Seeing Mont-Blanc from Geneva is not everyday, and this, above, is what greeted the gal when the Mercedes purred into the drive of La Réserve Geneva. What surprises lay in store! First, the amazing view above. Then the fact that this is a luxury hotel only five minutes’ drive from the airport, and three minutes’ walk to the lake, by private subterranean walkway. First-timers are also sometimes awestruck that this is a three-floor 1960s building, formerly owned by a Chinese, but the current owner, clever entrepreneur Michel Reybier, has given character to the exterior, and surrounded it by all-green grounds, perfectly cut grass and dozens of immaculately trimmed topiary shapes.
Interiors are by Jacques Garcia, who always produces memorable concepts, some perhaps more successful than others. Here he has combined hints of China with a safari lodge, hence the lifesize gold elephant that sits atop nine stairs leading up from the main lobby to a mezzanine dividing point – it is then up six more stairs, left to the spa and one bedroom wing, right to the other bedroom wing, overlooking the lake. Brightly coloured plastic parrots swing from most of the wall, and freestanding, lamps. Tables in public areas may have animal legs. The corridor leading to the spa is pure Garcia, namely a seemingly never-ending sequence of cream net curtains coming across from a long cream corridor.
The spa treatment rooms are also vintage Garcia, with studded leather cut outs decorating the walls, from which hang Art Deco half-lampshades with long flapper-skirt fringes. The spa, by the way, truly honours Switzerland. As well as La Prairie, it offers Nescens, Swiss Anti-Aging, new to me and, I do admit, very pleasant at the time though we will have to see if, after a few days, I do look like Cindy Crawford’s daughter Keia Gerber (highly unlikely as, two hours after leaving La Réserve, I walked at high Gal speed into a glass wall, which has resulted in an unsightly sticky plaster dangerously close to one eye). The spa comes with a big indoor pool, to complement the heated outdoor one, a first-class Technogym and a health café, open 7am through to mid-afternoon.
I did see another room and I reckon that most of the 102 rooms, starting size 310 sq ft, are similar (although, for the time being, if you want to use the minibar make sure yours has been elevated from its floor-set position that I experienced in suite #210). But the minibar is free, everywhere, the espresso machine is easy-work Nespresso, already filled, and I loved having bedside tables that evoked folding safari tables. I looked out of my windows expecting to see wild animals but the view was a harmony of greens, through to the lake. Hidden behind some of the trees is this luxury hotel’s crowning glory, a glass-walled, two-floor, three bedroom private villa, literally lake-side – it is a total of 3,500 sq ft, and no wonder families love it. Even Geneva residents move in for the occasional break… NOW TOUR MY SUITE