Hotel Märthof Basel – Transformation of a Landmark

Switzerland, Hotel Interior Design

The hotel Märthof Basel grants a new perspective of Basel for locals and visitors alike.

Although I now call many places home, Basel will always be my first home and to me there’s something exciting about staying at a hotel in one’s hometown. During my recent stay at the hotel Märthof Basel, I once again became aware of this. It’s what I would describe as ‘unfamiliar familiarity’ or as if seeing the place through someone else’s eyes. This was especially the case when I was standing on my suite’s balcony in a bathrobe, observing the typical Saturday afternoon bustle of Markplatz Basel.

hotel Märthof Basel historic building

The Neo-baroque façade of the Märthof Basel adds a touch of romance to Basel’s market square.

Märthof Basel is a landmark filled with memories

Memories of Saturday afternoon shopping sprees from when I was a teen came flooding back. I recalled visiting the Basel Märthof when it was a department store back in the 1980’s as well as an electronic store in more recent years. In fact, the Maerthof has served many different purposes throughout the decades.

Now the Märthof Basel once again welcomes guests from near and far, as did the previous building standing in its place back in 1870 and the current building dating back to 1894.

Märthof Basel hotel lobby

Dark colours and an intriguing mural add a touch of mystery to the hotel lobby.

Neo-baroque meets Art Deco

The transformation of the Maerthof Basel took three years. Whilst the exterior of the historic building boasts a beautifully restored neo-baroque façade flanked by two turrets, the well-thought-out interiors pay homage to the glamorous 1920’s.

A beautiful brass door opens up to a world of style and relaxed sophistication. Dark wood paneling and textured black marble create a beautiful contrast to the brass elements and light coloured velvet lounge furniture. The focal point of the reception area, however, is the striking mural by Basel artist Patrizia Stalder.

contemporary hotel interiors

The open plan bathrooms create a sense of space.

What is luxury?

The moment I walked into my suite I felt overcome with a sense of comfort and sheer delight. In fact, the Märthof Basel is a prime example that (hotel) design matters. Hotels must be designed with comfort and ease in mind. Comfort is a form of luxury and it is achieved when design meets functionality. Fashion icon Coco Chanel once said it best: “Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it isn’t luxury”.

Whilst all rooms feature a predominantly neutral colour scheme, each of the 68 rooms and suites has a different floorplan and varying accent colours.

hotel room interior design

The spacious Markplatz Junior Suite is filled with natural light thanks to the many windows.

Contemporary interior design with a touch of nostalgia

The Markplatz Junior Suite, which I got to call home for a weekend, features light coloured wooden flooring and an open plan bathroom with a free-standing tub.  An unusually shaped area rug with purples and pinks and a striking brass chandelier add a punch to the otherwise calm colour palette.

What I loved most about my suite were the many windows, including a bay window housed inside one of the turrets and a wrought-iron balcony overlooking the Marktplatz (market square) and Basel’s iconic red Town Hall building.

The impressive bar is the focal point of the Bohemia Basel and offers a wide range of cocktails.

Art Deco and the roaring 1920’s

Art Deco elements can be found throughout the entire hotel. They also add an interesting touch to the overall contemporary interiors of the rooms. Circular and oval shaped design motifs are the creative DNA that hold the interiors of the hotel together. The many brass elements add a touch of sophistication and elegance.

At the Bohemia Restaurant & Bar Art Deco really comes to life. The bar takes center stage at the restaurant Bohemia Basel and the unique mosaic flooring, bespoke light fixtures, brass elements and forest green velvet create a distinct Art Deco feel.

The Bohemia Basel is not only named after the iconic Bohemia Grill & Bar in Zurich, but is based on the same restaurant concept offering all-day dining. The bistro style menu features some classics, as well as more unique dishes, such as the delicious vegan roasted cauliflower I had for dinner.

wellness area Märthof Basel

The neutral colour scheme and earthy materials used in the Märthof spa area create a calm and relaxing environment.

Gym rats and wellness lovers

Whether you’re in town for business or leisure, having an in-house gym, sauna and steam room at your disposal sure is a great way to blow off some steam and/ or relax. Considering there was a heatwave during my stay in Basel, I opted for a somewhat cooler exercise routine instead. Equipped with the hotel’s branded swim bag or ‘Wickelfisch’ as the locals call it, I was readily equipped for the popular Rhine swim.

rooftops of Basel from the Märthof roof terrace

The rooftop terrace is always open to hotel guests and can also be enjoyed by external guest during special events.

An oasis of calm above Basel’s rooftops

My favourite spot at the boutique hotel Märthof Basel, however, was the roof terrace with views across Markplatz, the old town and the surrounding hills of Baselland. In true 1920’s style we picked up a couple of Negroni cocktails (the best I’ve ever had) to watch the sunset from above Basel’s rooftops. It was a match made in heaven

Are you ready for your stylish escape to Basel?

Happy stylish discoveries,

Simone xx


Courtesy of Märthof Basel
Roman Weyeneth, fotografie roman weyeneth gmbh

Note: This blog post was created in collaboration with the hotel (press stay).


About the Author

Interior Designer and Blogger

Welcome to Global Inspirations Design’s Blog!

I’m Simone Aïda Baur and I invite you to embark on a design journey with me. My blog is your passport to global inspirations and where I share my passion and discoveries from the world of interior design.

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