There are places, scents, flavours and people that one can never forget. Somehow they leave an indelible mark that nothing or no-one can ever remove from our memory.
Has it happened to you to pass by someone whose perfume takes you back to the times when you used to watch your mom getting ready for a big night out? Do you remember thinking that she was the most beautiful and elegant mom ever and thought to yourself that you were probably the luckiest kid around?
Or have you ever met someone with whom you immediately felt at home? Or been somewhere where you could see yourself spend hours on end?
That is exactly how I felt the very first time I stepped foot into No1 Lifestyle Shop, in little town of Au of all places, and met owners Manuela and Gunnar Hopf.
I had never heard of that place, maybe because the town where the shop and hotel sit is not necessarily in my neighbourhood. I remember wondering where I was going the day of our first meeting. The town and its vicinity are scenic but in all honesty the location of the building itself is not anything to brag about. And that is exactly what I love about discovering new places. I get far more excitement and rush from finding spots that are hidden and ambiguous than from the familiar and polished ones.
I strongly believe that there is a higher purpose for everything that happens in life and I was meant to not only discover a hidden jewel, a true Oasis, but also to meet a couple I will never forget and with whom I really hope to forge new experiences.
Upon entering the shop, it is virtually impossible not to be taken aback by the colors, the style and the undeniable positive vibes. The South African Colonial style bar housed in the middle of the shop certainly helps with feeling transported somewhere far and beautiful. It is there where the magic happens! People come and go, drink, meet, maybe do some shopping then go back to their daily grind. No pressure other than being free to be.
And other than serving the most exquisite espressos, cappuccinos and specialty teas from Marriage Frère Paris, the bar wouldn’t have become such an attraction if it weren’t for the owners Manu and Gunnar. They live, breathe and dream this place. It comes through in the way they treat each-other, their lovely employees and of course their customers. They make everyone feel at ease and at home. They share a piece of themselves with everyone who visits, whether they buy shoes from their exclusive line Paul Green, a beautiful piece of hand crafted furniture or just spend time socialising.
By the way, if you want to meet interesting people and mingle with the cool locals, go there on a Saturday afternoon!
If you like me relish traveling to places that are unique, still undiscovered by the mass, then you will be happy to know that since September 2016, No1 Shop has added a boutique style Bed & Breakfast to their already successful brand. For our design and architecture aficionados, Art B&B will be your heaven on earth. The furniture is a mix of styles – from African colonial to Hollywood Glam. Not one room is alike. They each personify a specific genre and mood – from James Bond and Coco Chanel to Sexy Latino to African expedition. Just pick according to your mood!
Art B&B is for those curious minded and independent travellers in quest of the atypical, unconventional and interesting while in pursuit of high standards. It is for those who want to return home with a story to tell. For those who seek connections wherever they go.
Although there isn’t a typical “Concierge Service” as we are used to seeing, the guests are always greeted with a smile and can be assured that they will get the staff’s full attention, just not 24hours a day. They will get a code for the door to get in at night and a delicious breakfast will await them in the morning.
Art B&B is not centrally located but a train ride away (30 minutes) from the main station in Zurich. I would say it’s like what Parc Slope is to Manhattan, but Swiss style! It’s also the perfect place when on a business trip because it is generally close to most big companies and agencies and it doesn’t feel like a typical business hotel where it could get lonely and impersonal.
If you are looking to explore and discover new and untapped hotels, you should absolutely try Art B&B – you will not regret it!
Contact: Seestrasse 319B, 8804 AU Zurich
Rates: from CHF160 to CHF 440, breakfast included
Here is a glimpse into the world of No1 with Manu and Gunnar. Shot as we were hanging out and getting to know our hosts.
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