Tried & Tested

Hotel check: La Reserve, Geneva

1 Jul 2005 by BusinessTraveller
What's it like? Described as Geneva's first "contemporary" five-star hotel, La Réserve's unassuming 1970s exterior is no indication of what it's like inside. Transformed in 2003 by interior designer Jacques Garcia (also responsible for Hotel Costes and Ladurée, Paris), the theme is, rather bizarrely for its location on Lake Geneva, "African Lodge". In the lobby there are animal-print carpets, model parrots nestled in lampshades, a model elephant, and two cases of butterflies. The theme is continued in the gardens with topiaries of safari animals. Where is it? Located 5km northeast of the centre of Geneva, the hotel is set in 10 acres of private gardens on the shores of Lake Geneva with views of the city and the Alps and an impressive sight of Mont Blanc on clear days. It's also three miles from Geneva airport (a taxi costs about CHF35; £15). How many rooms? 102, of which 17 are suites. Room categories include superior, executive and deluxe, and the suites are junior, executive, lake, royal, presidential and papyrus, spread over three floors and two buildings. Room Facilities Most rooms have either a private balcony or terrace overlooking the garden or the lake. My deluxe room was a mix of brown and beige, with wooden flooring, a sofa, coffee table, and bedside tables all in the African reserve style. Bathrooms are decorated in a marble mosaic with separate walk-in showers and most suites have a spa bath. All rooms have individually controlled air-conditioning and heating, a laptop-sized safe, CD/DVD player, radio, flat-screen TV, modem phone jack, wifi access (CHF25 (£11) for 24 hours), international direct dial with voicemail, and a fax machine on request.  There's a minibar containing soft drinks (which were free) and snacks (which weren't). Business centre No, but two salons of Le Tsé-Fung restaurant can be used as a conference centre on request and will seat up to 25 people. The private salon of Le Loti restaurant also offers seating for 30 people on three tables. There's a meeting room for up to 12 people, equipped with a projection screen, or overhead projection, flip chart, DVD player and other facilities to hire on request. Tea, coffee and pastries are included in the price, which is CHF600 (£259) for half a day and CHF1,000 (£431) for a full day. A library opens just off the lobby and has two computers with free internet access. Daily newspapers and magazines can also be found there. Restaurant and Bars Le Loti offers seasonal French and Mediterranean cuisine. The restaurant is on the first floor and the interior is dark brown woodwork, bamboo knotted with leather, green and violet taffeta, a copper and iron fireplace and beige lampshades. The surrounding balcony allows for outdoor dining and gives views of the pool, park and lake. Sample dishes include rack of Limousin lamb, mashed potatoes with Bormane olive oil, Noirmoutier sole and truffle risotto. Le Tsé-Fung is a Chinese restaurant situated on the ground floor. The interior is plush red velvet, vemillion lacquer walls and gold leaf. Outdoor dining is possible on the flame-lit terrace. The Spa restaurant offers a healthier alternative with dietary advice on request. "Le Bar" is open from 9am to midnight every day. Fitness centre La Réserve is the only hotel in Geneva with a spa. Its Spa "Une Autre Histoire" offers various treatments and has a swimming pool and fitness studio. Open 6am–10pm daily. The grounds include an outdoor swimming pool, two tennis courts and a small private pebble beach onto the lake. During the summer you can take a free 15-minute trip across the lake in the hotel's private Venetian motorboat. Verdict A great location, ideal for quick transfers to the airport or the city. The service was excellent and the facilities are perfect for mixing business with pleasure. Price Rooms from CHF400 (£174) to CHF993 (£432). Suites CHF890 (£387) to CHF10,000 (£4,345) for the Royal suite. Continental breakfast CHF30 (£13). Check the website for promotional offers. Contact La Réserve Genève, 301 Route de Lausanne, 1293 Bellevue, Geneva, Switzerland, tel +41 22 959 59 59, www.lareserve.ch. Jill Sayles
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