Enjoying a late breakfast in the SILK Lounge & Bar, settling into a good book in the COCOON, engaging in a rewarding conversation on the Boulevard Terrace, sipping a cocktail at the SILK Bar, taking in the sunset from the VIEW rooftop terrace - the Ambassador Hotel in Zurich is a place of inspiration where guests can immerse themselves in the history of the hotel and become a living part of it.
In 1899, Zurich incomer Jakob Lassmann fulfilled his dream and built the Utoschloss as an impressive landmark on the Zurich city skyline. “I am not a building speculator who wants to put up cheap apartment buildings. I’m interested in stately buildings in prominent locations,” he is reported to have said at the time. Real estate developers and brothers Yves und Raffael Meili share this attitude and, with the purchase and meticulous restoration of this very special landmark, have opened a new chapter in its colourful history.
Alfred Meili, the founder of Meili Unternehmungen AG and father of the two Meili brothers, remarks “The hotel purchase was above all a matter of the heart.” He regards the Ambassador as a work of art, as precious and unique as a Gauguin or a Picasso. The Meili family exemplifies a new breed of hotel investors who adopt a long-term perspective, prioritize value-based actions, and achieve sustainable value creation as a result.
Telling and perpetuating the story
The philosophy behind the Ambassador Hotel in Zurich is what its creators call “Living History”. Meili Selection Hotels have consistently adhered to this guiding principle, which has led them to undertake a mindful and comprehensive renovation of the Ambassador Hotel that will stand the test of time for many years to come. In collaboration with the esteemed and globally renowned interior designer Ina Rinderknecht the mission of Meili Selection Hotels has been to bring the historical elements of the Ambassador Hotel to the fore, while at the same time transforming it into a contemporary space that is relevant for modern sensibilities.
Throughout the house, subtle and skilfully interpreted reminders can be found of the Belle Époque era around 1900, when the Ambassador was built. Each floor is dedicated to one of several countries which were important trading partners for Switzerland at the turn of the century. Fabrics, the erstwhile heart of Zurich’s trading successes, have been deployed with meticulous attention to detail. Almost all of the furnishings tell their own part of the story and have all been custom-made for the hotel. “We have great respect for the history of the Utoschloss, but on the other hand a hotel should not be like a museum,” clarifies the Ambassador team. “As hoteliers, we will take care to ensure that the hotel is also a celebration of our modern lifestyle.”
Raffael Meili is convinced that this approach will keep the spirit of the hotel’s former champions alive: “Who knows - maybe the odd guest or two will share Jakob Lassmann’s enthusiasm when they look at the Utoschloss, or be inspired by the emancipated female entrepreneur Emma Zschokke over a lazy breakfast, or vaguely aware of Viktoria Ziegler’s deep voice in the hallway, or remember the spy story that happened here while they dine in our restaurant.”
The Utoschloss is one of the most beautiful buildings of the Belle Époque in Zurich. It was built in two stages between 1898 and 1909. In the 1920s an upscale family pension opened here, it was expanded into the Ambassador Hotel in 1963.
The lovingly and extensively renovated Ambassador Hotel reopened at the end of February 2023. The hotel, which belongs to the Meili Selection, is part of the Utoschloss, which is steeped in history. In addition to 44 rooms and suites, the facilities include a restaurant, a rooftop terrace with lake view, and a boardroom with library working lounge.