The best place to stay in Geneva.
We arrived at the hotel at around 11am, although check in time was at 2pm we were allowed to get into our rooms due to my Priority Club Membership, Nice. The receptionist was very helpfull, they all had answers when we quized them about Genevas finests. After registering, key cards were handed out and up we went to our rooms. The rooms were well appointed and ours had a great view of the Lake. After a quick freshen up we went to the lobby to meet our friends. The hotel seemed like it was renovated just recently, the lobby furniture was modern but tastefull. The hotel has rooms facing the Lake, try to ask availability during check in. Theres a gym and a swimming pool for all the health buffs out there. Theres a bus stop near the hotel from which you can commute to the city center.
Geneva, ideal hub to Europe
Most of us have heard of Geneva, in the news, in business, politics, travel and so on. But few are really aware that this Swiss city boasts a resident population of lessthan 200'000 (or just over 500'000 including its agglomeration).
Even so, Geneva is a world capital. On a stroll through the city center, or along the scenic lake shores, you will have a hard time to guess that French is the official language, if you would not know. You can meet people from just about all continents in a few minutes, if you wanted to. Geneva is convenient for first-time visitors because of its "human" size: the Lake of Geneva (le Leman) and its effluent Rhone River splits the city in two halfs: the Rive Droite (right riverside) and the Rive Gauche (left),an easy help for orientation.
The Rive Droite hosts the Old Town with its St.Pierre Cathedral, the universitzy, the town hall,the main hospital, the Grand Theatre, most museums and local government institutions.
On the Rive Droite, you will find the main railway station (Cornavin), the UN and other international organisations, the airport (a mere 4 km from the city center),the coach/main bus station and most hotels.
Fun lovers will find hangouts on both shores: the Paquis (and its red light district) on the Rive Droite, restaurants and lots of cultural activities around Plainpalais, the Old Town, Eaux-Vives and Carouge on the Rive Gauche.
And if this is still not enough: public transport in and around Geneva is excellent, frequent direct trains leave from Cornavin to all Swiss locations, but also to Milan, Lyons, Paris etc. The intercontinental Geneva airport is also a mayor hub of low-cost EasyJet.All this right in the center of Europe.
In brief: absolutely no need for a private car.
Geneva is a melting pot of the rich and poor, of politicians and diplomats, bankers, students, artists, refugees, tourists, intellectuels, scientists, backpackers, beggars, blue- and white-collar workers, gamblers, lawyers, journalists, philosophers, crooks, cooks...all adding to an environment of creativity, ideas, open minds, tolerance, wealth...and each visitor (as we all are) sharing and enriching the guesthouse called Geneva.
Geneva - October 2010
"Geneva - October 2010"
Staying at the Intercontinental Geneva which is about a 5 minute taxi ride (or 20 minute walk) from downtown. Nice hotel with heart-stopping food prices. Feeling a bit on the peckish side I casually opened the Room Service menu to be confronted with the wallet-melting sight of a 39 Euro hamburger. That was on the ‘light snacks’ section and I could not bring myself to endure the various poverty-inducing horrors which lay waiting on the ‘Main Course’ page (I imagine that ordering the Sole Meuniere involves the provision of Payslips, 2 referees and copies of recent utility bills).
There are no shops nearby, save for a large mall about 15 mins walk so, short on time I had no choice but to order room service. Amazingly, the burger looked like my best option so I called up to order. I wanted to ask if the 39 Euro included any ‘special services’, however not knowing the correct French for ‘hand crank’ I kept that thought to myself. For what its worth the hamburger wasn’t that great however to be fair, the next day I ordered a pizza for a similarly kingly sum which was fantastic.
Not a huge amount of time to burn in Geneva but spent a morning walking around the downtown area which was all very nice, albeit a little bland. Save for the Jet d’Eau, a massive fountain which shoots water in the air from the lake. That rocked.
Briefly flirted with the idea of buying an expensive watch (with Geneva being in the home of expensive watches) but thought better of it. Telling someone you bought your watch in Geneva rates about a 9/10 on the ‘wanker’ meter (probably eclipsed only by “You like my cravat? I picked it up during a weekend in Paris on the Champs de Elysees”).