Reviewed by Tom Bell
Cool boutique hotel a block back from Lake Geneva, with stylish rooms and a cute courtyard garden
Geneva is a big surprise, a beautiful city with a great vibe, its famous lake encircled by snowy peaks in winter. It’s home to a vast number of high-profile international organisations, and while the architecture is strictly French, the population is distinctly global. This chic hotel sits in the middle of it all, one block back from the lake, a short stroll over to the Old Town. It has everything you’d want from a smart city base: lots of style, helpful staff, delicious food in its restaurant, a central location. It mixes Eastern colour and style with Western form and function, hence its name. Art from across the world adorns the walls and the bar spills into a pretty courtyard, where mood lighting illuminates a contemporary waterfall, a popular spot in summer.

A lift in reception whisks you up to the 41 lovely rooms. Some are bigger than others, but all have a pleasing uncluttered style with super-comfy beds, all the technology you’d expect and white robes in beautiful bathrooms (even small robes for children, a nice touch). Babysitting can be arranged, there’s a computer in the library for guests to use, and there are 2 good restaurants across the road if you want to eat out. Finally, don’t miss Les Bains des Pâquis - a favourite local haunt that’s close by; it's a strip of land that extends into the lake for swimming, sunbathing, eating, drinking, even a hammam.

Highs

  • Stylish rooms with cool bathrooms are generously sized, even the Solo rooms for singles
  • Excellent food in the restaurant - there are various menus, including one that uses Swiss chocolate in each course!
  • The central position near the lake makes Geneva easy to explore
  • Guests get a free local travel card

Lows

  • Rooms seem expensive, especially on week nights when business people are in town, but Geneva is a pricey place generally and children under 12 stay free
  • And breakfast is extra, but again, free for children under 12
  • Taxis to the airport (3km away) are expensive; better to take the airport train, which stops at Cornavin, half a kilometre from the hotel

Best time to go

Geneva is a great city, far more interesting than you might think, and there’s always something going on, from concerts and opera to festivals and regattas. It is an international hub of big business and very expensive as a result. However, prices drop at weekends and in July and August during the holidays.

Our top tips

  • When you arrive at Geneva airport, head to the baggage reclaim hall and pick up a free train ticket into the city. It's valid for 1 hour and the station is only a 5-minute walk away. Buses take longer and taxis are extremely expensive
  • On a couple of days a year you can descend into the bowls of the earth and see the famous Large Hadron Collider at the CERN headquarters
  • Great for...

    City Style
    Family
    Foodie
    • = Recommended
    • = Best in region
    • = World favourite
    • Boutique Hotel
    • 41
    • Restaurant and bar (open daily)
    • All ages welcome
    • Open all year
    • Pool
    • Spa Treatments
    • WiFi
    • Pet Friendly
    • Disabled Access
    • Beach Nearby
    • Off-street Parking
    • Restaurants Nearby
    • Air Conditioning
    • Guest Lounge
    • Terrace
    • Garden
    • Gym
    • Concierge Service
    Room:

    Rooms

    Rooms have a similar style with dark wood floors, yellow walls and bold colours for curtains and throws. You’ll find Nespresso machines, flat-screen TVs through which you can access the internet and a library of movies. Extremely comfortable beds have Frette linen, smart bathrooms have white robes and fancy oils, and you get cute swivel armchairs too.

    Solo Rooms are bigger than you’d expect (20sqm), with oversized single beds plus room for a small table. Their bathrooms come with cool tiles and a tub with a shower attachment. Doors slide open and there’s pretty art and excellent reading lights above your bed. Superior Rooms are similar but a little bigger (23sqm) with a kingsize bed (or twins, on request). Large contemporary lamps hang in the air above brightly coloured armchairs. Deluxe Rooms are noticeably bigger (27sqm). They have better storage, a tub and/or a separate Grohe power shower in the bathroom, and space for an extra bed, so are good for small families.

    Junior Suites come with sofa areas, iPod docks on their desks, perhaps 2 flat-screen TVs or a big walk-in wardrobe. Some of these are in the eaves with views of the Jet d’Eau - the famous fountain in the lake. The Duplex Junior Suite is spread over 2 floors (41sqm), with a sofa in the lower sitting room (that can turn into a bed for a child) and a bedroom up above with an enormous bed and a double-ended bath (in addition to the downstairs shower room).

    The Duplex Suite is the biggest room in the hotel (53sqm). It has exactly the same fixtures and fittings as the Duplex Junior Suite, plus a TV at the end of its double-ended bath, and a separate shower in the upstairs bathroom.

    Features include:

    • Air conditioning
    • Bathrobes
    • Central heating
    • Coffee tea making
    • Cots Available
    • Desk
    • Extra beds
    • Free movie library
    • Hairdryer
    • Minibar/fridge
    • Nespresso coffee machine
    • Phone
    • Safe box
    • Satellite tv
    • Terrace
    • Toiletries
    • WiFi

    Eating

    Breakfast is served from 7.30-10.30am, or as a brunch from 11-2.30pm on Sundays. It is not included in the room rate, but 2 menus are available. The first includes a buffet with hams and cheeses, baskets of croissants and pains au chocolat, fresh fruit salad and yoghurts, then cooked dishes - perhaps a boiled egg or some bacon. The lighter version offers juice, coffee and a croissant.

    Room service is available over lunch and dinner, either in your room or in the bar. There are soups and salads, pizzas and burgers or a club sandwich with fries. There’s tapas in the bar at lunch, too.

    Dinner in the restaurant is a formal affair, with various menus including one that uses Swiss chocolate in each course. The menu changes with the seasons and you find lovely things like mushroom ravioli with cream of Jerusalem artichoke, hare à la Royale with blueberries, an apple and ginger tart with a Granny Smith sherbet. The à la carte menu offers a more extensive choice, perhaps sweet chestnut soup with parmesan and truffle, prawn risotto with a Thai pesto, and hot chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream.

    If you want to eat out, the Bistrot du Boeuf Rouge is across the road, one of the best restaurants in Geneva, serving French food in old-school style. The Entrecote Couronne, 4 doors down, is also lovely (no menu, the clue is in their name!). For something contemporary, Cottage Café offers tartine for breakfast, salads and pasta for lunch, and fantastic tapas for dinner. The chef was born in Morocco, grew up in Israel, then moved to Switzerland, and mixes flavours from all 3; don’t miss the crayfish with lime, ginger and coriander, or the crispy goats' cheese with honey and fruit. If you fancy fondue, try the cafe at Les Bains des Pâquis or spin over to the Old Town for Les Armures, close to the cathedral.

    Features include:

    • Bar
    • Children meals
    • Coffee tea making
    • Minibar/fridge
    • Restaurant
    • Restaurants nearby
    • Room service
    Eating:
    Activity:

    Activities

    • Lake Geneva plays a big part in the lives of the Genevois - they walk by it, sail on it and cross its bridges all day long
    • Les Bains des Pâquis is a favourite spot, a small promontory that juts into the lake. There’s an all-day café, tiny beaches and decked terraces for swimming and sunbathing, even a hammam and a beautiful diving board
    • Don't miss the Old Town for mazy lanes that climb up to the Cathédrale Saint-Pierre. It's free to visit, but it’s worth paying to climb the north tower for views over the city and lake
    • The Jet d’Eau, Geneva’s landmark fountain, is ever-impressive. 500 litres of water a second shoot into the sky at 200kph, reaching a height of 140m. You can take a boat over to the island to investigate, but if the wind changes, you may get very wet!
    • Jump on a mouette, one of the tiny yellow ferries. You can use the free travel card that comes with your room. Or take a cruise and spin round the bay, head north past villages, or south onto the fabulous Rhône
    • Hire bikes and follow the promenade north along the west shore, dip into the botanical garden, then drop down to the UN at the Palais des Nations and tour its chambers on weekdays
    • The International Red Cross was founded in Geneva in 1863. Their museum (near the UN) is deeply moving
    • Another must-see is the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire, for a fascinating collection of art, sculpture, pottery and beautiful artefacts spanning pre-history to the mid-20th century
    • The Geneva Festival takes place at the end of July and the beginning of August. The lakeshore buzzes, and there are all sorts of concerts, lots of fireworks and the odd drink

    Activities on site or nearby include:

    • Boat trips
    • Cycling
    • Festivals
    • Hiking
    • Historical sites
    • Museums / galleries
    • Nightlife
    • Plantlife / flora
    • Sailing
    • Shopping / markets
    • Swimming
    • Well being

    Kids

    Children are very welcome and baby cots or extra beds can be accommodated in Deluxe Rooms, Junior Suites and the Duplex Suite. Children aged 12 and under stay for free in their parents’ room and there is no charge for breakfast. They also receive small bathrobes, a lovely touch.

    Best for:

    All ages

    Family friendly accommodation:

    Cots Available, Extra Beds Available, Family Rooms

    Babysitting:

    On request

    Children's meals:

    High chairs and a kids' menu in the restaurant.

    Kid Friendly:

    Our guests' ratings...

    9/
    Rooms
    9/
    Food
    9/
    Service
    7/
    Value
    8/
    Overall

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