Le Richemond is, in my opinion, the most sophisticated hotel in Geneva. From the doorman whisking your bags from your hands as you arrive to the golden mosaics in the flower-decked foyer, to the magnificent and immaculate rooms. Le Richemond is a deeply loved hotel with a soul in the heart of Geneva.
Founded in 1875, Le Richemond Geneva has welcomed many distinguished guests, including Hollywood icons, all attracted by the hotel’s style and grace, the breath-taking view of the Jet d’Eau Fountain, and the distant vista of the highest mountain in Europe, Mont Blanc.
Le Richemond gets everything right. Geraldine, the hotel’s Marketing Director, met with me on the first day of my stay and described the hotel as having “good vibrations”. “You will get a brilliant night’s sleep here,” she said.
This was music to my ears as I am an insomniac, and guess what, she was right! Lulled by the distant traffic and boat toots, the peaceful setting of Le Richemond, with its frontage facing a quiet garden whilst being steps from the lakefront action, is perfect for sleeping brilliantly.
Best time to visit
Geneva is wonderful at any time of the year. In the summer months, look out for the wonderful fireworks that light up the sky on certain evenings. The crowd of visitors changes throughout the year. In the summer, there are more tourists, many from the Middle East, attracted by the designer shopping and delightful weather between 20 and 30 °C. Outside the summer, expect a more corporate crowd and cooler temperatures.
How to get there
Geneva Airport is only around a 20-minute drive from the center of Geneva. There are trains connecting the airport to the town center, but the easiest and most convenient way to get to Geneva is to take a quick taxi ride. British Airways flies from London to Geneva in just over an hour.
As outlined above, Le Richemond Hotel is not on the busy lakefront road and is instead located down a diagonal side road just off the main drag, overlooking a pretty park. Lakeside rooms still benefit from the magnificent views of the lake from their windows and balconies, but you are protected from the activity and the noise on the busy lakefront road.
Style & Character
The decor at Le Richemond is classic and historic, with a touch of fun. The Foyer is a mass of marble pillars and floors, which are brought to life with gold mosaic tiles that make the place sparkle. The hotel has its own florist, and the floral displays in the lobby and in the rooms are magnificent and colorful.
To the left of the foyer is Le Bar, and to the right is Le Jardin Restaurant, which has a lovely terrace adorned with red flowers that overlook the vibrant street and Brunswick Gardens beyond.
If I were to describe the ambiance of the hotel, I would say it has an almost Parisien “Joie de vivre”. It actually reminded me of my favorite hotel in the world, Hôtel Hermitage Monte Carlo. In my head, Le Richemond is the Geneva version of Hôtel Hermitage. It offers a cossetted, caring atmosphere. Not only is it luxurious, but you feel that the staff genuinely cares that you love the hotel as much as they do.
Service & Facilities
Beyond the main bar and restaurant and impressive foyer, there is an exclusive Spa by Sisley. Described as an oasis, it is the place to indulge in pampering spa treatments from acclaimed French skincare expert Sisley. For complete wellbeing, there is also a state-of-the-art fitness studio featuring TechnoGym equipment for a full-body workout.
There is no pool at Le Richemond. To be honest, the lack of a pool is the only thing that is missing from this gorgeous hotel, and this is not unusual in Geneva; most luxury hotels in Geneva don’t have a pool. Everything else is as good as it gets.
Our room was Suite Ambassador, a beautiful suite at the front of the building. The decor and design had the feel of a luxury hotel in Paris. Even the view looking towards the cream, balustraded Hotel De La Pax, and over to the waterfront reminded me of the very best views of Paris, which look out on the river Seine. The master in our suite had 2 double windows leading out onto a large terrace with an expansive view over Lake Geneva and the Jet d’Eau Fountain. The decor was opulent blues creams and browns with thick, luxurious curtains and an enormous and comfortable bed. The bathroom was large with black marble everywhere and delicious L’Occitane Jasmin & Bergamote toiletries. There was also a second bathroom in the suite with a toilet, bidet, and basin, in case your other half was using the main bathroom and you couldn’t wait.
This room also had a lounge area with a sitting area and a large dining room table, along with a coffee maker. Again, this lounge had a lovely balcony with the same magnificent views. Classic artwork and sparkly fixtures and fittings finished the room, and of course, everything was immaculate, not a speck of dust anywhere, as you would expect from a hotel of this caliber.
In the center of the suite, a circular pine foyer with a wooden mosaic floor welcomed you. It was quite a room!
If you can, book the Suite Ambassador. You will not be disappointed. Otherwise, I suggest requesting a room at the front of the building, as the view over the gardens and the lake is amazing, and many of the rooms had beautiful balconies to enjoy it from. Waking up in the morning to the vista of Lake Geneva with the fountain right in front of you really can’t be beaten!
Food & Drink
We drank on the terrace of Le Bar during our stay, which had a lovely street view. It was a great place to watch the world go by, and it had such good nibbles that it seemed to attract a sophisticated crowd of locals.
We also tried Le Jardin, the extraordinarily good restaurant at Le Richemond. Chef Philippe Bourrel creates light and fresh French cuisine here, and everything from the amuse-bouche to the dessert was brilliant and well deserving of its Gault & Millau accolade. As it was the summer, we got to sit out on the terrace, which overlooked Brunswick Gardens and Lake Geneva, which made our evening even more special. Even if you are not staying at Le Richemond, it is worth stopping by for a meal.
We also had breakfast in Le Jardin. The spread was extensive and delicious. From freshly prepared eggs, every fruit under the sun, meats smoked salmon, and cheeses to Bircher Musli, other cereals, and baskets of bread next to the most high-tech toaster I have ever seen. Breakfast was made even better as it was served with style and panache by cultured wait staff on the beautiful terrace.
If you are looking for some sophisticated Parisien Joi de Vivre in a Swiss alpine setting with marvelous views and, crucially, a great night’s sleep, pick Le Richemond. It is a Luxury Travel Diary favorite, and we will be returning.
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