.

eFlyer Deals
Aug 10, 2022

Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa Launches New Summer Experiences

Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa’s new summer offers provides guests with unique and memorable ways to explore the region and relax on the property. The Lowcountry Adventure offer, in partnership with Outside Hilton Head, features a custom-designed, five-hour program for up to six people. The offer includes a variety of all-day adventures and activities around Hilton Head, such as boating local waterways, visiting private islands and exploring small towns. Guests wanting to book this experience can book a three-night stay through Oct. 31, with a 21-day advance booking required.

8 Reasons to Press the Green Button and Visit Ireland

Start planning that long-awaited trip to the island of Ireland. With all travel restrictions now lifted, there has never been a better time to visit.

eFlyer Deals
Aug 10, 2022

American Queen Voyages Announces Free Air for New 15-Day Voyage Through Mexico, Costa Rica

For the first time in American Queen Voyages’ history, the cruise line offers free round-trip air from select gateways for guests booking their entire voyage from either San Diego to Puerto Vallarta or Puerto Vallarta to San Jose, Costa Rica. These new itineraries offer 15-, eight- and nine-day voyages to these destinations beginning Oct. 3.