Geneva is consistently ranked as one of the world’s most expensive cities to not only live, but stay in for an overnight. The rooms in Geneva were so expensive that I was personally going to skip visiting the city altogether during my first visit to Switzerland.
Background and Introduction
However my parents insisted on visiting the city atleast once, after all what is a trip to Switzerland without visiting this pristine city on the lake of the very same name? Also it’s important to mention that even award stays at the time (back in 2013) were ridiculously expensive or unavailable. For example, the Hotel President Wilson was charging 35,000 Starpoints per night! If you value starpoints at 2 cents per point, that’s like spending $700 for a hotel night!
And so I had to do my homework and research for deals in order to make it happen. Hotel rooms at most places (even a Novotel) were going for over 350 CHF (~380 USD). And so I was about to break the bad news to my parents that it was way too expensive when I came upon a reasonable rate of 280 CHF at the Hotel D’Angleterre using American Express’s Fine Hotels and Resorts (benefit of the AMEX Platinum Card). And because I booked it through that portal, the stay would include free breakfast, room upgrade upon availability, a 100 USD dining credit at the hotel, and a stay at Geneva’s highest rated hotel on TripAdvisor. Though it was still a little too expensive, I decided to splurge on it (you only live once).
Arrival and Check In
We arrived by train from Zermatt around 2pm, and headed straight for the hotel from the train station. The walk to the hotel itself is only 10 mins (0.7 km) straight down Rue de Monthoux (toward the lake). For your reference: a taxi would cost you around 15 CHF.
The Hotel D’Angleterre is located along the shores of Lake Geneva and looks straight on at the famous fountain known as the Jet d’Eau. We were helped with our bags as soon as we arrived near the door of the hotel and were escorted to the front desk where check in was completed within minutes. Owing to the benefits listed below, we were upgraded to premium rooms with a tiny balconies overlooking the streets of Geneva and the lake.
Everything from the elevator to the hallways at this hotel are narrow and full of 19th century elegance. The elevator itself could barely hold all four of us.
Our room was luckily located on the first floor and so it was easily accessible via the windy staircase.
The Premium Room
Despite the hallways being extremely narrow, the accommodations were extremely spacious with a separate seating area and a massive king size bed. The remote control to the TV is sanitized every night and turn down service is provided with some chocolate, and warm house made muffins. I ended up stealing my sister’s before she noticed that it was there 🙂
Wi-Fi was fast and free for all hotel guests and the desk in the corner of the room made for a great working space.
Even the bathrooms were bigger than what you would expect of a European boutique hotel and were stocked with the wonderfully scented Penhaligon’s bath amenities, which are some of my favorites now.
I do have to mention that there was some weird mood lighting going near the toilet.
The room faced a charming side street rather than the lake, and featured a charming yet tiny balcony with arranged flowers. The Jet d’Eau and Lake Geneva were visible down the street.
The other room was very similar in nature with the window facing the lake itself. It didn’t feature as large of a sitting area, but the views were better. The bed also had an enormous chandelier above it, which was kind of intimidating and scary at the same time. What if it falls?
It happened to be my sister’s birthday that night so I made a reservation for the four of us at one of the most acclaimed restaurants in town, Rasoi by Vineet. Food, service, decor, ambiance, and presentation were just absolutely phenomenal. My only complaint was that everything came in such small portions (European sized as I like to call it :)) that it made me wish we had gone to a less fancy of a place for dinner. The good thing was they kept bringing out experimental dishes in between the dishes we had ordered, which satiated the hunger a little more. Vegetarian options were aplenty as is the case with 99% of Indian restaurants.
It really was a once in a lifetime experience given the price tag (prob by far the most expensive dinner we’ve ever had). Unfortunately I don’t recall the exact price tag for 4 people given that this was a couple of years ago, but I suspect that it came out to an amount north of 60 CHF per person looking at the menu again.
Breakfast is served every morning at the Windows Restaurant, which aptly features breathtaking views of the lake and perhaps Mont Blanc on a clear day. The breakfast itself was limited to the continental options such as fresh juices, breakfast cereals, breads, pastries, and a few fruits. I also found it neat how they had cereals wrapped up in bags with the hotel logo on it. Though small, the pastries and breads were all top notch in quality. I personally think you can never go wrong with a morning dose of cereal or Muesli with Swiss milk.
Afternoon High Tea
Before our departure to the Interlaken area of Switzerland, we had afternoon tea and a light lunch in our hotel room, which was covered by the $100 dining credit. I wish we had gotten the chance to have afternoon tea at the Windows restaurant, but it was nice not to leave the room for once. The tea service included so many pastries that we ended up not having more than a couple.
And when we asked the tray to be cleared, the waiter saw this and brought us the left over pastries, sandwiches, and tea in to-go cups and carrying cases with napkins, forks, knives, and spoons. He insisted that they would be great on the train ride over to Lauterbrunnen 🙂 I
Though expensive, the Hotel D’Angleterre is really one of the finest hotel experiences one can have anywhere. Everything at the hotel is excellent from the accommodations to the staff to the views of Lake Geneva and Mont Blanc. It pretty much deserves its perfect rating on TripAdvisor. I found it odd that the other 5 star luxury properties (eg. Four Seasons) and some lower ranked hotels in Geneva were all priced at a much higher rate on average (sometimes even double). I think this really comes to show that higher price doesn’t always mean better accommodation. I would return to this property in a heartbeat. That is if the price is reasonable of course, which is an absurd statement to make while in Geneva.
Have you been to Geneva? Where did you stay?