Geneva has a way of staying with you as if it was an old friend. You may not have time to visit as often as you would like but when you are there it feels like a reunion of fond shared memories to be treasured. Memories of Geneva from our youth and the ones shared in later years become ever more precious, not least when you have the opportunity to make those memories staying in an establishment like the Beau-Rivage, set on the shores of Lake Geneva, one of the largest lakes in Europe, and located on the leafy Quai du Mont Blanc promenade.
Very much still a family affair, with the personal touch as its hallmark, this pinnacle of Swiss hospitality welcomed us with the most genuine of greetings as the hotel’s PR & Events Associate, Viktoria Carpigo, had handwritten a welcome note left in our room overlooking Lac Leman and the Jet d’Eau sparkling against blue skies and blue mountains. The note was written in two languages, one of which was Icelandic, making the experience all the more special.
Founded in 1865 by Jean-Jacques Mayer and conveniently located in the heart of Geneva’s business and shopping district, Beau-Rivage commands incredible views of Lake Geneva and the Alps. Behind its grand, historic façade the hotel’s meticulously-restored design blends the modern day with magical echoes of the past: from the Mayer family’s own original furnishings, stained glass and objets d’art scattered throughout, to suites named after notable guests who have left their mark on history here.
Few cities in the world can rival the coolness and calm of Geneva. Renowned for its fresh air, cleanliness and great views, it is the perfect destination for a weekend adventure or a longer stay if you wish to explore the nearby mountain towns and villages or take advantage of its sporting facilities offering a range of gentle outdoor activities, from hiking up the nearby Salève mountain for a birds-eye view of the city to walking in the true urban jungle that is Geneva’s Botanical Conservatories and Garden, the first in Switzerland to be certified 100% organic.
In fact, the concierge team at Beau-Rivage are able to organise a number of bespoke family friendly activities including cycling, boat trips on the lake, kayaking, windsurfing and water skiing, fishing trips and hiking along trails including the picturesque vineyards at Lavaux. For a more innovative activity you might want to try the new stand-up paddleboard yoga sessions. In partnership with local Yoga Shop Genève, between May and September, guests of all abilities can take to the lake as the morning sun rises for a paddleboard yoga session with a local instructor.
We, however, took modest pleasures from strolling through the old quarter across the lake and visiting memories in the Varembé district when not indulging in the comforts of our loft suite. Designed by French interior designer Pierre-Yves Rochon, the loft suites have a grand staircase leading up to a king or twin bed and a ceiling window for stargazing from bed. Words would not do justice to the elegance and attention to detail presented in these new quarters of the hotel. Hopefully the photographs will give you a clue what to expect.
When it’s time to dine, an unforgettable culinary experience awaits you at Michelin-starred restaurant Le Chat-Botté, led by the talented Chef Dominique Gauthier. Here you will be able to delight your senses at one of Geneva's most renowned restaurants. Season after season, using produce chosen with careful consideration, guests are presented with an uncluttered, gourmet menu enabling you to delight in superbly crafted fish and meat suggestions, a wealth of plant-based options and six times a year, themed menus that showcase a star product such as asparagus, the cep mushroom, citrus fruit and game. And much in tune with the hotel’s personal touch Chef Gautier emerged from his kitchen to greet dinner guests before the end of the meal. We don’t believe there were any complaints.
Despite some overcast days during our autumn stay, the memories of Geneva are always one of sun and blue waters akin to those presented in the postcards we send home. There will be more visits, of course, you shouldn’t neglect old friends. And hopefully some of these will be in company of the welcoming family of Beau-Rivage.