Rendez-vous at the spa

Happiness is just a soak away

Yannick Nardin
Woodward Hotel | Luca Fascini | G.Gardette
Winter 2023-2024

When the winters get tough, Genevans find respite in comforting activities that can soothe even the worst weather-related traumas. Some of the city’s iciest streets lead to heavenly spas, inviting us to let go, warm up, and relax.

As a city known for its water-related escapades, Geneva proudly offers aquatic enjoyment year-round. In the winter months, when the cold air hits the water of Lake Geneva and creates thick fog, the locals know exactly what to do to avoid seasonal depression: seek out inspiration and take the time to enjoy some much-needed self-care.

Here, knowing the best locations for hydrotherapy or spa treatments is the true social currency, and the city offers a host of new establishments, state-of-the-art innovations in beauty care, and an enchanting variety of massages that are in constant competition with the older, more established centres of “zen.” Relax, ease the stresses of everyday life, and let go of your worries in one of Geneva’s many spas, where time seems to stand still as you soak in opportunities for physical, mental, and emotional rejuvenation.

For the young at heart of all ages
Picture this: it’s Friday afternoon, the end of a gruelling and packed work week, now finally giving way to a few hours of relaxation. You hop over to the luxurious Rues Basses shopping district on the left bank (between the lake and the old town) without even noticing the beautiful holiday window decor. Your destination? L.Raphaël’s “Temple of Beauty” on Rue du Rhône, established in 2005. Here, the brand’s famous oxygen treatments boast immediate and long-term skincare results for both men and women, regardless of age. The treatments, combined with expert massages and a host of skincare products, are the ultimate in relaxation: oxygen ripples over your skin, smoothing away lines and wrinkles and restoring radiance. If only the Bise wind had the same power!

If this initial and highly exclusive treatment leaves you wanting more, head to Champel, another beautiful and mostly residential neighbourhood, where After The Rain spa offers unique Treatment Capsules. There is no set menu here. Treatment capsules are customized on the spot to meet your needs, spanning offerings like essential oils, hot stones, gua sha, jade roll, suction cups, body scrubs, massage, or Kobido, and always include a private hammam, some tea, and delicacies in your very own dedicated loggia.

In a robe and slippers
It may seem crazy to imagine a life of everyday wellness treatments but, luckily for us, many of the local high-end hotels have taken it upon themselves to help any caterpillar who’s short on Vitamin D metamorphose into a beautiful butterfly. How exactly? By developing their own rituals, associating with renowned skincare brands, and by giving the general public (not just paying guests) access to many of their pools, spas, and treatments. Among them are the Jiva Hill Resort, Hotel President Wilson (La Mer), the Four Seasons, the Fairmont (Valmont), the InterContinental (Cinq Mondes), and Hotel Bristol, each with their own unique offerings. At the Woodward Hotel, you can find Guerlain treatments in the spirit of the brand that has been harnessing the innate power of nature in its exceptional formulas since 1828. The 1,200 m2 spa is home to Geneva’s longest indoor pool (21 m), bathed in ethereal lights and nestled in amongst saunas, hammams, and Nordic baths.

To keep the dream going even longer, many of these establishments also propose wellness getaways in the form of a “staycation.” Take, for example La Réserve Hotel’s Nescens Better-Aging Package, which takes place over 7-14 days and includes a personal trainer, treatments, massages, balneotherapy and, of course, personalized healthy meals, making this a splendid way to take a break, recharge, and emerge resplendent!

“Public” baths
No rundown of Genevan spas would be complete without a mention of the Bain Bleu. Built in 2015, this lakeside haven is an unusually affordable option for finding much needed relaxation. A rather discreet building façade gives way to beautiful baths and hammams, designed by Genevan architects GMAA. The cherry on the cake is the rooftop heated pool, which offers an exclusive panorama of the lake and the surrounding mountains. This is the place to enjoy a sunset cocktail or even an evening soak, sipping some bubbly while immersed in bubbles, beneath the stars... an ideal way to shake off your stress and enjoy some prime Genevan pampering.