This is the second most populous city in Switzerland. At its heart is Lake Geneva (featuring Jet d’Eau, a stunning fountain that shoots water over 140 meters into the air) surrounded by refined parks and gardens. The old town, with its cobbled streets and charming buildings, is a tourist go-to. Also worth checking out are the Palace of Nations where the UN Office is located, the Museum of Art and History and the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. The city also hosts numerous cultural events throughout the year, such as the Geneva International Film Festival and the Geneva Music Festival.
Fairmont Grand Hotel Geneva
In the year 1855, the Hotel des Bergues first opened its doors. Nowadays, following several renovations and expansions, it is known as the Fairmont Grand and remains the biggest five-star hotel in the city, with a total of 412 bedrooms and 13 meeting venues catering for up to 1300 delegates. Situated on the shores of Lake Geneva, many of the hotel’s sites offer breathtaking views of the lake and the surrounding mountains. Three restaurants, a cosy lounge, a bar and summer concept dining are available to guests, along with the Spa Valmont, boasting the largest private indoor swimming pool in Geneva.
Mandarin Oriental Geneva
Like the Fairmont, this period property had a former life under a different guise – in this instance as the Hotel du Rhone, built in the middle of the last century beside the river, as a post-war development. Once within the Mandarin portfolio, it received a makeover by a New York design agency in the noughties and a further facelift by a French interior expert in the following decade. The hotel accommodates 189 bedrooms, the Rasoi by Vineet Indian restaurant with some alfresco tables and the Café Calla which serves nutritious French dishes and cocktails.
Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues Geneva
Another 19th-century Grande Dame of Geneva, the Hôtel des Bergues joined the Four Seasons family in 2005, celebrated with a full renovation and the addition of upper storeys. As a result, you’ll find the room options here to be quite diverse; some are grand, historic and opulent echoing the hotel’s past, while newer options take on a more Scandi-loft vibe. Its Michelin-starred Il Lago restaurant is based on the ground floor, with Izumi on the rooftop. Also at the top of the building, is the spa. Swim backstroke in the sizeable indoor pool and you can take in the sky overhead, through the vaulted glass ceiling.
During its century and a half of being, this landmark lakeside retreat (perched at the point the lake begins to flow into the Rhone) has welcomed presidents, prime ministers, ambassadors and pop stars through its doors. While many of Geneva’s poshest pads focus on French cuisine, this one leans toward a more British style of dining. The chandelier-lit, waterside Windows restaurant is well known for its champagne afternoon teas, alongside the main meal signature dishes. Hang out on the rooftop at sunset and in the Leopard Lounge for a step-change after dark.
Unlike the other period properties in the city, this one has remained in the same family throughout its existence, now five generations on. Its restaurant, Le Chat Botté, is a destination in its own right. Helmed by Dominique Gauthier the venue has a Michelin-star; the highlight of dining here is a tasting menu prepared by the chef himself and served at an exclusive eight-person table. Guests staying in one of the 52 rooms at the Beau-Rivage also benefit from a Clefs d’Or Concierge Service, a spa, children’s programmes and a private limousine service.