The world’s second most expensive city is no stranger to a luxury hotel. The shores of Lac Léman are studded with jewels of the world’s hospitality crown, but for an indulgently cosy experience without compromising on the five star experience, the boutique Hotel D’Angleterre combines British charm and character with Swiss hospitality for an experience like no other.
Lisa Haynes curates a packing edit worthy of an elegant Genevoise weekend.
THE PACKING EDIT
The baby of South African hotelier Bea Tollman, Hotel D’Angleterre is a bastion of discreet sophistication. The 39 rooms and suites are each styled with exquisite art and furnishings; and if you play your cards right, you might even end up in one of the rooms with a zebra print carpet, one of the many nods to Mrs Tollman’s heritage.
Alas, my second floor room was bedecked in French navy rather than zebra print, but nevertheless resplendent with high ceilings and a sparkling view of the famous Jet d’Eau in the middle of the lake. Little cosy welcoming touches peppered the room, from fresh cakes to a bottle of local Edelweiss syrup, and with guests able to choose from a menu of extras to personalise their stay, from pillow type to a yoga mat and DVD in the room, I was safe in the knowledge that the perfect Goldilocks bed was waiting for me once my afternoon explorations of Geneva were complete. The icing on the cake? A seemingly endless tub calling out for a lazy bubble bath, complete with mini Penhaligon’s toiletries and cosy robes; just the ticket before tumbling into a night of restful slumber.
The hotel’s Windows restaurant, with its panoramic views of the lake, serves a menu of seasonal international cuisine from an impressive spread – including several dishes created by Mrs Tollman herself – alongside a spectacular wine list, many from the Tollman’s vineyards in South Africa’s Cape winelands. After a freezing day exploring the city nothing was more welcome that a sizzling pot of traditional old fashioned boar stew, with caramelised Brussels sprouts and Spätzle (essentially crispy deep fried noodles… you’re welcome.)
For a post-prandial cocktail there’s only one place to be; descend the telltale printed staircase from the lobby down into one of Geneva’s top nightspots, The Leopard Bar. The clue is in the name; bedecked like something between a British smoking lounge and a colonial hunting lodge, it’s cosy, intimate, dripping in leopard print, with regular live music I got to enjoy being serenaded by an Italian chanteuse while nursing my nightcap. The bar is also home to Geneva’s only indoor Cigar Lounge, should it float your boat, with a world class menu from which to choose.
Five star experiences are always perfected by the staff and Hotel D’Angleterre is no exception, unendingly helpful with city guides and directions, umbrellas and transport tips, recommendations for what to eat and what to drink and where to go and every little thing in between. As for a little excursion to the roof for an absolutely unrivalled view of the mountain-fringed lake.
While with a hotel of this diminutive size, you may not get the razzmatazz and shopping arcades of the likes of its lakeside neighbours, but its cosy elegance and passionate team are far more enticing. Whether seeking a base for your summer sojourn on the lake or tacking a day on the end of your latest trip to the slopes, check in to Hotel D’Angleterre for an indulgent home away from home.