1- Both are very convenient to the main station.
I have stayed in Zürich many times since 1980 on business and for pleasure. For convenience, I used to sat at the St. Gotthard.
Eventually, I decided that other hotels were much nicer, and decided that I would not stay there again. The Hummer Bar was good but overpriced the one time I ate there.
We ( wife and I) stayed at the Central Plaza once or twice for the same reason - location. We had a better experience than at the St. Gotthard, and the hotel was fine, but it was full of tour groups. It is not a grand or elegant hotel; rather, a hotel that caters to travelers because of the location.
This list is very good, well chosen, with a good range of prices:
specifically - www.myswissalps.com/zu rich/hotels
All that is 15+ years ago. Since 2004, I have chosen a less grand but very well run hotel in the Niederdorf, Hotel Adler, Rosengasse 10. It is on a plaza (Hirschenplatz) which can get noisy, but the windows are sound proof. The Niederdorf is the restaurant and bar region of the old town.
Not very grand, but very comfortable and well run.
It has a very good restaurant (not elegant) with good value, pries that are not high by Zürich standards, and with a good selection of fondues and raclette, in addition to more standard items.
Not for everyone, not grand, but it has worked well for me. The don't have a lot of rooms, and the computer automatically raises the rates as the rooms fill up.
2 and 3 - The best source of information would be the Zürich tourist information office.
I am sure that the shops will be open part of the 24th. Don't know how late
This thread might interest you :
Scroll down to the early November posts for walking in Zürich.
Here is some information that I got for Jane Q for a Christmas trip a year ago. it was focused on Luzern, but the comments are relevant:
<<"25 Dec [Stay at Lucerne] Explore Lucerne – are trains running since it’s Christmas (national holiday)? Are there any Christmas markets at Lucerne? Are there any Catholic churches since we’re Catholics and would like to attend Christmas mass :)">>
Hi Jane -
I have continued to follow up on this question, to see if I could get a more specific answer.
I asked a friend who lives near Luzern.
Here is what he said, slightly edited:
<<"Christmas Day is VERY quiet. Christmas Eve is when the masses,celebrations, etc. Take place. Everyone goes skiing on Christmas Day.More trains on holidays than on weekdays. 26 December is also a holiday. Restaurants and hotels will be all open. Migros and COOP grocery stores in the train station will be open.Don'tknow of any Roman Catholic churches other than your mentions [the Jesuit Church and behind it, the Franciscan church in Luzern. Those show up on Mapsearch.CH]. There aremany such, though, and many will have services ON CHRISTMAS EVE. Doubt the Tourist will be open on Christmas day or the day after. On Christmas Eve, they will be open until late afternoon.">>
Still not a whole lot more specifics, but you're more likely to find something on Christmas Eve than on Christmas day">>
Jane never did find a church service on Christmas day.
4.- I like Zünfthaus zur Waage, and it has a very nice location. Very close to the Fraumünster...might be able to go to a service there. It is a reformed church.
See my earlier comments about Hummerbar.
Have not been to the Dolder Grand, but it ought to be elegant and expensive, if available.
I have eaten once (courtesy of friends who live nearby) at the reestaurant at Hotel Rigiblick:
That's in German, but there is a lot of stuff on the internaet.
A 5 minute walk from the top of the short funicular "Rigiblick" with stunning views if you can get near a window. I believe it now has at least one Michelin star. I'd go back, but only if someone else paid. ;-)
I'd be surprised if you could get a table at such late notice.