Zurich hotel in hot water for charging a franc for "special" ice cube

Zurich hotel in hot water for charging a franc for "special" ice cube

When the weather in Switzerland finally realises it is summer, there is arguably nothing better than sipping an ice-cool drink in the bright sunshine near one of the country's lakes and rivers. However, one hotel in central Zurich has put the “luxury” in simple luxury by charging a franc for a special ice cube.

Hotel Storchen criticised for charging for ice cube

Situated on the banks of the Limmat in the heart of the city, the Hotel Storchen is not a place known for frugal dining. However, the popular coffee and dining spot has now come under fire for the latest addition to its menu: the “Storchen Ice Cube.”

For the extra charge of one franc, diners at the Barchetta Bar & Lounge in the hotel can add a special ice cube to their drink. Engraved with the famous stork logo, the menu promises that the upgraded ice is larger than the free cubes, meaning that it melts more slowly and prolongs the enjoyment of the drink.

Storchen Ice Cube receives frosty reaction online

Needless to say, the discovery of the expensive ice cube, and the idea that a franc could quite literally melt right before your very ice, led to a frosty reaction online. "One Swiss franc per ice cube? Crazy," wrote one user on the Inside Paradeplatz forum, adding that while Zurich is one of the most expensive places on Earth, charging for ice was a step too far. 

This isn’t the first time that the internet has given the Hotel Storchen the cold shoulder. Back in 2022, the venue caught national headlines after it began charging 20 Swiss francs for a plate of lettuce starter, and up to 82 francs for a main course.

Hotel Storchen surprised by the reaction to the ice cube

In response, hotel spokesperson Kai Simon told 20 Minuten that they were surprised by the media reaction to the ice cube. He explained that the idea behind the offer “was primarily that this special ice cube would be appreciated by connoisseurs. Secondly, it looks good."

He added that the high price is because of the production process and extra time spent creating it: "When an order is placed, the ice cube is stamped with our logo by hand at the bar."

Even online, a few cooler heads did prevail, with a commenter from Inside Paradeplatz noting that "You pay for the work, even if the product itself is free." "In this case too, there will be enough people who think something like this is 'really great' and are happy to pay for it…The people of Zurich are privileged and can afford ice cubes for one Swiss franc," another argued.

Thumb image credit: smpoly /

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

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