La Réserve

The spirit of La Dolce Vita

Claude Hervé-Bazin
Urheberrechte ©
La Réserve Genève Hotel and Spa
Summer 2024

A home away from home. An enchanted escape just outside the city. A superb haven of beauty where peace and privacy reigns. This is the essence of La Réserve Genève Hotel and Spa, elegantly spread over four hectares on the shores of Lake Geneva.

The mists of the Jet d’Eau fade away into the distance with the splashes of Lake Geneva. Purring beneath the warm sun, La Réserve’s stylish, all-wood motoscafo speedboat makes good headway. Your hair and the Swiss flag flap in the wind, your heart pounds, as the city disappears behind you and the Alps fill the horizon ahead.

It’s a dazzling way to arrive. A private pontoon unfolds like a dream as a glass villa appears, reflecting the landscape across its facade as you set foot on the vast lawn. From within, the views are all encompassing — from the bedroom and the free-standing bathtub, the sailboats seem to be dancing for the mountains. And yet, Geneva’s airport is only 3 km away.

A retreat
Simply traverse a secret passage and find yourself at the hotel. It’s perfectly placed, like a savanna lodge or an opulent refuge within an expansive clearing, cleverly hidden away from the world. As the smells of freshly cut grass and pruned box trees waft through the air, you see an immense trapezoid-shaped pool. Further along, hedges conceal the intimate, private terraces like chess pieces, dotted around the park.

There are no room numbers at La Réserve. There’s nothing but smiles and kindness from the valet, the porter, the bellhop, the receptionist, the waiters, and the housekeeping personnel. Here, every client is known by name. Their tastes and preferences are noted and passed from employee to employee — the ultimate, exceptional embodiment of the attention to detail and discretion that Swiss luxury hotels are famous for.

A sanctuary
Wine, fruit, pastries, candies for the children — the room welcome is a reward in of itself. Superior rooms in African multi-coloured browns. Deluxe rooms in colonial reds with oak parquet floors. The Suites in British burgundy, champagne, and chocolate, with Saint-Tropez inspired terraces all the way to the Presidential Suite, which embodies the African lodge influences of legends. Exoticism reigns… discreetly, of course.

Here, like everywhere else, some people are on the clock for meetings or family reunions. Others come to relax on the weekends, for romantic or family getaways because, yes, families are welcome here. It’s easy to keep the little ones entertained at La Réserve. Between the lion rug, the hut on stilts, the soft cushions of the children’s rooms, the multiple (free) activities on offer (sushi-making workshop anyone?), and the dedicated pool and spa hours, you can rest assured that they will sleep well tonight.

A remedy
The word has become a bit of a catch-all. From one place to another, the “spa” can be anything from a damp basement to a delightful parallel universe that’s designed to create next-level experiences. At La Réserve’s Spa Nescens (which is 2,500 m2!), it’s clearly the second definition that prevails. Everything delights your senses in holistic synergy, with personalised anti-stress and anti-aging treatments that encompass nutrition, medicine, and physical activity. Swiss watchmakers may enhance time; here it gets turned back.

It’s all done with a soft and caring approach, like everything at La Réserve. That won’t stop you from sweating it out at the gym, booking a private coach, playing tennis, or even enjoying water-skiing or wakeboarding. Lake Geneva beckons, after all.

A feast
Everything about La Réserve feels like preferred treatment, even in the kitchens, where the chef — or chefs, we should say — sometimes invite their guests. The establishment is home to two main restaurants of diverse influences. The very Orientalist Loti, brought to life by interior designer Jacques Garcia, features a tamed jungle complete with a bronze elephant and wooden parrots that have become legendary. Travel without ever leaving, as you enjoy dishes that highlight the wonders of Swiss ingredients while also embracing Japanese culinary inspiration.

The exoticism continues with Tsé Fung, the only Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant in Switzerland. Here, Cantonese cooking is revisited by Frank Xu, in a red silk and black lacquer décor that’s inspired by the tumultuous Shanghai of the 1930s. Highlights include the Peking duck, served twice, in two different ways.

A way of life
La Réserve brightens the days for visitors and locals alike, many of whom visit for the dining and spa, but in the region there’s more than this single high-end locale that masters melding the stars with excellence, authenticity, and that special Swiss simplicity.

The Crans Ambassador in Crans-Montana, the Mont Cervin Palace, the Monte Rosa and the Schweizerhof in Zermatt, AlpenGold in Davos, Bellevue Palace in Berne, La Réserve in Zurich, Paris and Ramatuelle, and still others abound. They’re all part of a group that’s directed by the discreet businessman Michel Reybier, who exclusively invests in places of timeless, high prestige.