Unfolding quietly at the foot of the Alps and Jura Mountains where the eponymous lake narrows and becomes the Rhône River is the refined city of Geneva. It’s the second-largest city in Switzerland that shares almost its entire 68-mile perimeter with France, which explains its largely dual identity. Locals merge the French art of living and Swiss technicality into the perfect marriage and unparalleled flair to boot. It’s no wonder Geneva is the cradle of watchmaking, home to the greatest Swiss chocolate makers and headquarters of the most influential organizations in the world.
The standard of sophistication starts here and carries throughout the so-called City of Peace. The flawless exterior of the city stretches from the sparkling lakeside quays, verdant parks, golden alleyways and tasteful boutiques that are an invitation to a leisurely stroll. Throughout the city lies a widespread appreciation for art, fashion, food and design – at uncompromising quality, which makes for a truly unforgettable experience. Simply put, life in Geneva revolves around the best of everything.
Where to Stay
Since first opening its doors in 1875, Le Richemond has welcomed a wide array of distinguished guests who have all enjoyed its unparalleled mix of alpine scenery, cosmopolitan atmosphere and refined comforts–and it’s not hard to see why. Although the storied hotel is located directly on the banks of Lake Geneva and overlooks the stunning waters, it remains in the heart of Geneva with the Old Town just on the other side.
Between the lobby’s marble floors, beautifully-adorned rare woods and gold-filigree finishes, the building immediately oozes an old-world luxury that’s only enhanced by the views of the magnificent lake, Brunswick Gardens or snowcapped Mont Blanc. The classic fittings are maintained through the 109 stunningly decorated rooms and 22 sumptuous suites in the form of red velvet furnishings and satin touches, while all en suite bathrooms feature exquisite bright marble baths, deluxe amenities and extras. The acclaimed Le Jardin is an award-winning restaurant with stylish and light French fare, while the impressive Le Spa by Sisley is an oasis of well-being where you can relax and unwind.
Our Geneva Destination Guide also includes a Luxury Hotel Guide with a full list of recommendations.
Where to Dine
Perched high up in the heart of Geneva’s Old Town is the luxuriously renovated Restaurant Les Armures, which is located in the historic hotel of the same name that dates back to the 13th century. The space puts forth a rustic charm through its nostalgic 17th-century furnishings, mosaic-tiled bar and ancient archways, while the wooden décor and exposed stonework set the stage beautifully in bringing an authentic antiquated feel. Restaurant Les Armures is a sophisticated gourmet experience and the go-to establishment to taste traditional Swiss cuisine of the highest quality. The robust menu boasts many local specialties, including schübling, raclette and fondue options, alongside a range of soups, pastas, meat and fish dishes. The warm atmosphere invites you for a trip through the ages while at the same time evoking senses of a cozy alpine chalet. There’s also a shady terrace that’s nestled perfectly alongside the Old Arsenal where you can soak in the historic vibes of the Old Town.
Our Geneva Destination Guide also includes a Restaurant Guide with a complete breakdown of the best culinary experiences that the Swiss city has to offer.
What to Do
There’s an endless number of ways to really get under the skin of Geneva and enjoy the spoils of the city. The lakeside charm starts at the essential visit to the emblematic Jet d’Eau, which shoots up water at incredible force to create the 140m-high plume that’s kissed by a rainbow on sunny days. The beaches and banks along the lake are filled with sunbathers during the summer months; however, they’re pleasant spots that are frequented year-round by water skiers, yachters and canoers. The natural beauty doesn’t end with the lake though, as Geneva is one of Europe’s greenest cities with 20% of its area covered in verdant plant life. These green areas found through the “City of Parks” contributes greatly to the quality of life and provide a sense of peacefulness to enjoy.
If you want to see the city as a crucial international trendsetter, look no further than the Swiss watchmakers, luxury designers and chocolatiers that have all chosen to call Geneva home. This culminates around Rue du Rhône, the most extravagant shopping street in the city that boasts some of the biggest brand names in the world, whereas both Rue du Marché and Rue du Mont-Blanc are fashion-forward areas that are defined by contemporary designers and independent boutiques.
What to Pack
Spring temperatures in Geneva can often be unpredictable with showers and fluctuating temperatures. If you’re wondering whether to pack for sun, wind or rain, consider planning for all three. An unexpected downpour is just as possible as a sunny day beaming down on the lake. This Isabel Marant Étoile Fabio Shearling Coat is a cozy coat that will keep you comfortable at all times. Crafted from soft lambskin with a shearling lining, it will also add an effortless touch of style as you make your way across the city. From day to night, this Little Liffner Oyster Leather Clutch is a minimalistic yet sensible addition to your outfit. The clutch has room for all your daily essentials yet the smooth white calf leather and sleek design give a subtle elegance during your stay in Geneva.