The B2 Boutique Hotel + Spa caters to book lovers, beer fans, and spagoers. (Photo: Cacinda Maloney)
By Cacinda Maloney / Points and Travel
Book lovers are going to feel right at home in Zurich’s B2 Boutique Hotel + Spa, a 60-room, four-story property on the site of the city’s historic Hürlimann brewery, which was the largest in Switzerland at its peak in the 1880s. The brewery closed in 1996 and its 16-acre spread has been transformed into an urban retreat that includes the hotel, a collection of shops, spaces for private parties and photo shoots, Google’s Zurich offices, and a rooftop spa with thermal baths fed by an existing spring.
The B2 Hotel (which stands for Boutique and Bookmark) occupies three buildings of the former Hürlimann brewery, and is just a few minutes from Bahnhofstrasse, Zurich’s shopping area. (Photo: Cacinda Maloney)
The Wine Library’s walls are stocked with 33,000 tomes. (Photo: Cacinda Maloney)
The brewery’s old mash house is now the lobby of the industrial-chic hotel, outfitted with comfy chairs, coffee tables made out of stacks of books, a massive couch that could fit 20 people. But the centerpiece of the hotel is just beyond this entryway: the Wine Library and its 36-foot-hight walls — completely lined with books.
The volumes number 33,000 and were all purchased from the same man, who was happy to have his life’s collection stay together in one central location. Beer-bottle chandeliers hang from the tall ceilings, one of many nods to the hotel’s history throughout the property.
You’ll find brewery references throughout the hotel, like on the floor of the hallway. (Photo: Cacinda Maloney)
Guests are welcome to camp out in the library any time of day, perusing the books, snacking on Swiss cheeses, and sipping regional wine or Hürlimann beer, which is still brewed per its traditional methods (just not here).
The presence of so many hardcover books in the library is an enjoyable throwback, but up in the rooms, everything is absolutely modern. (Photo: Cacinda Maloney)
I stayed in the Executive Room, where the literary theme carried through: Above my comfy bed was a collection of books and great lighting for reading at night. But that’s where the library feel ended: Instead of going with dark and cozy, the designers went with light and airy — lots of whites and neutral browns, sleek furniture, a very modern bathroom, and free beverages in the mini bar.
You don’t have to be a guest at the hotel to enjoy the Thermal Bath & Spa Zurich, but you do have to be clothed — the swimsuit rule is strictly enforced here. The indoor baths are situated among stone walls and vaulted ceilings, while the open-air, heated pool offers stunning views of the city.
Breakfast is included in the price of the room, a useful way to fuel up before a day of shopping, eating, and soaking.
Disclosure: I was a media guest of the B2 Boutique Hotel and Spa in Zurich, Switzerland, but the joy I felt while on that rooftop spa was all my own!