Geneva was voted Europe’s Leading City Break Destination in 2017 World Travel Award. I do agree. Geneva is definitely worth a visit.
The location alongside the chrystal clear Lac Léman, or Lake Geneva, is magnificent – and the famous Jet d’Eau is a 140 meter high reminder of the cities grandeur and appeal. The views over Mont Blanc from the bridge with the same name have, of course, high Instagram ratings.
Let’s start with the Geneva accomodation. Choice is excellent. Another positive aspect is that the number of visiting officials and business people decrease during weekends. Hence, you may find some of Europes best hotels at really interesting prices Friday to Sunday.
1 I stayed at Hotel Rotary and really appreciated it. I would rate it a very strong four star plus with charm and personality – and you’ll get a good room for two with breakfast for around 200 Swiss Francs, or Euros, during weekends. https://www.accorhotels.com/sv/hotel-1322-hotel-rotary-geneva-mgallery-by-sofitel/index.shtml
2 Among the five star properties with views over Lac Léman and the Jet d’Eau fountain, my favourite would be Hotel de Bergues, Four Seasons. This was the first hotel to open in Geneva already back in 1834. It has attracted most statesmen and celebrities during the years. Setting is fantastic with a colourfoul, romantic and – despite all antique furniture and flowers – modern touch. A bit like Sofia Coppolas Marie Antoinette. https://www.fourseasons.com/geneva/
3 Hotel d’Angleterre is another five star boutique hotel in the row of famous hotels overlooking the lake. Angleterre only has 39 rooms and serves lovely afternoon tea. Anleterre offers a certain, somewhat grandmummylike charm of it’s own. https://www.dangleterrehotel.com/
4 If someone wonders why I don’t mention Hotel Beau Rivage, it’s definitely also a high end overnight option. At least for all those knowing the rich history of Beau Rivage, including Empress Sissi being shot outside, walking out from her suite. Some love the Old Europe and splendid aristocratic air of this luxury hotel, others find it a tiny bit stuffy. www.beau-rivage.ch
5 Another option is to dine at the neighbour Ritz Carlton Hotel de la La Paix and it’s new fish restaurant Fiskebar. Fiskebar is tremendously smart and conceptualized, with a new Nordic-fusion concept emphasizing on high quality, organic sea products and seasonal ingredients. www.ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/europe/geneva/dining/fiskebar
6 In the highly popular and young quarter of Carouge, there is a brand new, very interesting three star hotel option; Ibis Style. This a newly opened hotel with comics by a local artist as the main theme. Young, hipstertrendy and with a great location. https://www.accorhotels.com/sv/hotel-6863-ibis-styles-geneve-carouge/index.shtml
7 Outside Geneva in Bellevue, there is the Club and Hôtel La Réserve disguised in the shape of a luxurious lodge. You may in fact take their little mahogny boat to get there, or the train from central Geneva. Here you’ll discover the subtle luxury of refined Swiss simplicity, with outside gardens and pools, Michelin starred restaurants and The Nescens Spa in an elegant setting. I tried a facial and would do so every day, until looking like a new born baby, if I only could. The tremendous views over the lake adds to the rejuvenation process as well. http://www.lareserve.ch/en/home/
8 Now, before we countinue with some temptations in the central parts of Geneva, I have to remind you that we are at the foot of the Jura Mountains and just a short distance from the Alps; some of Europes best skiing is only 40 minutes away. For more family oriented skiing, the Jura mountains are even closer. It takes only 20 minutes to reach those slopes. www.geneve.com
9 With it’s 2000 years of history and being the birthplace of fine watchmaking, Geneva has some great museums: The Red Cross Exhibitions, The Pateck Philippe Muséum, the largest contemporary art museum of Switzerland, MAMCO, and the ethnografic muséum, MEG, in the Quartier des Bains. Just to mention a few. www.geneve.com
10 Moving on, I have to quote the New York Times, since there are other qualities than hotels and muséums in Geneva: “Don’t underestimate under-the-radar Geneva. This scenic city offers quirky museums, outdoor markets, great shopping and a creative food scene.”One of the places NYT refers to is the quarters of Carouge, its famous market, surrounding cafés and secret gardens. Carouge has become the “Greenwich Village of Geneva”, a village in the city, build and maintained in it’s 18th century Italian style with numerous craftsmen, designers and secret gardens. www.geneve.com
11 In Carouge, just enjoy the market and some of the lovely gardens in the courtyards. For a bite, try Café du Marché with local produce and all neighbours gathering. Le Marchand de Sable is another restaurant option or Le Cheval Blanc, with it’s famous brunch. http://www.lechevalblanc.ch/ ; http://cafedumarchecarouge.ch/new/
12 Now, we need a drink! In Geneva, Bottle Brothers is a must and a huge success in the quarter of Eaux-Vives, on Henri-Blanvalet street. There are two Bottle Brothers in Geneva, Petit Bottle and its younger brother, the Grand Bottle. All year round, trendy, cosmopolitan guests mingle on the terraces of the two establishments, enjoying the coctails. Bollywood with cardamom infused vodka, lime and pineapple is a favourite. http://bottlebrothers.ch/
13 Looking for trendy dining options, a visit to Chez Philippe is a must. The grill is a relaxed but classy restaurant owned by one of Geneva’s most popular chef: Philippe Chevrier. You may choose your meet – please make sure to pick the Swiss options – and the wine list is really very good. https://www.chezphilippe.ch
14 In a gingerbread house, close to the lake in the small park of , you’ll find the eco-chic and bohemian Cottage Café where you may sit outside, by the fire, wintertime and of course in summer. There are books and comics everywhere in the tiny inside area and food is really very good. I tried grilled goat cheese stuffed in figues, zuccini with tomatoes and meat and some other lovely small dishes. www.cottagecafe.ch
15 At Hôtel Métropole, on Quai General Guisan, there is a roof top bar with fantastic views over the city and lake in summer. The italian brunch at Métropoles Gusto Restaurant revisits Italian classics with a modern twist. All italian produce is just brought fresh over the border; the fresh cut cold meats, salads and mozarellas are to die for. I asked for some garlic, olive oil, which I splashed over. Oh, what a delight. http://www.metropole.ch/
16 Now one of the most fantastic things to do in Geneva and its surroundings is biking by the foot of The Mont Blanc. There are high quality electric bikes for those who wish, and I couldn’t think of anything as nice as going wine tasting on your own bike. We visisted Le Château du Crest in Jussy and it was just adorable. www.domaineducrest.ch
17 After having biked around in the countryside, outside Geneva, have lunch at Le Quai where chef Jérome Manifacier is promoted as Switzerland Chef romand; the French speaking part of Switzerland. He has 17 points in Gault & Millau and is recommended in Guide Michelin. The quality of the small, fried perch filets from the lake is just above all. Then, head back home with a private boat cruise back to town. www.lequaihermance.com; www.genevaboats.com
18 If you still have some space left, go and have fondue at Restaurant de l’Hotel de Ville in the Old Town. Or in the only and famous hotel of the Old Town, Les Armures, where President Clinton by the way waved to the public from what is now one of the nicest rooms of the hotel, no 207. (Entrance to the restaurant is found on the opposite side of the hotel. http://www.hdvglozu.ch/; http://www.hotel-les-armures.ch/fr/carte-restaurant-geneve