Travel black book: Going for the good Swiss life

Travel black book: Going for the good Swiss life
Actor and host Max Loong grew up in Zurich and still visits often.

Who: Max Loong, 34, actor and host. The Swiss-Chinese Fly Entertainment artiste is a former MTV VJ who now divides his time between Singapore and Los Angeles.

Favourite city: Zurich, Switzerland

Why: I lived there from the age of three to 24 and I still visit every couple of months. I grew up there and know it inside-out. It's a quaint and picturesque city, and I love its old-world charm. It's also very small, which means it's quick to get from one place to another in the city, and I always bump into people I know when I'm out. None of my family lives there but I have many close friends there.

Best place to stay

One of my favourite hotels is the Widder Hotel (Rennweg 7, 8001 Zurich, tel: +41-44-224-25-26). It is in the Old Town of Zurich and is made up of nine connected old buildings that were built in the 1400s.

There are more than 50 rooms in the hotel and each room is one of a kind. They are like mini museums with columns, stone sculptures and old paintings in each one. Room rates start from 470 Swiss francs (S$670) a night.

Another nice hotel is the Dolder Grand (Kurhausstrasse 65, 8032 Zurich, tel: +41-44-456-60-00). It has the feel of an old castle.

It's where stars such as Michael Jackson, Madonna and Prince stayed when they visited. It's on Adlisberg hill and overlooks the city, so you get a really beautiful view. Rooms start from 540 Swiss francs a night.

Favourite restaurant

One of my favourite restaurants is the very old and legendary Kronenhalle (Ramistrasse 4, 8001 Zurich, tel: +41-44-262-99-00, open from noon to midnight). It's a slightly high-end restaurant and has a lot of history.

There are several original paintings by artists such as Picasso and Chagall hanging on the walls.

The story goes that the restaurant used to be a meeting place for artists back in the day, and sometimes when they were not able to afford their meal, they would pay in paintings.

So now there are world-famous works of art hanging in this restaurant. It's like entering an art gallery.

The restaurant serves good traditional Swiss cuisine. You must try Zurcher Geschnetzelte, which is sliced veal in gravy with rosti. It's a Zurich speciality and is really good. A main course here costs about $80.

If you want the full Swiss experience, you should go to a cheese fondue place called Le Dezaley (Romergasse 7, 8001 Zurich, tel: +41-44-251-61-29, open daily from 11.30am to 2.30pm and 6pm to midnight).

It's a quaint and charming little place that serves Swiss specialities - cheese fondue and raclette. A main here would cost about $40.

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