Geneva is a centre of beautiful things – Sotheby’s next sale of Important Watches is scheduled for May 13th, 2018 (lots include an Audemars Piguet limited edition titanium and ceramic automatic chronograph wristwatch with registers and date, made only in 2007 but estimate CHF 30,000-40,000). Two days later, the same saleroom starts an auction of Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels (what is the difference, the gal wonders?). Such events are good news for the city’s luxury hotels. Although a lot of bidding is done remotely, others who want to take part have to be there, where the action is.
At Mandarin Oriental Geneva, there is art throughout the hotel, in the form of striking Eleanor Cardozo statues up the carpeted staircase that rises to the top of the seven-floor building. Eleanor Cardozo, who has nine siblings, is a former English gymnast who studied sculpture in London and Florence (now, living in Geneva with her husband and three children, she is ambassador for Bedat & Co watches). Her sculptures sit so well on the hotel’s staircase. At every landing a bas-relief wall sculpture, outlined as if in sand, shows the progress of the Rhône, from here to the Mediterranean. Each floor’s likeness shows a different logo. Now, in front of each is a metal Cardozo statue.
The hotel now has 181 rooms, and my favourites are definitely are those on the rooftop, with balconies looking over the water to Geneva’s Old Town, and the mountains beyond. The Michelin-starred Indian restaurant, Rasoi by Vineet Bhatia, is closed tonight, so we dine in the Mediterranean Café Calla, now devoid of the alpine-chalet popup interior that has been a feature all winter (what does creative GM Lars Wagner have in mind now, for summer? He will not, at this stage, reveal his plan). We talk about how he is already using VR, virtual reality, as a sales tool for his events space – see a video below. I like the way, here at dinner, that breads come in a linen panier, French style, and I love my Italian caprese and the following juicy veal escalope, cooked Milanese style by a charming Moroccan.
This is such an international hotel that soon, for the summer, lots of Middle East dishes will come on to the various menus, to tempt the happy families that come from the Gulf, and Saudi Arabia, for the summer. Before that, locals would be tempted with the annual 1960s-style Mad Men party this Thursday, and coming up, starting May 19th, is a burger week that includes one featuring Grisons air-dried beef, buffalo mozzarella, Tomme Vaudoise soft cheese, guacamole, pan-fried foie gras and grilled courgettes. In the morning, after a superb buffet breakfast, I pass the lobby’s gorgeous all-white flower display and there, by the front door’s cow sculpture is Lars Wagner, on the left in the photo above, with Philippe Leboeuf, GM of another luxury hotel, Mandarin Oriental Paris. AND NOW FIRST SEE SOME STAIRCASE SCULPTURES AND THEN MY ROOM