More of a country club than a hotel in its look and feel, La Réserve is about a 10-minute drive from Geneva’s city centre. It’s an easy place for guests and locals alike to come for a meal, a spa treatment, a gym session and a swim, or just a drink in the bar.
There’s parking galore too, and extensive gardens with a huge pool and a stunning view over the lake and the Alps. I mention locals because there is always a buzz here: people coming and going and a Ferrari or two parked outside.
And while you might find the safari theme of the establishment somewhat at odds with the environment, La Réserve offers oodles of panache, style and elegance – it’s Jacques Garcia all the way in terms of design. And while there are no live animals around, the African story continues in the cigar bar off the lobby with its books and board games, to the beautiful, mounted butterflies on the wall, the colourful, decorative parrots on the lights and the huge elephant statue that dominates an area just off the lobby.
La Réserve has taken a stance when it comes to decor – one that is far removed from the reserved and traditional Swiss approach. You will notice the difference; this place is not part of a large hotel group. Character and individuality are very much alive here. Embrace the approach, and you will be welcomed with open arms and made to feel very much at home during your stay.
Hospitality like this comes down to one person’s vision: Michel Reybier, the hotel’s dynamic owner. For those who’ve never heard of him, he also owns hotels in Paris and Ramatuelle, vineyards in Bordeaux (and Hungary) and is part owner of Genolier, the renowned Swiss clinic down the street from here. And therein lies the secret to this property’s spa and wellness prowess – something many guests come here specifically to indulge in, hoping to walk away feeling like a new person.
Whatever your motives, you will be well looked after. Come to party, come to enjoy the surroundings, or come to heal and rejuvenate. No matter what, you’ll want to return someday soon.
- Daily breakfast for two
- Buffet breakfast
- Room upgrade upon arrival
- Subject to availability
- Hotel credit
- US$100 or equivalent Spa Services credit, also valid in Cafe Lauren, not valid on products or merchandise
- Early check-in / Late check-out
- Subject to availability
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
Exclusive benefits may vary by hotel or hotel group. Exclusive benefits apply when booking the Best Available Rate and are not combinable with any hotel offers or special packages unless stated.
- Detailed Review +
- Facts & Amenities +
On a clear day you can see Mont Blanc from the balconies and terraces. Different in so many ways from a typical, lakeside Geneva city hotel, here you cannot help but feel like you’re on holiday when you walk through the doors, held open by a stylishly dressed bellman, of course.
Gracious and elegant, the front desk staff were obviously expecting me. I checked in, and one of the team walked me to the room, pointing out things I needed to know along the way.
In the suite was a bottle of Michel Reybier champagne waiting on ice – a wonderful welcome.
Rooms and suites
There are many sizes and shapes available here: some interconnecting and a few with views of the lake. My junior suite had a patio with two lounge chairs facing the garden. Because it was on the far side of the hotel, it felt a bit like ‘walking home’ at night after dinner, which was nice.
It’s basic in terms of furnishings, and the safari theme continues in the rooms, where the carpets are leopard-patterned, and pictures on the walls are of various beasts. I liked the warm ochre colour scheme, and the room overall was cosy and welcoming. There was a USB plug and various sockets on the side of the desk, and in the desk drawers were conversion plugs as well. The bed was ultra-comfortable, and it faced a large TV that had several English news channels and a few current movies on demand (for free). This being international Geneva, home to the UN and so many other non-profit organisations, with people coming and going from all around the world, offering TV in so many languages must be a challenge.
I could hear someone walking around on the floor above early the next morning, so I got up and padded over to the Zenius Nespresso machine, which I greatly appreciated. The mini-bar didn’t offer up anything interesting, and I decided to get dressed and head to the bar for a beautifully served à la carte breakfast.
Unlike the Reybier champagnes and wines, the bath products and soaps branded Reybier Hospitality are not as delicious (or as decadent). But the bathroom was well laid out with a bathtub, a separate shower and twin sinks. I was happy there was a hairdresser in the building because the hairdryer had a button you had to hold down to make it work. Bathrooms need to be outfitted by a woman, I would say.
You won’t find better Chinese fare in Geneva no matter how hard you search, I promise. Hence, if you wish to dine in the Tsé Fung Michelin-starred restaurant, book ahead. There’s also a private room for parties, in full swing when I was here. And, having just returned from Hong Kong, I was hankering for some good Asian food. Frank Xu, originally from Shenzhen in China, certainly knows his dim sum. Closing my eyes, I sipped a beautifully prepared pot of jasmine tea alongside.
After which, I enjoyed some sumptuous Peking duck, fried rice and some other goodies. Of course, I had to have a glass of Reybier’s Sauvignon Blanc to accompany all this: as expected, it was delicious and crisp, with just the right amount of fruit to accompany the food. The restaurant is beautiful and elegant, but the other diners were somewhat uninteresting and not terribly lively. Well, we’re talking Geneva after all, not Miami.
Luckily, the staff at all the restaurants, especially the bar (where breakfast and light meals are also served, and on a sunny day, outside on the terrace), were young and enthusiastic. They were very attentive and engaging, vigilant even, never taking their eyes off the tables. I noticed they had a rotation system going, to make sure no diner was ever ignored – something I’ve never before seen happen in a Geneva restaurant (and I’m a local). So kudos to them. The food in the bar, sadly, did not live up to the service. I ordered a Caesar salad, which was rather lacklustre, and for the price and location should have been prepared tableside with a little more style.
A one-off, I hope, as food and beverages here are paramount to the property’s success. The spa has a very sexy and soothing dining lounge with white leather furniture, where fresh and healthy breakfast, snacks and lunches are served. There’s also a pop-up summer restaurant by the pool with seasonal favourites, including grilled fresh fish of the day and salads; the aforementioned Chinese; and the French restaurant, the Loti, whose food is highly acclaimed and prepared by chef Virginie Basselot, winner of the 2015 Meilleur Ouvrier de France (Best Craftsman of France) award in the cuisine-gastronomy category.
Other restaurant options
An integral part of the wellness and health programs, and a beautiful space in its own right, Café Lauren offers guests healthy meals ad hoc. On the day I spent here there were salads and sashimi tuna as choices for starters for lunch, and fish or gambas for mains, as well as some vegan and vegetarian offerings.
For dessert you’d be tempted to spoil all the good you’ve done in the gym by ordering the roasted figs and ice cream, the chocolate cream or the pineapple with yoghurt sorbet, washed down with a fresh juice or a smoothie chosen from a long list. Overlooking the indoor pool, this is a zen-like haven of tranquillity where you can dine dressed, or in your bathrobe and slippers if you prefer.
Spa and wellness
The safari theme ends here. The wellness centre, where the Nescens spa is located, is the true highlight of the hotel. It would almost be a crime to stay here and not dip your toe in, for the area is huge, at 2,000sq m (21,500sq ft), and offers an indoor swimming pool, a beautifully equipped gym, his-and-her hammams and saunas, lessons and sessions of many kinds, and a hairdresser.
Stay for a week or two and you’ll leave a different person, guaranteed, the staff assured me. And I ran through a list in my head of all my aches and pains that could be put right when I learned there are two osteopaths and a doctor who practise at the nearby Genolier clinic, on call every day. Of course, the spa offers packages under the themes of detox, weight-loss and ‘better ageing’, customised to suit each client. I liked the ‘better ageing’ concept, which I deemed to be a much more realistic goal than ‘anti-ageing’.
So I went for the one-hour better ageing massage, where I opted for the Nascens special oils and a bit of everything, including lymphatic drainage – great for a body that travels a lot. I was astounded by how much better I felt after the treatment, but I shouldn’t have been surprised as, in talking to the therapist, I learned that her list of credentials, including a four-year yoga degree, was as impressive as her knowledge and commitment to her profession. Her mantra was all about health and living life in the best way possible. I left feeling that it’s a team like this that is behind a business’s success. Swiss healing at its finest.
I also had a look around the gym, where the coach on duty showed me all the latest equipment, including something I have never seen before – a naturopath’s tool, a Bol d’Air Jacquier. It’s a type of oxygenator that looks something like a ventilator and spews out warm vapour with essential oils that you breathe in. It claims to offer many benefits, including helping to oxygenate your blood, open up your lungs and to reduce stress, post- workout, of course. I was game, but I believe the best effects only come with regular use.
Pool and beach
With health and lifestyle being so important here, the indoor and outdoor pools are both beautiful and heated specifically to the day’s current conditions. They will make you wish you had all the time in the world to loll around for the day and swim. Both have sun loungers alongside, service of every kind, and swimming lessons if you need them, for adults and kids alike.
Aqua biking and water aerobics can be organised with a coach. Otherwise, the pools are both so large, 20 laps or so should do the trick.
If you’re lucky enough to be here on a warm summer’s day, you could stroll through the gardens, then follow a small tunnel under the road and emerge at the hotel’s private pier. This is, in fact, where the hotel’s speedboat to Geneva comes and goes, and there’s a little strip of rocky lakeside beach here, from where you can launch yourself into the freezing-cold water, swim around and gaze up at the Alps. It’ll be an experience you probably won’t forget anytime soon.
Children are made to feel welcome here, although there’s a lot more for them to do in the summer than in the winter. In the large gardens there’s a fully fledged kids’ playground with rides and a tree house.
There are children’s menus in the restaurants, and if moms and dads want to use the spa, pool, gym or enjoy a meal alone, the children will be looked after in a kids’ club environment for several hours, free of charge. Babysitting, of course, can also be arranged in the evenings. Interconnecting rooms are also available.
Staff and service
Who can find fault with Swiss service? Hoteliering is in their blood, and while many of the staff were French of origin, local precision and perfection has been instilled in all who work here. Charming and efficient in every way, I enjoyed the service and hospitality offered throughout my stay.
It’s hard to tell who’s staying here and who has just come for a meal or a drink, but it’s a nice mixture of leisure and business guests. There was a bodyguard seated at the end of my hallway outside a guest-room door, night and day during my stay. Celebrity or royalty, who could say?
The front desk staff and concierge team were both actively involved in my departure and were perfectly polite, friendly and professional. A gift of one of the hotel’s signature candles with the Reybier scent was left in my room before I departed – a warm farewell gesture.
How to get there
10 minutes by road transfer from Geneva Airport
101 Rooms & Suites