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