Timeless timepieces, decadent chocolates and… safari lodges? La Réserve Genève Hotel & Spa turns Swiss style on its head and takes a page from the luxury lodge lookbook, with a little help from design doyen Jacques Garcia. This family friendly stay on the shores of Lake Geneva is home to a clutch of on-trend restaurants (including a fine-dining Cantonese restaurant and a health-conscious spa bistro), a serious spa, two jewel-toned pools and one vintage wooden motorboat. And the cobblestoned streets of Old Town Geneva? They’re just a short – very stylish – boat ride away.
Get this when you book through us:
A bottle of Swiss wine and a CHF50 credit towards treatments in the spa
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from $392.22 (CHF385), excluding tax at 3.7 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of CHF4.75 per person per night on check-in.
Rates don’t include breakfast (American breakfast from CHF55, Continental breakfast from CHF35), but do include boat transfers to the city (from April to October, weather permitting) and spa access.
French architect and interior whizz Jacques Garcia is the mastermind behind the hotel’s safari-inspired design.
At the hotel
Fitness studio, two tennis courts, free WiFi. In rooms: TV with Apple TV and AirPlay, Nespresso coffee machine, tea-making kit and minibar with free soft drinks.
Our favourite rooms
Yes, the gardens are beautiful, but given the chance, we’d go for a room with a lake view. Prefer a private terrace? Opt for one of the Lake Mont-Blanc, Deluxe Papyrus, Reserve or Presidential Suites.
Take your pick of two glittering pools in which to float your cares away: an adults-only indoor pool and a family-friendly outdoor pool. Both are heated and the latter is supervised by a lifeguard.
The sprawling Nescens spa has 17 treatment rooms in which you’ll be pummelled, polished and Benjamin-Buttoned into an enviably youthful state. In addition to a classic menu of massages, facials and hair and beauty treatments, the comprehensive pampering centre offers osteopathy appointments and nutrition consultations. Book your treatment of choice, detox in the steam room and sauna and top off your pampering session with a lounge about on the spa terrace and a snack from health-conscious Café Lauren. Little Smiths in tow? The spa’s La Petite Réserve will look after them (for free) while your cares are soothed away.
In summer, bring your 1950s Hollywood-approved swimwear (it’ll go with the boat, trust us). In winter, opt for snuggly Alpine jumpers and bobble hats.
Some rooms are wheelchair accessible; check availability when booking.
Small dogs (under 10kg) can stay for CHF50 a night, but will need to steer clear of common areas; they’ll get a welcome gift and a Fido-approved room service menu (though they may need help ordering). See more pet-friendly hotels in Geneva.
Welcome. Extra beds (free for under-14s, CHF150 a night otherwise) and cots (free) can be added to some suites on request. There’s a playground, family-friendly pool and kid-friendly activities. Babysitting is available for CHF50 an hour.
Babies to pre-teens.
There’s room for a baby cot in the Leman Suite, Reserve Suite, Lake Suites and Presidential Suite; the latter two also have room for an extra bed.
Fancy a dinner à deux or blissfully quiet spa session? There’s free daily child-care at the spa from 9am to 6pm for Little Smiths from six months to 13 years. There’s a programme of crafts, discovery and play activities and, in warmer months, outdoor fun to be had in the wooden playhouse and garden obstacle course.
The outdoor play area is kitted out with a wooden playhouse, obstacle course and (weather permitting) a bouncy castle. In the summer, little Smiths can sign up for the Summer Kids Camp and play pint-sized sports from morning till the dinner bell clangs.
The heated outdoor pool is family-friendly and in summer months swimming lessons can be arranged on request.
Children are welcome in the Tsé Fung restaurant and the Winter Lodge at all times; there are highchairs on hand and meals can be adapted to please younger palates.
Babysitting can be arranged for CHF50 an hour (with at least 12 hours’ notice).
No need to pack
There’s one pushchair available for guests to borrow.
In summer, take your meals on the terrace. Otherwise, opt for a window seat for the best (heated) views of the lake.
Keep it stylishly relaxed in the bar and lounge, and bust out your more glamorous gear for dinner in Tsé Fung.
There are four restaurants to choose from: Tsé Fung, the Loti, Café Lauren and the Winter Lodge. You’re in for a fine-dining Cantonese treat at Tsé Fung, the only Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant in Switzerland: draped in red velvet and silk hangings, the restaurant echoes the glamour of a 1930s Shanghai grand palace hotel. It’s helmed by chef Frank Xu and at every dinner a selection of his signature dishes are served at the centre of the table to be shared family style. Taking style cues from an enchanted forest, the Loti dishes out international cuisine – crispy langoustines, creamy risottos and tender steaks – throughout the day and a seriously decadent Sunday brunch. It’s also breakfast hub, although your morning meal can easily be served in Café Lauren or the bar if you’d prefer. Health-conscious Café Lauren is, appropriately, in the spa, so perfectly pampered guests can pad over between treatments. It’s open for luxuriously late breakfasts and lunches; order egg-white omelettes, fruit-filled smoothies and prettily plated salads. Worry not if you have your heart set on Swiss classics – the Winter Lodge’s menu is chock full of warming fondues and grilled meats. With cockle-warming treats (and an ice-rink that takes the place of the outdoor pool in winter), the cold doesn’t bother us anyway.
The bar has big red armchairs, low lighting, sunken tables and a heady list of classic cocktails, wines and spirits; jazz plays throughout the day and in the evenings a DJ takes charge of the tunes. If you’re hungry but loathe to leave your lounge chair, you can order sandwiches, ceviche, bao buns and tartare without budging an inch.
Breakfast is served from 6.30am to 10.30am (until 11am on weekends). The Loti, the Tsé Fung and Winter Lodge are open for lunch from noon to 2pm and dinner from 7pm to 10pm. Café Lauren serves breakfast from 7am to 11am and lunch from 3pm to 7pm.
Order from any of the restaurant menus during opening hours. Feeling peckish past midnight? The in-room minibars are stocked with a selection of soft drinks (free), chocolates, sweets and nuts.
The hotel is on the shores of Lake Geneva, beyond the bustle of the city.
Geneva Airport is 10 minutes away by car. Private transfers from the airport can be arranged for CHF85 (in a Mercedes E-Class) or CHF115 (in a Mercedes S-Class or V-Class); there’s a CHF40 charge for transfers between 8pm and 8am.
Genève-Cornavin station is five kilometres away. Private transfers can be arranged for CHF85 (in a Mercedes E-Class) or CHF115 (in a Mercedes S-Class or V-Class); there’s a CHF30 surcharge for transfers between 8pm and 8am.
There’s an onsite car park and valet parking (CHF25 a night for the indoor garage), although you won’t need a car to enjoy the resort.
The hotel runs a free shuttle service between La Réserve and Geneva’s centre on its vintage boat from April to October (weather permitting).
Worth getting out of bed for
Meander round the lakefront grounds, laze about in the pool or go for a rousing game of tennis with your travel partner (or a hired pro who can get your finetune your backhand with Swiss precision). Rather not lift a finger? Head to the age-defying spa and let the expert therapists do all the work.
Fancy a dip? You have two pools to make a splash at onsite, of course, but there’s also the nearby Bains des Paquis for lake swimming, saunas and his-and-hers hammams. Central Geneva’s but a boat ride away – and a stylish, vintage motor boatride at that (the wood-panelled beauty departs from the hotel’s private pier). Once in the city, treasure hunters and and style scavengers can search for bargains and one-of-a-kind vintage finds at Plainpalais, one of Switzerland’s largest flea markets for bric-à-brac, books and antiques. It’s open Wednesdays, Saturdays and the first Sunday of every month, from 6.30am to 5.30pm in winter (6.30pm in summer).
Nose around the cobblestoned Old Town, stopping for chocolate samples and a closer look at Cathédrale Saint-Pierre, whose patinated green spire stands out in a sea of grey stone.
Bright brunch spot Birdie on Rue des Bains specialises in rich, artisan-roasted coffees, fresh vegetable dishes and homemade pastries, breads and croissants. Occupying former artists’ workshops, l’Adresse on Rue du 31 Décembre is part bistro, part boutique. Settle in for lunches of homemade ravioli, chicken and chorizo polenta or burgers topped with candied onions. Save room for dessert: there’s tangy yuzu cheesecake, dark chocolate macarons and poached pears with verbena chantilly. Clad in dark woods, vintage advertisements and glimmering metalwork, Café des Négociants on Rue de la Filature dishes out traditional local fare with understated style. Share snail casserole with oyster mushrooms to start before moving on to mains of lamb shank confit, braised pork cheeks in red wine or pan-fried frog’s legs with garlic and parsley. Celebrate a special occasion (your brilliant idea to stay at La Réserve, perhaps?) with dinner at La Bottega on Rue de la Corraterie, steps from the Grand Theatre and the Old Town. The oft-changing Italian-inspired menu has a modern spin. For dinner, choose from the four-, seven-, nine- or 12-course tasting menu, and bring an appetite that would make a nonna proud.
In need of a nightcap? Sneak into speakeasy-style cocktail bar La Verre à Monique (on Rue des Savoises, but shhhhh, don’t let the fuzz know).
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this luxury hotel in Geneva and unpacked their Swiss chocolates and shiny new timepieces, a full account of their lakeside break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside La Réserve Genève Hotel & Spa in Switzerland…
This is not your standard chocolate box Swiss hotel. Look around lodge-like La Réserve Genève and you’ll see bird-inspired lighting, leopard-print carpets and a massive elephant sculpture on the wall. It’s not what we’d expected from a stylish stay on the shores of Lake Geneva, but with a state-of-the-art spa, four restaurants – including Switzerland’s only Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant – and sweeping views over the lake to the Alps, we’re not complaining. We’re far too busy scheduling pampering spa sessions, challenging our travel companion to tennis matches (in the homeland of Roger Federer, it’d be rude not to) and dipping into steaming pots of fondue. Now how to make those famous clocks go back so we can have just a bit more time here…
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