By Emma Marshall
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People who know me well know that Zurich is one of my favourites places to visit for a short break. So when a close friend expressed disbelief that I’d yet to try out the Thermalbad and Spa in Zurich, I felt it was time to take the plunge.
Setting aside time to soak up the attractions at the Thermalbad and Spa wasn’t a big deal for me. After several trips to see the sights in Zurich, an afternoon of wellness in Zurich was something I was more than happy to devote time to.
And even if it is your first time in Switzerland’s largest city, carving out some time to rest and relax is unlikely to be something you’ll regret.
Read on for information for a visit to this spa in Zurich and my thoughts on my time here.
- 1 The Thermalbad and Spa Zurich
- 2 How to get to the Thermalbad and Spa Zurich
- 3 What to experience in the Thermalbad and Spa
- 4 What did I like about the Thermalbad and Spa?
- 5 What didn’t I like about the Thermalbad and Spa?
- 6 My overall thoughts on the spa
- 7 Further information for visiting the Thermalbad and Spa
- 8 Where to stay in Zurich
- 9 Other ideas for European short breaks
The Thermalbad and Spa Zurich
The Thermalbad and Spa (meaning thermal baths and spa) is a day spa in Zurich. It is only a short distance from the main sights, and so is perfect for a short visit. You can easily reach the spa by public transport (read on for more details).
This Zurich spa is on the renovated site of the city’s old Hürlimann brewery (which had produced the wonderfully named – and potent, at 14% alcohol – Santa Claus or Samichlaus beer). The spa offers a breadth of experiences, as well as a fabulous rooftop spa. It is fed from the city’s aqui springs.
Click here to access the spa’s website.
How to get to the Thermalbad and Spa Zurich
Experiencing wellness in Zurich at this spa is not difficult. I used public transport to get to the spa and it took only a short time from the city centre.
I caught the number 6 tram to Enge station. You can catch this from several places in the centre, most notably from the main train station (bahnhof).
The number 5 and number 7 trams also go to Enge station. From Enge station it’s then about a five-minute walk. Alternatively, you can catch the number 66 bus which drops you directly outside the site that the spa is situated on.
If you walk from Enge station, you might – like us – think you’re going in the wrong direction. You reach a fairly non-descript area with a quiet street leading off of it. I don’t know what kind of building I was expecting, but perhaps something a bit more glitzy, given this is a top spa in Zurich.
However, do not be fooled – the relative plainness of the building outside does not match the wonderful interior.
What to experience in the Thermalbad and Spa
There are essentially 2 types of programme that you can book. I had visited before (the first time was so good I wanted to return!).
The thermal baths
The first time I visited I paid for entry to the thermal baths. For this, you get entry to the indoor baths, as well as the rooftop spa. You also get a robe and a towel. The cost of a day admission is 36 CHF.
The Roman-Irish spa circuit
The second time I visited, I paid extra (60 CHF) for the “Roman-Irish spa ritual”. For this option, you get everything that is included in the thermal bath entry price. You additionally get access to a “circuit” of ten stations that you work your way through.
The spa divides these stations into a “wet” zone and a “dry zone”. Most of your time will be spent in the wet zone as these constitute the first eight stops on your route. The last two “dry zone” stops are really an opportunity to chill out at the end of your time here.
What did I like about the Thermalbad and Spa?
The information on the spa’s website instructs you to “Indulge yourself: relax, rejuvenate, revitalize”. And that’s exactly what we did.
The thermal baths
Regardless of which type of programme you’ve chosen, you can start with a gentle swim in the indoor thermal baths.
In this calming environment, you really get a sense of the history of the place. Look around and you’ll see that you’re basically swimming in a huge beer vat! With its dimmed lighting, warm waters, and areas with jacuzzi jets, it’s a relaxing start to your wellness in Zurich.
The Roman-Irish spa circuit
If you choose to book the Roman-Irish circuit, you enter a separate area of the spa. There are some separate lockers where you can leave your robe.
You then go into station 1. This is the “floral steam bath” – essentially a steam room – at a temperature of 40 degrees centigrade. You’re advised to stay in here for 12-15 minutes.
After leaving, you follow the next nine stations around in order. As with station 1, all of these have information on how long you should stay.
Included is a full body scrub and exfoliation (this is self-administered in station 2 and rinsed off before proceeding). There are also two hot baths (at 45 degrees and 35 degrees centigrade). The largest of these is particularly lovely with jacuzzis in sections and really low level and relaxing lighting.
A third pool is an exercise pool. This is 28 degrees centigrade, but after the heat of the other two pools seems a little chilly at first (a sudden intake of breath was experienced with my dip into this pool!). However, although small, it is big enough to swim a few lengths and you soon warm up again.
There are also two “lounger” stations. Here, you basically lay on a slab of warm stone. Initially I thought this might be a bit uncomfortable but it’s actually really soporific and I very quickly dropped off for a short snooze. I could have stayed longer than the recommended 10 to 15 minutes.
At the end of all of this, there is a calm and relaxing lounge where you can sit and read. Station 10 is a small area where you can grab some water or free tea, or buy a snack.
The rooftop pool
Both types of admission to this spa in Zurich include access to the rooftop pool. This is something you must not miss and I’m sure you’ll agree is really the icing on the cake.
You take the lift to the top of the building and then walk up a flight of stairs. At this stage, you have to leave your robe before going outside.
You don’t need to worry about stepping out directly into the chilly Swiss air though. As my friend (who is a bit of a spa connoisseur) pointed out, there is a great design touch here.
You go into the outside pool via a small underground channel of warm water that you can submerge yourself into. This means that you never have to step out into the cold air in just your bathing suit.
When you swim out into the pool, you’ll love it. The waters are warm, the views are amazing and even in on a chilly autumn afternoon it’s a pleasure to be in. There are also areas with submerged platforms you can sit or lie back on.
At the bottom of the stairs, there is also a small bistro where you can buy drinks and snacks. After our relaxing afternoon, we treated ourselves to a glass of prosecco.
What didn’t I like about the Thermalbad and Spa?
To be honest, there was very little I could say that I didn’t like about the spa. It is true that at times, the rooftop pool gets a little crowded. But this is really only to be expected in such a beautiful setting – and if you choose your time wisely you might find it’s not too busy.
For example, if you went in the early morning or late evening, I imagine it would quieter. Likewise, I was told by a member of staff that visiting when it is sunny is also quieter (presumably because on these days, people are more likely to be out and about sightseeing in the city).
I also found the size of the towels we were given a bit odd. For people (like me) who are far from tiny, they are really very, very small. So if you want to preserve your modesty a bit more in the communal showers, I’d suggest you take your own towel. You can also hire another – presumably larger one – for 4 CHF.
I would also have liked some shower gel to have been provided in the showers. If I hadn’t known I had to supply my own, I would have been caught short (again, you can buy some in the reception).
My overall thoughts on the spa
I loved both my visits to the Thermalbad and Spa. Both types of admission are great as in both you get to swim in beer vats and in the rooftop spa.
However, I do have to say that in my opinion the Roman-Irish circuit slightly edged it. The additional money to spend time in the 10 different areas of this circuit definitely seemed worth it. I thought it was good value for money in comparison to the standard admission.
And despite my comments about towels and shower gel above, these are really only tiny gripes and not something that should stop you visiting.
For me, this is a wonderful spa which really has the wow factor. And having the opportunity to sit in a pool on the top of a roof and being able to look out across one of my favourite cities was an absolute treat.
I asked my friend – who visited the Roman-Irish circuit with me – what she thought of it. I think this just about sums it up: “it is the ultimate indulgence. In one afternoon, I went to a dozen different spa areas, had a sleep, and got a stunning view of the mountains from what is a really romantic rooftop pool – all this was polished off with some fizz…”.
So, I’d definitely say that the spa’s aim that you should “Indulge yourself: relax, rejuvenate, revitalise” was met for us.
If you visit, I hope you agree: just make sure you devote enough time to your visit here.
Further information for visiting the Thermalbad and Spa
You can also access information here on additional services that you can book (for example, massages and annual subscriptions). You can also read about entries over Christmas and New Year.
And for guide books to help you plan a trip to Zurich, click here.
Where to stay in Zurich
If you’re visiting the Thermalbad and Spa as part of an overnight stay in Zurich, you’ll be looking for somewhere to stay. Below are some suggestions based on my own visits to the city.
However, there is an enormous choice, depending on your budget and preferred location. Click here to browse options.
The B2 Boutique hotel: this is actually on the site of the old Hurlimann Brewery so you could combine a stay here to a visit to the Thermalbad and Spa. It’s a more expensive option than some of those below – but the mini bar stocks Hurlimann beer!
Novotel Zurich City West: a really nice hotel with a gym and indoor pool, it is located about 10 minutes by tram from the city centre. The tram stop is right by the hotel however, as well as a train station which connects to the airport.
Hotel Montana is a mid-range hotel that offers a decent breakfast as part of your room price. It’s ideal for short breaks as it’s located just a few minutes’ walk from the main train station. We’ve stayed twice.
Mercure Stoller: This is another mid-range hotel. It’s a little out of the old town at Badenerstrasse 357, but only a short tram ride away and the tram stop (Albisriederplatz) is right across the road from the hotel.
We didn’t get breakfast included in our room rate, but there was a pleasant little diner a couple of doors away.
Motel One: This hotel is also a recommendation of ours. It’s another well located hotel, around a 20-25 minute walk from the train station. It has a great bar located on the ground floor.
Hotel Dolder Grand: for those of you with cash to splash, you’ll no doubt love the Hotel Dolder Grand. Set at the top of a hill and with spectacular views over Zurich, the lake and the mountains, complete with ice rink in winter, it’s definitely somewhere you indulge in the finer things in life.
Storchen Zurich: Another hotel for those who want something more luxurious, I’ve added this on because I love the location in the old town and because it consistently gets top star ratings in reviews.
Other ideas for European short breaks
If you enjoy short breaks to Europe, including destinations in Switzerland, you might also be interested in the following:
Please note that in reviewing the Thermalbad and Spa, I did not receive any payment or any payment in kind (e.g. free access). All views are entirely my own