All good things are worth waiting for and the new wellness and eating additions at Four Seasons Geneva have taken this luxury hotel even further up the superlative stakes, says the gal. Look at the pool! Seventh floor (top floor) heaven, 40 feet in length, deep enough even for those who swim with their body in two-fold position to do their lengths without touching the stainless floor. Do backstroke and look up, through the glass roof, at the stars above… There is a vitality pool at the far end – don’t worry, it will not scald you, says the gal – and there are seven loungers along one side, next to big windows that can be opened in summer.
This is GM Jose Silva’s swan song before he leaves for Paris, to take over Four Seasons George V. In his previous existence, in Lisbon, he installed a running-track circuit on the Four Seasons The Ritz’s roof, and even Tyler Brûlé, in last Saturday’s Financial Times, raved about this, saying all hotels should have rooftop running tracks. Here in Geneva, that is about the only thing Jose Silva has not done. He has turned the hotel’s hitherto-unused attic into amazing wellness, with a beautiful spa that makes one want to rush, as I did, for the 80-minute signature massage, all ESPA, which I love as its founder, Sue Harmsworth, just looks younger and younger every time I see her.
The spa lockers, by the way, are double-width, large enough for non-hotel-guests to store their valuable furs when the weather demands. Clever. Also clever is the choice of gym equipment, with the latest Technogym ellipticals I had not seen before – I had used the new runners, also designed by Antonio Citterio. As you can see, all balls and other bits are stored at the far end. The floor takes wood planks to a new art form. Supplies include fresh orange juice and a full array of vitality drinks and waters, all free, and there is fruit, and an espresso machine and designer teas.
Wellness extends to the brain and this area has an oval library (above the 1834-original oval staircase), with working log-look fire. The books are supplied by Blackwell’s in Oxford and include lots of Taschen spas and wellness themes, and something by that conscious uncoupler, Ms Paltrow no less. At night this library becomes overflow for the new Izumi dinner venue, an absolute triumph. It was intended as a 28-seat intimate Japanese-Mediterranean retreat but has become THE top restaurant in Geneva. Seating flows into the library, where I dined, and even into the corridor. Book weeks ahead, and be prepared to be surrounded by Geneva’s fashionistas, those who make Vogue magazine look like Walmart.
I absolutely adored my salmon sashimi, with a glass of Deutz, followed by black miso cod with a side of baby spinach leaves with truffle yuzu dressing. Bliss, what more can one say? In summer the restaurant expands upwards, too, up 21 steps to the rooftop, which has a permanent-fixture bar that is already, by April, being used at lunchtime. Up here you have strategic views of Geneva’s rooftops, and, across Lac Leman, to the Old Town and to France. Back down again – and if I then take the aforementioned oval staircase down to the ground floor lobby I get even more exercise, namely an additional 117 stairs.
Of course I know, too, that the ground floor Il Lago restaurant must be as good as ever, and at breakfast I am amazed by the artistic presentation of the foods – and, for the record, the hotel’s home-made yoghurt is better than the Danone alternatives, and do not miss the Villars coffee. Back up in room 314, there is just time to admire the new décor, by Rochon protégé Paul Robida, who has gone for taupe-and-coffee, with a hint of 1960s retro. Look how he uses coffee inner-curtains with cutouts in them, and the curtains pull right across the glass-fronted EuroCave minibar, and a connecting door, to give extra seclusion to the dining area. Can’t wait to come back to this uber-luxury hotel for more (BUT next time I will avoid arriving on a Friday, when it can take over an hour to get in from the airport, any time between 4pm to 8pm…)