Review: Novotel Zurich City West provides comfort in the heart of Swiss hipster culture

Switzerland may be best known for its unparalleled beauty and majestic landscapes but there’s still plenty to do for urban-dwellers across the country. Take Zürich for example, a city that seems pleasant and relatively placid until you reach the kinetic hipster-leaning cultural revival going down in Zürich-West: a former industrial area that’s getting a seriously playful makeover thanks to creatives, venues, bar, restaurants, and hotels. Two of the main hotels here both come from Accor and stand side-by-side in the Technopark area, which is renowned for its innovative start-up culture.

The hotel is conveniently located just across the road from Technopark tram stop.

One of the hotels is the budget ibis, and the other: the slightly more expensive four-star Novotel Zürich City West. The latter is still reasonably priced though, and for those looking for an extra sense of comfort it’s well-placed for tourists who want to stay outside of the city centre but still close enough to explore. The Technopark stop for tram 4 is just across the road from the building, shifting visitors to and from city centre in just 10 minutes.

A spacious bar area dominates the lobby.

The 144-room hotel itself is rather classic in it’s design although the lobby has a much more youthful energy, from the small but well-equipped kids zone to the central bar, which takes up much more space than the reception desks hiding away in the corner. Interestingly enough, the hotel has recently introduced an escape room concept to their offerings, a unique 60-minute game for locals and visitors titled “ROOM67”. It takes about an hour to sift through the live puzzle thriller, which is offered by session time and is a nice little distraction to add to the start or end of a day out in Zürich.

Those who book wait here before being taken to the hotel’s recently introduced Escape Room.

Guest rooms are enormous length wise and feel like small apartments, pushing them as perfect for families who appreciate the balance between affordability and comfort. One double bed and one sofa bed come in the Superior Room, placed in a large bedroom which opens from a separate dining area containing the very well-stocked mini-bar and entrance to the small, but sufficient wet-style bathroom. There’s not much in way of its unremarkable, inoffensive design which features a great deal of connectivity for business travellers.

The pool and fitness amenities are quite decent, as is the sprawling al fresco dining area which opens up into a large leafy courtyard garden shared with the neighbouring ibis. Otherwise the most use visitors will get from this hotel is its excellent access to the West Zürich neighbourhood and the many old factories and areas which have been reimagined and reclaimed as energetic dining and bar precincts, designer boutiques and hidden-gem music hubs.

Image supplied | Photo credit: Abaca Corporate/Jacques-Yves Gucia
The beautiful courtyard garden is ideal for a quick breakfast.

One such precinct is the impressive and unique Viadukt, where each arch of the railway viaduct dating back to 1894 has been transformed into a boutique shop, bar, restaurant, or cafe, making for one long line built for shopping, eating and drinking with a few artistic notes thrown in for good measure. That’s about a 10 minute walk from the hotel, as is the incredible Frau Gerolds Garten, an enormous makeshift eatery and bar built from repurposed shipping containers. Fans of designer bags and DIY retail stores will also appreciate the area’s Freitag boutique, which is a tower of shipping containers stacked tall on each other, also offering a nice view of the city.

The incredibly impressive Viadukt precinct is a 10-15 minute walk from the hotel | Source:
Frau Gerolds Garten is a vibrant DIY hub built from shipping containers | Source:

With plenty of threads providing access to Zürich’s biggest drawcards, this Novotel is one of the brand’s best placed properties across Central Europe. The hotel itself may be plain, save for some youthful ideas like the escape room, but it’s sense of comfort and warm, welcoming classic hospitality provides one of the best options for the more adventurous visitor who wants to make the most of a short stay in Zürich.

Novotel Zürich City West

Address: Schiffbaustrasse 13, 8005 Zürich, Switzerland
Contact: +41 44 276 22 00

The writer stayed one night as a guest of Novotel Zürich City West.

Feature image supplied and credited to Stefan Kraus.


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Chris Singh

Chris Singh is an Editor-At-Large at the AU review, loves writing about travel and hospitality, and is partial to a perfectly textured octopus. You can reach him on Instagram: @chrisdsingh.