Philippe Starck Revives a French Empire–Style Hotel Overlooking Lake Zurich
In his four-decade career, creative powerhouse Philippe Starck has conjured everything from a biomorphic shed in Tokyo to a gender-fluid fragrance with a woodsy air. But it is perhaps his sophisticated hospitality work that has garnered him the most acclaim, devising interiors for such esteemed properties as the Delano South Beach, Saint Martin’s Lane in London, and Paris’s Le Royal Monceau. For his latest masterstroke, the French polymath has revived a timeworn landmark on the banks of Switzerland’s Lake Zurich, transforming it into La Réserve Eden au Lac Zürich, a five-star hotel within the La Réserve Group portfolio.
Built in 1909, the French Empire–style gem survived two world wars and years of neglect, during which many of its abundant charms were plastered over and forgotten. A new chapter started in 2015, when French entrepreneur Michel Reybier purchased the retreat and enlisted Starck to reimagine it with sumptuous nautical interiors that took cues from the surrounding lake. To that end, the designer stripped away staid wallpaper and flooring to reveal the structure’s original bones, taking equal care to restore the historic sculptures and retain the signature blue-and-white-striped awnings adorning its façade.
Now the hotel’s 40 guest rooms—the majority of which boast terraces and panoramic views of the lake—evoke luxury yacht cabins, with wide-plank flooring, chiseled redwood panels, and arched doorways. Marine-inspired photography, bronze gondola oar rests from Venice, and half-hull boats set in resin complete the look. Scattered throughout the property are colorful stained-glass windows by Starck’s daughter Ara Starck, adding a contemporary touch.
Guests can dine at a pair of stylish restaurants also conceived by Starck, including Eden Kitchen & Bar on the ground floor and La Muña, located within the domed sixth floor of the edifice. La Muña, which features a Peruvian-Japanese menu, is designed to resemble a ship’s hull and features a terrace overlooking the lake.
Zurich—which is known as a global banking capital—is slowly coming back to life in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, and the hotel started welcoming back guests on May 11. Given that the city tends to come alive in the summer, the chic property is poised to become a magnet for those looking for a refreshing getaway.
See more of the property below.