PERCHED just outside Zurich, the Dolder was built in 1899 as an escape for the good citizens. In 2001, though, it was taken over and given a thoroughly modern makeover, opening in early 2008. The old, castle-style hotel still exists, but is now embraced by a slinky and utterly fabulous new building. <br /><br />The old part houses beautiful, classic suites with superb views over the lake and the Alps, and stairs to a sunbathing spot on the hotel’s old tower. <br /><br />Rooms in the new section are smooth and thoroughly classy. Junior suites, like the one we stayed in, have steam showers and whirlpool bathtubs, balconies and more of those views. Others have themes, such as one with a petrified wood floor and a wood-burning stove, while another is a dark, boudoir-style effort in a 1960s style. <br /><br />There are two wings, depending on whether you are more interested in the spa or the golf (there is a nine-hole course). Being in full-on relaxation mode, we chose the former. The 4,000 sq m complex is a joy, from the German limestone walls down to the superb facilities including a sauna and steam room and a beautiful black pool. After a few lengths, you can sit in the outdoor Jacuzzi and ponder whether there is a better spot anywhere. They also have a wide range of spa treatments – I had a deeply relaxing shiatsu massage. <br /><br />Foodwise, there’s a Michelin-starred restaurant decorated with paintings of food (including a Dali picture of a lobster when you walk in) metal-plated walls, and wonderful original ceilings. For a nightcap, there is a bar too, with a dark and grotto-esque style – if Hogwarts had a style-bar tacked on the side, this is what it would be like. <br /><br />If you decide that you just have to pop into Zurich, a shuttle bus takes guests down to the centre of town. Once there, pop into the Fraumunster Haus church to look at the Marc Chagall stained glass windows, then cross the river and grab a coffee in one of the many civilised bars. <br /><br />Dolder Grand, Kurhausstrasse 65, 8032 Zurich, Switzerland, tel: +41 44 456 60 00, www.thedoldergrand.com. Two nights in a Double Room Superior with a continental breakfast in the Garden Restaurant and a three-course dinner in t he Garden Restaurant, exclusive drinks and a massage therapy costs CHF 1,680.00. Offer available until 15 December.