What’s it like?

One of the famous five-star hotels of Geneva, recently reopened after a Euro 28 million overhaul by the Rocco Forte Collection. Despite the history, this is a bold renovation. Nothing remains from the old hotel except a few key members of staff (most notably thevhead concierge Claude Chaffarod) and the decoration is more Dubai than Switzerland.

This is a reflection of the Russian and Arab clientele who make up a small proportion of the guests, but presumably a rather larger slice of revenue. A brown-flecked marble floor, gold-flecked pillars with small reflective gold mosaic tiles, and a peppermint twist in reception (and on some of the walls) certainly make the hotel stand out from its competition.

Where is it?

On Brunswick Gardens, just off Quai du Mont-Blanc on the Rive Droite.

How many rooms?

109, with 26 suites.

Room facilities

All rooms are decorated in contemporary style and equipped with a heating/cooling system, dual-line telephones with voice-messaging, LCD flatscreen TV with interactive video-on-demand, satellite, cordless keyboard with internet access through the TV, data port with high-speed internet connection, in-room safe, minibar, hairdryer and heated towel rack. Views are of Brunswick Gardens, Lake Geneva or onto an inner courtyard. In addition, all suites have an iPod docking station, plasma screen in the bathroom and DVD player. Basic rooms are 36 sqm with two comfortable armchairs, a work space, large closet and a full marble bathroom with bath and shower.

Restaurants and bars

The bar is now on the left as you enter, with the restaurant on the right accessible through a lounge area. “Le Bar” is decorated in red and black, and is more of an evening place than a high-tea venue. It has a good wine and cocktail list, and is clearly popular. The Sapori is a 70-cover fine-dining Italian restaurant with a 150 sqm terrace for the summer. Starters are CHF26-52 (£11-£22), pasta dishes CHF34-48 and meat main courses CHF56-68. The wine list ranges from a relatively inexpensive half-bottle of Swiss wine up to a Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1923 for CHF13,230 (£5,560).

Business and meeting facilities

There is no business centre, but the meeting facilities are excellent and much expanded from the old Le Richemond, with over 476 sqm ofvconference and banqueting facilities. These include a new annexe built on the back, the Gallery, accessible both from the street and also from double doors just beyond reception. There are three meeting rooms in the main hotel, all of which have natural daylight, accommodating up to 205 delegates. All are equipped with state-of-the-art technology, including touch-panel controls, air-conditioning and wifi internet access. The ballroom can take up to 110 people for dinner and 120 for a drinks reception.

Leisure facilities

Le Richemond has Switzerland’s first dedicated Shiseido spa on the lower ground floor of the hotel. Stained bamboo walls and chic black mosaic floors house five treatment rooms, including one double room, a gym (with fresh fruit, fruit juices and mineral water in a fridge), a sauna, a Turkish steam room, a Vichy shower, and a relaxation area. In addition, the spa also offers Paris-based beauty brand, Sothys.


Full marks to the Rocco Forte Collection for daring to be different. For anyone expecting it to repeat its take on a classic hotel (like the successful Brown’s Hotel in London), Le Richemond will come as a complete surprise. Fierce competition from the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues, President Wilson (go to businesstraveller.com for our review from February 2006), the Kempinski, Mandarin Oriental and others probablyvdemands such a bold approach, and it is successful. The service is good, and this was in the first week of full service. It’s also impressive that, unlike other hotels, the opening was delayed until all the rooms were finished and the spa fully open – joined-up and intelligent thinking from the team.


Rates for a mid-week stay in November start at CHF555 (£230) for an Executive Room (48-hour cancellation).


Le Richemond, Jardin Brunswick, Geneva;
tel +41 22 715 7000; lerichemond.com.