Sim­ply Charm­ing

Look­ing out over Lake Geneva and the stun­ning Mont Blanc, the Ho­tel d’an­gleterre is the per­fect blend of cla­sic style and top ser­vice

Virtuozity - - DESTINATION -

If you were look­ing for the ideal lo­ca­tion for a grand old ho­tel, the shores of Lake Geneva would be some­where near the top of that list. Sur­rounded by old money and lav­ished with a view to die for, a spot on the edge of the wa­ter would be pretty much per­fect.

Back in 1872, the Ho­tel D’an­gleterre went just that bit fur­ther by pick­ing a spot di­rectly op­po­site the fa­mous foun­tain, and just a stone’s throw from some of the swanki­est shops in the world. If you want a bit of old-world charm, you’ve come to the right place.

Built by cel­e­brated ar­chi­tect An­thony Krafft, the ho­tel was con­ceived from the out­set as a his­tor­i­cal lux­ury ho­tel, ini­tially of­fer­ing 30 spa­cious rooms, most of which had a spec­tac­u­lar view of Lake Geneva and Mont Blanc.

In 1910, the ho­tel was ex­tended by the ad­di­tion of another wing, with the main en­trance moved to the Rue de Mon­thoux.

In 1995, the Ho­tel d’an­gleterre was closed for a year for a to­tal ren­o­va­tion, in which only the listed fa­cade, the in­ter­nal stair­case and the floors were pre­served. By now the ho­tel had be­come ac­knowl­edged as a key her­itage site of the city of Geneva and there­fore needed to be pre­served as close to its orig­i­nal design as pos­si­ble.

The re­fur­bish­ment saw the ho­tel re­ceive a new in­te­rior that com­bined a more con­tem­po­rary charm, el­e­gance, and con­ve­nience with all the ho­tel’s tra­di­tional re­fine­ment, mys­tery and magic.

More re­cently, an ex­ten­sive process of ren­o­va­tion was un­der­taken, with new fur­nish­ings and the lat­est in-room tech­nol-

ogy in­clud­ing wire­less broad­band in­ter­net ac­cess, which is ex­cel­lent.

En­ter­ing via the (now main) side en­trance, you are greeted by a clas­sic and grand stair­case ris­ing just half a floor to the lobby. On the left is the main Win­dows restau­rant, which serves a very English af­ter­noon tea, as well as break­fast, lunch and din­ner for the guests. Thanks to it be­ing raised above street level, and its large, un­ob­structed win­dows, it of­fers fan­tas­tic views across the lake, with­out the busy traf­fic from the main road.

Ac­cess to the rooms above is ei­ther via a beau­ti­ful curv­ing stair­case or clas­sic bras­sadorned el­e­va­tors, which suit the ho­tel per­fectly. Step­ping out into the cor­ri­dors, you are greeted by dark wood pan­elling, deep car­pets and the neat touch of themed art work, rang­ing from fash­ion to au­to­mo­tive, all clas­sic in na­ture and care­fully ar­ranged to avoid be­com­ing a cliché.

The rooms all lie be­hind solid wooden doors and are dec­o­rated in that clas­sic style that few strug­gle to feel at home in. Although not huge in size, the stan­dard rooms still man­age to be op­u­lent, de­spite the mea­sure­ments.

All rooms fea­ture an ul­tra mod­ern bath­room with all the trim­mings you’d ex­pect from a prop­erty built last week, let alone al­most 150 years ago. The re­fur­bish­ment work in 1995 was clearly well thought out and de­signed to out­last the fickle hand of taste and tech­nol­ogy.

Back down­stairs, the base­ment fea­tures a very well stocked cigar lounge, mak­ing it the per­fect place for Vir­tuoz­ity to stay. It shares this space with the Leop­ard Bar.

The bar has a cosy li­brary feel, blend­ing chic tra­di­tional style with Bri­tish el­e­gance and colo­nial South Africa-in­spired fur­nish- ings. It can get a lit­tle lively in the evenings, due to its su­perb food and large range of beverages. It also fea­tures live mu­sic six days a week and a real fire in the cooler months. It’s cool, classy and the sort of bar you ac­ci­den­tally end up stay­ing in well into the small hours.

But per­haps the stand­out part of the Ho­tel d’an­gleterre is the staff. The peo­ple at the ho­tel man­age to strike that per­fect bal­ance be­tween be­ing overly friendly and ex­ceed­ingly pro­fes­sional, mak­ing you feel that noth­ing is too much to ask.

It’s a key sign of a great ho­tel and some­thing the Ho­tel d’an­gleterre shares with the St. James Ho­tel and Club that Vir­tuoz­ity re­viewed a few is­sues ago.

As a great place to stay in Geneva, the Ho­tel d’an­gleterre ticks ev­ery box. All too of­ten, old hotels strug­gle to in­te­grate the now oblig­a­tory new tech­nol­ogy into the build­ing, but the Ho­tel d’an­gleterre seems to have neatly avoided that tra­di­tional pit­fall.

If you want to sam­ple life un­changed over the last cen­tury, but aren’t will­ing to give up the crea­ture com­forts of a mod­ern ho­tel stay, then you are in luck. The Ho­tel d’an­gleterre of­fers all this and more.

Its fan­tas­tic lo­ca­tion, ex­cel­lent en­ter­tain­ment and amaz­ing ar­chi­tec­ture should be enough to get you to visit, but if not, the friendly staff and dark pan­elled cor­ri­dors that reek of op­u­lence and his­tory will surely tempt you to spend the night in one of Geneva’s ho­tel high­lights.

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