What do you know about Geneva? An impressive lake, a business district, an EU politics base? That was about the extent of our knowledge before we were invited along by Geneva Tourism with a group of journalists to experience the Swiss city in all its glory and to be shown exactly why it’s tipped as a must visit destination for a girly weekend away!
Having never been to Switzerland before I wasn’t aware how short the flight was – just 1 hr 10 minutes from London. We flew with SWISS airline who were great to travel with even giving us some free Swiss chocolate on the plane – yum. When you get to Geneva you are just a 10 minute train out of the city which was completely free and easy to navigate and takes you right into the centre of town.
As you can imagine being a key business district, Geneva is full of fantastic hotels. We stayed at the super luxury Swissotel Metropole Geneva a fantastic 5* boutique hotel overlooking Lake Geneva and its impressive water fountain (the highest in Europe) and just a stone’s throw away from their temptation laden shopping district. Our rooms had an amazing, modern design, all the comforts we needed and more (we were particular fans of the shower/steam room). We enjoyed cocktails in their mirror room and a tasty dinner in their Le Grand Quai restaurant and when it’s not raining they have a fantastic rooftop bar with stunning views across the city.
Known for their watches, as expected Geneva had a great range of high-end shopping destinations, enough to please any shoppers, but what stood out for us was the great range of small boutique shops with fantastic one off finds. Our favourite find was a shop called Flair No. 3 a fantastic vintage store with lots of great stand out fashion pieces whatever your budget and a passionate store owner who is happy to help. Our purses came away a bit lighter after that one. Another favourite if clothes aren’t your thing was Les Enfants Terribles a fantastic concept store focussed around design and interiors, a great place to pick up some gifts for your loved ones.
Geneva has some great restaurants and café bars which will suit any tastes and we discovered some great food whilst in the city. If you are looking for something with the wow factor though head like us to The Rooftop 42 a fantastic restaurant overlooking the lake which does some of the finest food in the city. We had their Decouverte menu and feasted on some delicious Fois Gras with chocolate followed by melt in the mouth fish and finished off with a refreshing Mango dessert. This great restaurant on a weekend then turns into a great bar with delicious cocktails and great music allowing you to dance off your dinner in no time.
When looking for a little me time there are plenty of options in Geneva, but if looking for the wow factor head to Hotel La Reserve for an amazing spa day. Housed along the lake, La Reserve are happy to pick you up on their private boat to ensure you arrive in style, once there you are greeted with a beautiful and relaxing spa set over 2000 metres complete with steam and saunas as well as an impressive indoor UV swimming pool, and countless treatment rooms. With a vast array of treatments we went for their wellness & detox programme which included a luxurious signature nescens better-aging massage to really relax and pamper, before enjoying a spot of lunch at the spas Le Café Lauren which serves beautiful light lunches in relaxing setting. Usually if someone says the menu will be free of fat, I usually expect it to be free of taste but we enjoyed a delicious three course meal and a smoothie that I would be happy to eat every day. If you are looking for a quicker pampering session head to Le Bal des Createurs, this is a fantastic salon set up by the founder of Bourjois, here you can have your hair or make up done whilst enjoying a drink from their in house bar. With my short hair I went for a curled hair look with the others on the trip all plumping for some great on trend braids, a fantastic place to get you ready for a night on their town.
There are plenty of other things to do in Geneva, with its stunning mountainous surroundings I particularly enjoyed a walk around the lake taking in the surroundings before hopping on a water taxi across the lake (free with your travel card). When the weather is nice there is Bains des Paquis a great place for you to swim and sunbath overlooking the lake, but unfortunately the weather wasn’t meant to be on our trip. Steeped in history we enjoyed a look around the Geneva old town taking it its beautiful buildings and of course the famous spot where the Geneva Convention was signed.
The Geneva tourism board have recently launched the Geneva Girls Guide book a fantastic book with great illustrations and design which details the best shops, restaurants and bars amongst others a great companion for your trip and a readymade itinerary for your week away.