I was fortunate to spend a delightful week in and around Geneva a few summers ago and enjoyed stays at a number of the best hotels in Geneva. My pick of the top 10 best luxury hotels in Geneva includes the most character-filled hotels and those that have the best swimming pool. I also outline their respective locations, and ultimately, I outline where you should stay.
Bordered on three sides by France and within view of snow-capped Alps, Geneva is a city of world diplomacy and commerce – with art galleries, an opera house, gourmet restaurants, and vibrant nightlife.
Le Richemond, the Four Seasons, Beau-Rivage, the Fairmont Grand Hotel Geneva, and Hotel d’Angleterre, are all located on Geneva’s ritzy left bank, with front-row views of the Jet d’Eau fountain and the summit of Mont Blanc beyond. It is literally a 5-minute stroll from the Four Seasons to the Fairmont Grand Hotel Geneva past Le Richemond and Hotel d’Angleterre in the middle. North along the promenade, you’ll soon reach the Bains de Pâquis, a trendy lakeside bathing spot, and the formal gardens of Mon Repos Park.
You can also walk or take a yellow mouette boat (such fun, and the Fairmont Grand Hotel Geneva and Le Richemond give you free tickets) across the lake to the Quai-Gustave-Ador where you find the Jardin Anglais, and the alley-filled Vieille Ville, where you can visit the neoclassical Cathédrale St-Pierre.
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.
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. Equally, the train station is just over five minutes from the luxury lakefront hotels and is another convenient way to arrive. British Airways flies from London to Geneva in just over an hour.
1. Le Richemond Geneva
Le Richemond Geneva, which is now a Jumeirah property, is our top choice in Geneva. It is actually very difficult to choose the best hotel as there are so many good hotels in the vicinity, but Le Richemond won our hearts as it is ultra-luxury and has bags of character.
Le Richemond hotel, which we have reviewed in more detail, 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.
The decor at Le Richemond is classic and historical, with a touch of fun. The Foyer is a mass of marble pillars and floors 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 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 overlooking the vibrant street and Brunswick Gardens beyond.
If I were to describe the hotel’s ambiance, I would say it has an almost Parisien “Joie de vivre.” Not only is it luxurious, but you feel that the staff genuinely cares that you love the hotel as much as they do.
Beyond the main bar and restaurant and impressive foyer, there is an exclusive Spa by Sisley. There is no pool at Le Richemond. To be honest, the lack of a pool is the only thing 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.
All the rooms at Le Richemond are gorgeous. If you can, book the Suite Ambassador. 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!
2. Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues, Geneva
Coming in, in position two, is the Four Seasons Geneva. At just a 3-minute walk up the lake from le Richemond, this hotel also has a glorious location right by the water.
The hotel is a mass of magnificent and historic corridors leading onto majestic bars and lounges, all encased in marble and dark woods. It offers a playground for wealthy bankers and rich tourists. I cannot comment on the rooms above as we did not stay here, but judging by the communal areas and obviously the reputation of the Four Seasons as a brand, the rooms would have been just as immaculate and historic as down below.
It is a wonderful Four Seasons, but because of its brand, it feels gorgeous, historic, and magical, but is usually the most expensive option in Geneva which is why we place it in position 2.
The hotel is particularly romantic at night as it is just across the water from historic lakeside buildings that seem to attract attention, topped with sparkling letters from Cartier, Hublot, and Rolex, which light up the night sky.
We actually reviewed the Il Lago restaurant, which spills out a decked area that overlooks one of the prettiest streets in Geneva. The decking is protected by olive trees and flowers, candlelit and romantic, whilst still undoubtedly in the heart of Geneva. Sounds of clip-clopping horse-drawn carriages mix with the farty exhausts of the occasional Ferrari (which all, by the way, seemed to be stopping by the Four Seasons).
115 luxurious guest rooms are guided by renowned interior designer Pierre-Yves Rochon. Suites are described as richly elegant, combining the Hotel’s classical elegance and style with the latest in technology. Because of its location, you’ll be enchanted by views of the lake, the Old Town, or the courtyard. The feel is bright and airy, decorated with rich blue and green fabrics, light woods, and Louis Philippe-style furnishings. Nearly a quarter of the rooms are spacious suites, most with step-out balconies and views of Lake Geneva.
Kids are well catered for here, as you would expect from a Four Seasons hotel. There is a picturesque indoor infinity-edge pool with underwater music along with an excellent Spa for the adults and a separate vitality pool with three water jet circuits.
Of course, the downside of this hotel is the price, as this Four Seasons comes in as one of the most expensive hotels in Geneva. There is no Aman hotel to take the top spot, so you are likely to find that the base rooms here come in at the top of the Geneva room price range.
However, these rooms are undoubtedly large and gorgeous, and unlike some Four Seasons hotels, this one had bags of character. This Four Seasons is also beautiful and also has a gorgeous pool. If your budget allows, this is the hotel to pick.
If you want to combine skiing with Geneva and are a fan of the Four Seasons, you may want to combine a Ski at the Four Seasons Megeve, just 70 kilometers (44 miles) from Geneva, with a stay at Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues, Geneva, making the most of a city and ski break along with our benefits at both.
3. Fairmont Grand Hotel Geneva
In third position is the Fairmont Grand Hotel Geneva. This is the top choice if you have children because of the incredible pool and sunbathing gardens that make up their Urban Beach.
If you are looking for a hotel with location, location, and location, along with an abundance of wonderful facilities, Fairmont Grand Hotel Geneva is a brilliant choice in Geneva.
The Fairmont Grand Hotel is located on the bank of Lake Geneva, right in front of the Jet d’Eau Fountain, one of the landmarks of Geneva, with a water jet up to 140 meters high.
It is a large hotel with around 400 rooms, and as a result, it has a massive array of facilities with numerous bars and restaurants along with an urban beach in the center, which has a large and stylish pool that leads onto an impressive spa.
My favorite thing to do at this hotel is simply to sit and watch the lake. From our room, we could sit on the bed and watch the boats chugging up and down, tooting their arrival, and watch the people below promenade up and down one of the prettiest stretches of the lakeside in Geneva.
The Fairmont Grand Hotel Geneva looked to be the largest hotel on the waterfront. It is triangular in design, and I would guess at a 1970s build with a modern look. Throughout the building, floor-to-ceiling glass windows make the most of the views, and the main restaurant, Il Vero, where you can take your breakfast and where we also enjoy incredible Italian food in the evening, has a glorious terrace that looks right out over the Jet d’Eau Fountain.
The rest of the hotel is enormous in scale. There are lounges and more restaurants, a bar with a terrace, and downstairs in the lobby. There are more sitting areas decked in cream marble with fireplaces, along with a large and busy reception area.
I mentioned above that there is an abundance of facilities in the Fairmont Grand Hotel Geneva. Lounges, restaurants, and a huge and stylish spa, but the highlight is the Urban Beach.
Set in the center of this triangular-shaped building and sheltered from any wind, the Urban Beach is a patch of green, packed with loungers, sofas, tropical plants, and funky music. In one corner, you will find a bar that serves any drink you want, and to the side, under a glass roof, there is a modern and beautiful pool with day beds, seats, and more loungers around it. The pool was the perfect temperature when we tried it, and not at all busy. Considering the size of the hotel, I was amazed that more people weren’t taking advantage of the Urban Beach hidden in the heart of this Fairmont Grand Hotel Geneva.
Our room was a suite at the front of the building. If you can, request a room at the front of the building as the view really was incredible. Waking up in the morning to the vista of Lake Geneva with the fountain right in front of you really can’t be beaten! The room itself was modern,ƒ with a red carpet, and everything felt immaculate. There were plenty of nicely scented toiletries, and the bathroom was massive, with a huge bath in the center and cream marble floors and surfaces.
We also ate in the Il Vero restaurant during our stay. The chef here was really good, and his pasta, in particular, was magnificent. The ingredients were all very fresh, and the portions were generous. I went for a salad and red mullet, and my husband went for a calamari dish, and all were hugely generous and utterly tasty.
The highlight for me, though, even when surrounded by delicious food, was the view from the terrace of the restaurant. If the weather is good, this is such a great terrace as it looks right out onto the Jet d’Eau Fountain. You can’t beat watching the moon travel across the sky behind the majestic fountain while stuffing yourself with delicious food!
If I were to describe the Fairmont Grand Hotel Geneva in one word, it would be “grand”. The hotel has every facility under the sun and a brilliant location, but the absolute highlight for my son and me was the Urban beach with its incredible and stylish pool. For us, this would be a major reason to return to the Fairmont Grand Hotel Geneva, and it is, without a doubt, one of the best pools in the city of Geneva.
4. Mandarin Oriental Geneva
The fourth best luxury hotel in Geneva is the Mandarin Oriental, which we also reviewed on our last trip to Geneva. The Mandarin Oriental Geneva is located on the banks of a wide river that leads into the Lake. It is perhaps one or two minutes of a pleasant riverside walk to reach the main lake, where you can literally walk for miles around the water’s edge, to Geneva’s old town, to the lido for swimming, or you may simply choose to stroll along the promenade for as long as your legs will bear.
The hotel is, unsurprisingly, Oriental in style, with a touch under 200 rooms. The foyer feels intimate, with loads of marble and mirrored pillars. An impressive flower arrangement greets you as you arrive through the rotating doors, and the back walls of the stairs offer underlit etchings that remind me of something you might find in an Egyptian pyramid.
As well as the reception desk, there is a helpful 24-hour concierge service. There are also two restaurants and the MO bar, along with a 24-hour fitness center, so you can keep active if walking along the banks of Lake Geneva isn’t enough for you. Finally, “La Suite Beauté” offers treatments and massages with products by Geneva-based Swiss luxury cosmetics company Bellefontaine, and there is a hairdresser hidden away, too.
Our room was a junior suite and was lovely. It benefitted from a terrace with wonderful views across the river, a superb place to catch some sun. Inside, the tones are cream carpets and dark brown wood with loads of space. There is a sofa area, a desk/study area, and an extremely comfortable bed with excellent thick pillows.
All the restaurants and bars in the hotel have views across the road, and the Café Calla, where you have breakfast, and the MO bar both spill out onto the street so that you can take a drink or a bite close to the water.
We enjoyed an evening meal at the Gastronomic Indian, Rasoi by Vineet. We love our Indian food, so we were excited to try an Indian restaurant outside the UK. The restaurant was packed (which says it all), but it didn’t feel overfull. The lighting in the restaurant was low, with the exception of some spotlights, and there were romantic tables by the windows.
If you are looking for a hotel room in Geneva with its own private terrace and wonderful views, the Mandarin Oriental Geneva and room 722 are a great choice.
5. Jiva Hill Resort
In position five, we are going to surprise you with a hotel that is around a 20-minute drive from the center of Geneva and a 10-minute drive from Geneva Airport in the opposite direction.
Yes, it is our job at Luxury Travel Diary to inspire you to stay somewhere you may not have considered, and this gem of a hotel, although not in the center of Geneva, is a wonderful place to do some sport and take a break combined with a stay in Geneva or as an alternative destination altogether. This hotel is listed in position five simply because it is not in Geneva itself. For this reason, we could not list it higher even though it is just moments from Geneva airport.
Why go to Jiva Hill resort? For me, the ambiance of a peaceful valley, the spa, the golf, the pool, the tennis, and the fact that this is a true escape in the prettiest of valleys makes Jiva Hill a great destination in itself. If the sky has just dumped, you may even be able to ski here, just moments from Geneva airport, which would make the perfect weekend break.
If you are into science, Jiva Hill is very close to CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research. In fact, if you are arriving from the airport on the Swiss side (or arriving from Lake Geneva, for that matter), you are likely to drive past the CERN Globe of Science and Innovation on the way to Jiva Hill. Its “Universe of Particles” exhibition is spectacular and takes the visitor on a journey deep into the world of particles and back to the Big Bang.
Beyond Cern, you will find Jiva Hill Resort. A beautifully manicured driveway surrounded by golf greens zig-zags up a hill to eventually reach a modern reception area. Outside, infinity-style water features give the arrival area a Zen feel. The architecture of the surrounding buildings also evokes calm and has been sympathetically designed to fit with the scenery. In fact, the entire entourage of low-rise buildings that house Jiva Hill are clad in natural stone and woods to make them feel part of the landscape.
The reception area is light, airy, and modern. Beyond the reception, an enormous entry hall leads to a bar on one side, with the pool twinkling through glass windows. On the other side, a brasserie-style restaurant (with really good, wholesome brasserie food) leads onto yet more gardens.
The pool is infinity in design, with a hot tub in the corner. It never seemed full when we were there and seemed more like a place for spa-goers to do a few lengths post-treatment. Large glass doors concertina back to one end of the pool opened up to a grassy sun trap packed with comfy loungers. An ideal place to catch some rays and warm up after your swim.
The fine-dining restaurant, which was also the breakfast room, is in a separate building from the hotel, just across from the reception. The staff here are extremely enthusiastic, but the highlight of this building is its view down to the lake. I imagine that it must be magical to sit outside for a meal here in mid-summer.
To the end of the entry hall is the spa reception area. I had a wonderful facial in the hotel spa, one of those ultrasonic firming facials that genuinely show a markable difference in your skin in just one treatment. I was thrilled with the results and would return to Jiva Hill for this treatment alone.
Rooms veer off in a T design from the main building to make the most of the views. The highlight is the enormous balcony (or lawned terrace area if you are on the ground floor), where you can relax while your senses are gobbled up by the massive expanse of green mountains in front of you.
Whether you yearn to visit CERN, whether you are a golf fan, whether the weather dumps some snow on the Geneva region and you want a weekend ski break, or whether you simply want to return home looking five years younger thanks to a Sonic spa treatment, Jiva Hill Resort has a huge amount to offer.
6. Hotel d’Angleterre, Geneva
This five-star hotel stands on Geneva’s lakefront, much like all the other luxury hotels in Geneva, and has been welcoming royalty, heads of state, and celebrities like the late Michael Jackson through its opulent doors since 1872.
Expect loads of marble and chandeliers and loads of beautiful flowers hidden inside the belle époque façade. The British influence can be seen in the use of British fabrics and prints, including a portrait of Winston Churchill in the cigar lounge,
Guests get complimentary access to a nearby fitness center, but there isn’t a pool or fitness center in the hotel, so it would not be my top choice if you are traveling with children or like a swim. Instead, they focus on event facilities to host banquets and weddings.
Each of the hotel’s 39 guest rooms and six suites is individually designed, with antiques and original artworks. Fresh fruit, mineral water, and homemade chocolates are provided in rooms that are a nice touch. 12 rooms have lake views, so booking one of these is worth booking. If you book the top suites, Bellevue and Presidential, you’ll get a private butler along with lots of extra goodies.
Breakfast is served in the Windows Restaurant. This is the main hotel restaurant for dining. The wood-paneled Leopard Bar has an open fire, which is lovely in the winter.
7. Beau-Rivage, Geneva
This five-star hotel stands between Hotel d’Angleterre and Le Richemond on Geneva’s lakefront. This luxury family-owned hotel is part of Leading Hotels of the World and offers 15 suites, of which six are historic, and 9 are brand new top-floor unique suites.
The hotel has 95 distinguished rooms, the largest for its category in Geneva. With several connecting rooms, each room and suite is individually decorated. All rooms feature a private bathroom with a bathrobe and hairdryer, a separate WC, and a High-tech room control system. Flat-screen LCD TV, Video on demand, minibar, and a safe box. Many rooms offer views over the lake (we recommend you book one of these.
The Chat-Botté is a memorable restaurant orchestrated by Chef Dominique Gauthier, Michelin star-awarded, and 18/20 in Gault&Millau. The cellar has hidden treasures accumulated over many years that wine enthusiasts can discover thanks to the suggestions of our Sommeliers. Terraces host wonderful evenings, elegant afternoon French tea, relaxed lunches, or sunny breakfasts.
The Atrium Lobby Bar offers at any time of the day a wide selection of classical and creative cocktails, a menu for lunch and dinner, as well as afternoon tea. A second restaurant, Patara, offers Thaï Cuisine.
There is no pool at the Beau-Rivage Hotel, which is worth considering when booking your hotel in Geneva.
8. The Ritz-Carlton Hotel de la Paix, Geneva
Once again, situated on the same stretch of waterfront is the Ritz-Carlton Geneva, which is our eighth choice. The loyalty schemes of Ritz-Carlton Rewards®, Marriott Rewards®, and SPG® Sheraton are now unified, which means you can earn and burn your rewards points at this property, which is relevant for both business and leisure travelers.
The Hotel de la Paix was a prominent luxury hotel since 1865. It was the favorite of Princess Grace from Monaco, and following a multi-million-dollar renovation, it reopened as the Ritz-Carlton Hotel de la Paix.
The great thing about this hotel is that all rooms and public areas were redone, as was the fitness center. This means that the hotel feels super swish and contemporary. The hotel has 74 guestrooms, including 14 elegant suites, which are very large and opulent. Floor-to-ceiling windows in the suites show off views across Lake Geneva, and most suites have separate tubs, walk-in showers, and a feature I love; many have fireplaces and even outdoor terraces.
The Grace Kelly Suite is the top choice, full of sophisticated art deco design, a separate entrance, and a large outdoor private terrace.
There’s no spa or pool, but there is a fitness room if jogging around the lake doesn’t appeal.
Two restaurants overseen by executive chef Alessio Corda offer a contemporary, seasonal menu in the Living Room. The signature dish is the risotto mantecato which is excellent. Their Fiskebar feels like a Scandinavian fish market with an open kitchen where Nordic fusion dishes are designed.
In the morning, breakfast is served in the Living Room, which includes a buffet plus an à la carte menu and includes my favorite Swiss bircher muesli along with eggs done a million ways, including an option with caviar.
10. Intercontinental Geneva
This hotel probably has the worst location in Geneva for leisure travelers, being a 20-30 minute trek down a hill and along the lakeside to get to the city center. However, its location on a hill means it has excellent, if distant, views and a really gorgeous pool, albeit in a rather unattractive ’60s tower block.
In fact, the pool is the main reason to choose this hotel in the summer. The other reason being the convenient location of the commercial area by the United Nations if you are traveling on business. If you are a leisure traveler collecting ihg rewards, you may want to spend your weekend ambassador reward certificate here. Just be prepared for a long walk!
The pool, which slopes away sharply, is kid-friendly, with a shallow end to one side. There is a pool bar and a grassy area behind the pool with lots of sun loungers.
Otherwise, this hotel is not noteworthy and feels dated, more like an airport hotel, although their breakfast is very good. There is no Club Lounge at this hotel, but it is worth considering as a hotel option if you are redeeming IHG Rewards Club points because you will get excellent value for them here because Geneva is so expensive. This is why we have put the Intercontinental in position nine in this “best of” article.
We offer free benefits at most Intercontinental hotels if you book with our luxury travel concierge. Contact us for extra benefits and promotions at this hotel.
11. La Reserve Geneve
Last but by no means least, in position ten, we select La Reserve Geneve, which is part of the Leading Hotels of the World. I have put this hotel in the last position of our list as La Reserve is quite a walk from the center and located in the heart of a beautifully landscaped park of 10 acres on the shores of Lake Geneva. It is located around a 20-minute walk from the center, which is frankly a pain.
Le Reserve specializes in its wonderful Spa. The 2000 sqm Spa of La Réserve offers 17 treatment rooms, all dedicated to massages, personalized treatments, and facials. An indoor and outdoor pool, sauna, and hammam will keep you busy.
During the warmer months, try one of their terraces or get down in the Bar-lounge with live DJs every night. All great, but you are some distance from the center, which, for us, is a problem.
La Reserve Geneve offers Virtuoso benefits if you book with our luxury travel concierge, including an upgrade on arrival, early check-in / late check-out, (both subject to availability), daily buffet breakfast for up to two in-room guests, $100 USD equivalent Spa Services credit, also valid in Cafe Lauren (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full, not valid on products or merchandise) and complimentary Wi-Fi.
Is there a Marriott in Geneva?
No, the Ritz-Carlton is the closest you will get, although it is worth noting that Hotel President Wilson is an SPG Sheraton Luxury Collection Hotel in Geneva and is also a great choice with a great pool. Again, this hotel is right in the center of the promenade and all the other gorgeous hotels in Geneva. Again, contact our concierge for extra benefits here on top of your status benefits.
There are also other chain hotels, including Manotel, Ibis, Crowne Plaza, Movenpick, and Novotel, but our top picks are the more independent hotels like Le Richemond, and of course, the Four Seasons is always a solid luxury choice if your budget can stretch this far.
You can read our more lengthy reviews of five of the hotels outlined in the listings below:
Top 10: The Best Luxury Hotels In Geneva
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… Read More.
If you have a picture of paradise in your head, it may well be the view from Jiva Hill Resort. Just over the border from Switzerland, about 15 minutes drive from Geneva airport and about 30 minutes drive from Geneva… Read More.
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