Poor Geneva. Despite its many virtues—temperate weather, pristine streets, elegant architecture, political neutrality—it tends to be overlooked as a tourist destination in favor of flashier European capitals. But in These Times, a more serene, crowd-averse experience is in order.
Now a new hotel is making Geneva a more appealing proposition than ever. Located in an eye-catching Belle Époque building on Quai Wilson, overlooking Lake Geneva, a sailboat slip, and most imposingly, Mont Blanc, the Woodward has just 26 accommodations, and all are suites.
Its restoration and reopening is the latest project from Oetker Collection, which also counts the Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc and Le Bristol Paris among its many points of pride. Over the past four years, the Woodward (which had most recently been used as a bank) was thoroughly renovated by architect and interior designer Pierre-Yves Rochon, along with BEA SA Architects. The objective was to create the feel of a private home—but a private home that has its own L’Atelier Robuchon restaurant and a full-service Guerlain Spa. Two bars and a tearoom are expected to open imminently.
Each spacious suite has its own look and feel, although many are swathed in shades of blue that reflect the changing colors of the lake. The most opulent option is the Presidential Suite, which includes a private dining room and loggia, although the Royal Suite, designed to resemble an elegant Parisian apartment and which is accessible by private elevator, isn’t bad, either.
Geneva isn’t exactly known as a food town, but the dining scene at the Woodward is upping the ante. Chef Olivier Jean, a 12-year veteran of the Robuchon empire, is overseeing L’Atelier Robuchon as well as the first European outpost of Le Jardinier, the French restaurant known for locally sourced food that earned a Michelin star at its New York location.
On the wellness front, the hotel is home to the first Guerlain Spa in Switzerland, and its Club Woodward offerings include a well-outfitted fitness center, an ice-bucket shower, two Swedish baths, and the longest indoor swimming pool in Geneva. Pack your goggles …
Those who dare to venture out will benefit from a conversation with the concierge, who will be happy to arrange a private tour of the Patek Philippe Museum. There are also sailing tours along Lake Geneva, wine tastings and hiking in Lavaux, and even hot-air-balloon tours of the Alps, accompanied by cheese fondue.
Ashley Baker is the Style Editor for Air Mail