A hip, boldly designed hotel and spa housed in a former brewery, with rates starting at 360 Swiss francs a night (about $393, at $1.09 to the Swiss franc).
Opened in March 2012, this 60-room, four-story property was conceived by the Swiss-based Turicum Hotel Management Group as the first of a new brand of small, unusually situated urban hotels. It occupies three buildings that once made up the main facilities of the Hürlimann Brewery, which in 1880 was Switzerland's largest. In what was once the mash house is now a sprawling lobby with offbeat details like plush, two-toned chairs cinched with brown leather belts, and, in place of standard coffee tables, stacks of hardcover books and original Hürlimann wooden crates. Just beyond, 33,000 more books fill three walls of the 36-foot-tall Library Lounge.
In recent years, the 16-acre former brewery grounds have been transformed into a cobblestoned complex of small shops and the home of Google's Zurich campus. It is a 10-minute tram ride to the posh shopping street Bahnhofstrasse, and to Lake Zurich and its Rentenwiese Park.
My husband and I checked into a 300-square-foot Hürlimann Executive Room, which, like all the others in the hotel, had an airy feel thanks to gauzy white curtains, wide oak plank flooring and a design scheme that takes clean lines seriously (the phone was hidden in a sliding shelf). Yet, quirky touches were not sacrificed for the sake of minimalism; a collection of books was displayed behind the bed, and futuristic brass pendant lights by Tom Dixon hung from the ceiling. We slept soundly thanks to two layers of windows (the arched exterior window is a holdover from the brewery), blinds that rise and fall with the flip of a switch and blackout panels.
Our small bath, with heated mosaic glass-tile flooring, had an exhibitionist-friendly rain shower surrounded by three glass walls that looked onto the room (and the city, beyond), a single sink with ample counter space and toiletries from Ada Cosmetics' Green Collection made with extracts and oils from organically grown fruit.
The connecting Thermal Bath & Spa Zurich (25 Swiss francs for hotel guests instead of 55 Swiss francs for nonguests) offers indoor thermal baths fitted amid the brewery's stone walls and vaulted ceilings, and a rooftop open-air heated pool with phenomenal city views. The hotel has two conference rooms, one with concrete walls that rise three stories above in a dramatic zigzag pattern.
Breakfast, included in the room price, is served in the Library Lounge and skews local: gipfeli (Swiss-style croissants) and zopf (a plaited bread similar to challah), dense house-made muesli, herb-flecked bacon and air-dried beef from the Grison Alps, cheeses from the Zurich Highlands, and free-range eggs cooked to order. The lounge also serves an all-day menu that is unfortunately very limited (there is only a handful of hot dishes).
A late-night snack of hot chocolate and a strudel-like pastry with hazelnut-carrot filling arrived in 10 minutes. It failed to show up on our room bill, however, so we let the concierge know upon check out.
The Library Lounge menu could use an expansion, and the service a slight fine-tuning, but urbanites will be delighted by this upmarket hotel's enjoyable contemporary design, top-notch spa and sense of history.
B2 Boutique Hotel + Spa, Brandschenkestrasse 152; (41-44) 567-67-67; b2boutiquehotels.com.travel
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.