Sleek, sophisticated and cosmopolitan, Geneva has something for everyone. Home to half of the population of Zurich, the city is also home to the world: the United Nations Office attracts over 200 governmental and non-governmental organisations, while locals and tourists alike chatter in every language. With rows of luxurious watch and jewellery boutiques, Michelin-starred restaurants and lofty snow-capped peaks, it’s easy to see why this city has attracted visitors from around the world for decades and continues to lure in the world’s elite.
Our tour of the city, hosted by Geneva Tourism, began exploring the SIHH. Held every January in Geneva, this year’s show was held at Palexpo and opened its doors to the public for the very first time. Guests were invited to admire the latest collections from a range of high-end designers, including Cartier, Ulysse Nardin, Audemars Piguet, A. Lange & Sohne and Piaget to name but a few.
Attracting thousands of guests from all across the world, Geneva’s world-famous watch show represented the finest in Swiss creations, illustrating meticulous attention to detail and dignified designs.
Following the watch show, we checked into our hotel – the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues Geneva,-overlooking the north bank of the city’s famous lake. It is hard to imagine a more natural fit than the two – a city renowned for luxury provides the perfect backdrop to a lavishly decorated neo-classical palatial residence, with efficient service and helpful staff to match.
Designed by renowned interior designer Pierre-Yves Rochon, the luxurious hotel boasts over 100 elegantly decorated rooms – more than half of which are suites. We were welcomed into an airy and bright double bedroom adorned with light woods and Louis Philippe –style furnishings, with wonderful views of the courtyard below. Housed in the oldest palace in Switzerland, our Deluxe Double Room was faultless and ornamented with a range of finishing touches, including an in-mirror television.
That evening, we dined at the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant Il Lago and enjoyed the finest Northern Italian cuisine. The restaurant is adorned with bright frescos to the right and large windows overlooking the lake to the left, providing an airy and light atmosphere. The restaurant’s head chef, Massimiliano Sena, presented a spectacular seven course menu, paying extra attention to our very specific dietary requirements – a gesture which did not go unnoticed.
Being a small but quaint city, a tour across Geneva can be done in no more than a day. After enjoying breakfast at the hotel, we stopped by the old town of Carouge. Perfectly preserved since its construction during the 18th-century by the King of Sardinia-Piemont, it is evident the town boasts a Mediterranean style modelled after Nice. Its Saturday market features all sorts- from locally manufactured soaps to Swiss chocolates. Before exploring the depths of Old Town, we enjoyed a glimpse of the house were famous philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau was born, before enjoying Geneva’s tradition cheese fondue.
Our afternoon was spent exploring the Patek Phillipe museum in downtown Geneva- home to what can be described as one of the world’s most impressive watch collections. The fascinating collection of Swiss and European watches date from the 16th to the 19th century, including a number of masterpieces that have left their mark in the world of horology. Presenting over 175 years of watch-making history, the museum makes for a fascinating experience for timepiece aficionadas and regular tourists alike.
On Sunday morning, we were treated to a tour of the hotel. Led by Fabrice Thome, we were shown all six floors, with stand out amenities including the Royal Suite and Spa Mont Blanc. Boasting soaring high ceilings, a spacious marble foyer, a formal dining room for eight people with an adjacent pantry, a marble master bathroom and double vanity, the Royal Suite truly is one of a kind and is the perfect “home away from home”, and can be extended up to a five bedroom suite upon request.
Finally, before checking out, we enjoyed a full body massage at Spa Mont Blanc. Secluded, warm and inviting, the deluxe spa boats seven treatment rooms, a private hammam, a panoramic rooftop pool, a fireplace library and rooftop restaurant – a super luxurious private retreat, perfect for those at the top of their game wanting to look and feel their best.